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William Joseph "Wild Bill" Donovan
Birth: Jan. 1, 1883
Buffalo
Erie County
New York, USA
Death: Feb. 8, 1959
Washington
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, US Diplomat. Known by the sobriquet "Wild Bill", he is most noted for founding and directing the United States Office of Strategic Services during World War II, which was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency. A trained lawyer, he began the practice of law in Buffalo, New York in 1907. In 1916, he joined the New York National Guard on the Mexican Border, and in World War I he served in the United States Army in France with the 165th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Division, advancing to the rank of Colonel. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery near Landres-et-St. Georges, France, on October 14 and 15, 1918. His citation reads "Lt. Col. Donovan personally led the assaulting wave in an attack upon a very strongly organized position, and when our troops were suffering heavy casualties he encouraged all near him by his example, moving among his men in exposed positions, reorganizing decimated platoons, and accompanying them forward in attacks. When he was wounded in the leg by machine-gun bullets, he refused to be evacuated and continued with his unit until it withdrew to a less exposed position". His Medal was presented to him in 1922. At the end of the war, he left the Army, and in 1922, he was appointed United States District Attorney for western New York. From 1924 to 1929, he served as Assistant Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice, but during the 1930s, he returned to the private practice of law. In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked him to create plans for a central intelligence service for the United States; this group was to become the OSS. On July 11, 1941, Donovan was appointed coordinator of information, and on June 13, 1942, he became the first Chief of the newly created agency. It was most active in Europe during World War II, collecting foreign intelligence and carrying out covert operations. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1943, at the end of the war, he assisted in the procession of Nazi War Criminals at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, and declined any role in the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1953 he was named United States Ambassador to Thailand, where he served until his retirement in 1957. He died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC in 1959. He is the only holder of the top four highest awards of the United States: The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Ruth Rumsey Donovan (1891 - 1977)*
 
 Children:
  David Rumsey Donovan (1915 - 1999)*
  Patricia Hazard Donovan (1917 - 1940)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 2, Grave 4874-A
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 289
William Joseph Wild Bill Donovan
Added by: Creative Commons
 
William Joseph Wild Bill Donovan
Added by: Ron Williams
 
William Joseph Wild Bill Donovan
Added by: Lorenzo Brieba
 
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I stand humbly before you to say a heartfelt "Thank you" for your service to our country. It is because of you and other dedicated men and women who make it safer and a better place for us all. May God Bless You. Rest in eternal peace. You earned it!!!
- Thelma (Payne) Coberly
 Added: Feb. 24, 2015

- sjm
 Added: Feb. 8, 2015

- TheMysterian
 Added: Feb. 8, 2015
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