This silk blood chit was issued for use by the Office of Strategic Services in the China-Burma-India Theater. Written in several native languages, it reads, “This foreign person (American) has come to China to help the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should save and protect him.”
20 cm x 21cm
(L x W)
A military lifestyle came second nature to William Colby. His father was an Army officer and thus Colby lived most of his childhood on military bases scattered from the Panama Canal to China. Colby was commissioned into the Army in the summer of 1941 and reported for active duty that year in August. The parachute training he received at jump school in the fall of 1942 and the French language skills he’d acquired while going to school overseas brought about his OSS recruitment later that year. Colby’s OSS training continued in Scotland at the British commando school and at RAF Milton Hall. In August 1944, southern France was invaded and Colby led a team codenamed Bruce on a mission to strike the Germans and prevent them from moving reinforcements to the invasion front. Bruce was dropped into the central France department of Yonne to rendezvous with the French Resistance. Colby used air-dropped weapons to rally the French to fight the Germans. Following Bruce’s mission, Colby took
charge of NORSO, the OSS Norwegian Americans Special Operations Group. The group’s mission was to enter Norway and prevent the German armies in Scandinavia from helping those in Germany. After training his team in Scotland and dealing with weather delays, Operation RYPE, as it was called, was launched in March of 1945. The mission suffered further setbacks when only 16 of Colby’s original 36 men delivered their aircraft loads to the target. This number was too small to carry out the attack on German forces and Colby was forced to halt the
mission once again. He eventually reunited with other members of the team who had inadvertently parachuted into Sweden and the operation was attempted again. Colby and his NORSO team set up camp in the town of Namsos and kept a close watch on the German forces there until the enemy could be disarmed and repatriated. After the war ended, Colby returned to
Columbia University to study law. Despite numerous discouragements and failures, Colby’s service in the OSS did not go unnoticed. At the ceremony marking the dissolution of the OSS its Director, General William Donovan, awarded William Colby with a prestigious Silver Star
Medal. Colby later took the position as DCI from September 1973 to January 1976 .