Seventy-five years ago, this week, the forerunner for Special Forces was born.

During the dark days of World War II in April 1942, the OSS’ first operational detachment, 101 was activated. Detachment 101 was the first unit in U.S. military history created specifically for the purpose of conducting unconventional warfare operations behind enemy lines.

It was formed in April 1942, to perform espionage, sabotage, guerrilla warfare, propaganda, and escape-and-evasion operations in support of U.S. military objectives in China. The OSS was the forerunner of the US Army Special Forces and the CIA.

At war’s end, General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote about Det. 101 in their award of a Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation that says in part, “The courage and fighting spirit displayed by its officers and men in offensive action against overwhelming enemy strength reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces of the United States,” signed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff, January 17, 1946.