(excerpts from the)

1992-1996 FINDINGS

OF THE KOREAN WAR WORKING GROUP

 

 

8 July 1950

Summary of Incident. “On 8 July 1950, Col Robert R Martin (redacted, but deduced from other records), Infantry, was killed in action in

Chonan, Korea. He was the (34th Infantry) Regimental Commander and was leading a subordinate battalion of his unit in an effort to repel a severe attack by tanks and infantry against his positions. While endeavoring to single-handedly knock out a tank with a bazooka at a range of 15 yards, he was killed instantly by a tank projectile which struck him squarely in the body at close range.”


Archival Records

Russian. TFR 300-1 is a telegram addressed to Zakharov and signed by Shtykov (Soviet Ambassador to North Korea). This document is a progress report on the Korean War as of 24 July 1950. Most of the document is about the success the North Korean People’s Army is having against the US Army’s 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division-lists of equipment captured, POW numbers, etc. This document states, “ The 34th Regiment of the 24th American Division was routed during the battles for the town of Tajden. 108 soldiers and officers were taken prisoner, among these was Commander of the American 34th Regiment.”
U.S.  
According to CILHI and other sources, there were four separate commanders of the 34th IR prior to 24 July 1950. They were and their tenure as Commanding Officer are:

COL Jay B. Lovless 25 June - 7 July 1950 Relieved and returned to Japan

Col Robert R Martin (redacted, but recreated) 7 - 8 July 1950 Killed in action

LTC Robert Wadlington. 8 - 18 July 1950 Temporary Commanding Officer Never captured

COL Charles Beauchamp 18 July 1950 - 1951 Departed Korea approx. April 1951 for Tokyo

Of the four possible candidates above, Martin is the only Commander who was at the appropriate place and time. He is currently listed on the CILHI list as KIA/BNR based on the eyewitness account of his being struck at point blank range by a tank projectile. Although his remains were not recovered, his death was never in question prior to receipt of this Russian report.

 

Current Status

It is possible that did not die as reported and was captured. In the heat of battle, the eyewitness account could be in error. It is equally possible that the Russian report is in error and that the officer reported captured was not the Commanding Officer, but one of the staff officers for the regiment. This case has been presented to the Russian side of the Commission. The Russians maintain that their report must be in error, however, no additional information has been provided to

substantiate either possibility.

 

 

RB-45  4 December 1950

Summary of Incident. On 4 December 1950 around noon time, John Raymond Lovell 924A and ___________ AO-16783 took off in a RB-45 from Yokota Air Base, Japan. Since Lovell was not a regular member of the aircraft crew, but was rather a senior Air Force intelligence officer assigned to the Pentagon and on TDY in the Far East, __________served as an observer on this mission. At approximately 1250 hours, the RB-45 was intercepted by a flight of MiG-15 fighters and was shot down 70 km east of Andung. At least one person managed to parachute from the aircraft.32

Personnel Involved.

Charles Edward McDonough AO-794558, pilot

Jules Edwin Young AO-800628, co-pilot

James Jerome Picucci AO-928027, navigator

Archival Records

Russian. name does not appear on any of the lists of names provided to the

U.S. side of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission.

TFR 242: This is a set of two documents. Originally the Russians provided the U.S. side of the Commission with one document that was in reality a sanitized, pasted together version of the two. A contractor working for the Defense POW/MIA Office, however, was able to provide the U.S. side of

the Commission copies of the two original documents. The first document is a message dated 17 December 1950. It is from General Belov, who was

then the commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps, to Generals Shtemenko and Batitskii.33


 

 

The purpose of the message was to inform the senior Soviet leadership that for the first time an RB-45 had been shot down. At the time, the RB-45 was seen as the “hottest”, light bomber in theAmerican inventory and General Belov was clearly pleased to inform Moscow of his unit’s success. In the message, Belov reported, “An aircraft shot down on 12-4-50 of the B-45 type fell in a region 70 km east of Andun. The aircraft caught fire in the air and upon falling to earth burned up completely.


The crew bailed out in parachutes
[emphasis added]. The pilot was taken prisoner...The crew numbering 3 persons bailed out in parachutes. The

navigator having landed ran off, where the radio operator disappeared to . . .  he did not see. The captive himself was burned and is in critical  condition.” It is clear from this message that the Soviets did not know there were four and not three people on the RB-45. The next day, General Stepan Akimovich Krasovskii, then a senior Soviet advisor to the North Koreans, sent a cryptic message to Moscow, “I report that the pilot from the shot down RB-45 died on route and the interrogation was not completed.”34


TFR 76-31: This is the transcript of interrogation. According to a note at the

bottom of the document, a Major Kuznetsov prepared the questions. It is not clear who conducted the interrogation, but a Chinese official translated the original English text into Russian.35 During the interrogation, stated that the RB-45 ‘has a crew of three - a pilot, navigator, and radio operator.” Later recounted, “The plane caught fire and all three (emphasis added) crew members bailed out. I saw one run off, I don’t know where the other went to, and I landed where the plane crashed.” It is important to note that did not mention during the interrogation that his RB-45 was carrying a fourth crew member - . Indeed, a close reading of the transcript strongly suggests that was deliberately trying to conceal from his captors the fact there was a fourth man aboard the aircraft.

 

 

U.S. A document titled “Air Force Personnel Reported to Have Died in POW-Camp, Been, Very Ill in POW Camp or Killed in Crash...” simply states “ told another POW he was only survivor. Believed was dead.”36

21 September 1955: In a letter to a Mr. Joseph P. Nagoski, U.S. Department of State from LTC Richard A. Steele, USAF, Chief, Casualty Branch, Personnel Services Division, Directorate of Military Personnel, Headquarters USAF, LTC Steele provides the following details of the shoot down on the RB-45 carrying . “... furnished the following details concerning

his missing status to Captain Hamilton B. Shawe, Jr.37 indicated that while flying a B-45 (sic) along the Yalu River, the aircraft was attacked by five MiGs and two engines were shot out. He stated that he was the only one who escaped from the aircraft (emphasis added), having managed to get the canopy off and bail out at an altitude of about 1,000 feet. landed in the burning wreckage and was severely burned about the hands and face. After evading capture, for 3 or 4 days without shoes, he turned himself in to the North Koreans...he was placed in a cell with Captain Shawe in Sinuiji, North Korea. Two days later they were removed from the cell and Captain Shawe joined a group of prisoners starting a march to another prison camp. could not walk and was carried to an ox cart by fellow prisoners. The North Koreans said he was being taken to a hospital for medical treatment, because he was suffering from frostbite and gangrene of both legs. He was not seen again by repatriates after 16 December 1950, and they reported his condition was so bad at that time that he was not expected to survive.”

Propaganda Broadcast - On 21 May 1951 U.S. listening stations intercepted an enemy (no further information) propaganda broadcast “in which a Lieutenant Colonel Lorel, United States Air Force, was mentioned as being captured in northern Korea. The spelling of the name could not be

verified, was believed to be phonetic, and resembled none of the names of Air Force personnel missing in Korea, with the exception of ____________.”38

Personal Accounts

 

Colonel Aleksandr Fedorovich Andrianov - He was the pilot who shot down the RB-45 that carried .39 He was first interviewed by a Department of Defense contractor and later by the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs at the April 1995 Working Group Talks in Moscow.

During the first interview, Colonel Andrianov described in detail the shootdown, “When I fired the first time, it was still too far. And then the distance was about 600 to 800 meters. I started firing.  And here I saw that something fell from him...And during the second approach, he (the RB-45) burst into flames. And here he started to descend and only the pilot (emphasis added) jumped out of the aircraft. The crew was supposed to be three or four people, I don’t remember exactly now. We probably got them when we were firing. The plane hit the hill before our eyes. An explosion. We kept circling above. The pilot landed with his parachute. He was picked up by a special team, the Korean team would pick up all the pilots who were shot down, including ours. And he went to prison.”

In April 1995, Colonel Andrianov expanded up his earlier testimony, “At approximately 3,000 meters or lower, I saw one parachute deploy from the aircraft. All of my colleagues saw only one parachute as well. None of us saw any other parachutes [emphasis added]. Although I have heard that others jumped, we did not note any other parachutes....However, I clearly saw the aircraft crash and explode.”

Although Colonel Andrianov was not present, he was able to describe during the first interview how the pilot of the RB-45 ultimately died based on what a friend Colonel Pavel Vasilyevich Fironov told him. Fironov was a lieutenant colonel at the time and the regimental political officer. It was Fironov who interrogated the American pilot. “He (the pilot) was kind of arrogant”, according to Andrianov. “...(T)he Koreans executed him the same way. They got a piece of plywood. They wrote down all he

said on that plywood -- ‘I am an American pilot. This is my third surveillance flight. According to my data such and such towns and plants were destroyed, such and such number of older people and children were killed’. And with it they let him go to Singisyu. They gave him a one man escort. That  patrolman was given specific instructions not to interfere too much. First, he walked as if through a
38
AFPMP-12-E 704 Missing (4 Dec 50) SR&D Case #80

39 Colonel Andrianov was born in 1919 and is a veteran of both the Second World War and the Korean War.

 

formation. People were on both sides. First, they only shouted at him, cursed him, threw sticks. The

patrolman did not interfere too much. Then, they started to spit at him, hit him...he was finished.”

Colonel Pavel Vasilyevich Fironov - In early 1995, Colonel Fironov was interviewed in

Moscow by an investigator from the Joint Commission. This was for Fironov at least his second

interview. Not long before, he was interviewed by Igor Morozov, a Russian journalist working for the

BBC. Apparently during this interview, Fironov was given background information on the shootdown

of the RB-45 and in particular information on the crew members. As a result, Fironov’s testimony to

the Joint Commission can be considered at potentially influenced or “tainted”.

BBC Interview - In March 1996, the BBC television network aired on Time Watch a special

report titled “Stalin’s Secret War”. One segment of this program discussed the case of

. Colonel Fironov was introduced as the man who interrogated . Then

for several moments Fironov was interviewed in Russian with an English voice over. Portions of the

interview were edited out and replaced with the narrator’s summary of what Fironov said.

Fironov describes his initial meeting with , the fact that he had a fact book on the

Soviet Air Force (described by the narrator as a “highly classified document”), and the anger of the

North Korean general, who was also present for the interrogation, over perceived arrogance.

Then switching to a photograph of , the narrator says, “The North Korean

general angered by belligerence had him marched to the local town, a placard with

the words “War Criminal” hung around his neck. was beaten to death by the local

people.”

The program does not indicate how Fironov knew that the person he interrogated was

and not or another airman. However, when an investigator from the Joint

Commission interviewed Fironov a few months after his interview by the BBC, it seemed that Fironov’s

identification of is less certain.

During the interview with the Joint Commission investigator, Fironov recounted that the man

identified himself as “the commander of that crew, although he himself told me that he was a regimental

commander.” When asked if this man was , Fironov replied, “Yes, yes, yes.” Then when

76

asked, “And how is that you heard his name?”, Fironov said, “Who? The regimental commander?

Morozov’s (the Russian journalist who first interviewed Fironov) daughter told me this.”

Later, during the April 1995 Working Group Talks in Moscow, Colonel Fironov was

interviewed by members of the Joint Commission. When asked to describe the man he interrogated,

Colonel Fironov said, “I would say (he was) about 32 - no more than 32 years of age”. Asked if the

man he met wore glasses, Fironov replied, “No”. Finally when requested to describe his prisoner,

Fironov said, “About like me. Regarding his physical characteristics, he was similar to me”. Colonel

Fironov is of slender build and about 5’ 7” tall while was 5’ 6” inches tall and stout at 183

lbs. was also forty-six years of age and wore glasses. , however, was

31 years of age, tall, and slender at 6’ 2” and 195 lbs. He did not wear glasses.

It should also be noted that during Colonel Fironov’s first interview with an investigator from

the Joint Commission, Fironov was asked, “Tell me, did you hear what happened to him, this person

with whom you talked?”

Fironov replied, “No, how would I know?”

Investigator, “You didn’t hear that they killed him, or that he died?”

“No, no”, Fironov responded.

A similar line of questioning was raised with Fironov at the April 1995 Working Group Talks by

a Joint Commission staffer who asked, “When he (the RB-45 crewman) asked you to spare his life,

was it within your power to do so?”

“We had no relationship whatsoever with the prisoner,” Colonel Fironov answered. “Don’t you

understand that all we did was conducted a discussion with him regarding aircraft? We had no other

relationship regarding the prisoner.”

Colonel Firnov in his two interviews with members of the Joint Commission apparently sought

to distance himself from his earlier testimony that the American flyer he interrogated was killed by an

irate crowd of North Korean civilians.

