John F. "Jack" Hasey

Wandering around, reading about Finland, I ran across this remarkable-sounding American. Here's the brief Wikipedia entry:

John F. "Jack" Hasey

John Freeman "Jack" Hasey (3 November 1916 – 9 May 2005) was an American captain in the French Foreign Legion during World War II and a senior operations officer with the CIA afterwards. Hasey was one of only four Americans, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, to have been named a Companion of the Ordre de la Libération, France's highest World War II honor.



Hasey was born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1916. In 1936, Hasey headed to France, where he intended to study at the Sorbonne. Hasey, a Columbia University graduate, instead decided to become a salesman for the French jeweler Cartier.

Military career

When the Russo-Finnish War broke out in 1939, Hasey, along with other Americans, formed an ambulance unit, the Iroquois Ambulance Corps, and headed to the war front to help aid the Finns. Later, some time in the 1950s, Finland awarded him the Liberty Cross. After the war, and having recovered from a wound to his arm, Hasey planned to return to his work at Cartier.

With the German invasion of Western Europe, Hasey promptly volunteered to join the Free French Forces led by General Charles de Gaulle. During fighting around Damascus, Syria on June 20, 1941, Hasey's right jaw and larynx were shot away by enemy machine gun fire. He was decorated by de Gaulle as "the first American to shed blood for the liberation of France." After his recovery, Hasey became a liaison between de Gaulle and Eisenhower. During 1942, he co-wrote a book, Yankee Fighter: The Story of an American in the Free French Foreign Legion with Joseph F Dinneen. In August 1943, he became an aide-de-camp on the staff of General Marie Pierre Koenig, and remained with Koenig during his term as military Governor of Paris, August 1944.


In 1950, he joined the CIA and worked in 17 countries until his retirement in 1974.

In 1996, French President Jacques Chirac named Hasey an officer in the Légion d'honneur.

On May 9, 2005, Hasey died at age 88 from complications after a stroke.

  •     Order of the Cross of Liberty
  •     Compagnon de la Libération
  •     Knight of the Légion d'honneur
  •     Croix de guerre 39-45 with four citations
  •     Insignia for the Military Wounded


raven said...

Fascinating story. Thank you. Here is another American adventurer I came across recently while looking into Lord Roberts.

Tom said...

A good find!

"Burnham distinguished himself in several battles in Rhodesia and South Africa and became Chief of Scouts. Despite his U.S. citizenship, his military title was British and his rank of major was formally given to him by King Edward VII. In special recognition of Burnham's heroism, the King invested him into the Companions of the Distinguished Service Order, giving Burnham the highest military honors earned by any American in the Second Boer War. He had become friends with Baden-Powell during the Second Matabele War in Rhodesia, teaching him outdoor skills and inspiring what would later become known as Scouting. Burnham returned to the United States, where he became involved in national defense efforts, business, oil, conservation, and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)."