By Christopher Miskimon Operation Virginia I was a foul-up almost from the beginning. The mission launched on March 15, 1951 aboard a U.S. aircraft transporting four U.S. Army Rangers and 20 Korean agents recruited from the South Korean Army’s officer candidate school. The Rangers were assigned only 10 days before the operation began. They did not even meet their Korean counterparts until six days later. Much valuable preparation time was lost. Even worse, a few hours before the plane was to take off their leader, First Lieutenant Bob Brewer, was removed. Planners did not take into account his knowledge of other clandestine operations in Korea and belatedly realized they could not risk his capture. Despite all these problems, the controlling headquarters for the mission, known simply as Baker Section, decided to go ahead and send the now leaderless group behind enemy lines. The drop was scheduled for the hours of darkness, and the landing ground was covered in heavy snow. The aircraft rose into the frigid night with its cargo door open, buffeting the team with freezing winds for the entire 250-mile flight into North Korea. When the time came to jump, the team did so, but unfortunately the plane was eight miles south of the designated drop zone. Ranger Martin Watson landed right in the middle of a sleeping North Korean village. The inhabitants were quickly awakened when every dog in the hamlet began barking at Watson’s arrival. The villagers immediately noticed the larg


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