The Adventures of American Diplomat Walter William Orebaugh in Italy 1942-1944, Part II

Today’s post is written by Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives at College Park

Part I of this blog was previously posted here

It was late March when Orebaugh heard he was being actively sought by the Fascists and Germans. They had learned from Captain Bice Pucci, one of the Italian officers with whom he had had dinner at San Faustino in January that Orebaugh was the driving force behind the patriots and that he had been successful in raising money to finance them. He, presumably in order to protect his family’s property interests in Umbertide had, when subjected to pressure, turned informer. His betrayal and that of another informer, gave the enemy ample evidence to justify the death sentence for all of them in the event of their capture.

On March 30 Orebaugh was informed by Captain Ramsey that a message had been received by Captain Fitzgerald from Fred Foster at Cagli recommending that he and the other officers in the Umbertide zone should proceed to the Tenna Valley where repatriation facilities would be available.  Inasmuch as Orebaugh was not a military man, and as Ramsey was disposed to remain behind, Orebaugh agreed to this suggestion, and on April 2, at 430pm, accompanied by Giovanni Marioli, who had accompanied him as an armed escort on scores of night rendezvous and long walks while engaged on the business of the organization, set out on foot on a journey to the Tenna Valley.  Giovanni’s pocket bulged with hand grenades. Orebaugh carried an Italian army pistol tucked under his belt.

Disregarding the danger of traveling by main highways they accomplished the second lap of their journey on bicycles, traveling, in the space of one evening and night, from Pietralunga, a mountain town in the northern part of the Province of Perugia, to a point south and west of Gubbio.  Thence they walked to Branca, a place nine miles south and east of Gubbio on the Apennine Railway.  Thoroughly exhausted upon their arrival there, they slept through all the daylight hours of the following day not resuming their journey until 430am on April 4. This next leg of the journey was made by horse-drawn cart and brought them to a point below Fabriano.

So far the journey had passed without incident.  Orebaugh was, nevertheless, glad to have in his posession a false identity card which Metzger had obtained for him in January.  With it, Orebaugh was reasonably safe unless some over-curious Fascist should cross-examine him. According to his identity card he was Michele Franciosi, born on January 10, 1905 at Rome and residing at Piazza Villa Fiorelli, Number 8. His Italian was, fortunately, sufficiently fluent to see him through any normal checking. On this journey, as always while traveling in German-occupied Italy, they slept and ate at the house of peasants. “These good people,” Orebaugh later recalled, “would invariable receive us hospitably after their initial suspicions were overcome and would go to great lengths to provide us with food and sleeping accommodations.”

The rest of their journey was made on foot. On the third night they reached Pioraco. On the way there they made contact with a patriot band known as the Garibaldi Division. They were one unit of the Cingoli organization, one of the largest patriot movements in Central Italy. Orebaugh met their leaders, who expressed themselves as well satisfied with the aid they were receiving from the Allies. A few days previously a quantity of guns and ammunition had been furnished to them.

Leaving Pioraco the fourth night, they made a detour around Camerino where about 150 German troops were stationed. They had walked a couple of hours and were only about three miles below the town, when they nearly bumped into a Fascist patrol. Being uncertain of the direction they should take, Giovanni left Orebaugh at a crossroads and had gone to a nearby house to make inquiries. Just as he was about to knock, the door opened and out came four Fascists – all armed. Seeing Giovanni they ordered him to halt, but (having little taste for jail life) he was already clattering down the road toward the point where he had left Orebaugh. Two or three of the rifles were discharged as the pursuit began, and altogether some twenty shots were fired before they got out of range.