Current Status.

77

There is a high probability that died in the crash of the RB-45 on which

he flew. Furthermore, it is argued that the American flyer interrogated by Colonel Fironov was

, the pilot of the RB-45, and not .

First, this assessment is based on an evaluation of Colonel Fironov’s description of the man he

interrogated. Fironov’s description more closely fits that of than it does of

. Second, Colonel Fironov inadvertently seems to have been influenced by a statement from a Russian

journalist’s daughter suggesting he had interrogated a . Third, an American airman who

occupied a cell with a man who identified himself at

strongly suggests that it was indeed who survived the crash and not

. Fourth, this American airman, Lieutenant Shawe said that told him that only

he ( ) survived the crash of the aircraft. The fact that told his captors that

the entire three man crew managed to bail out can be attributed to a conscious effort on

part to deceive his North Korean/Chinese captors. A further indication of this deceptiveness is the fact

that told his captors that there were only three men on the RB-45 and not four! Fifth,

the fact that Colonel Andrianov, the man who shot down the RB-45, saw only one parachute supports

the assessment that only one crew member bailed out. Sixth, the contemporary Russian documentary

record shows that a was interrogated. There is no mention in the Russian

documents available to the U.S. side of the Commission suggesting that a colonel was captured on or

about 4 December 1950. Had an American colonel been captured, especially one with an intelligence

background, the senior Soviet leadership would have certainly been informed immediately.

Colonel Fironov’s statement that the flyer he interrogated was killed by an angry North Korean

crowd can not be verified although it is plausible. Fironov’s veracity on this point is weakened by his

apparent effort to back away from supporting this statement.

Although the U.S. side of the Commission firmly believes that there is a high probability that

died in the crash of the RB-45 and was not captured, the Commission will continue to seek additional

information that will clear up any ambiguity surrounding this case.

 

5 December 1950   PVT MILTON LAWSON

Summary of Incident. PVT Lawson, a Marine Corps Reservist , was called to active duty on

27 July 1950 to serve in the Ground Forces in North Korea. On or about 5 December 1950, after

telling a fellow Marine he thought his feet were frostbitten, PVT Lawson began to walk to an aid station

near the town of Hagaru-ri. He was never seen or heard from again. PVT Lawson was declared MIA.

Background. On 22 June 1991, 60 Minutes aired a program called The Last Gulag: Perm 35.

This program was narrated by Mike Wallace of CBS News and the film footage of the Russian prison

camp was shot by the French. While watching this program, thirteen of Milton Lawson’s friends and

relatives identified one of the inmates as Lawson.

Archival Records

None

Personal Accounts

In September 1992, a member of Task Force Russia met with a former Perm 35 inmate “who

easily identified a reputed MIA photo of PVT Lawson as a friend and former inmate named Vladimir

Shchebol.”

On 5 June 1995, Task Force Russia interviewed Vladimir Iosifovich Shchebol. He confirmed

that journalists had been to Perm 35 and had taken pictures and films of several inmates. He stated that

he had been born in Belarus and did not even have any knowledge of Lawson. During the interview,

Task Force Russia took photographs of Shchebol.

Current Status

Based on an analysis of the photographs of Shchebol and Lawson and the testimony of

Shchebol himself, it is highly probable that the man identified as Lawson on the 60 Minutes program

was in fact Vladimir Shchebol. Other than the alleged association of PVT Lawson with a Russian

prison camp by friends and family, there is no Russian activity regarding this case.

 

B-26  5 April 1951  CPT HALBERT UNRUH

Summary of Incident. 5 April 1951, a B-26 piloted by CPT Unruh departed Taegu Air Base

for a night intruder mission in the Pyongyang area. Shortly after take off, a routine report was received

from LT (rank at time) Unruh indicating that there were no difficulties and they were proceeding on

course to target area. No further contact was made. The fate of the crew and aircraft is unknown.

Personnel Involved.

UNRUH, Halbert, CPT MIA

Archival Records

Russian. CPT Unruh’s name appears on the list of 71 more formally known as List of

U. S. Air Force Crew Members Participating in Combat Operations in North Korea 1950-53, and

About Whom Information Has Been Found in Documents of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps. This list

was compiled by the Russians and given to the U.S. side in 1992. Number 67 on this list states,

“Ul’RIKh KhOL’BERT-perished in crash.”

TFR 76-25: The Russian side of the USRJC has provided an additional document which

mentions the fate of CPT Unruh. TFR 76 -25 is a cover sheet which states, “I am submitting to you a

translation of the document taken from the dead American flier ULL’RIKH KHAL’BERT, shot down

by AAA on 4 April 1951 near KHAKUSEN...” Unfortunately, the attached document lists the

personal effects belonging to vice CPT Unruh. Regardless of the mix up, the cover letter

states that the personal effects of CPT Unruh were retrieved. According to the Russians, in several

cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents (i.e. ID card, ration card etc.) found intact at

the crash site were gathered and sent through an interrogation point for processing. There is little reason

to doubt this statement as it is common practice in the U.S. and NATO militaries as well.

U.S. CPT Unruh’s name appears in the 77 page document formally titled The Transfer of

United States Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union. This document is actually a collection of studies

and hypotheses compiled by the U. S. side to use as a working tool. CPT Unruh’s name appears in this

122

document as part of a study conducted by TSGT Siedling on Korean War POWs on whom the Russian

archives may contain information.

Current Status

Despite the obvious “mix up” of the /Unruh files, there is little reason to doubt the

veracity of the Russian documents. The Russian side has complied with our request to try to locate the

“correct” documents belonging to CPT Unruh. Both sides of the USRJC agree that there is a high

probability that CPT Unruh perished.

 

B-29  12 April 1951   SGT LOUIS BERGMANN

Summary of Incident. On 12 April 1951, a flight of B-29s departed Kadena Air Base for a

combat mission over North Korea. The flight was attacked by a number of enemy aircraft. Moments

later SGT Bergmann’s B-29 was observed leaving the formation with one engine and left wing in flames

and shortly afterwards spiraling downward out of control. The aircraft exploded upon impact with the

side of a mountain.

Personnel Involved:

                             MIA             SGT Bevans, Robert  MIA

                             MIA             SGT Bergmann, Louis MIA

1LT Aaron, George KIA                                              MIA

                             poss. KIA      SGT Gant, John       RMC

2LT Bullock, Elmer KIA               SGT Millward, George RMC

MSG Jones, Robert KIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 76-8 to 76-14: The Russian side of the Commission presented to the U.S. side

a document entitled “Brief Biographical Data on Prisoners”. Under the heading “Prisoners from B-29

No. 69682, 93rd Squadron 19th Air Group”, biographical information obtained from SGT Gant, SGT

Millward and SGT Bergmann is summarized. With the exception of SGT Bergmann, all POWs

mentioned in this section of the Russian document were subsequently repatriated.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Personal Accounts

A report received from the Commanding General, Far East Air Forces, dated 15 October

1951, revealed that a Korean Military Observer allegedly received word that five persons were seen

parachuting from the disabled plane before it crashed. He further related that of the five, four had been

captured by the enemy forces and that a search was in progress for the fifth.


Statements from former POWs and witnesses confirm that three of the eleven individuals from

the B-29 survived the crash and were captured. SGT Gant, SGT Millward, and SGT Bergmann were

held prisoner in the same camp. SGT Gant and SGT Millward were repatriated during Operation Big

Switch. Both Gant and Millward saw SGT Bergmann alive in the camp. In fact, SGT Gant shared a

cell with SGT Bergmann. Repatriated POWs from other crews as well recall meeting SGT Bergmann

while in captivity. He was seen alive several times between September and November 1951. At one

point during his imprisonment, SGT Bergmann apparently became ill with amebic dysentery and he was

taken to a hospital to be treated by a Hungarian medical team. Whether or not he returned alive from

the hospital is unknown. It can, however, be said with certainty that SGT Bergmann was seen alive in a

POW camp after the crash of the aircraft.

Current Status

Both Russian and U.S. sources confirm that SGT Bergmann survived the crash, was in a POW

camp and was interrogated. SGT Bergmann did not return to United States military control after the

war. The U.S. side has requested that the Russians provide additional information on SGT Bergmann.

To date, no additional information has been provided. The ultimate fate of SGT Bergmann remains

unknown.

Repatriated crew members reported that there were only three survivors. JCSD believes that

there is a high probability that the “unaccounted for” (MIA) crew members, ,

, and , perished in the crash.

Additional Information. According to documentation and statements of repatriated POWs, of

the eleven B-29 crew members, two were captured and returned, one was captured and not returned

and eight did not survive the crash. Additional information has since been found regarding four of the

deceased crew members. On 8 December 1993, The United States Army Central Identification

Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) received a shipment of 31 skeletal remains from the Korean War. These

remains were recovered by the North Korean Government and turned over to the U.N. Command.

Remains were then taken to CILHI for processing. In 1994 the remains of the following individuals

from the B-29 crew were identified by CILHI:

1. 1LT Aaron, George

2. 2LT Bullock, Elmer

3. MSG Jones, Robert

The identification of the remains believed to be those of _______________ is pending.

 

B-29    7 May 1951

Summary of Incident. On 7 May 1951, this B-29 departed Yokota Air Base for a bombing

mission in the Pyongyang area of North Korea. After arriving in the target area, the plane was severely

damaged by enemy flak causing a fire in the right wing and two engines. The aircraft commander

radioed that they would have to crash land and were heading for friendly territory. Shortly thereafter,

another radio report was received indicating that the fire could not be controlled and that the crew

would have to leave the disabled aircraft. The parachutes of four unidentified crew members were then

seen leaving the plane before it crashed to the ground southwest of Pyongyang. An extensive aerial

search was initiated by Air Rescue units and the wreckage of the burning aircraft was sighted, but all

efforts to locate the crew members were to no avail.

Personnel Involved.

Unaccounted for:

Adler, Junior Merle

Bacon, Raymond Randolph MIA

Black, Vance Eugene MIA

Chapman, Dewey Lyle MIA

Chesnowsky, Frank Joseph MIA

Collins, John Soulard MIA

Erickson, Lee Eldon MIA

Hawes, Richard Elliot MIA

Rice, John Andrew MIA

Stoll, Edward Joseph MIA

(the above names were redacted, but recreated from other sources)

Accounted for:

McTAGGART, William C., CPT RMC

JONES, Richard M., S/SGT RMC

SMITH, Ellsworth E, S/SGT RMC

Archival Records

Russian. The alleged Pravda article. JCSD is trying to obtain a copy.

U.S. The Individual Deceased Personnel File (293 file) of _____________contains several

documents entitled “Returnee Report on Death of an Individual in a Captured Status”. According to

repatriated POWs who witnessed his death, _________ died of dysentery and malnutrition while in a North Korean POW Camp and was interred in November 1951.

Personal Accounts

In August 1992, JCSD members interviewed Colonel Gavril Korotkov, a retired senior Soviet

intelligence officer. Colonel Korotkov stated that he personally interrogated two American POWs.

Korotkov could not recall the names of any of the American POWs who were processed through

Khabarovsk, except for a ___________ (first name unknown).

Colonel Aleksandr Semenovich Orlov, a retired Soviet intelligence officer and current

Commissioner on the Russian side of the Joint Commission, met with ____________ in North Korea in June 1951 and set up an interview between ________ and a local Pravda correspondent.

According to Colonel Orlov, the article appeared in the summer of 1951. JCSD has not seen a copy of

this article.

Current Status

According to U.S. Air Force records, ______________ died of dysentery and malnutrition in

November 1951, six months after his capture. The Russian side of the Commission has been forthright

with the fact that the Russians interviewed _________ while he was a POW.

 

F-86  18 June 1951

Summary of Incident. On 18 June 1951, F-86 formation was attacked by eight

enemy MiG-15s. F-86 was last seen making a right break trying to avoid the attackers.

The flight leader stated that MiG-15s were seen firing but no results observed. A search of the area

revealed no indication of the pilot or the aircraft.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

None

Personal Accounts

Several witnesses have given statements concerning this incident. Although no archival material

has been produced to confirm these testimonies, all the statements appear to confirm one another.

Askold Germon: A retired Soviet Air Force Colonel reported that he was able “to determine,

with a reasonable degree of reliability, the fate of .” Germon learned that on 18 June 1951

an American F-86 was involved in a collision during an air engagement. Both aircraft crashed as a

result of the incident. The Soviet airman was able to parachute to safety, but the American was killed.

