March 1, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica-Based OSS’ Surviving Members Honored At Hotel Shangrila:

From 1939-41, Hotel Shangrila in Santa Monica and its beaches were OSS MU training grounds for Santa Monican recruits, whose secret wartime adventures led to today’s Navy SEAL operations.

William J. Donovan, New York lawyer and WWI MOH hero, appointed by President FD Roosevelt as the first Coordinator of Information (COI), and head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1942, recruited Santa Monica and LA County Beach lifeguards, the best waterman — skin divers, paddle boarders, surfers, and swimmers for the OSS Maritime Unit (MU).

Robert Silver, a former Sgt Major with the USMC and a past President of the LA Adventurers’ Club, recalled one of his memories.

“‘Wild Bill’ (General Donovan) utilized Hotel Shangrila and trained on Santa Monica beaches and formed the nucleus of OSS Maritime Unit Operational Swimmers, whose overseas, behind the lines, missions, played a major role in defeating the Axis Powers, 20 years before the Navy SEALs were set in motion,” Silver said.

Nearly 75 years later, Hotel Shangrila, The Los Angeles Adventurers’ Club, OSS Society, and British United Services Club of Los Angeles brought several surviving members of the original OSS Maritime Unit Operational Swimmers back to Hotel Shangrila for a three-night stay earlier this month, before they set sail for the once secret Toyon Cove, Catalina Island OSS training facility and USMC Camp Pendleton on the original P520 Crash Sea Rescue Boat.

Those honored at the hotel included 99-year-old Walter Mess who was once a civilian secret agent on special assignment Europe and senior flotilla commander for all MU operations in the Burma theater of war, 94-year-old John Spence considered “Americas First Frogman” the first SCUBA commando and OSS instructor, and Norman Abbott once a Burma theater OSS Operational Swimmer.

in News
Related Posts

Video: Closing Down Westside Oil Field?

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Officials are discussing closing a Westside oil field sitting on hundreds of acres of prime coastal land. Learn more in...

Pico Neighborhood Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Over 70 units of affordable housing come to area near Woodlawn Cemetery By Sam Catanzaro A 70-unit-plus affordable housing development...

Large Properties Drive-up Santa Monica Home Sales Amid Pandemic

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

Annual report shows single-family home sales rising By Sam Catanzaro Interest in large properties with five-bedrooms or more helped drive-up...

Santa Monica Police Arrest Parolee for Setting Stolen Car on Fire

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Alex Omar Aguirre arrested by Santa Monica Police Department By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica resident this week watched as...

Video: Closing Streets to Allow for More Outdoor Dining?

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

A drunk driver recently crashed into a Santa Monica outdoor dining area, bringing attention to a proposal that would close...

Dozens of Santa Monica Restaurants to Participate in dineL.A.

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

First ‘spring’ season of culinary event to begin first week in March By Kerry Slater Dozens of Santa Monica restaurants...

Video: Free LA Metro Rides Could Begin Soon

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

LA Metro could begin offering fare-less rides as early as next year as part of a $300+ million program. Learn...

Danny Trejo’s Tacos Coming to Santa Monica

February 24, 2021

February 24, 2021

Popular restaurant owned by legendary actor coming near Promenade By Kerry Slater Legendary actor Danny Trejo is bringing his popular...

Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica: Santa Monica Beat – February, 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Violent Crime Declining in Santa Monica * Santa Monica Animal Shelter...

Santa Monica Convicted Felon Indicted for Multiple Firearms Charges After Shooting into Neighbor’s Yard

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Jason Walsh faces federal prison time for January 9 incident By Sam Catanzaro A Santa Monica man previously convicted for...

Westside Hotel to Homeless Shelter Sparks Debate

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

A proposal to convert a Westside hotel into a homeless shelter has sparked a debate. Learn more in this video...

Housing Backers Start Facing Post-Pandemic Reality

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

By Tom Elias, Columnist The mysterious blindness that apparently affected California’s top legislative housing advocates all through 2020 seems to...

Santa Monica Awarded Over $5 Million for Affordable Housing Production

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

The California Department of Housing and Community Development has announced two awards to the City of Santa Monica for future...

Asian Woman in Brentwood Verbally Assaulted in Racially Motivated Attack

February 18, 2021

February 18, 2021

While walking near the intersection of Bundy and Montana an Asian woman was verbally assaulted by a man walking his...