I Was Trained to Be a Spy

I Was Trained to Be a Spy

by Helias Doundoulakis


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An American-born boy grew up in a small village on the Greek island of Crete. In his last years in high school, he witnessed the German invasion of Crete, in May of 1941, during the early years of WW II. At the age of eighteen, he joined a resistance group headed by his brother, and supplied crucial information to the SOE, the arm of the English Intelligence Service. This resistance group is uncovered, resulting in their hasty evacuation by the SOE, to Cairo, Egypt.

In Cairo, the author and his brother were asked to join the English Intelligence Service, but rather, pursued the American OSS, or Office of Strategic Services, the newly formed American intelligence counterpart. They were enlisted into the US Army, and attached to the OSS, where the author was trained in the SI, or Secret Intelligence sector, which included parachute jumping, wireless/Morse code training, commando/defense training, locks/safe-cracking techniques, escape methods, and environment assimilation techniques.

After being transformed into a skilled “spy”, the author was sent back to Greece undercover, and along with a Greek naval intelligence officer, set up a communications cell in Salonica, Greece’s second largest city, whereby daily coded messages to OSS Headquarters in Cairo were sent. One such message describes the course of events surrounding the bombing of the main railroad yard in Salonica, and the loss of thousands of German troops, as well as recalling the near-capture encounters with the German Gestapo and the Greek police. The author also recounts his personal experiences of his escape from Crete through the mountains, the evacuations by an English torpedo boat, his OSS training, the return mission to Greece, and his final return to the United States.

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"...Doundoulakis is able to evoke the suspense and thrilling detail of his many narrow escapes and also convey his youthful sense of excitement and adventure. His intimate rendering of the adversity Greek civilians faced during the war is particularly moving...."

"...no matter how exceptional his post-war experience, it shrinks in comparison to tales of avoiding the Gestapo behind enemy lines and practicing the arts of intelligence..."

"...Exciting, first-hand account of a World War II spy."

- Kirkus Discoveries, A review service from Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781425753795
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
Publication date: 12/27/2007
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

Helias Doundoulakis was born in Canton, Ohio of Greek-immigrant parents, in 1923. At the age of two, he and his family emigrated to Crete, Greece and there they lived uneventfully until German paratroopers invaded the island in May of 1941. After a two-year involvement with the Cretan resistance and the British SOE, he was evacuated by the SOE to Cairo, Egypt. He enlisted in the United States Army and was recruited into the fledgling American spy service, the OSS. There, as a novice, he was schooled in the SI of the OSS, or Secret Intelligence sector, and became adroit in the use of the wireless and other techniques so that he was sent back to Salonica, Greece, the main disembarkation point for German troop movements. There, along with a team comprised of a Greek naval intelligence officer, daily messages were sent to OSS Headquarters in Cairo. With this information, detailed German troop locations were monitored, including maritime activities in the port of Salonica. The author recounts in this book one particular message which resulted in the bombing of a train loaded with German troops, resulting in the destruction of that train and many lives. At the war's conclusion, he was decorated by the United States Army and the Greek government.

Upon completion of his duties in the US Army, the author went on to settle in Brooklyn, New York, receiving a Bachelor's and Master's in civil engineering. While in his thirty five years as a professional engineer, he worked on many notable projects which include the Met-Life Building in New York City, the Apollo Space Missions, the F-14 Tomcat fighter-jet, and the Space Shuttle. His crowning achievement is his patent for a radiotelescope, used in the design for the largest of its kind at the NAIC Arecibo Observatory, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

He lives with his wife of fifty-five years, Rita, in Freeport, Long Island. They have four children, and seven grandchildren.

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I Was Trained to Be a Spy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good overall account of one man's spy mission as an OSS spy. Could have been longer, but easy reading, and personal.