Jump to content

OSS KIA Purple Heart


Recommended Posts

I recently acquired this purple heart/picture/wing group belonging to OSS Capt. Thomas C. Blackwell, C.E. (Counter Espionage), who was KIA in China. He is one of only 116 OSS KIA in WWII. I was able to better able understand exactly what I had with help of this forum. I said I would post more information when able, so here it is. OSS personnel files were declassified in 2008 so I was able to obtain Captain Blackwell's OSS file. His file is rather large at 192 pages, so I will only show a few of them.

Blackwell entered the service in Oct. 1942 with the 328th Engineers, went through jump training, and was selected by the OSS due to his language skills and favorable background. He served as an OSS operative in France. When the war in Europe was winding down, he transferred to PTO in China. It was there, on a mission, that he was KIA by Japanese forces. I have included a detailed account of how he was killed, as well as other scans of his file. At CIA headquarters in Langley, there is a memorial dedicated to the OSS, and a Book Of Honor. This book lists the 116 OSS agents KIA in WWII.

Blackwell's PH grouping was part of a larger family grouping I acquired. Most of the items in the grouping belonged to his brother Joseph Blackwell, decorated and documented member of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team. Thanks again to those who helped shine the light on this rare group.

Any questions or comments welcome.





Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this brave soldier’s service and death in the line of duty. Does his file show if he received the British award mentioned in post #8 above? There is no mention of him in the OSS Decorations Recipients by Wiegand though other KIA are noted and the awarding of the Purple Heart. Hope they did not forget about him because he died so close to the end of the war.

Best regards,


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great heart. No doubts there....great shot of his name in the book. Thanks for sharing and remembering his service!



Link to post
Share on other sites

The OSS abbreviation and acronym list has "CE" as Counter Espionage. Looking back through his records they use "CE" in his title pre-selection for the OSS, so obviously for Corps of Engineers. I didnt know it would carry through in his title once a member of OSS. Looking on I see he uses both "CE" and '"SO" (Special Operations) in his title. Thanks for pointing that out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Dick, I'll do that. Thanks to all who have commented. If any of you knew how under the radar this PH was obtained, you'd be amazed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.