Marte Previti was a part of the Alsos Mission, a Manhattan Project effort in Europe to discover the progress of the German atomic project. Previti was born in 1911 in New York City. He received a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Cooper Union in 1932. From 1934 to 1943 he worked in South America, before returning to the U.S. to join the Army. Previti served as a special agent of the U.S. Counterintelligence Corps with the Alsos Mission, the European branch of the Manhattan Project. His mission was to capture Germany’s scientists working on a research program to produce an atomic bomb. They discovered the U.S. research was far ahead of its German counterpart. Previti captured research documents and two atomic piles which were never successfully operated. He personally transported accumulated materials from these laboratories from Heidelberg to Alsos Headquarters in Paris.
In addition, Previti was assigned a secret mission to find and evacuate the wife and child of a German scientist who had agreed to come to the U.S. after the war. They were living within the Russian Zone of Occupation and may have been targeted to work for the Russians. Previti was able to evacuate the family and bring them to the Western half of Germany. For this brave action, Previti was awarded the British Empire Medal by the King of England.