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LeRoy Newland - 21 Years In Counterintelligence
by U.S. Army Lori Stewart, Command Historian
Intelligence Center of Excellence
November 26, 2023

LeRoy Newland, Jr. was drafted into the U.S. Army on November 27, 1942. He spent the next twenty-one years in counterintelligence assignments in Burma, Korea, Japan, and the United States.

U.S. Army 2d Lt. LeRoy T. Newland, Jr., in 1945 after a long and dangerous year conducting counterintelligence assignments in Burma. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo provided by Lori Stewart, Command Historian Intelligence Center of Excellence.)
U.S. Army 2d Lt. LeRoy T. Newland, Jr., in 1945 after a long and dangerous year conducting counterintelligence assignments in Burma. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo provided by Lori Stewart, Command Historian Intelligence Center of Excellence.)

LeRoy Newland was born in Korea in 1912 to American missionary parents and lived there until attending Davidson College in North Carolina from 1929-1933. After eight years employed by the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia, he was drafted into the Army. He completed the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) basic course in Baltimore in May 1943 and conducted personnel security investigations in Virginia and Pennsylvania for the next five months.

After completing a series of advanced counterintelligence, jungle warfare, and combat courses, Newland arrived in Burma in August 1944. He was one of the first CIC agents flown into the Myitkyina airfield shortly before it fell into Allied hands [see "This Week in MI History" #101 3 August 1944]. Two months later, the 32-year-old corporal began operating with the CIC’s Combat Interrogation Teams (CIT) that provided security for assault troops as they pushed the Japanese out of Burma. [See "This Week in MI History"#114 4 November 1944] S. Sgt. Newland impressed Maj. William Cox, assistant G-2 of the Northern Combat Area Command, who recommended him for a direct commission. Approved in March 1945, 2d Lt. Newland then took command of the CIT operating with the command’s forward headquarters.

With the end of the war in the Pacific Theater, Lieutenant Newland transferred to the U.S. Army Liaison Group in Singapore. As a war crimes investigator, he traveled throughout the Dutch Indies (now Indonesia) researching depositions of American prisoners released from Japanese camps and interrogating Japanese personnel accused of war crimes.

In June 1946, Newland returned to the U.S. for four years of routine CI duties, first as special agent in charge of the Virginia District, 109th CIC Detachment. One year later, although only a first lieutenant, Newland was promoted to district intelligence officer (a lieutenant colonel slot) supervising twenty-five military and civilian personnel in four district offices throughout the state. 

When the Korean War began in June 1950, Lieutenant Newland had already transferred overseas to supervise the Korean Sub-Section of the Tokyo Region, 441st CIC Detachment. His five-man team reported on subversion and espionage of Korean organizations and personnel in Japan. Perhaps the most notable accomplishment of his career was his personal compilation of a Korean-Japanese-English language transliteration system that helped CIC agents more easily identify suspected enemy agents. This allowed them to roll up a North Korean espionage ring in Japan before it could leak American plans to land forces at Inchon just six days later. [See "This Week in MI History" #6 9 September 1950] Newland’s critical role in this successful operation earned him an Army Commendation Medal and a promotion to captain.

In 1954, returning again to the U.S., Capt. Newland served with the 116th CIC Detachment in Washington, D.C., attended some advanced schooling, and worked a short time at the Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird, Maryland. In 1960, he served one year as the liaison officer for the G-2 Eighth Army. Putting his knowledge of the Korean language and culture to work, he helped the United States foster cooperation between the two nations during a time of civil unrest and political instability. For his final assignment, Newland served as the assistant operations officer and investigations control officer at the 109th Intelligence Corps Group at Fort Meade, where he developed policy and provided guidance for investigations across a five-state area.

Maj. Newland, known for his initiative, perseverance, keen sense of humor, sound and mature judgment, and particularly his knowledge of Korea, retired on 31 January 31, 1963. He passed away on April 28, 1995 at the age of eighty-three.

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Minor editing without impacting facts.

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