On the following night [April 6-7] they were obliged either to go straight ahead over a perilous stretch of highway or to make a very circuitous swing to the south and west. They chose the former and for 45 breath-taking minutes half ran and half walked down a highway constantly used as a supply line by the Germans.  Three times they threw themselves off the road just in time to avoid meeting convoys of German trucks. At the end of this period of time, they had covered eight miles and were able to turn off on a secondary road running in a southeasterly direction. Their exertions in traveling these eight miles at such great speed left them pitifully spent, but after resting an hour in a haystack they felt strong enough to continue their journey. Glancing at the aviation map he carried, Orebaugh noticed that the town of Caldarola seemed to lie somewhat to the right of the highway. Thinking that no object would be served by their making a time-consuming detour they pressed on down the highway.  Suddenly and before they realized what was happening they found themselves in the main piazza of Caldarola, which was illuminated in brilliant moonlight. Orebaugh’s map had been wrong, but it was too late to turn back now.  A long line of trees ran the length of the street, and among these trees Orebaugh’s companion and Orebaugh saw a group of five persons.  This was at 2am, hours after the curfew and when nobody was allowed to be out-of-doors unless in possession of a special pass. As they approached the group, they saw by the characteristic white “San Brown” belts” that two of them were Carabinieri and that the three others were Fascist militiamen.  It was a bad moment. Shifting his cane from his right hand to his left, Orebaugh grasped his revolver. Giovanni shifted his pack slightly and with his right hand holding a grenade they cautiously proceeded.  The group of five watched them closely, as they walked within fifteen feet of them, but did not move so much as a muscle. Apparently, Orebaugh believed, they were as frightened as he and his companion were.  Watching them all the while, Orebaugh and his companion walked down a side street and soon reached the town limits.  

 On the fifth night they reached Penna St. Giovanni, where they had been told they were to inquire for a communist agent named Germano. There they spent two days fruitlessly searching for this individual. They then went on April 10 to Grottozallina, some 12 miles distant, which had been given to them as an alternative reference point, where they again inquired about Germano.  This time they were successful. Germano, having been advised by the peasant at whose house they were staying of their arrival, came to see Orebaugh on April 10. Taking him into a room away from the others Orebaugh repeated the passport phrase “I voglio Quinto,” which means “I want Quinto.”  Germano replied that Quinto, an “A” Force agent, was not at Grottozollina, but that he would be back in a couple of days.

Accompanied by Germano, Quinto came to see Orebaugh on April 12. After looking over his identification papers Quinto promised to do his best to get Orebaugh away by the first boat which was expected during the approaching dark moon period.  Orebaugh had heard reports previously that boats were used for voyages behind their lines, but this was his first chance to obtain confirmation of it. Orebaugh learned that MAS boats (a fast Italian torpedo boat) were sent north from Allied Adriatic bases to take out evaders and ex-prisoners of war, but that unfavorable weather conditions and bad navigation on the part of the Italian crews of these boats had prevented the embarkation of any group since December 1943.  Both assured Orebaugh, however, that with the advent of spring the chances of getting away were much brighter and that with luck he would be on the allied side of the lines within ten days to two weeks.

Now that his connection with A-Force was definitely established, Orebaugh no longer had need of Giovanni. Reluctantly he left on April 14 to return to his home near the San Faustino district.

After nightfall on the following day Orebaugh met with Germano and an Italian A-Force agent, and after an hour’s walk entered a house where British Brigadier E. W. D. Vaughn was lodged. Also in the house were escaped prisoners of war, including: Brigadier J. F. B. Combe, Brigadier E. J. Toddhunter; Capt. J. G. Kerins, Royal Engineers, Capt. G. E. Ruggles-Brise; Lt. the Earl of Ranfurly; Lt. Jack Reiter, American Air Corps. With them and an armed escort Orebaugh walked down the Tenna River in the direction of the Adriatic coast. At 315am on April 16 they arrived at the place where they were to stay for the night. During the following three days they waited impatiently for the sea to become calm. Lieutenant Ruggiero Cagnazzo, the A-Force agent, who had a couple of weeks before been to see Fred Foster at Cagli, was in charge of arrangements. He had in the period preceding and following Orebaugh’s arrival sent several messages to A-Force headquarters at Bari through a patriot radio transmitter operating at Cingoli, a mountain village located some 40 miles to the north and had been given several beach rendezvous, the last of these from April 18 to 20. On each of these three nights they made the dangerous trip down to the beach which entailed crossing the coastal highway and railway line and then the flashing of the pre-arranged signal for a period of several hours.

On April 18 and 19 they heard a MAS boat pass by, well out to sea, but if their signals were seen, no heed was paid to them. On the night of April 20 they were elated when they heard a MAS boat pass, then turn and begin to come in close. It was, in fact, quite near to the beach when suddenly shots were fired in their general direction from the Tenna railroad bridge which was roughly 300 yards distant. Vaughn, not desiring to assume the responsibility for what might happen should they remain, gave the order to turn back. 

Twice more during the following eight days they went down to the beach with no better luck. It became obvious that the crews of the Italian MAS boast were either extremely bad navigators or were deliberately misjudging their positions for fear of meeting with trouble inshore. All of them were discouraged at these repeated failures each of which had meant a risky trip to the beach where they could have easily been cut off from retreat and surrounded.

