From hitchhiking at age 15 in order to join the WWII effort to hunting Bin Laden in his 70s in the mountains of Tora Bora the story of Billy Waugh is straight out of a Hollywood movie; but it is entirely true.

Billy Waugh had two long careers, one in Special Forces and the other in the CIA as a paramilitary operations officer. In total, he served for more than 50 years as a special operator. 


A Hitchhiker’s Attempt to Join the Military 

Waugh was born in Bastrop, Texas on December 1, 1929. He was bitten by the bug to join the military during World War II. In 1945, he met a pair of Marines who had just returned to Texas from fighting in the South Pacific. So, at the age of 15, he decided to enlist. Somehow, he got the idea that you could enlist at the age of 16 in California, so he set off hitchhiking for Los Angeles. 

He got only as far as Las Cruces, New Mexico when he was stopped by a police officer. He was put to jail for having no identification and refusing to give his name. Eventually, he was released and returned to Bastrop.

Waugh decided to throw himself into high school until he was old enough to enlist. He graduated with a grade point average (GPA) of 4.0 from Bastrop High School.


Billy Waugh in Vietnam and Special Forces Service in MACV-SOG

Waugh eventually joined the military in 1948, but he enlisted with the Army, not the Marines.