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Cryptonym: HORNET

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HORNET teams were used during Operation PBSUCCESS in Guatemala. They were usually small teams of five to ten men engaged in harassment tactics.


06/08/54: Memo for the record: Subject: PBSUCCESS Future: Pages 3-4: ..."F. HORNETS: These are teams, probably of 5 men each, made up of individuals who have exfiltrated into WSHOOFS (Honduras) on their own and without orders. There are roughly 150 of such individuals. The teams will consist in so far as possible of individuals from the same locale, will be trained quickly on simple elements of harassment, and then sent back after the preparatory steps set forth in the foregoing paragraphs have been completed. Although consideration should be given in positioning these teams to their home areas, emphasis will have to be placed on the rear or western areas of the country. Their mission will be to hound the Communists, do some simple sabotage but to lay off soldiers unless actually attacked..."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954: Guatemala: Current Section: 176. 6/9/54-Memorandum From Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to the Chief of Station in Guatemala

06/09/54: Memorandum from Operation PBSUCCESS Headquarters in Florida to COS, Guatemala: Subject: Operational KUHOOK Plans: ..."2. Every effort is being made to bring all PBSUCCESS paramilitary assets to a point of readiness by 12 June 1954. There are two main contingencies for which we are preparing. One is that all assets will be in position and ready to go at our signal. Two is that through some action, spontaneous and uncontemplated, within WSBURNT (Guatemala) the time is right for a revolutionary attempt and PBSUCCESS has no alternative but to capitalize on this spark and use it to our advantage. 3. In preparation for contingency our organizers, sab leaders and radio operators are being dispatched, pre-D-day DZ’s have been selected, shock troops are being positioned, arms are moving forward and five man HORNET teams (duties are harassment and general hell-raising) are being launched...5. Rest assured that action will ensue and probably in the very near future. Especially since during the time of this writing the word has gone out to launch the HORNET teams. There is the possibility that the actions of these teams may be enough to bring already strained atmosphere to a breaking point...Jerome C. Dunbar."


06/15/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline RYBAT PBSUCCESS: FOR CADICK (William Robertson): RE: "1. Daily op/sit rep desired. Send at 1200. 2. Cable analysis indicates shock troop strength 45 BOND (Puerto Barrios) 60 HANK (Zacapa, Guatemalan base). Advise if and when full strength obtained. 3. No word received re dispatch of HORNETS or status. Request special cable this subject and code words for each team plus specific areas of operation. 4. Sit rep should reflect arms movement status and signal net operations in progress plus Cessna air ops. 5. Sterilize for FCP to group, send priority. Utilize this means summarization to combine info MSGS thus reducing traffic to actions MSGS."


06/16/54: Cable from LINCOLN to Director: Slugline PBSUCCESS RYBAT: DAILY OP SITREP NO. 3..."HORNETs will accompany shock teams..."


Circa 11/16/54: Report on Project PBSUCCESS: Page 199: ..."About 14 June 1954 the field reported that over 150 men had exfiltrated from Guatemala and wanted arms so that they could return and fight. It was planned to form these men into small groups of five to ten men each, and to give them arms and instructions on how to engage in harassment tactics. They were to be known as HORNETS and were considered of possible value if they did nothing but create disturbances throughout the country until D-Day arrived. However, on 16 June when the Shock Teams were formed to move out to the staging sites, it was learned that Castillo Armas did not have available all the men he had claimed. It therefore became necessary to incorporate these new arrivals into the Shock Teams. By 18 June 1954, all the Shock Teams were in readiness at the staging sites as follows: Puerto Barrios - 116 men, C.O. Colonel Torres. Mission: To move from Macuelizo to Tenedores to Entre Rios to seal off Puerto Barrios. Jutiapa - 46 men, C.O. Fernandez. Mission: To Asuncion Mita to Jutiapa. Zacapa - 70 men, C.O. Chajon. Mission: To Carta Blanca and await signal for attack on Zacapa. Chiquimula - 96 men, C.O. Neiderheitmann. Mission: To Copan Ruinas to Camotan to Vado Hondo to seize Chiquimula. Quezaltepeque - 106 men, C.O. Colonel Miguel Mendoza. Mission: To Neuvo Ocotepeque to Esquipulas to Quezaltepeque. Morales - 16 men, C.O. Perez. Mission: To leave Puerto Barrios team and proceed to Morales..."

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Gavin McDonald

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