Towards the end of April the dark moon period was now nearing its end and there was no chance of getting away by means of a MAS boat for another three weeks.  In consultation with Cagnazzo they decided to purchase or steal a sailing boat. Fishing had been abandoned because of Allied air attacks and for six months or more all the boats were in dry dock or laid up.  Cagnazzo began looking for a sailing boat of suitable dimensions in which they might make their escape. At last they found such a boat and after some discussion agreed to pay the 70,000 lire which its owner asked for it. Now it was a matter of waiting for a clam sea and a southeasterly wind.

While getting the boat ready and for favorable weather conditions to sail, Orebaugh and his colleagues moved down to the house of the Count and Countess of Salvadore, by the Tenna bridge. The Countess had already spent two years in a concentration camp for her pro-Allied sympathies.

During this time, another party of officers arrived in the area, ready to make their escape.  Cagnazzo acquired another boat, and, after April 30, divided the parties into two groups.  Cagnazzo assumed responsibility for the party consisting of Brigadiers Vaughan, Combe, Toddhunter, Orebaugh, Lt. the Lord Ranfurly, Capt. Ruggles Brise, Lt. Reiter, Lt. Curteis, five Italians, and “A” Force officer, Capt. Losco, who had escaped a few days before from the Macerata jail. “A” Force agent “Leo” assumed the responsibility of the second party consisting of: Brigadiers Stirling and Armstrong, Major O. Richards (South African), Capt. John Crafaik (American), Lt. H. K. H. Bligh (British), F/O J. M. Kirkman (Australian), Lt. J. Q. Hughes (British), two New Zealand privates and two Italian sailors.

At 940am on May 3 the Earl of Ranfurly, Orebaugh’s billets companion, and Orebaugh were awakened by the sound of low-flying aircraft and the firing of the anti-aircraft battery at Porto San Giorgio. They hurried into their clothes and rushed out. As they had expected, the Spitfires were again dive-bombing the Tenna bridge and as usual the anti-aircraft battery at Porto San Giorgio had opened up.  They had no more than accustomed their eyes to the light when they saw two dark objects come hurtling through the sky towards them. As smoke was streaming from them, they presumed they were unexploded shells from the battery and therefore lost no time in throwing themselves behind a nearby hedge. They heard them strike some plowed ground about 150 feet away. As they did not explode they dismissed them from their minds and went into the peasant’s house for their breakfast. Hardly had they finished when one of the little girls of the household rushed in saying that the Germans were outside. Three Germans were on the point of walking up the steps.

The Earl of Ranfurly and Orebaugh hastened into the back room while one of the family went out and around the house to set up a ladder to enable them to get away by climbing down from a terrace in the rear. Once down the ladder they slanted down a hill sloping to a stream and hid themselves in the bushes. They stayed there for about an hour and then being informed that the Germans, who had come to investigate what had been seen to fall, had soon gone away upon learning that the objects were only two reserve gasoline tanks jettisoned by a Spitfire when ack-ack (anti-aircraft artillery) bullets had set them afire, they emerged and climbed up the hill to another house where a British captain and American pilot were staying. Soon after the peasant came running up to exclaim that Fascists were coming up the hill. Looking around the corner of the house they saw six Fascists jump the stream and begin to walk up the path in their direction. With the peasant now shaking with terror, the four of them left in the opposite direction.

The Fascists did not see them until they were some distance away and then a rise of ground cut them off entirely from sight of each other. Orebaugh and his colleague took advantage of this to hide in the middle of a wheat field. The grain was about 18 inches high and afforded them pretty good cover. After about half an hour two of the Fascists headed in their direction, and Orebaugh’s companions feeling that it was too risky to remain where they were, Orebaugh advised moving on. Every few minutes the Fascists would fire their rifles apparently in order to scare them into showing themselves. Orebaugh urged them to remain where they were arguing that this was the safer course. However, the others elected to leave, and Orebaugh, after their departure not wanting to remain where the grain was so badly trampled crept on all fours to the edge of the field. The two Fascists passed within 20 feet of him. He heard one of them say that they were most probably hiding in the center of the field. Orebaugh remained perfectly motionless for an hour and then concluding the danger had passed rose and joined a group of peasants who were working in a field close at hand. They greeted him warmly and insisted upon taking him to their house where they served him with wine and a hot lunch. Orebaugh’s companions also got away. The Fascists saw them at a distance of a couple of miles but were too tired by that time to give chase.