This incident was reported in the 21 June 1951 edition of Izvestiya. Other Soviet veterans have

previously reported seeing identification card.14

Vladimir Vladimirovich Dorofeyev: Dorofeyev claimed that he developed information that ...................

had a mid-air collision with a Soviet MiG during a dog fight. The MiG pilot by the name of Subotin

bailed out and survived. Allegedly, Subotin witnessed death when his plane crashed.15

14Paul Cole, POW/MIA Archive Research Project: Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and

Berlin, Volume 1: Moscow Research (DFI International, Washington D.C., 1995)

15 Per request from the U.S., the Russian side of the Commission has located the Soviet pilot Subotin.

Unfortunately, he is currently very ill and not capable of an interview.

 

Vladimir Mikhailovich Roshchin: Soviet Korean War veteran recalls seeing the papers of a pilot

of a shot down plane. According to Roshchin, these papers belonged to Karl Crone.

Current Status

There are discrepancies in the testimonies regarding dates, correct spelling and first name of the

American pilot. The majority of the circumstances however, are consistent. Based on the testimonies, it

is reasonable to assume that the pilot referred to by the witnesses Moreover, he

probably did not survive the crash. Both the U.S. and Russian sides continue to search for additional

archival documentation that may confirm this assessment.

 

F-86  2 September 1951

Summary of Incident. On 2 September 1951, F-86 was shot down over

North Korea. He radioed that he was going to try to reach the northwest coast of Korea and bail out

over water. According to Air Force casualty reports, another member of the flight observed him

parachuting from the damaged F-86 near the mouth of the Ch’ongchongang River. The observer

circled above and watched as the chute hit the water. Air Rescue units were alerted and an aerial

search was immediately initiated. No trace of the missing officer could be found, but during the search

an unidentified launch was seen in the vicinity of where parachute was last sighted. An

additional witness states that he observed the aircraft as it hit the water and did not see

bail out nor his parachute. is listed as POW/BNR on the CILHI Korean War Data Base.26

Personnel Involved.

POW/BNR

Archival Records

Russian. Soviet Operational Summary Number 0277 of the Headquarters, 64th Fighter Corps

for 2 September 1951, reports that six F-86 aircraft were shot down that day. The summary states,

“The 17th Fighter Regiment encountered 10 F-86s at 10,000 meters in the region of Syukusen at 1035

hours. As a result of the attack conducted against the enemy fighters by the regiment, Major Pulov27

shot one down...One F-86, according to crew observations, scattered in the air.”28

26 In a recent study, POW/MIA Archive Research Project: Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia,

and Berlin, Volume 1: Moscow Research (DFI International, Washington D.C., 1995) Paul Cole

suggests that casualty status be changed from MIA to POW/BNR. However, U.S.

records indicate that status is POW/BNR.

27 Major Pulov is currently living in the Moscow area but is very ill. JCSD will attempt to interview him.

28 Paul Cole also indicates that an illegible word in the Russian document might be “Bailed out”. As

stated above, the actual translation reads, “F-86... SCATTERED in the air.

68

U.S. An intelligence report received from the Commanding General, Far East Air Forces, in

November 1951, reveals that was believed to have been rescued by persons aboard a

large power boat observed at the time of the search. The report further stated that this craft was known

to be operated by the enemy.29

Current Status

There is obviously conflicting evidence in this case. The Russian side of the Commission has

been asked to provide all search reports and any additional information on this incident. In light of the

circumstances, the possibility cannot be excluded that survived the crash. To date, no

further information has been found.

29 The following was noted in AFM 200-25, “...inquiry regarding the validity of the above report [boat

sighting] revealed that the information may have been in error since purported source of the information

had no record of subject being picked up by a Communist power boat.”

 

B-29 SHOT DOWN 23 OCTOBER 1951

Summary of Incident. B-29 was shot down on 23 October 1951 over Korea. The aircraft caught fire
and was last seen disappearing into the clouds. Approximately 233 search missions were made during the three day period of 23 - 26 October. The co-pilot of the missing plane, LT Beissner, was rescued three hours after landing in the water.8 No trace of the remaining crew was found. Upon returning to military control, LT Beissner reported that after a fire developed in the damaged engine, the aircraft commander instructed the crew to bail out. All of the crew members were believed to have successfully bailed out. LT Beissner was among the last to leave the plane . SSg Botter is currently listed as POW/BNR. Of the thirteen member crew, one was rescued, remains of one were recovered from the Korean Bay, five were captured and repatriated, two are listed POW/BNR, and

four are MIA/BNR.

Personnel Involved.

Unaccounted for:

Black, Wayne forest MIA

Foulks, James Arch MIA

MOORADIAN, Ara, CPT MIA

FUEHRER, Alois, SGT MIA

____________________POW/BNR

BOTTER, William, SSG POW/BNR
(some of the above names were redacted, but recreated from other sources)

 

Accounted for:

WENTWORTH, Lloyd, LT RMC

KISSER, Kenneth, SSG RMC

STRINE, John, SSG RMC

JONES, James, SGT RMC

MacCLEAN, Gerald, SGT RMC

BEISSNER, Fred, LT Rescued

COFFEY, Arthur, CPL KIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 138-86: TFR 138 is a 300 plus page document consisting of operational summaries from the Soviet 64th Fighter Aviation Corps. This unit, based in North Korea, was responsible for many of our shoot downs. TFR 138-86 is a report from 23 October 1951. This report mentions the shoot down of two B-29s on that day. The report states that both aircraft crashed and the crew of one perished. Unfortunately, no further details are given as to the disposition of the crew on the other aircraft or remains of the perished crew.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Personal Accounts

The following information pertains to LT Ara Mooradian , a missing crew member from the

same B-29 incident as _________________.

On 27 October 1992, TFR-Moscow interviewed Nikolay D. Kazersky, a 1950-51 inmate of

the Zimka labor camp in the Komi ASSR. Kazersky told of his contact in 1952 or 1953 with an

American pilot from California shot down over North Korea and forced down over Vladivostok. He

stated that the pilot said there had been a crew of three. Kazersky described him as about age 30,

slender, dark hair and complexion, and of southern European background. He also had a small oval

scar on one of his cheeks.

TFR provided this information to the Air Force Casualty Office which concluded that

LT Mooradian came closest to the description based on biographical information. The following

information on Mooradian corresponded to Kazersky’s information:

1. His shoot down date would have placed him in the camp at that time.

2. He fit the physical description.

3. The ethnic tag could also apply to an Armenian.

4. Born in California.

 

Information that did not correspond:

1. His aircraft was shot down over the Bay of Korea, on the opposite side of the peninsula from

Vladivostok.

2. He was the bombardier rather than the pilot.

3. There were 13 in his crew rather than three.

Current Status

The U.S. side of the Joint Commission has asked the Russians to provide any additional

information they have concerning this incident. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to arrive at

any firm conclusions. To date, no additional information has been provided.

 

F-84  23 October 1951 

Summary of Incident. On 23 October 1951, the F-84 piloted by departed

Taegu Air Base for a bomber escort mission over NW Korea. Upon approaching the target area, two

MiG-15s were encountered and attacked the planes. The flight was returning to escort

position when F-84 was attacked. A garbled message was received from

at this time and flames were observed coming out from under his aircraft. The aircraft was out of

control. Efforts to contact were to no avail. Circumstances prevented continuous

observation and the aircraft was lost from view was not seen to leave the aircraft during

the brief period of observation. No organized ground search could be conducted since the incident

occurred in enemy territory.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 76-26: The Russian side has provided to the U. S. side a document listing the

personal effects of . This document is entitled “List of Captured Documents”

These items have been verified as belonging to . Included on the list of items were an

identification card, pilots license, and aviators qualification all in his name. According to the Russian’s,

in several cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents (i.e. ID card, ration card etc.)

found intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an interrogation point for processing.

There is little reason to doubt this statement as it is common practice in the U.S. and NATO militaries as

well. The Russian side maintains that perished and only his personal effects transited an

interrogation point.60

60 When this list of documents, TFR 76-26, was given to the U.S. side, it was attached to a cover

sheet stating, “documents taken from a dead American flier ULLRIKH KHALBER”, TFR 76-25. (see

UNRUH, Halbert file) Neither a cover sheet for nor additional documents for Unruh have

been provided.

112

U.S. name appears in the 77 page document entitled The Transfer of U.S. Korean

War POWs to the Soviet Union. This document is actually a collection of studies and hypotheses

compiled by the U.S. to use as a working tool. His name is mentioned in connection with a study

conducted by TSGT Siedling as a Korean War POW on whom the Russian archives should contain

information.

Personal Accounts

Task Force Russia members conducted a series of interviews with former Soviet Army Officer

(Ret) Gennadii Semyenovich Donets. During the Korean War, Donets served as an Air Intelligence

Officer in the combat operations center of the 64th IAK. Donets recalled personally seeing the ID card

and other documents of an individual named “ .” Additionally, he recalled that the pilot “

” perished in the crash.

Current Status

Both sides of the USRJC agree that based on Russian documents and testimonies, there is a

high probability that perished in the crash.

 

 

TBM-3  21 December 1951

Summary of Incident. , USMC is currently listed on the CILHI Korean War

data base as MIA-BNR. According to the USMC casualty report, status was changed

to KIA-BNR due to evidence of death in 1953. This change is not reflected on current lists. It is likely

that this evidence was the statements of repatriated crew members.

was one of three crew members on a TBM-3 that was shot down on 21 December 1951. Two crew

members survived the crash, were held as POWs and subsequently repatriated.

Personnel Involved.

Unaccounted for:

MIA

Accounted for:

STILL, Richard L., LT RMC

THRASH, William G., LTC RMC

Archival Records

Russian. The Russians have provided us with the interrogation reports of several U.S.

servicemen captured in North Korea. These reports were forwarded to the Russians by the Chinese.

The majority of these individuals have been repatriated. Among these reports was the testimony of one

of crew members. According to the report, was “killed in the

aircraft.”

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary

Current Status

Based on the witness statements of his own crew, it seems highly probable

was killed in the aircraft.

 

 

F-86   10 February 1952

Summary of Incident. On 10 February 1952, the F-86 piloted by was shot down

by fire from a MiG-15.16 “His aircraft went into a steep dive...Seconds later, the F-86 went into a

series of lazy dives, climbs and spirals, and then crashed into the side of a hill approximately twelve

miles northeast of Sonch’on. Although it appeared that the canopy had been jettisoned, the

accompanying pilot was unable to determine whether had left his aircraft prior to the crash.

Friendly aircraft searched the crash site but were unable to find any trace of the missing officer. Efforts

to locate his parachute were also unsuccessful, the search being extremely difficult due to the

background of snow covered terrain.”

Personnel Involved.

MIA

(Information was obtained from Russian and Chinese sources. It should be noted that both the Russians

and the Chinese have claimed credit for the shoot down.)

Archival records

Russian. None.

U.S. According to F-86 Sabre, , who was expected to become the Korean

War’s “ace of aces...the leading ace of the war”’ was killed on 10 February 1952.

Other. A 1990 Beijing publication, Chinese Military Power Almanac, 1949-1989, reported that

Chinese Korean War Volunteers’ (CVF) Battle Records stated that American ace was

shot down by Zhang Jihui on 10 February 1952.

A 1989 Korean War Logistic Work Experience Summary-Pictorial, endorsed by former

Chinese President, Yang Shangkun, showed pictures of along side of a photo of his dog

tags. The caption above the pictures stated, “Deceased American ace jet pilot picture and

dog tag. was shot down by Zhang Jihui.”

38

A March 1953 book published by Chinese Youth Publication Press, Fearless Warrior of Our

Great Nation, included an interview with Zhang Jihui, the Chinese pilot who claimed to have shot down

, on the detail and the sequence of the shoot down. Furthermore, the article also discussed that the

deceased pilot’s dog tags were found during a search of the F-86 crash site.

Personal Accounts

According to Colonel Germon,17 was shot down and killed shortly after he had shot

down two Soviet MiGs. “At the sight of the crash,” Germon added, “besides documents the search

team found his pistol. It is quite possible that he was shot down by Mikhail A. Averin.”

Lt Gen. Georgii Lobov, commander of the 64th Air Corps, noted in his memoirs, “Our pilots

shot down... , the top American ace of the war at the time (killed).”

Additional Information (April 1995) Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), United States

Division Deputy Chief conveyed the results of a Chinese investigation on this case. He said that

had been shot down by Zhang Jihui in air combat on 10 February 1952. His plane crashed into the side

of a hill. had been found dead at the crash site. The Chinese MFA did not think that

the Chinese had been involved in handling the body...The Chinese had looked at the plane and a

Chinese person had found articles at the crash site. An American Air Force Ribbon found at the site is

on display in an exhibit hall in Anyang City. The Chinese MFA was unable to locate the dog tag

depicted in the photograph.

