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January 23, 2013

Remembering Jake McNiece & The Dirty Dozen

Jake McNiece, considered the heart and soul of the rough and tough ‘Filthy Thirteen,’ passed away January 21, 2013. He was 93.

The Filthy Thirteen were a Pathfinder unit of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. McNiece and the group were the inspiration for the 1967 film ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ and famous for wearing Mohawks and war paint before their combat jumps.

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  • dickftr

    @Txazz  @dickftr  Thanks Txazz, so many book's to buy and read. I wish Sofrep had a book section at the PX. I would pay an extra buck or two if it would support Sofrep.

  • Txazz

    @dickftr McNiece even collaborated with Richard Killblane on a book, “The Filthy Thirteen; The True Story of the Dirty Dozen.” Interviews with Jake late in life are posted on YouTube. The Filthy Thirteen has a Facebook page. It is now filled with tributes to Jake.  From book: In its spearhead role, the 13 suffered heavy casualties, some men wounded and others blown to bits. By the end of the war 30 men had passed through the squad. Throughout the war, however, the heart and soul of the Filthy 13 remained a survivor named Jake McNiece, a half-breed Indian from Oklahoma. Jack Womer also wrote a book as a member of the Filthy Thirteen and former Ranger. Fighting with the Filthy Thirteen: The World War II Story of Jack Womer-Ranger and Paratrooper.  Throughout his fights, Jack Womer credited his Ranger/Commando training for helping him to survive, even though most of the rest of the Filthy Thirteen did not. Dick, would love to read these books (both on Amazon).  Looks like they lost a lot of men and maybe they ended up with 13.  Yes, too bad you didn't know he was right down the road from you.

  • Txazz

    @dickftrFilthy 13 “But we went AWOL every weekend that we wanted to and we stayed as long as we wanted till we returned back, because we knew they needed us badly for combat. And it would just be a few days in the brig. We stole Jeeps. We stole trains. We blew up barracks. We blew down trees. We stole the colonel’s whiskey and things like that.” That’s why they were chosen for the job of parachuting behind German lines just before D-Day. It was regarded as a suicide mission. These guys were the original expendables, and Jake, a demolitions expert, set the tone for them. He was part-American Indian and had his men shave their hair into Mohawks and put on war paint before that pre-D-Day mission. A famous picture of it was printed in “Stars & Stripes.”

  • dickftr

    The local radio reported that Jake lost 11 or 12 of his men during that mission. Is that true?

  • dickftr

    I wish I had known Jake lived only 30 miles to my west.