For eight days Orebaugh and his colleagues waited impatiently and at last on May 9 conditions were ideal for the escape attempt. Cagnazzo, around 9pm, gathered his group at a meeting point a little over half mile from the beach north of Torre Di Palme.  At about 945pm they made their last trip down to the beach near Terre del Palme and forty-five minutes later the mast was up and the heavy boat had been dragged into the water. At last all of the party was aboard and they began their trip at 1030pm. It took what seemed like ages rowing with all of their might before an appreciable distance separated them from the shore. Then hoisting the sail, which filled almost instantly, and with a spanking breeze to blow them along, they sat course for the open sea.  The boat carrying the second party left shortly afterwards.

Cagnazzo’s boat, which was about 20 feet long, had laid for many months on the beach. Once in the water they found it leaked badly. The seams had spread and though two Italians had been working by night to make it sea-worthy, it was only by bailing constantly that they could keep pace with the volume of incoming water. Their skipper, an Italian A-Force agent, was ever busy with rope segments and pitch in calking up the worst leaks, but as fast as he patched other leaks would appear. Soon all of them with the exception of the three brigadiers, who were too seasick to work, were covered from head to foot with pitch.

At 2am a stick of lumber which had been used as a wedge to brace the mast suddenly snapped allowing it and the sail to topple into the water. But to make matters worse a leak, the largest yet to develop, appeared in the bottom of the boat, which was rapidly filling with water. Yet somehow or other they managed to drag the mast back into the boat and lift the sail out of the water. All while they were bailing frantically. With the sail down they finally got the mast back into position. The big leak in the bottom, their biggest worry, was yet unattended to. Their skipper, still undaunted, went to work. He thrust a thick segment of rope into the hole and got it to stick after a heavy application of pitch. The leak was not wholly stopped but his object had been achieved since now only a trickle of water entered. By 3am the sail was up again, and they were again sailing along at a good clip following along the peninsula whose outline was dimly visible at a distance of about 15 miles. They continued on this course hour after hour bailing constantly. Day broke and with it they got a view of distant mountains which they rightly assumed were the Abruzzi. Later in the morning the Maiella range (a massif in the Central Apennine Mountain) came into view. They had been hearing the sound of big guns ever since their departure but now they were clearly audible.  During the course of the morning the wind gradually abated and by noon there was almost a dead calm. Reluctantly, they took to the oars, and it was not until 3pm that a slight wind came up to help them along.

Twice Allied aircraft flew low over them and they fearing to be machine-gunned waved everything detachable they possessed to make them understand they were friends.  Gradually, they crept nearer the shore near the Sangro Valley, and shortly before 5pm got to within signaling distance of a group of the fishing boats. They were sure that they could only be friends since the Germans had suppressed all sea-fishing for at least a hundred miles to the north of the battle lines. At their signals one of the fishing boats drew in its nets and within a few moments had started its motors and was making toward them. When at last it came within hailing distance they were delighted to hear that it was from the Port of Ortogna.  The fishing boat took on board twelve of the party and took their boat in tow and headed for Ortogna.

After being towed for two hours they arrived at Ortogna. It was 715pm. Shouldering their packs they trudged from the wharf to where the British Command made its headquarters, They found them located in the only building which had been left intact in that part of the city. The British received them most cordially and did everything humanly possible to take care of their immediate requirements for such things as clothing, drug sundries, etc. They left there that evening after being royally entertained by the commanding officer.

The German front lines were only 2,000 yards north of Ortogna itself. It was the evening of May 10 and already the big guns were laying down the barrage which proceeded the attack of May 11, the attack which led to the capture of Rome. Sometime after midnight they arrived at Torino del Sangro, an advance army base on the banks of the Sangro River. There they slept on army cots and enjoyed a well-deserved rest. The next morning they took showers with real hot water.  Before leaving Torino del Sangro, Orebaugh conferred with intelligence officers and was interrogated by a British Intelligence officer.

On May 11, Orebaugh went to the 12th Air Force Headquarters at Foggia. From Foggia he sent a telegram through the Army to the Department of State apprising it of his escape and his intention to proceed to Algiers.  At that time he had no idea that an American Embassy and Consulate existed in Naples. From Foggia he was given air transportation to Naples, and upon arriving there was requested to proceed to Caserta.

