Harold Stanley Deyo, Sr.
Captain, ATC, North African Division.
Harold S. Deyo, Sr... Patriot... Soldier... Hero...
Today, on behalf of his family and friends, we would like to remember my father who, over many decades, was an unsung hero for something he and his men accomplished in 1946 after the end of the war with Germany.
In 1945 President Roosevelt died suddenly. President Truman picked up the reins at that most volatile time. The war in both Europe and the Pacific had ended by mid August of that year and the task of putting the world back together again fell to the Allied nations - primarily to the USA, the UK and The Soviet Union.
As one might imagine,... when the war (which had caused the deaths of over 62,000,000 people) ended those who had survived were quite anxious to get home to their families and friends. However, they first had to help cleanup the mess the war had left behind. Economies, borders and the rule of law had been damaged severely. In the midst of the post-war reconstruction in Europe and the Middle East details of the ownership of various captured assets and countries had to be settled.
Since the post-war division of spoils largely depended upon what ground various Allied forces occupied at the close of the war, each of the allied countries scrambled to occupy various prized assets before the final determination of claims was made. The Soviets, who had captured Iran along with the British, wanted as much of the Middle East Oil fields as they could grab. So did the Americans and the British as they had lost almost all of their oil reserves to the war effort.
This is the point where my father and his men along with the British troops who joined them pulled off one of the most clever bluffs in modern history. Toward the end of the war, American and British troops occupied the Abadan Air Base in SW Iran across from Basra in Iraq. At the end of the war, President Truman was under a lot of pressure to bring the US troops home. Negotiations with the Soviets were unstable at best. Truman knew this and did not want a new war to erupt with our former allies, the Soviets; so he ordered the majority of our troops home by the end of 1945.
Now, I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of the American troops stationed at the Abadan Air Base in Iran in late 1945. They were in a foreign land where the heat rose to as high as 150°F. Many other American troops had already been returned home. They really wanted to go home ASAP.
They were conscious of the Soviet Army presence around them though. So, when a courier arrived by plane from the War Department one fine day in that sandy, windswept hell they all rejoiced thinking he was bringing their orders to go home. In fact, he was but he also had another, difficult request to make of them at the same time.
The courier met with my Dad, Captain Deyo, who was the senior officer of the American contingent of the air base at that time. He asked Dad to do a hard thing. He wanted Dad to convince as many of his men as he could to resign from the US Army Air Force immediately. Furthermore, he wanted them to remain behind (as civilians with no official support from the US Government) at the air base to run it so that it looked to the Soviets like America was maintaining military air presence in the region - possibly with nuclear weapons. The hope was that the Soviets could be bluffed into not making a grab for the oil fields.
Dad was a great salesman and he proved it that month by getting almost all of his men to stay behind and run this covert operation. He and his men then became civilian employees of Howard Hughes who had recently purchased TWA and wanted to establish his company there at the Abadan Air Base. As some of you might recall, TWA and Hughes were both used by American Intelligence for foreign intelligence operations until the CIA could be formed (1947) and given authority to do such things.
Dad and his men had to remove all American insignias of rank or service and to replace them with fake ones which, from a distance, looked like the American Army Air Force was still occupying the region. It was to be a grand bluff. They were to maintain regular flights from the base, fire their brass cannon at the appropriate times morning and evening, patrol the perimeter with guards and dogs, liaise with the local sheiks and otherwise do everything they used to do on the base when they were officially US troops.
Dad and his adjutant were both superb poker players; so this whole operation really appealed to them. They were told if the Soviets captured them that the US Government would disavow any knowledge or support of their actions (you know the normal, "you're on your own, chum!" statement). Weekly, planes would fly out from somewhere with a suitcase full of US currency and instructions for the men. We have the contract that TWA signed with Dad in which they agreed to pay him US$750 per month (about $8,000 per month in modern buying power) to manage the American side of the "Abadan Operation" for them.
This grand bluff went on for months until the payments promised to the men dried up. We do not know why they did but Dad and his men stayed for as long as they could afford to do so at their own expense to maintain the bluff until it was no longer needed. Finally, they all decided it was time to come home. They had accomplished their mission. So, TWA flew the men home and into the pages of history.
Had these brave men not made this sacrifice,.... had they not taken the risk the world would have been a vastly different one to the one you and I share as free men and women in America and elsewhere today.
Their action delayed the Russian invasion of the Middle East until now. Soon, the Russians will be forced by treaties and the need for more oil to march into the Middle East... where they will meet their Waterloo.....
I ask you to join me in saluting.... and remembering a heroic and patriotic band of American airmen whose actions in 1946 were a major part in giving the American free enterprise system a chance to survive the aftermath of WWII:
To Dad and those who served with him in "The Abadan Operation"
About the man, my hero, Harold S. Deyo, Sr....
He was a Messianic Christian of strong principles with a gifted intellect. His talents were varied as were his occupations: AAF WWII pilot-officer, Flight Ops manager for the Abadan Air Base under TWA (a Hughes holding), V.P. in charge of Air Operations for the Parvaz Air Transport Corporation in Iran, owner and president of Timely Publications, petroleum research scientist, geologist, uranium prospector, corporate manager, conservative political organizer and corporate lawyer.
His company, Timely Publications, distributed the book "A Texan Looks at Lyndon, A Study in Illegitimate Power" by the famous Texas Historian, J. Evetts Haley. Harold’s efforts ensured the book was introduced into every Congressional District in the U. S. in June of 1964. His work pushed sales of over 7,000,000 copies nationwide. In 1964 he realized the problems this nation faced were not going to be solved by political activity and could only be achieved by including a spiritual campaign.
Floyd Jack Deyo (Harold’s brother, Jack on left) of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Harold Stanley, Jr. (author, publisher) and his wife, Holly of Pueblo West, Colorado
Dad was buried with full military honors at the DFW National Cemetery on the 24th of July 2006 under a blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds where he used to love to fly.
Stan and Holly, the rest of the Deyo Family and Family Friends