Jack Hawkins
Nickname Colonel Frank
Born 1920[citation needed]
Roxton, Texas
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1939 - 1965
Rank Colonel
Commands held 1st Battalion 1st Marines

World War II

Korean War

Bay of Pigs Invasion
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star

Jack L. Hawkins (born 1920, Roxton, Texas) was a United States Marines Corps Colonel employed by the CIA for the military planning, training of Cuban exiles, and the effective military command of forces in the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in April 1961. Hawkins was known by the alias John Haskins.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Jack Hawkins graduated as a second lieutenant from the United States Naval Academy. In 1939, he attended the Marine Corps Basic School for officers, and then served with the Fourth Marines in Shanghai and in the Philippines when the regiment was transferred there in late 1941.[1]

World War II[edit | edit source]

During World War II, he saw service in the Philippines at the Battle of Bataan and was taken prisoner by Japanese armed forces after the Battle of Corregidor. Initially sent to a prison camp on Luzon, he was later transferred to another prison camp on Mindanao where conditions were somewhat better.[1] The new prison camp was actually a pre-war convict facility on a plantation. Eventually, he and two other POWs planned an escape. However, the need for additional expertise in their post-escape plans brought the total number of Americans in the group to ten. Then they enlisted the help of two Filipinos who had been imprisoned before the war as convicts to serve as guides. The escape was successful and the two Filipinos eventually received pardons for their assistance.[1]

The group moved through dangerous swamps for several days and eventually stumbled upon a guerrilla unit. This unit passed the Americans on to other bands until the escapees eventually were led to Colonel Fertig, who commanded the American-Filipino guerrillas on Mindanao.[1] Hawkins served with the guerrillas for seven months. He led raiding parties in attacks against Japanese forces, before traveling to Australia via submarine in November 1943. Hawkins received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions in the Philippines during the period 4 April - 15 November 1943.[2] In 1961, Hawkins authored a book, Never Say Die, on his POW and guerrilla experiences.

In 1945, Hawkins was involved in the planning of the U.S. invasion of Japanese-held territory in the Battle of Okinawa. Author Don Bohning states that Hawkins was not involved in planning for the Battle of Iwo Jima[3]

Post war[edit | edit source]

Following World War II, he served as a member of the Naval Mission to Venezuela for three years as adviser to the Venezuelan Marine Corps, before returning to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In September 1950, as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, he led his battalion ashore at the Battle of Inchon, Korea, and later participated in the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions there.[2] In 1955 he was promoted to full colonel, becoming commander of the Amphibious Forces at Little Creek, Virginia. He served for three years as an instructor on amphibious landings in Marine Corps schools at Quantico.[4]

Bay of Pigs Invasion[edit | edit source]

Main article: Bay of Pigs Invasion

On the recommendation of Marine Corps Commandant General David M. Shoup, Colonel Hawkins was recruited by the CIA which wanted a Marine officer with background in amphibious warfare to help with a project to land some exile troops in Cuba. He was assigned to the Cuba task force on Sept 1, 1960, when CIA Deputy Director of Plans Richard M. Bissell, Jr. began to expand the planned operation from a guerrilla infiltration to an amphibious assault. At the CIA, Hawkins was appointed Chief of Paramilitary Operations Western Hemisphere Division Branch 4 (WH/4/PM), reporting to Jacob Esterline, Chief of Western Hemisphere Branch 4 (WH/4). He was already fluent in Spanish, and under his command were Grayston Lynch and William "Rip" Robertson as the CIA representatives in the amphibious landings. ( Col. Stanley W. Beerli, the chief of air operations, reported to Richard Bissell ). From his base in Miami, he instructed the combatants via radio links relayed via US Navy ships, aiming to defeat Cuban government forces in the conflict. He retired from the Marines in 1965.[5][6]

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