(August 1995) A member of the U.S. Consulate Shenyang reported that . dog

tags are on display at the Dandong Korean War Museum. The tag is exhibited with photos of an

American reported to be , articles said to be taken from him or his aircraft and pieces of

wreckage said to be from the F-86 he was flying.

16 rank at the time of the incident was Major. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while

MIA.

17 Paul Cole, POW/MIA Archive Research Project: Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and

Berlin, Volume I: Moscow Research (DFI International, Washington D.C., 1995) Askold Germon-

Retired Soviet Air Force Colonel.

39

Current Status

Several independent sources confirm the shoot down of on 10 February 1952.

There is no direct evidence from Russian archives that confirms that was killed in the crash of

his F-86. Although Chinese and Korean sources testify that was killed in the crash, it should

be noted that both the Russians and the Chinese have claimed credit for this kill. Moreover, the

discovery of dog tags and personal effects in a Chinese museum leads one to believe that

additional information on the fate of may be available. The Commission continues to

investigate this case.

 

B-26  4 April 1952

Summary of Incident. On 4 April 1952 at 0108 hours, a B-26 with as the

navigator departed Kunsan Airdrome, South Korea to perform a night combat mission. The aircraft

arrived in the target area and reported to ground control that the mission could not be accomplished

because of unfavorable weather conditions. Shortly after, at 0330 hours the control station again

established radio contact with the B-26 and assigned it an alternate target. This was the last

communication. The crew was reported missing in action when the aircraft failed to return to the base.

Personnel Involved.

VAN FLEET, James Alward Jr., LT MIA MIA

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. None

U.S. A report dated 26 May 1952 from Air Intelligence indicates “that a twin (engine) U. N.

bomber crashed in the vicinity of Haeju at dawn on 4 April 1952. Records reveal that the subject B-26

was the only Air Force plane lost on that date. The intelligence report further indicates that an inhabitant

of the area stated he observed the remains of one American lying thirty meters from the crash site...He

had no knowledge of the fate of the other crew members or the identity of the deceased...”

Personal Accounts

Donets. On 22 June 1994, Task Force Russia members held an interview with former Soviet

Army Captain (Ret) Gennadii Semyenovich Donets. Donets had served as the Air Intelligence Officer

in the combat operations center of the 64th IAK. Donets recalled hearing that the B-26 Bomber piloted

by LT James Van Fleet (son of General Van Fleet) was intercepted and shot down during a bombing

mission and that the entire crew had perished. was a crew member of this B-26.

Gennadii Donets is considered by some to be a credible and knowledgeable source of information. His

85

statements track with the facts as recorded by U. S. sources. Collectively, these events are highly

suggestive of the fact that and the entire crew of this B-26 perished.

Ananchenko. A recent interview by JCSD-Moscow has uncovered information that may

indirectly be related to this case. The following information pertains to LT Van Fleet, the pilot of the B-

26 on which was a crew member. A former MVD Lieutenant Ananchenko informed

JCSD personnel that in 1956, he was involved in escorting a group of prisoners from one Soviet camp

to another Soviet camp. Ananchenko was told by the operations officer that one of the prisoners

claimed to be the son of an American four star General. Ananchenko believed he was a spy who came

to the Soviet Union during WWII and was captured.

The U.S. researched all four star generals in the U.S. Army starting from Pershing and the only

one that had a son who is listed as MIA was General James Van Fleet, Sr.42 LT James Alford Van

Fleet, Jr., son of General Van Fleet, graduated from West Point in 1949. This would make him

approximately 28 years old in 1956. Ananchenko, who was approximately 25 in 1956 when this

incident took place, recalls that the American prisoner was about his age or a few years older.

Current Status

There is insufficient evidence at this point to come to any firm conclusions about the fate of

, LT Van Fleet or any other member of the crew. The Russians have been asked to provide any

information regarding this case. To date, we have received no Russian archival records regarding this

case. JCSD has investigated Ananchenko’s statement, however, the information can not be verified at

this time.

42 General Van Fleet was the Commander of the Eighth Army in Korea and later Commander of the

Far East Command.

 

F-86  13 April 1952

Summary of Incident. On 13 April 1952 after radioing that his F-86 had been hit,

was seen heading south toward the Yellow Sea. Repeated efforts to contact him were

to no avail. Minutes after the last radio message, the pilot of a friendly aircraft observed a huge splash in

the waters of the Yellow Sea, followed by an oil slick. Subsequent search of the reported crash area

failed to reveal any trace of the missing officer or his aircraft.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 16: We believe the name of appears on two documents

provided to the U.S. side of the Commission by the Russians. In 1992, JCSD received a list of 59

names compiled by the Russians entitled List of United States Air Force Personnel, Shot Down in

Aerial Combat or by Anti-Aircraft Artillery During Military Operations in Korea and Transited Through

an Interrogation Point. All but one name on the list of 59 names were identified shortly after the list was

received, despite the garbling of most names during transliteration from English to Korean to Russian

and back into English. The unidentified name was “MAJ Dzhilliam.”

The Russians subsequently provided the U.S. side with the documents that the list of 59 was

based upon. They have referred to these documents as interrogation reports. However, in some cases,

the “interrogation” document was not an interrogation report per se, but a list of personal effects. The

Russian explanation for this is that in several cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents

(i.e. ID card, ration card etc.) found intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an

interrogation point for processing. There is little reason to doubt this statement as it is common practice

in the U.S. and NATO militaries as well. Entry # 26 on this list states, “14 April 1952...51st

Wing...Major Dzhilliam, Chief Operations Department...Pilot died in the area 50 km north of Andung.”

TFR 76-42: This document is a list of personal effects entitled, “Documents from Major

Dzhilliam, the Chief of the Operations Section of the 51st Wing. He was shot down by a MiG-15 on 14

135

APR 52 over the territory of the Peoples Republic of Korea in an area 50 km north of An’dun.” The

6th entry on the list is “ a photo of the deceased Major Dzhilliam and the plane he was shot down in.”

U.S. The two Russian documents identified “Dzhilliam’s” rank, unit, duty position, date of shoot

down, and area of shoot down. When compared with U.S. records, each of these references

correlates with . Moreover, is the only casualty on or about this shoot down date that

matches any of the information on the Russian list. The U.S. has since regarded this name as

.

Current Status

Both documents describe “Dzhilliam” as having perished in the crash. Based on this analysis,

both sides of the USRJC agree the evidence is highly suggestive of the fact that

perished in the crash.

 

F-86  3 May 1952

Summary of Incident. was a member of a two plane flight of F-86 aircraft which

departed for a combat fighter mission on 3 May 1952. During an engagement with enemy aircraft,

aircraft was seen by the flight leader to dive away from an enemy MiG and execute evasive maneuvers

at an extremely low altitude. was informed of his low altitude and instructed to pull up.

Immediately thereafter he leveled the wings of the F-86 which then struck the surface of the water in a

low-angle high-speed glide approximately 3 miles off shore near the mouth of the Yalu River.

According to the flight leader, F-86 hit the water at too great a speed for a safe ditching.

Enemy aircraft forced the leader to leave the area. Prior to his departure, he did not see

abandon the F-86 nor the aircraft sink beneath the water. Later in the day, search aircraft returned to

the site of the crash-landing. North Korean surface craft were observed in the vicinity, but no trace of

or his aircraft were found.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 284: Operational Summary number 00124 of the Soviet 64th IAK for 3 May

1952 contains direct evidence concerning . The information in the Russian document

describing the shoot down of is consistent with USAF data. According to the document,

“Senior Lieutenant Mazikin saw 2 F-86s ahead of him, which were pursuing one MiG-15 at 16:38 at

the approach to the Myaogou airfield. Senior Lieutenant Mazikin attacked the enemy and shot down

one F-86...The body of a pilot was found in the remains of one of the F-86s shot down in the area of

Myaogou airfield. From documents, it has been established that the pilot is Captain Dzhil’bert Tenni

who belonged to the 51st Fighter Air Group.”

TFR 274: Operational Summary number 00132 of the Soviet 64th IAK for 11 May 1952 also

mentions the shoot down of . According to part five of the document, “Captain Dzhil’bert

of the 51st Group, who was shot down on 4 May, wrote in his log that ... (unrelated info.)”

115

TFR 76: The Russian side provided several documents listing the personal effects of pilots that

were shot down. According to the Russians, the personal effects (i.e. ID card, license, money) found

intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an interrogation point for processing. In several

cases, these documents state the fate of the pilot. There is little reason to doubt this statement as it is

common practice. Document TFR 76-37,38 is entitled, “Documents from the F-86 flier CPT

DZHIL’BERT Tenni shot down on 3 May 52 in the area of Myaogou Airfield (flier dead).”

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Personal Accounts

In June 1994, Task Force Russia members and representatives from the Russian side of the

Commission interviewed Russian Army Captain (Ret) Gennadii Semyenovich Donets who served as an

air intelligence officer for the 64th IAK in Korea from 1950 - 1953. Donets recalled looking at the

personal ID cards and other documents of someone named Tanney, Albert and another pilot.

Additionally, he recalled hearing talk on the radio with other U.S. pilots before he crashed.

According to Donets, the pilot ( )died when his aircraft crashed.

Current Status

Based on documents that we received from the Russians and testimony of former Russian

officers, both sides of the USRJC agree that there is a high probability that died in

the crash.

 

 

F-84 9 May 1952

Summary of Incident. On 9 May 1952, an F-84 piloted by was

“hit by ground fire during a bomb run at an altitude between 1000 - 1500 feet. The aircraft burst into

flames. Immediately thereafter, the aircraft exploded and was last seen burning on the ground. No

radio contact was made, no chute observed.”

Personnel Involved.

KIA/BNR

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 138-133 to 137: TFR 138 is a 300 plus page document consisting of shoot

down reports from units of the Soviet 64th IAK. Pages 133 to 137 contain “material concerning the F-

84 shot down on 9 May 1952...” The five pages include a photo copy of a data plate from the aircraft,

a statement, a sketch of the crash site and fragments from an American map. According to the Russian

document, this statement was “compiled at the crash site of an F-84. The aircraft crashed in the hills

near the town of Tok-inri in the Rikhen district. The fuselage was flattened, the engine was smashed,

the tail section was broken off and located 70 meters from the fuselage...The pilot burned with the

aircraft, and local inhabitants buried his remains.”

U.S. was the only F-84 pilot shot down on 9 May 1952 who is currently

carried as KIA/BNR. Moreover, the data plate found by the Russians at the crash site lists the aircraft

as type F-84E15RE. According to our records, was the only pilot flying an F-84E15RE.

This fact alone excludes other pilots within that time frame.23

Current Status

Both sides of the Commission agree that there is a high probability that

perished in the crash and his remains were buried by local inhabitants.

23 This Russian document was originally associated with a shoot down that occurred on 8 May 1952.

 

B-26  31 May 1952

Summary of Incident. On 31 May 1952 at 1957 hours, a B-26 on which was a

navigator departed South Korea to perform a night combat mission between Sinanju and the Yalu River

in North Korea. Approximately one hour after departure, a routine report was received from the B-26

which revealed that it was experiencing no difficulty in flight and was proceeding on course to target

area. No further contact was established with the B-26 and its crew was reported missing.

Personnel Involved

MIA MIA

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 249 is a 23 page document that entirely pertains to this particular case. The

following excerpt is from page one, TFR 249-1, of this document:

“...A search group established that on 31 May 1952 a burning B-26 type aircraft passed at low

altitude through the Sonchen region and crashed near the village An-Khari.

The aircraft broke into pieces upon impact; the three-man crew perished and was buried by

Korean citizens on the following day. The force of the impact scattered aircraft fragments in a 50 - 100

meter radius.

At the crash, the search group gathered separate parts; documents; charred maps in English,

scale 250000; plates from the plane and a pilot’s dog tag...”

The subsequent pages contain inventories of documents found at the crash site, photographs of

the crash site, a photo of the dog tag, statements, air plane parts, etc.

TFR 249-5 states, “Copy of a Dog Tag of a Perished Pilot from the Downed Type B-26

Enemy Aircraft on 31 May 1952.” Below this title is a drawing of the dog tag of , the

pilot, including serial number and blood type.

105

10 February 1994, The Washington Times ran an article that was quoted from Izvestiia, a

Russian newspaper. The Russian article was the story of how the dog tags (probably the sketches) of

were found in a military archive in Russia. The Russian article and TFR-249 contained the same

information.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary

Current Status

Based on the Russian report, photographs and physical evidence found in this case, there is little

doubt that and the crew perished in the crash.

