Richard Heppner file photo [23179]

Richard Heppner

Given NameRichard
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseRichard P. Heppner served in WW1 in the field artillery. After graduating from the law schools of Prince University and Columbia University, he became an attorney at William Donovan's law firm. When Donovan was tapped by fellow New York politician and now US President Franklin Roosevelt to head the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), it was not long before Donovan recruited Heppner into OSS service. As the head of OSS Department 404 in South East Asia Command, Heppner was General Albert Wedemeyer's roommate at Kandy, Ceylon in 1944. Milton Miles, the head of the Sino-American Special Technical Cooperative Organization (SACO), which served as the only American-affiliated intelligence command authorized by the Chinese, invited Heppner to dine in the Chinese capital of Chongqing and to be familiarized to SACO operations; Heppner turned down Miles' request, noting that he did not want to eat with chopsticks "like a god-damned Chinese". Through this episode, Heppner pushed Miles, already distrusted the OSS for having repeatedly attempted to sneak agents into China without Chinese permission or SACO knowledge, further away from any possibility of SACO-OSS cooperation. When Wedemeyer was made the head of the South East Asia Command, Wedemeyer named Colonel Heppner the head of OSS Department 202 in China in Dec 1944. In this role, Heppner increased OSS' influence at the expense of SACO, ultimately succeeding in taking control of the entire SACO operation from the US Navy. Heppner also made efforts to link up with the Chinese Communists, which infuriated the Nationalist Chinese leadership, who felt betrayed. After the war, Heppner returned to the United States and held several high posts, including the deputy assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affair during Dwight Eisenhower's presidency during the early chapters of the Cold War.

ww2dbaseSource: Linda Kush, The Rice Paddy Navy

Richard Heppner Timeline

8 Jul 1943 Richard Heppner arrived in India.
8 Feb 1946 Richard Heppner was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

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