• The History Newsletter
  • Posts
  • Top Secret Issue: Presidential Code Names, Navy's Mob Connection & Historical Body Parts to Visit!

Top Secret Issue: Presidential Code Names, Navy's Mob Connection & Historical Body Parts to Visit!

Did you know that the Navy teamed up with the Mob during WWII? Or that the Secret Service gave President Nixon the code name 'Spotlight' (before he got in trouble)? And how many famous historical body parts have you visited...or did you know you could visit?

Plus check out our new supporter shout-out section at the end! 🙌🏻


11 clever Secret Service code names for presidents

During our research for our video on the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981, we uncovered a great list of interesting code names for US presidents.

If you watch our video then you will learn that Ronald Reagan's code name was 'Rawhide'.

This Secret Service code name belonged to the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. The code name was a result of his love of ranching and his appearance as an actor in numerous westerners before he got involved in politics.

Some other interesting code names are 'Lancer' for John F Kennedy - as his administration was often associated with the mystical Camelot - or even 'Deacon' for Jimmy Carter due to his religious activity and participation in the Baptist church.

Other links of interest:

lucky luciano

Did the US Navy team up with the Mob during WWII?

The short answer: Yes

This article on the origins of "Operation Underworld" is absolutely fascinating.

Like many mobster "cooperation" operations, this originated with Luciano already in prison (1936) and one of his Lieutenants (Joseph "Socks" Lanza) getting arrested not long after WWII had started. The US Navy was stressed about ships being sunk off the eastern seaboard and they needed intelligence on movements at the shipyards and docks...and who controlled that waterfront?

The Mob.

Around midnight on March 26, 1942, the three men huddled on a bench uptown in Riverside Park to discuss a secret plan. The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) needed a well-connected informant to feed them leads about any pro-Nazi or fascist sabotage along the waterfront—anything that could threaten the Navy’s ships or submarines off the East Coast. Though it was made clear to Lanza that the government wasn’t offering him immunity or any other compensation, he agreed to help.

Lanza eventually recommends to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) that they contact the incarcerated Mob Boss, "Lucky" Luciano. ONI tracked down Luciano's old lawyer...who initially told them "No".

In trying to make this work, Government officials needed to make this offer to Luciano through someone he trusted, and they moved him closer to New York. With nobody telling him why he was moved when ONI showed up his response was:

What the hell are you fellows doing here?

Charlie "Lucky" Luciano

They had tracked down and brought in "the Mob's Accountant", Meyer Lansky, who then brought up the notion of helping the government to Luciano.

He said yes and Operation Underworld was underway.

The story of Operation Underworld continues and it turns out that Luciano gave orders to his goons for the next 2 years; obtaining union cards for ONI operatives, tracking shipments from the waterfront, and more.

Later this intelligence came under scrutiny, but after further investigation, it turns out that it was so valuable that it was key to the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

Luciano filed a petition on V-E Day and got his sentence commuted and was deported back home to Italy.

This could easily become a movie!

What do you think? (shoot us a reply and let us know!)

Other links of interest:

Our friend JD of History Underground went on a huge trip through Europe recently. He said that after the below video, he should probably retire from flying his drone as he thinks he'll never get better footage again. 🎥

Have you seen Hamilton?

Hamilton is a household favorite here...which is why we were so happy to interview a fellow colleague and Aaron Burr historian on what the Broadway smash hit got wrong. 🎙

Stonewall Jackson arm burial marker

5 famous body parts from history you can visit

It's amazing what you find when you are conducting research.

While we can only claim to have visited one of these famous body parts (yes, I took the above picture), we were surprised that there is even a heart on this list!

The heart of 41-year-old Richard the Lionheart, as he was known, was buried in Notre-Dame Cathedral at Rouen, 329 miles from Châlus and headquarters for the English occupation of Normandy.

Richard the Lion Heart died in 1199 and the lead box holding his heart was discovered almost 650 years later during cathedral renovations. What else did they find?

Looks like we have some new historic sites to visit.

How many of these have you visited? (email us and let us know!)

Other links of interest:

Supporter Shout-outs 📣

Thank you to James who hosts Project Past over on YouTube. He showed his support at the Walk with History Gift Shop and we are so happy for our community and friends like him. Thank you!

Do you want to get a shout-out, show your support, or advertise in the newsletter?

Various levels can get your name in this newsletter, Talk with History podcast, a Walk with History video, or even all three!

Head over to the gift shop to find your history gear, new videos, and our free podcast.

NEW history gear for our fellow history fans.