 

B-29   11 June 1952

Summary of Incident. According to USAF records, a B-29 (44-62183) was reported

destroyed in a mid-air explosion and observed falling to earth in three burning sections. According to

statements of 16 witnesses from accompanying aircraft, no parachutes were observed and the

possibility of anyone surviving was small. However, at least one member of the crew, Anton Brom,

survived the explosion, was held as a POW and subsequently repatriated.

Personnel Involved.

MIA MIA

CPT BROM, Anton RMC MIA

MIA MIA

MIA MIA

MIA MIA

MIA MIA

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 272: Russian Operational Summary No. 00613 from the Headquarters of the

Soviet 64th IAK reports “the aircraft explosion and the retreat of two burning B-29s were observed by

search light crews...according to Korean and Chinese comrades, one B-29 fell into the sea 20 km SE

of Simni-do and exploded. Up to four cutters approached the area where the aircraft fell.” A second

paragraph confirms that “During the night of 11 June 1952, night fighters shot down three B-29 aircraft

and damaged one other. The corpses of 8 American pilots were found, as well as debris from one

aircraft.”

The following documents pertain to , a crew member of B-29 No. 44-62183.

52

TFR 16: name appears on a list of 59 names compiled by the Russians entitled List of

United States Air Force Personnel, Shot Down in Aerial Combat or by Anti-Aircraft Artillery During

Military Operations in Korea and Transited Through an Interrogation Point. Of the 59 names, two are

duplicates and one is a non-American. The majority of the 56 U.S. servicemen on this list have been

repatriated. is one of the five from this list who is still “unaccounted for.” The Russians

subsequently provided the U.S. side with the documents that the list of 59 was based upon. They have

referred to these documents as interrogation reports. However, in some cases, the “interrogation”

document was not an interrogation report per se, but a list of personal effects. The Russian explanation

for this is that in several cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents (i.e. ID card, ration

card etc.) found intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an interrogation point for

processing. There is little reason to doubt this statement as it is common practice in the U.S. and

NATO militaries as well. Entry # 24 on this list states, “10 June 1953... ”

TFR 76-39: This document is a list of personal effects entitled, “Inventory of , a

gunner from the 19th Bomber Group. Shot down in a B-29 by a MiG-15 the night of 10 June 1952.”

Unfortunately, the fate of is not specified.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Other. A passage in a Chinese book published by The Academy of Military Science History

Department also confirms the B-29 shoot downs on the night of 10 June.21

Current Status

The shoot downs mentioned in the Russian document correspond to the loss of two USAF B-

29s. Servicemen from both crews are still unaccounted for. Unfortunately, it cannot be determined

with certainty, which aircraft and crew were found by the Russian search team. The Russians maintain

that perished and only his personal documents transited an interrogation point. The Russian

side of the USRJC has been asked to provide any documents that could clarify this case. To date, no

additional information has been provided.

53

21 The War to Resist U. S. Aggression and Support Korea, Academy of Military Science History

Department (People’s Liberation Army) December 1990.

 

 

F-86  4 July 1952    LT AUSTIN BEETLE

Summary of Incident. USAF casualty records indicate that LT Austin Beetle, pilot of an F-86,
was lost in air-to-air combat on 4 July 1952 at approximately 1257 hours. LT Beetle drowned

almost immediately after ejecting over Chodo Island. He could not be recovered with grappling hooks

used by United Nations (U.N.) forces although they were no more than 300 yards away when LT

Beetle hit the water.

Personnel Involved:  Beetle, Austin, LT KIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 269: According to Operational Summary Number 00186 from the Soviet 64th

IAK for 4 July 1952, an F-86 was shot down by Soviet MiGs. The summary reports, “At 1145,

Captain Sevast’yonov’s group engaged and fired upon four F-86s near Chisyu-Bikhen. Two pilots fired

on the enemy aircraft. Sr. Lieutenant Mishin shot down one F-86.”

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Current Status

The Soviet account for the 1145 shoot down appears to be consistent with the loss of LT

Beetle. LT Beetle’s status in CILHI data base is KIA/BNR.

 

 

 

F-86   1 August 1952    MAJOR FELIX ASLA, JR.

Summary of Incident. On 1 August 1952, a MiG aircraft was seen chasing and firing on the F-86 piloted by Major Asla. His aircraft lost the left wing and was last seen spinning downward 15 miles southeast of Sakchu, North Korea (XE 8365). A subsequent aerial search of the area failed to reveal any trace of the missing pilot or his aircraft. No further information as to the fate of the pilot exists. The serial number of Major Asla’s F-86 was 51-2767.

Personnel Involved.  Asla, Felix Jr., MAJ MIA

Archival Records: 

Russian. TFR 291: Operational Summary Number 00214 of the Headquarters of the Soviet

64th IAK dated 1 August 1952 states in Part V, “One of the downed F-86s fell 7 km southeast of

Sakchu. The side number is USAF 12267, the ... fuselage was marked with 9 stars... The aircraft was

destroyed, the pilot perished and his identity cannot be established.”


JCSD analysts concluded that the tail number of Major Asla’s aircraft “12767” was probably

mistakenly recorded as “12267” in the Russian document. (51-2767 would have been displayed on the

tail as 12767. It was common practice to shorten the tail numbers by omitting the first number in the

production year). All other information in the Russian and U.S. records agrees.


U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Additional Information. The U.S. received from a British source, a copy of a photograph

alleged to be the remains of Major Asla. It is a gruesome photograph leaving no doubt that the

individual pictured perished in the crash. The British source said he obtained the photograph from the

Russian archives at Podol’sk. It is believed to be the remains of Major Asla because accompanying the

photograph were other photographs of an aircraft wreck. The tail number of the aircraft shown in one

of the accompanying photographs is that of the aircraft flown by Major Asla (12767). There is also a

photograph of the fuselage showing the nine red stars as mentioned in the operational summary.

 

A copy of this photograph was sent to CILHI with a request that a forensic specialist at CILHI

attempt to verify that the remains are Major Asla’s. On 18 January 1996, CILHI informed the U.S.

that “it is not possible to exclude or confirm that the remains depicted in this photograph ...are those of

Major Felix Asla, Jr., 16568 A, U.S. Air Force.”


Current Status

Based on the Russian documents and photographs, both sides of the USRJC agree that there is

a high probability that Major Asla perished in the crash.

 

 

F-86  22 August 1952 

Summary of Incident. On 22 August 1952, departed from Suwon Air Base for

the Chong Chong Gang River. At approximately 1047 hours, the F-86s patrolling at more than 37,000

feet were attacked by MiGs. last known location was YD 5099.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. Operational Summary No. 00202 of the Soviet 64th IAK for 22 August 1952 states,

“Flights completed their mission in the area of Kajsen, Anju and Dzyunsen. Captain Frolov’s flight

encountered and engaged six F-86s at 0950 hours at 37,350 feet...Two pilots shot at the enemy

aircraft. Senior Lt (Ignatov?) shot down one F-86 from a distance of 500-600 meters...The enemy

aircraft crashed in the area of Kajsen; the (aircraft) remains were found; the pilot perished.”

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Personal Accounts

This case has been associated with an interview of a retired Soviet Colonel. According to Paul

Cole, POW/MIA Archive Research Project...Volume I: Moscow Research (DFI International),

status should be changed from MIA to POW based on a personal account. During a 1992 interview,

Soviet veterans Col. Georgi Plotnikov and Col. Valentin Sozinov recalled, “The name Major Delit came

up in my conversation with Lobov. I don’t know what his position is. But he (Delit) also ejected and

was captured, then escorted somewhere...” It is clear from further reading of the interview transcript

that the veterans were not certain of the name of the individual nor whether or not he was ever a POW.

The only information they seemed to have was the fact that the person allegedly mentioned by Lobov

was a Major. It should be emphasized that this information was based on second hand hearsay. The

individuals interviewed had no direct knowledge of this information. The USRJC has investigated this

case and has found no evidence that suggests these incidents or names are related.

43

Current Status

Based on the positive association between the U.S. and Russian data on the day, time,

geographic location, and circumstances, there is significant evidence that the Russian records describe

the shoot down of . Moreover, according to U.S. records, was the only

air loss suffered on 22 August 1952. Both sides of the Commission agree that there is a high probability

that the pilot mentioned in the Russian document as having perished was indeed .

 

 

B-29 SHOT DOWN 13 SEPTEMBER 1952
LT FRED BLOESCH

Summary of Incident. According to USAF records, on 13 September 1952 a B-29 (number 44-86343) was “flying over target where it was hit by enemy flak. It was seen exploding in the air. No parachutes were observed leaving the plane. A rescue (team conducted) searches for seven days with

negative results. No chance of survival”. One of the 12 crew members, A1C Fred Parker, was captured and subsequently repatriated during “Operation Big Switch”. The remaining 11 members of the crew are listed as MIA/BNR on the CILHI data base.

Personnel Involved

ROYER, Ted, LT MIA                 Lebaron, James Robert MIA 

BROWN, Nelson Marion MIA      Peters, Spiro Joseph MIA

Hobday, Jimmie Rowland MIA  Kelly, Henry Bradford MIA

BLOESCH, Fred, LT MIA           Phillis, William Kay MIA

LOWE, James, CPT MIA            Trosclair, James Oliver MIA

Kelly, James William MIA         PARKER, Fred Jr., A1C RMC
(most of the above were redacted, but recreated from other sources)

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 268: Operational Summary No. 00257 for the Soviet 64th IAK dated 13

September 1952 reported, “from 2235 - 0106, the 87th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division fired on 35 B-

29s at altitudes ranging from 6800m to 7500m. Two B-29s were shot down and two B-29s were

damaged. Part of one downed B-29 and 5 corpses were found...The search continues.”

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

26

Current Status

Evidence suggests that the Soviet records are describing the loss of USAF B-29 No. 44-86343

with the above mentioned crew. The Russian side of the Commission has been asked to account for the

disposition of the five corpses and provide any identification found at the crash site as well as

subsequent search reports.10 To date, no additional information has been provided.

10 Moscow Weekly Report dated 5 July 1995

 

F-86  18 November 1952 LT JACK TURBERVILLE

Summary of Incident. On 18 November 1952 at 1600 hours, a flight of four F-86s departed

Suwon Air Base, Korea for a combat patrol mission over the Chongchong River, North Korea. During

the return flight, LT Turberville radioed that he was having difficulty with his oxygen. The message was

somewhat garbled and appeared to end abruptly. His plane was then observed to nose down sharply

and disappear into an overcast. Subsequent search of the area failed to reveal any trace of the missing

officer or his aircraft.

Personnel Involved.

TURBERVILLE, Jack, LT MIA

Archival Records

Russian. The Russian side has provided to the U.S. side several interrogation reports of

American POWs. According to the Russians, the interrogations were conducted by the Koreans or

Chinese and the information was then forwarded to Soviet advisors. When questioned about personnel

losses, a former POW stated LT Turberville was presumed to have died due to a malfunction of his

oxygen system.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Current Status

The statement in the Russian document is consistent with USAF records. Both sides of the

USRJC agree that there is a high probability that LT Turberville perished.

 

 

B-29  12 January 1953 

Summary of Incident. was one of the 14 member crew of a B-29 shot

down on 12 January 1953. The aircraft was engaged by an estimated 12 aircraft approximately 20

miles east of Uiju before it disappeared from the radar scope. According to U. S. records, “On 22

January 1953, Peking radio reported that all but three of the crew had been captured, those three

having been killed. Only Colonel Arnold and Captain Vaadi...were mentioned as having been

captured.”

Personnel Involved.

Unaccounted for:

MIA

MIA

MIA

Accounted for:

ARNOLD, John K. COL RMC

BENJAMIN, Harry, A1C RMC

BAUMER, William, MAJ RMC

BROWN, Howard, TSG RMC

BROWN, Wallace, LT RMC

BUCK, John W., LT RMC

KIBA, Steve E, A1C RMC

LLEWELLYN, Elmer, CPT RMC

SCHMIDT, Daniel, A2C RMC

THOMPSON, John W. RMC

57

VAADI, Eugene CPT RMC

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 37-23: A high level correspondence states, “according to the report from MGB

USSR advisor in China, 9 crew members of an aircraft from the 91st Reconnaissance Detachment,

American Strategic Aviation, which was shot down in the area of An’dun on 12 January 53, were taken

prisoner. The chief of communication services and supply, Colonel EHNNOT (Arnold) and staff officer

of operational reconnaissance service Major BAUL (Baumer) were also on the aircraft...” The eleven

crew members (nine plus Arnold and Baumer) that were mentioned as having been captured were

confirmed as POWs and subsequently repatriated.

The Russian side has provided to the U.S. side 30 sets of documents containing information on

POWs. Some of the documents are full interrogation reports while others are summaries or lists.

