World War II
U.S. Naval Intelligence approached my grandfather, Meyer Lansky, to stop the sabotage of the Eastern Seaboard during WWII. Our military leadership tapped all of its resources, including the Mafia, which was well-organized, efficient, and successful, as well as patriotic. My father Paul Lansky, now 90, graduated from West Point in ’54, and served in Vietnam.
On the one hand, the U.S. government was trying to find illegal dealings to tie Lansky too and on the other hand they needed his and other mobsters help. The U.S. Navy wanted them to break up pro-Nazi rallies held by the German American Bund. Lansky provided security for the Navy. The mob ran the New York harbor and shoreline. The efforts were coded “Operation Underworld.” Lansky and other mobsters served their country when their country needed them. They were paid nothing for this service. It doesn’t get more patriotic than that! However, Charles “Lucky” Luciano did get clemency after the war ended if he would leave the U.S., which he did, and returned to Italy.