In the meantime, on May 13, the American authorities in Algiers notified the State Department it had just received the following message from HQ 12th Air Force signed by Maj. Gen. John K Cannon: “Orebaugh arrived HQ 12th Air Force from behind enemy lines. Request the following message be passed to Secretary of State: ‘Proceeding to American Consulate in Algiers respectfully request authority to return to United States via air Lisbon where my accounts and certain official and private papers were forwarded by Swiss authorities.’”  The State Department responded on May 16, that Orebaugh be instructed to proceed Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Orebaugh on May 14, pursuant to the orders he received in Naples, went to the Allied High Command at Caserta.  At Caserta he conferred with American and British intelligence officers.  Also at Caserta, Orebaugh had dinner with General Harold Alexander, commander of the 15th Army Group, and later had several conversations with Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officials and was brought in contact with the agency which was dealing with the sending of assistance to resistance groups in Central Italy.  Orebaugh was told there that the army had been somewhat disappointed to learn of his escape since it had counted on using him in the district where he had made his headquarters. Orebaugh was informed that on April 2, the BBC had broadcast the key message “Maria ha pigliata mio angeloo,” which meant that he was authorized to draw consular drafts up to $2,000 a month against army funds for financing patriot activity.  Orebaugh met two operators who were shortly to be landed behind the German lines. One of them was intended for the bands of Cantiano and San Faustino while the other was to be sent to a district slightly to the north and east. Orebaugh talked to both of them about the situation they would find behind the lines, gave them points of reference and discussed sites where parachute landings of men and supplies could be effected with a minimum of risk.

Orebaugh used all his influence and persuasion at Caserta, Naples, and later at Algiers to stimulate interest in the patriot movement in Central Italy. Orebaugh pointed out that the patriot potential had hardly been scratched, that the elements which then constituted the patriot forces were men, both officers and other ranks, who had been condemned to die and who were determined to see the thing through whatever the cost. He drew a picture of patriot life in the mountains, of the great sacrifices endured, of snow and wind and cold, and of the great need for sending supplies without delay. Orebaugh believed that his remarks were not wholly lost on those with whom he talked and that something was being done, or would be done, to bolster the patriot movement in Central Italy.

The Consul General at Naples sent a telegram to the State Department on May 14 that Orebaugh had arrived at Caserta that day and was expected at Naples on May 15.  He asked that Orebaugh’s family be notified of his arrival back in Allied hands and asked if the Department had any instructions.  Orebaugh indeed arrived at Naples on May 15, where he reported to Ambassador Alexander Kirk.  On May 16 the Consul General reported to the State Department that Orebaugh had begun holding conferences with Allied Military Intelligence authorities in liberated Italy since his escape and would eventually prepare a lengthy report for the Department when he returned to the United States as orders to that effect were expected.  The principal conclusions which he had drawn from his experiences and observations in occupied Italy were, according to the Consul General, to the effect that Italian patriot bands operating against the Germans and Fascists in various localities possess great potentialities for sabotage and other operations and that unless these bands were furnished immediately with ammunition and arms they may be compelled to disband and their usefulness ended. Three British brigadiers who escaped with Orebaugh concurred in the foregoing views.

After passing five days at the Embassy in Naples, during which time he conferred with intelligence officers, Orebaugh left Naples on May 19 and flew to Algiers.  There he reported to Ambassador Robert Murphy.  He conferred with Murphy and with several OSS officials.  While in Algiers, Orebaugh discussed the Italian situation with Lt. Gen. James Gammel (British), Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean, General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson.  Orebaugh, who was deeply interested in seeing to it that the peasants should receive some recognition from the Allies for their help, discussed this with Gammel, who offered the suggestion that medals be awarded to all Italians who could establish that they had aided Allied prisoners of war. Orebaugh departed from Algiers May 21, and, arrived at Casablanca the same day. He departed from Casablanca on May 22  flying to New York via the Azores and Newfoundland. He arrived in New York City on the morning of May 23, and took a train to Washington, D.C. that afternoon.  The following morning, May 24, he reported to the State Department for duty.

For the next month Orebaugh held numerous consultations with State Department and OSS officials regarding his experiences in Italy.  On June 23, Orebaugh submitted to the Secretary of State a lengthy and detailed report on his time in Monaco and Italy.  In the concluding section of the report he observed:

To those who thought they understood the character of the Italian peasant (I refer more particularly to the peasants of Central and Northern Italy) the attitude adopted by them after the armistice of September 1943 came as a distinct surprise. They had expected the usual apathy. Instead they witnessed a resolution of purpose never before equaled in rural Italy.