Nevertheless, the entire batch of documents is referred to as the “interrogation reports”. This document

is entitled “Register of POWs”. It lists brief biographical data on the eleven members of the crew who

were captured. The end comment on the document confirms that the remaining three crew members,

, , and , were reported as having been killed in the crash.

U.S. USAF records as mentioned above in summary.

Current Status

is mentioned in three independent sources as having perished in the crash - U.S.

reports, Peking reports and Soviet reports. Unless there are adequate grounds or subsequent

information that challenges the veracity of these reports, the evidence implies that

perished in the crash.

 

F-84  12 April 1953   LT LEONARD DE LUNA

Summary of Incident. On 12 April 1953, LT de Luna took off on a single aircraft night

interdiction combat mission at 1951 hours. His F-84 was reported over target area YD 2488. His

radar blip was lost from the scope at 2042 hours. Another aircraft in the target area observed two

bomb blasts followed by a third larger explosion approximately 40 minutes later.

Personnel Involved.

DE LUNA, Leonard, LT MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 261: Operational Summary Number 102 from the 64th IAK in Andung for 12

April 1953 states, “at 1604, eight MiG 15s from the 913th IAP (led by Captain Semenov) flying in the

Bikhen region at 500m altitude, engaged four F-84s. One pilot, Captain Semenov, fired and shot down

one F-84 at a distance of 800 m on the target’s rear aspect.”

U.S. According to USAF records, two F-84s were lost on 12 April 1953. The one above

piloted by LT de Luna and the other piloted by . Both these individuals are listed as

MIA.18

Current Status

Russian Operational Summary Number 102 most likely refers to one of these two incidents.

Unfortunately, the report does not contain enough details to narrow it down to one. Moreover, the

Russian report does not state the fate of the pilot of the shot down F-84. In any case, the loss of at

least one F-84 on 12 April 1953 is confirmed by this Russian document. The possibility exists that this

may have been LT Leonard de Luna’s aircraft.

18 According to Paul Cole, the Soviet records appear to be more consistent with the loss of .

However, based on the documents available to the U.S. , it is our assessment that the Russian data is

inconclusive.

 

F-84  12 April 1953

Summary of Incident. On 12 April 1953 at 0630 hours, the F-84 piloted by

“went into a bomb run over the target. Approximately two seconds after the explosion of his released

bomb, an additional explosion was observed approximately 200 feet ahead of the bomb burst. Search

of the area revealed burning wreckage of what appeared to be a crashed aircraft. No parachute or sign

of life was observed.”

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 261: Operational Summary Number 102 from the 64th IAK in Andung for 12

April 1953 states, “at 1604, eight MiG 15s from the 913th IAP (led by Captain Semenov) flying in the

Bikhen region at 500 m altitude, engaged four F-84s. One pilot, Captain Semenov, fired and shot

down one F-84 at a distance of 800 m on the target’s rear aspect.”

U.S. According to USAF records, two F-84s were lost on 12 April 1953. The one above

piloted by and the other piloted by LT de Luna (see the case study of LT de Luna for

details). Both individuals are listed as MIA.63

Current Status

Russian Operational Summary Number 102 most likely refers to one of these two incidents.

Unfortunately, the report does not contain sufficient details to narrow it down to one. Moreover, the

Russian report does not state the fate of the pilot of the shot down F-84. In any case, the loss of at

least one F-84 on 12 April 1953 is confirmed by this Russian document. The possibility exists that this

may have been aircraft.

63 According to Paul Cole, the Soviet records appear to be more consistent with the loss of .

However, based on the documents available to the U.S., it is our assessment that the Russian data is

inconclusive.

 

 

F-86  12 April 1953    LT ROBERT FRANK NIEMANN 53

Summary of Incident. On 12 April 1953, LT Niemann departed Kimpo Air Base as the

number four pilot in a flight of four F-86 aircraft on an escort mission along the Sui Ho Reservoir, North

Korea. Due to bad weather, the planes being escorted were forced to return to base. Nevertheless,

LT Niemann’s flight continued its patrol, but separated into two elements. Enemy aircraft were

encountered by LT Niemann and his wing man and during the ensuing action he was heard to say,

“Here he comes again.” No further transmission was received from LT Niemann. Repeated attempts

to contact him were to no avail and an air search of the area revealed no trace of him or his plane.

Personnel Involved.

NIEMANN, Robert Frank, LT MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 16: LT Niemann’s name appears on a list of 59 names compiled by the

Russians entitled, List of United States Air Force Personnel, Shot Down in Aerial Combat or by Anti-

Aircraft Artillery During Military Operations in Korea and Transited Through an Interrogation Point. Of

the 59 names, two are duplicates and one is a non-American. The majority of the 56 U.S. servicemen

on this list have been repatriated. LT Niemann is one of the five from this list who is still “unaccounted

for.” The Russians subsequently provided the U.S. side with the documents that the list of 59 was

based upon. They have referred to these documents as interrogation reports. However, in some cases,

the “interrogation” document was not actually an interrogation report but a list of personal effects. The

Russian explanation for this is that in several cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents

(i.e., ID card, ration card, etc.) found intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an

interrogation point for processing. There is little reason to doubt this statement, as it is common practice

in the U.S. and NATO militaries as well. Entry # 49 on this list states, “12 April 1953...LT Robert

Niemann...Pilot perished...”

53 The spelling of the name Niemann is consistent throughout this summary. It should be noted, however,

that his name has been spelled several different ways in U.S. and Russian records. (Neiman, Naiman,

Najmann, etc.)

97

TFR 76-34: This document is a list of personal effects entitled, “Inventory of Pilot’s Documents

of an F-86 Aircraft of the 334th AA, 4th Air Group, 2LT Robert Niemann, Shot Down in Aerial

Combat with a MiG-15 on 12 April 1953 in the Region South - West of Siodzio. Pilot Killed.”

TFR 261: Operational Summary Number 102 of the Soviet 64th IAK for 12 April 1953

mentions several aircraft that were engaged and shot down on that day. Unfortunately, it is not possible

to ascertain from the Russian record which Soviet pilot shot down LT Niemann on that date.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

Personal Accounts

In 1992, a TFR contractor, Paul Cole, interviewed Viktor Bushuyev, a retired Soviet Colonel.

During a discussion about the interrogation of crew members of a B-29, Bushuyev stated that at first

two of the crew members were unwilling to talk but three days later “Niemann” wrote down answers.

According to the notes from the interview, this was a misunderstanding. The interviewer immediately

questioned the name. Bushuyev replied he was referring to Arnold, not Niemann 54. The Russian side

of the Commission has also affirmed that it was Arnold and not Niemann. The Russian side of the

Commission has steadfastly maintained that only LT Niemann’s personal effects transited an

interrogation site.

Current Status

Based on the documents we received from the Russians, both sides of the USRJC agree that

there is a high probability the LT Robert Niemann died in the crash.

 

 

F-84  3 May 1953    LT CHARLES HARKER

Summary of Incident. On 3 May 1953 LT Harker was flying in an F-84 “on a night intruder

mission. At approximately 2105 hours, he made his last radio contact. Shortly after his last call, LT

Harker faded from the radar scope. The area was searched but no wreckage could be established.”

Personnel Involved.

HARKER, Charles, LT MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 16: LT Harker’s name appears on a list of 59 names compiled by the Russians

entitled List of United States Air Force Personnel, Shot Down in Aerial Combat or by Anti-Aircraft

Artillery During Military Operations in Korea and Transited Through an Interrogation Point. Of the 59

names, two are duplicates and one is a non-American. The majority of the 56 U.S. servicemen on this

list have been repatriated. LT Harker is one of the five from this list who is still “unaccounted for”. The

Russians subsequently provided the U.S. side with the documents that the list of 59 was based upon.

They have referred to these documents as interrogation reports. However, in some cases, the

“interrogation” document was not an interrogation report per se, but a list of personal effects. The

Russian explanation for this is that in several cases where the pilot perished, those personal documents

(i.e. ID card, ration card etc.) found intact at the crash site were gathered and sent through an

interrogation point for processing. There is little reason to doubt this statement as it is common practice

in the U.S. and NATO militaries as well. Entry #48 on the list states, “4 May 1953...2LT Charles A.

Harker.”

TFR 76-33: This document is entitled “ Inventory of Documents from 2LT Charles A. Harker

from the 311th AS 58th Fighter-Bomber Group. Service No. AO 2224102 Shot Down at Night in

Aerial Combat with a MiG 15 4 May 1953.” This is a one page document listing the personal effects of

LT Harker such as ID card, ration card, red cross card, driver’s license, etc. Unfortunately, there is no

mention as to the disposition of the pilot or his remains.

U.S. USAF records as stated above in summary.

55

Current Status

The Russian side of the Commission maintains that LT Harker perished in the crash and that

only his personal effects transited an interrogation point. There is insufficient evidence on which to base

any conclusions. The Russian side has been asked to provide any information regarding this incident.

To date, there has been no additional information.

 

F-84  16 July 1953

Summary of Incident. On 16 July 1953, was the number four pilot in a flight of four

F-84s which departed Taegu Air Base, Korea on an interdiction mission in the Sinanju-Anju area of

North Korea. As the flight was leaving the target area, radioed that his aircraft had been hit.

Another call from was heard which stated, “I’m getting out.” This was the last transmission

heard from . The remainder of the flight circled the area for approximately 25 minutes but saw

no sign of , a parachute, or wreckage of an aircraft.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 138-235: TFR 138 is a 300 page document passed to the U.S. side of the

Commission from the Russians. It contains various reports from units of the Soviet 64th Fighter Aviation

Corps such as shoot down reports, operational summaries, and search reports. These documents are

lacking chronological continuity. In some cases, entire months are missing. Page 235 is a report dated

18 July 1953. The report refers to an F-80 that was apparently shot down on 17 July 1953. The

significant statement in this report is the second paragraph which states, “During the search for the

parachutist who went down on 16 July 53, ...(unrelated info. follows).” We do not have the actual

Soviet report from 16 July 1953. Nothing more is mentioned about the parachutist.

U.S. was the only Air Force loss suffered on 16 July 1953. The statement in the

Russian document tracks with the circumstances recorded in the U. S. records.

Current Status

Based on the comparison of the Russian and U.S. documents, we believe there is significant

evidence was successful in his attempt to bail out of the aircraft. However, there is no

subsequent information that mentions the fate of . Whether he survived the jump or not is

129

unknown. The Russians have been asked to provide the report from 16 July 1953 and any other

relative documents. To date, no additional information has been provided.

 

 

F-86  20 July 1953

Summary of Incident. On 20 July 1953 was on a mission to attack the Yang Ni

Dong bridge complex at Sinanju. Another pilot on the same flight stated, “I observed

F-86 receive a direct hit by AA and explode. I observed the right wing of the aircraft fall

away engulfed in flame and other smaller pieces of the aircraft falling around a large mass that appeared

to be the fuselage...I observed what appeared to be the fuselage hit the north bank of the river but

observed no parachute.” The serial number of F-86 was 52-4469 and it crashed at YD

241890.

Personnel Involved.

MIA

Archival Records

Russian. TFR 323: The following information was found in a report written by a Russian search

and rescue team from Field Post No. 77970. “On 19 July 1953, we received an assignment to conduct

a search for an aircraft shot down by AA on 19 July 1953. We learned from the local inhabitants that

at approximately 1900 hours (Korean time) an enemy aircraft engulfed in flames appeared from a

northerly direction at low altitude and fell into the river 40-50 meters from the shore. When we arrived

at the sight, we saw the aircraft. The nose section had sunk and approximately one and a half meters of

the tail section was above the water. We swam up to the plane and saw that it was an F-86. On the

tail section in big black numbers was written No. 24629.”

U.S. The aircraft with the exact number mentioned in the Russian document 24629 (52-4629)

belonged to an aircraft that was operational until September 1955-over two years after the Korean

War. The following is a list of all the F-86 serial numbers that were lost in July 1953:

F-86E 51-2756 F-86E 51-2824

F-86E 52-2836 F-86F 52-4368

F-86F 52-4469 F-86F 52-4491

117

Although none of the numbers match exactly, only one serial number has all the elements of the

one mentioned in the Russian document. This information has been recorded from English on the burnt

aircraft, to Korean and finally to Russian. It was common practice not to display the first number of the

production year on the tail. The actual number displayed would have been No. 24469. Therefore, the

numbers mentioned in both documents only differ by one numeral. It is highly likely that this number

was mistakenly recorded in the Russian document.

Furthermore, the pilot of the F-86 with the s/n 52-4469 was . The circumstances

in both the U.S. account and the Russian account of the shoot down of are almost identical. A

sketch of the crash site accompanied the Russian document. The location of the crash was the same in

both the U.S. and Russian versions.

