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MIS-X: The U.S. Escape and Evasion Experts

X-ray photograph of radio concealed in a cribbage board. (U.S. Air Force photo)

X-ray photograph of radio concealed in a cribbage board. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Modeled on the British escape branch M.I.9, the top secret MIS-X (Military Intelligence Service-X) organization gave U.S. service personnel formal training and special tools for escape and evasion. Their efforts helped those airmen who were evading and those who had become POWs. 

MIS-X craftsmen modified common items found in POW aid packages to conceal hidden maps, radios, saws, compasses,and money, among other things. MIS-X also employed the help of several companies, which inserted material as part of the manufacturing process. To avoid compromising genuine aid societies, MIS-X sent these items to POWs in parcels shipped under the cover of fictitious aid organizations. 

MIS-X aided several of the 737 U.S. military members who successfully escaped from German POW camps during WWII. Perhaps more importantly, MIS-X maintained contact with U.S. POWs at 64 German camps, both giving and receiving useful and timely information from the so-called "barbed wire front." 

At the end of the war, the War Department disbanded MIS-X and most of the material related to this highly secret organization was destroyed. 

Click here to return to Winged Boot: Escape and Evasion in World War II.

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