AKA Anthony Alexander Poshepny
Birthplace: Long Beach, CA
Location of death: Sonoma, CA
Cause of death: Liver Failure
Remains: Buried, Veteran's Cemetery, Sonoma, CA
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military, Government
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: CIA ear collection operative in Southeast Asia
Military service: USMC (5th Marine Division, WWII)
Codenamed Agent Upin, Tony Poe was instrumental in various CIA operations throughout Southeast Asia. Reputedly Poe is the partly the basis for Col. Kurtz played by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now though Francis Ford Coppola denies this. A quick study, Poe made a smooth transition from star college golfer to dropping severed heads on friends and foe alike in the jungles of northwestern Laos.
After serving as a Marine paratrooper during WWII, Poe returned to California to study English and history in San Francisco and San Jose. Upon graduation Poe applied for a position in the FBI. The FBI looked at his resume, including two Purple Hearts for his role on Iwo Jima, and sent him on to the CIA.
Soon after joining the CIA, Poe was behind enemy lines in Korea training demolition teams for sabotage missions targeting the North Koreans. After the Korean War, Poe was transferred to Thailand where he became involved in the CIA's efforts to import weapons to the Kuomintang soldiers based in Burma and exchange them for opium and heroin. Drug profits were in turn funneled into the corrupt government of Chiang Kai-Shek in Taiwan.
In 1958, Poe was dispatched to Indonesia and charged with the task of fomenting a rebellion against president Sukarno. His attempt to incite disaffected army personnel failed and he was forced to flee 150 kilometers through the jungles of Sumatra to a fishing trawler that ferried him to a nearby US submarine.
Between 1958 and 1960 Poe worked at Camp Hale in Colorado, training small groups of Tibetan dissidents comprised of Khamba tribesman and Hui Muslims. These men were later parachuted into Tibet in a vain attempt to stop the Chinese People's Liberation Army from occupying the country.
Either in late 1960 or early 1961 Poe was air-dropped into the hills of Laos, where he was to help arm and train General Vang Pao's Hmong tribesmen in their struggle against the Pathet Lao during the Laotian civil war. Presumably Poe, with his CIA drug dealing experience, was also there to support/co-opt Vang Pao's massive international opium trade.
At this point things began to get a little weird. Rumors surfaced of a hard-drinking renegade CIA agent who had absconded into the jungles of Laos, married a Hmong princess and kept a collection of pickled heads in jars of whiskey. Poe offered a reward of 5,000 Laotian kip for each Pathet Lao ear and kept them, each with a receipt stapled to it, in a large green cellophane bag. On several occasions when the CIA office in Vientiane challenged his kill counts, he would send in the bag and start a new one. Apparently this practice did not endear him to his superiors.
One day while on patrol he encountered a young boy with no ears. On inquiring as to the fate of the boy's ears he was told that the boy's father had cut them off for the 10,000 kip he would receive from Poe. Discouraged, he considered this tampering with the figures, he declared that henceforth he would only accept severed heads in exchange for reward.
Eventually his wife took their two daughters and moved to Udorn, Thailand, perhaps because a hall of severed heads is no place to raise a child. Afterwards Poe began drinking even more heavily and frequently commandeering a plane to fly to the nearest town with respectable whorehouses. Sometimes after a night of revelry he would be found passed out or stumbling around near the USAID warehouse in Ban Houei Sai and had to be flown back into the war zone. The Americans working there joked about his frequent reverse med-evacs but the pilots were in a less jocular mood as the drunk Poe would often try to interfere with the controls of the plane.
Father: John Charles Poshepny (US naval commander)
Mother: Isabella Maria Venziano (native of Guam)
Wife: Sheng Ly (opium dealer, niece of prominent Hmong chieftan Touby Ly Foung)
High School: Santa Rosa High School, Santa Rosa, CA (dropped out)
University: St. Mary's College, San Francisco, CA (transferred)
University: History, San Jose State University (1950)
Shot: Accidental in the stomach by his brother, 1933
Purple Heart five times, first wounded in the assault on Iwo Jima, 1945
Risk Factors: Alcoholism, Amputee
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