Current Status

The similarities outweigh the few discrepancies that exist between the two documents. It has

been our experience in the past that dates, times and serial numbers may be off by a small margin.

Hence, based on the comparison of the two documents, we believe there is significant evidence that the

aircraft found by the Russians was piloted by . There was, unfortunately, no

mention as to the disposition of the pilot in the Russian document.

 

 

TRANSFER OF AMERICAN POWs TO THE SOVIET UNION

The U.S. side of the Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs has collected a significant amount

of information that suggests that there is a high probability that during the Korean War American POWs

were transferred from Korea to the Soviet Union.

While information in support of this assessment that Americans were transferred is incomplete

and sometimes ambiguous, it is, nevertheless, highly suggestive. Indeed, when viewed in a broad

context, one can see a consistent pattern of events such that there is a high probability that some

transfers took place.

The notion that American POWs were sent to the Soviet Union was articulated in a preliminary

1993 study produced by the Defense POW/MIA Office and titled The Transfer of U.S. Korean War

POWs to the Soviet Union.  (This study is often popularly called “The 77 Page Report)

The primary goal of the report was to show the Russians that a body of information exists

suggesting that the Soviets had taken American POWs to the Soviet Union. The U.S. believed that

once confronted with the evidence, albeit circumstantial, the Russians could no longer lightly dismiss

American suggestions that the transfers took place.

The report succeeded in this goal. The Russians publicly went on record stating that the

possibility of the transfer of American POWs could not be dismissed. The Russians did not confirm

such transfers, but they did move away from an adamant denial of the possibility.

The 1993 Transfer report tied together disparate sources to suggest initially that hundreds, if not

thousands, of POWs could have been taken to the USSR. The report reviewed numerous sources of

information. It was, however, a tentative report because time prohibited a close and careful assessment

of all the data then available. Over the past three years, U.S. analysts have analyzed the data collected,

compared it with other, newer data, and refined its analysis. In the last several years, the information in

support of the transfer question has grown stronger. However, the data does not support the notion

that “hundreds” of Americans were transferred to the Soviet Union. Rather it suggests that perhaps only

thirty to forty were transferred. The evidence in support of this conclusion is detailed later in this report.

 

Soviet Recollections

Information suggesting that American POWs were sent to the Soviet Union can be divided into

three categories. The first is recollections of former Soviet officers, soldiers, and citizens who played a

role in the transfer of American POWs to the Soviet Union. As a group, these individuals are the most

persuasive sources. Although the recollections of some have been clouded by the passage of years,

their fundamental thrust and outline remains consistent. Especially impressive is the fact that these men

did not know one another. Yet, they have independently come forward of their own volition to offer

their unique piece of the story. It should be noted that these sources are people who held respected

and responsible positions in the Soviet military and civil society.

Since the original publication of The Transfer report, U.S. analysts have interviewed additional

figures, re-interviewed others, and analyzed still more documents. The most striking development since

the publication of “The Transfer” is that there is now testimony by the former commander of Soviet

forces in Korea (as recounted in the notes of an interviewing Russian journalist) that American POWs

were sent to the Soviet Union. Perhaps even more compelling is the testimony of a former Soviet

sergeant who claims he saw American POWs in a hospital in the Soviet Far East.

General Georgi Lobov, the senior Soviet commander in Korea, not long before his death

recounted to a Russian journalist that he knew that at least thirty to forty American POWs were sent to

the Soviet Union (see Appendix on General Lieutenant Georgi Ageyevich Lobov for additional details).

Sergeant Vladimir Trotsenko, a former Soviet NCO, was in 1951 in a hospital in the Soviet Far

East. His hospital bed was placed outside a room that held four injured American flyers. The details of

Trotsenko’s testimony are compelling and point to the presence of American servicemen within the

borders of the Soviet Union (see Appendix on Sergeant Vladimir Trotsenko for additional details).

The testimony of these two men is buttressed by the recollections of two retired Soviet colonels.

Colonel Pavel Derzskii recounted that there was a standing order to send all captured pilots to the

Soviet Union. He also claims that in response to orders from his superiors, he had an assistant arrange

the transfer of a captured American/British intelligence agent, an American pilot, and an American

general to the Soviet Union (see Appendix on Colonel Pavel Derzskii for additional details).

Yet, another retired colonel, Gavril I. Korotkov, recounted how he interrogated American

POWs on the territory of the Soviet Union. Moreover, he described how the MGB would have

handled American POWs both during the transfer phase and later when they were being interrogated in

the Soviet Union65 (see Appendix on Colonel Gavril Korotkov for additional details).

Pavel Umnyashkin, an aircraft mechanic in Andung during the Korean War, claims that a

captured American pilot spoke before an assembly of Soviet servicemen. The American serviceman

supposedly said, “I no longer believe that the Soviets are the beasts they have been portrayed to be.”

The American was then, according to Umnyashkin, flown to the Soviet Union.

Colonel Nikolay Belyakov told a Commission investigator that an American pilot was captured

when his F-86 was forced down. The American was sent to Moscow, according to Belyakov,

“because Stalin wanted to speak with him”. Moreover, Colonel Ivan Kozhedub, a Soviet regimental

commander at the time, interrogated the American who told the colonel “he wanted to go to Moscow.”

In another case, Nikolai Kazersky, a former gulag inmate and decorated Soviet soldier, told of

meeting an American flyer in the gulag during the Korean War (see Appendix on Nikolai Kazerskii for

additional details).

A former Chinese officer Shu Ping Wa (also spelled Ping Hwa Xu) recounted that in 1951 he

turned over three captured American flyers to Soviet officers. As befitting a bureaucracy, the Russians

provided the Chinese with “hand receipts” for the American flyers.

Yurii Klimovich, a design engineer at the Sukhoi Design Bureau, recounted that a senior

colleague told him that a captured American F-86 pilot lectured Soviet design engineers on the

65 It should be noted that Colonel Korotkov’s testimony has changed over time. In a 1994

appearance before the Joint Commission, he would not venture beyond hearsay testimony.

142

capabilities and handling characteristics of an F-86. The pilot was allegedly held in the Lubyanka prison

and was occasionally driven to the design works for technical discussions with the engineers.

Valentin Konstantinovich Pak, although he did not have direct contact with American POWs,

was a highly placed official in the North Korean government. He became First Deputy Foreign Minister

of the newly independent North Korea although he was technically a Soviet citizen. Valentin Pak

recounted to U.S. investigators that during the Korean War a Chinese foreign service officer named Lu

told him that American POWs were sent to the Soviet Union via China during the Korean War.

 

U.S. Intelligence Reports

U.S. intelligence reports constitute the second type of information. Throughout the Korean War

and for several years afterwards, there were, according to one American colonel, “hundreds of prisoner

reports”.66 One such report was by a Russian railroad worker who recounted seeing POWs passing

from China to the Soviet Union at a small border station.67

Reports such as these were so common, the American intelligence community in the early 1950s

gave high priority to the collection of information on Americans held in the Soviet Union and behind the

“Iron Curtain”. By the mid-1950s a high level Inter-Agency Committee on Americans Held in the

Communist Countries was founded.

The U.S. Government took these reports seriously. Indeed, John Foster Dulles, then U.S.

Secretary of State, instructed the American ambassador in Moscow to present the Soviet Foreign

Ministry an Aide-Memoire that said in part, “The United States Government has recently received

reports which support earlier indications that American prisoners of war who had seen action in Korea

have been transported to the Soviet Union.”68

Soviet Technology Demands and Central Policy Direction

66 Statement by LTC Phillip Corso, USA, Ret. to Task Force Russia, 23 February 1993, “Bridging

the Gap - 40 Years, 1952-1992” and video tape interview of LTC Corso conducted with Task Force

Russia on 23 February 1993.

67 Foreign Service Dispatch, Amcongen Hong Kong, Desp. No. 1716, 23 March 1954.

The third type of information documents the Soviet demand for foreign technology and

expertise. In the late 1940s through the 1950s, the Soviet Union saw itself in a desperate race to

develop its scientific/technological base. The Soviet leaders placed a great deal of emphasis on

developing nuclear weapons, high performance aircraft, and rockets.69 Since the Soviet Union had lost

many of its best young minds in the Second World War, it was woefully short of scientists.

Consequently, General Colonel Serov, then a senior NKVD official, ordered Soviet intelligence

personnel to develop lists of German scientists who “worked in the past at design offices and research

institutes on jet technology”.70

Not long afterwards, the NKVD began kidnapping German scientists and sending them to the

Soviet Union to work in Soviet design bureaus on aircraft and rockets.71 This need for German

scientists suggests the need for other Westerners with technological knowledge.

Closely related to documents that demonstrate the Soviet Union’s acute need for technology are

documents that provide insight into the thinking of the senior Soviet leadership. A document that

records the minutes of a meeting between Joseph Stalin and Cho En-Lai is the most revealing.

Stalin: “Concerning the proposal that both sides temporarily withhold twenty percent of the

prisoners of war and that they return all of the remaining prisoners of war - the Soviet delegation will not

touch this proposal and it remains in the reserve for Mao Tse-Tung.”

This exchange clearly indicates that the Soviets and Chinese actively discussed the idea of holding back

POWs.

68 Aide Memoire (No. 947) from U.S. Embassy Moscow to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, 5 May

1954

69 David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy 1939-1956

(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994)

70 Irina Shcherbakova, “NKVD Hostage” in The Moscow News, No. 35, 27 August 1993

71 Aldona Volynskaya, a former NKVD operative, described one such kidnapping: “Late at night we

drove up to some house got off the truck. A German and his wife were inside the house. We offered

him a paper saying that he wants to go to the USSR of his own free will, which he must sign...The

officer, Melnik, was holding a pistol. The German trembles and signs. That is the way specialists

were taken to our country.” from Irina Shcherbakova, “NKVD Hostage” in The Moscow News,

No. 35, 27 August 1993.

 

As has already been discussed, these three disparate types of information do not prove that

American POWs were taken to the Soviet Union. However, when taken together and viewed as a

whole, the information strongly suggests that the probability is high that transfers took place. But this still

begs the key question, if the transfers took place, how many American POWs were sent to the Soviet

Union?

Transfer of Only Thirty to Forty POWs: General Lobov’s statement to a Russian journalist that

possibly only thirty to forty Americans POWs were transferred to the Soviet Union seems compelling to

the U.S. side. It seems unlikely to the U.S. side that thousands or hundred were transferred.

This assessment is based first on statements by people who would have been knowledgeable of

the transfer. Second, it is based on a macro-analysis of the number of missing Americans.

Also a former high ranking KGB official told a U.S. Government contractor during an unofficial

discussion that “the number of Americans taken to the USSR was quite small, 25 or 30 or so.”72

The information provided by these two men is buttressed by an analysis conducted by an U.S.

government contractor who analyzed a list of 8,140 Americans missing in action from the Korean

War.73 He discovered that most of the missing in action cases are really BNR [Body Not Recovered]

cases. When a serviceman is listed as missing in action - body not recovered, it does not necessarily

mean that the serviceman in question survived. Friends and comrades may have seen him fall and

perhaps even buried him in a hasty grave. But because no remains were ever returned, the serviceman

was listed as MIA-BNR.

Consequently, when he examined all 8,100 cases of American MIAs, he was able to eliminate

5,945 cases as BNR cases rather than true missing in action cases, leaving by his conclusion 2,195

cases of soldiers missing in action - body not recovered who theoretically could have gone to the Soviet

Union. And no doubt, this number would be significantly smaller if one takes into consideration the

72 Paul Cole, POW/MIA Issues: Volume 1 - The Korean War (Santa Monica, California: Rand

Corporation, National Defense Institute, 1944), p 183; the high level KGB source requested

anonymity.

73 Ibid., pp. 182-183.

145

lethality of the battlefield, if not Korean War era POW camps. Bombs and artillery exploding near a

person cause the virtual disintegration of a soldier. Few if any distinguishable body parts can be found.

As for POW camps, men died by the hundreds, victims of exposure, malnutrition, sickness, and by

North Korean hands during so-called death marches to, and between, POW camps.

It is not possible to say with precision what proportion or percentage of the 2,195 missing are

victims of catastrophic aircraft crashes or the nearby explosion of an artillery shell. But to the degree

that recent conflicts are an indicator, the number is high.

The statements by General Lobov and the senior KGB official together with a macroassessment

of the number of Americans missing in action, strongly suggest that the number of Americans

possibly sent to the Soviet Union is small, between thirty and forty. Moreover, those taken most

probably were chosen for the technical expertise.

