Our Namesake

William J. ("Wild Bill") Donovan

We borrow our name from General William J. Donovan, who we believe exemplifies the ideal of patriotism through service to ones country, both in uniform and as a civilian.    


Born in 1883 in NY, Donovan had a prosperous career as a Wall Street lawyer.  


In search of a way to serve his country, he joined the Army and served in WWI. He would be wounded three times during the war and is the only American to have received our nation’s four highest awards: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal and National Security Medal. He also received the French croix de guerre and several Purple Hearts.


As a lawyer, he continued to take an active interest in military and world affairs, traveling to the frontlines of the Spanish Civil War and fascist Italy's invasion of Ethiopia - reporting back what he saw to the U.S. Government and urging the U.S. to turn from isolationism in order to assist Britain and our other allies.  


During WWII, President Roosevelt asked him to return to public service by secretly traveling to Britain to assess their ability to withstand the German Blitzkrieg, as well as demoralizing propaganda and internal subversion by Nazi sympathizers. Winston Churchill provided him extraordinary access to British military secrets, including the work of the country's intelligence service and commandos.  Due in part to what he saw, he persuaded his friends, including President Roosevelt, that the U.S. had to come to the aid of the British. He also advocated for the creation of a U.S. version of MI6 and special operations. That led to the creation of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services - the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency), which he headed through the war.


Following the war, he served as an Assistant to the Chief American Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. He also served as United States Ambassador to Thailand in 1953.


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