In episode 284 of the Big Picture, “The Lodge Act Soldier” screened in 1954 to inform the American public that they are now locked in a political, economic, and psychological struggle with the communist menace, a war the likes of which the US military had never been confronted with before. To that end, and to secure victory in this “Cold War”, the narrator tells the viewer that, “Senator Henry Cabot Lodge sponsored the Alien Enlistee Program of 1950, now generally called the ‘Lodge Act.’ Under the provisions of this legislation, political refugees from any country behind the Iron Curtain were given the opportunity of enlisting in the United States Army for a period of five years.”
The film continues on to introduce Sergeant Ritter, of the Ukraine, and Corporal Kalkevich of Poland. Colonel Aaron Banks also wrote about the “Lodge Bill” in his book “From OSS to Green Berets: The Birth of Special Forces.” The idea behind the Lodge Act was to create a sort of American foreign legion, the ultimate Unconventional Warfare unit made up of men who defected from the USSR and its satellite states. With their in-depth knowledge of enemy nations and foreign language capabilities, they could be trained in Infantry and Ranger tactics before having their skills polished with instruction in sabotage and other forms of Unconventional Warfare. This was the sort of thing that Colonel Banks had some first hand knowledge in, of course, from his experience in the Second World War with the Jedburgh teams.
Colonel Volckmann, Colonel Banks, and General McClure were busy establishing the Special Operations Division and creating a permanent Unconventional Warfare capability within the US Army while we were still in a shooting war in Korea. However, they had their sights set on developing UW for another purpose: fighting against the USSR in Europe. This was still the infancy of Special Forces though—at the time the only UW training was a “course in guerrilla warfare [that] was set up after a series of conferences in 1949 between the Army and the CIA had led to the selection of Fort Benning as the site for a training course desired by the CIA” (Paddock 120).