The peasants of Italy have always been known for their stolidity and for the passive interest which they have manifested towards everything which did not have a direct bearing on their age-old problem of raising enough food to make a living…It was therefore, particularly difficult to comprehend how all of a sudden as if by some magic design a resolute policy of non-cooperation with the new Fascist regime could have been taken root simultaneously throughout the length and breadth of the country. So far as I know there is no precedent for this phenomenon in the long course of Italian history.

He wrote that in all the districts of Central Italy which he visited the peasants were enthusiastic supporters of the patriots, and in the more mountainous region where patriot encampments, especially during the winter months, were more or less fixed, they were happy for their protection and for the fact that no Fascists or Germans ventured into their districts to purloin their produce or to annoy them in other ways.  Oftentimes, the peasants would use their donkeys or mules to transport the patriots’ supplies and booty. By and large their contribution to the patriot cause had been substantial. He added:

Nowhere, however, has their support been so wholly remarkable as in the help they have given to Allied prisoners of war. When, with the signing of the armistice, tens of thousands of Allied prisoners of war were released from imprisonment and suddenly thrown upon the countryside to shift for themselves, the peasants living in areas near concentration camps unhesitatingly and unstintingly fed and lodged them. No mention was ever made of payment, and though many escapees insisted upon leaving chits certifying to the hospitality received, more often than not thanks was all they got and all they expected.

Ever since the armistice thousands upon thousands of escapees have been living, and continue to live, as free agents behind the German lines solely because of the largess of the Italian peasants. It is true that many of them live miserably, especially those in districts where there are many Fascists and Germans and those in non-mountainous regions where the lack of cover and the proximity of main roads makes it too risky for the peasants to keep them for more than a short time. However, despite the heavy penalties, including the death sentence, which may be inflected against those caught assisting escaped prisoners of war, it is exceedingly rare that they refuse to give any help at all.

After submitting his report, Orebaugh went on an extended leave.  By fall he was back in Italy as the Consul General at Florence.  In 1947 he would be awarded the Medal of Freedom, a decoration established by President Harry S. Truman on July 6, 1945, to honor civilians whose actions aided in the war efforts of the United States and its allies. David McK. Key, the Charge d’Affaires ad interim, American Embassy, Rome, presented the medal to Orebaugh at a ceremony held in the Embassy on January 17, 1947.  Present at the ceremony were General Raffaele Cadorna, Chief of Staff of the Italian Army and former commander of the Partisan Forces in Northern Italy, Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, Commander of the United States troops in the Mediterranean area; Orebaugh’s wife and mother; and, officers and staff of the Embassy.  The next day, The Rome Daily American, reported that Orebaugh, “who exchanged the niceties of diplomatic protocol for the rigors of guerrilla warfare, yesterday received the Medal of Freedom for his service in gathering military and political information behind the German lines in Italy.” It added that “At frequent risk to his life,” stated the citation signed by Dean Acheson, Acting Secretary of State, “he crossed territory constantly patrolled by German forces and made his way by foot and small boat to Ortona, within the Allied lines. There he gave the first detailed report on the guerrilla movement, as well as other valuable military and political intelligence.”

Presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Walter Orebaugh, Jan 20, 1947

Photo attached to Despatch, No. 4612, David McK. Key, Charge d’Affaires ad interim, American Embassy, Rome to Secretary of State, Subject: Presentation of Medal of Freedom to Mr. Walter W. Orebaugh, American Consul in Florence, January 20, 1947, File: 123 Orebaugh, Walter, Central File, 1945-1949, General Records of the Department of State, RG 59.

This paper based primarily on: Memo, Walter W. Orebaugh, American Foreign Service Officer to Secretary of State, Subject: Report on Activities and Experiences of Walter W. Orebaugh, Foreign Service Officer, June 23, 1944, File: 123 Orebaugh, Walter, W/311, Central File, 1940-1944, General Records of the Department of State, RG 59 and E & E Report, American Consul Walter W. Orebaugh, State Department, Interrogator, S. C. Borzilleri, 1st Lt. Air Corps, Headquarters, A-2 Section, Twelfth Air Force, May 13, 1944, Escape from Italy of Brigadiers Armstrong, Stirling, Vaughan, Todhunter, Combe; and Lieutenant The Lord Ranfurly, WO 208/3484, National Archives of the United Kingdom. Thanks to David Langbart to introducing me to the Department of State’s Decimal 123 files.