A more detailed discussion of the information passed on by various Russian citizens is provided

in the following appendices. Also included in these appendices is a discussion of 262 interrogations of

Americans supposedly conducted under the auspices of the Soviets as well as a discussion of the role of

the Soviet security services with American POWs.

146

Appendix A: Vladimir Aleksandrovich Trotsenko

Appendix B: General Lieutenant Georgi Ageyevich Lobov

Appendix C: Colonel Gavril Ivanovich Korotkov

Appendix D: Colonel Pavel Grigorevich Derzskii

Appendix E: Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kazersky

Appendix F: Dr. Valentin Konstantinovich Pak

Appendix G: Unraveling the Mystery of the 262 Interrogations

Appendix: H: The Soviet Security Services and American POWs

147

VLADIMIR ALEKSANDROVICH TROTSENKO

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Trotsenko is a sixty-seven year old pensioner and former Soviet Army

sergeant. In the early 1950s when he was still in the Soviet Army, he served as an aircraft mechanic for

C-47 aircraft. He was assigned to the aviation transport regiment of the 99th Airborne Division.

Although the Division was based at Manziva, Chernigovka, Sergeant Trotsenko was assigned to an air

base near the village of Starosysoyevka. While not a paratrooper as such, Sergeant Trotsenko made

airborne jumps.

In November 1951, while on a training exercise, Sergeant Trotsenko injured his leg. He was

sent to Hospital 404 in the town of Novosysoyevka in the Primorskiy Krai. Novosysoyevka is a small

village located near the city of Arsenyev. Hospital 404 was not an ordinary hospital. It provided above

average medical care and was normally reserved for aircrew members and officers.74

Hospital 404, according to Vladimir Trotsenko, was a very old rectangular building made of red

brick. Other witnesses later clarified his recollection confirming that the red brick building had existed

on the hospital grounds at the time of Trotsenko’s hospitalization. This building was razed some time

later. He felt certain that it was constructed prior to the Revolution of 1917. Vladimir Aleksandrovich

remembered the hospital as set in a wooded area. Nearby the hospital were the railroad tracks to

Arsenyev.

Because there was a shortage of space, Sergeant Trotsenko was provided with a bed in the

corridor on the second floor of the hospital. (Initially Vladimir Trotsenko said the medical ward was on

the second floor, but he later changed this to the third floor). His bed was next to a room that contained

four Americans.

The Americans were kept in a room that was about 12 x 15 meters with a window on one end

and a door at the other end. The side walls were of solid construction and did not have a door or

window. However, the end with the door was really a lattice of metal bars.

74 R 011207Z Jun 95 FM Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Task Force Russia Meeting

with Vladimir Aleksandrovich Protsenko [Trotsenko]

148

Peering into the room, Sergeant Trotsenko could see five beds parallel to the walls. Just outside

of the door was a desk behind which a guard sat. There was little sense of urgency or security. The

guard was in reality a hospital staff member - an unarmed private detailed to watch the American flyers.

When the guard needed to visit the restroom or eat, he would turn toward Trotsenko, whose bed was

next to the room, and ask him “to keep an eye on the Americans”.

Sergeant Trotsenko could see four patients in the room. Patient Number 1 had some sort of

back injury. His left arm was in a plaster cast. In spite of his back injury, Patient Number 1 was

ambulatory and able to speak. His bed was closest to the wall.

Trotsenko described Patient Number 1 as between 22 and 27 years of age with light color hair,

blue eyes, and slender. He also had a noticeable limp. His height was approximately 1.68 to 1.7

meters.

Although unable to speak each other’s language, the American still managed to communicate.

Based on random words he recognized as well as gestures, Sergeant Trotsenko believes that the

American was from Cleveland and had two children.75

Patient Number 2 was in the bed directly next to Patient Number 1. He was in a prone

position, on his back, unable to leave his bed. His arms were suspended in traction with padding on

each side of his body to keep him from rolling to the right or left.

Endowed with a dark complexion, dark but not black hair, dark eyes, and with a height of

about 1.70 meters, Patient Number 2 was heavy set with a weight of between 70 or 80 kg. He was

also older - at least forty years of age.76

As for Patient Number 3, he was in the bed next to the wall while Patient Number 4 was in the

bed next to the window. Both Patients Number 3 and 4 had bandages on their faces. Patient Number

75 In his 22 June 1995 testimony, Vladimir Trotsenko indicates that it was Patient Number 2 who

had two children.

76 22 June 1995 Interview with Vladimir Trotsenko conducted by Task Force Russia members

Michael Groh and Scott Fellows.

149

3 was about 1.68 meters in height. He showed some signs of life by moving slightly. The face of Patient

Number 4 was burned and most of the time he was unconscious. He was approximately 1.72 m in

height.

There was a fifth American who Sergeant Trotsenko never saw. He had already died. One

day, when Sergeant Trotsenko was able to get around, a hospital worker took him out to the graveyard

near the hospital and showed him a grave where, the hospital orderly said, the American was buried.

Meanwhile, for the fifteen to twenty days he was in the hospital, Sergeant Trotsenko was able

to observe the activity of the Americans and those that visited them.

The flyers were given excellent care. For instance, they ate the same rations as the Soviet

patients. Moreover, the Americans were treated by one of the ablest doctors in the hospital - LTC

Lypachev who at the time was about sixty years of age.77

The Americans were also interrogated regularly by a lieutenant colonel and a captain. The

colonel wore an air force uniform, and he arrived in an “Opel” car, i.e. a car of foreign manufacture.

The captain also wore an air force uniform. During the interrogations, he served as the interrogator. He

arrived at the interrogations in a ľ ton Dodge truck.

The captain evidently spoke English, and it was he who spoke to the four flyers. The lieutenant

colonel was about forty-five years old with medium to tall height - 1.72 meters.

The Americans were interrogated periodically while Trotsenko was in the hospital. The

interrogations generally did not last long and Trotsenko saw no evidence of coercion.

There is one incident, however, that is prominent in Trotsenko’s memory. On one occasion, the

colonel came into the room, he “approached the second bed where the burnt older man was lying, and

he pulled something out from under the sheet from around the neck of this patient. At first, I thought it

was a cross. I did not really know what it was. It was some kind of medallion - a round medallion78.

77 Major Anna Lypacheva, the wife of LTC Lypachev, was an internist assigned to Trotsenko's unit.

78 Presumably this round medallion was a military dog tag or identification tag of the sort used by the

U.S. Navy at the time.

150

He pulled it out, looked at it, and then stuck it back under the sheet. He went around to all of the other

patients and did the same thing. He looked at the medallion on the neck of each patient. He did not

make any comments or say anything. He simply looked and stuck them back under the sheet.”79

Not long after meeting the Americans and while still a patient in the hospital, a hospital worker

led Vladimir Trotsenko to a cemetery where the fifth American was buried. He remembers the hospital

cemetery was only 1.5 to 2 km away from the hospital. Moreover, as he entered the cemetery, the

ground rose in front of him. Trotsenko remembers this because he was still on crutches and had some

difficulty walking up an incline that ran almost the entire length of the cemetery. There was, he recalls, a

wooden fence, apparently constructed to keep out farm animals. The fence formed a corner with the

left side running a ways down the length of the cemetery and the end side extending to the right. The

grave was freshly dug in the far left corner with about 10 to 20 meters of clear ground before reaching

the fence. Further identifying the location of the grave was a steep decline to the left of the grave.80 The

grave was fourth, from left to right, in a row of four graves side by side.

Is Trotsenko a Credible Witness?

The U.S. side of the Joint Commission has come to the conclusion that Trotsenko is a highly

credible witness. The Commission reached this conclusion after a thorough and exhaustive analysis of

Mr. Trotsenko’s testimony.

Mr. Vladimir Aleksandrovich Trotsenko first came to the attention of the U.S. Russia -Joint

Commission on 24 March 1995. During a routine visit to Khabarovsk by TFR, Anatoly Follin,

Director of the American Business Center in Khabarovsk, passed to the U.S. that a former Soviet

Army sergeant claimed to have seen Americans in a military hospital.

79 Testimony of Vladimir Trotsenko, Twelfth Plenary Session, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on

POW/MIAs, Joint Session/Trotsenko testimony, 28 August 1995, Moscow, Russia

80 R 090550Z Aug 95 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: "JCSD-Moscow Trip to Novosysoyevka

Cemetery, July 23 - August 2, 1995"

151

Vladimir Trotsenko called the American Consulate in Vladivostok after an advertisement in a

local Khabarovsk newspaper caught his eye. The U.S. placed the advertisement and asked the public

to come forward with any information on American servicemen who may have been sent to the Soviet

Union. Remembering his experiences forty-four years ago in the Novosysoyevka Hospital, Vladimir

Trotsenko came forward. Motivated, it appears, only by a sense of public duty.

The U.S. was eager to interview Mr. Trotsenko and did so on 14 May 1995 in his home - a

house that Trotsenko built himself and the very house where he raised two sons and a daughter.

Vladimir Trotsenko’s testimony was so compelling that two days later on 16 May 1995, U.S.

investigators visited the military hospital at Novosysoyevka. The visit only fueled more interest in Mr.

Trotsenko’s recollections. Consequently, on 20 May and again on 22 June 1995 Vladimir

Aleksandrovich was re-interviewed.

During the first visit of the U.S. to the Novosysoyevka Military Hospital, the commander, LTC

Evgeniy Nikolayevich Alsenshka, expressed some doubt about the accuracy of Vladimir Trotsenko’s

testimony.81 For example, LTC Alsenshka noted:

1. The Novosysoyevka Hospital while it is named Hospital Number 404 now was not so named in

1951 /1952.

2. He doubted that there had ever been lattice work or bars in the hospital since it was not a

psychiatric hospital.

3. The hospital was small and unimportant and would not have been used to treat American POWs.

4. There had never been a cemetery on the hospital grounds.

These apparent contradictions in Vladimir Trotsenko’s testimony were pause for some concern.

The U.S. decided to return to the hospital for further investigation. Two MVD officers, Colonel

81 The first visit to the Novosysoyevka Hospital took place on 16 May 1995, the second on 29 June

1995, and the third, which included Mr. Trotsenko, on 26-27 July 1995. For details on the first visit

see R 051140Z Apr 95 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Task Force Russia Trip to

Khabarovsk March 23-24, 1995"

152

Boltkov and LTC Aleksandr Mikhailovich, accompanied the U.S. during this second visit. They met

with LTC Viktor Mikhailovich Aleksandrov, the acting hospital commander. The three Russian officers

raised several points in refutation of Trotsenko’s testimony:82

1. The Novosysoyevka Hospital was built in 1936, nearly two decades after the revolution and not

before the revolution as alleged by Trotsenko.

2. The hospital is “U” shaped and not a simple rectangle.

3. The hospital is not red bricked but plaster covered.

4. The cemetery used by the hospital is 4 to 5 km away with the next nearest cemetery 10-12 km from

the hospital.

The criticism leveled by the Russian officers generated concern to the U.S. Yet, they still found

Vladimir Trotsenko’s testimony compelling. Consequently, in an effort to “get to the bottom” of the

issue, the investigators decided to return to Novosysoyevka, but this time with Vladimir Trotsenko.

On Wednesday, 26 July 1995 after a forty-four year absence, Vladimir Trotsenko returned to

Novosysoyevka. The experience was a revelation to both the Russians and Americans. Indeed, it was

a turning point for it confirmed the acuity of Trotsenko’s memory even after four and a half decades.83

As the TFR team approached the hospital, Vladimir Trotsenko pointed to a spot and indicated

that the path to the cemetery was there. And, indeed, it was, although it was not visible from the road.

The path itself was overgrown and not in general use, but still clearly recognizable. Then in the company

of LTC Aleksandr Mikhailovich Vasilkov, a local MVD officer, Trotsenko walked along the path to the

cemetery - a distance of only about 2 km, not the 4 to 5 km the authorities described.

82 Summary of Vladimir Trotsenko Testimony written by SSG Michael Groh, Task Force Russia,

sent as e-mail message 12 July 1995.

83 R 090550Z Aug 95 FM Amembassy Moscow, Subject: JCSD-Moscow Trip to Novosysoyevka

Cemetery, July 23 - August 2, 1995

153

Two local residents accompanied them along the path to the cemetery. They confirmed that a

fence had once existed along the left side of the cemetery and running east to west. One long time

resident, Aleksei Yakovlevich Lazarenko, said not long after World War II he helped other villagers

build the fence in order to keep animals out the cemetery.

Based on Trotsenko’s earlier description, the grave of the alleged American and the four graves

next to it were in the northern part of the cemetery. Moreover, these four graves laid north to south and

not east to west as is the Russian Orthodox tradition. Once inside the boundaries of the cemetery, the

U.S. found an area in the northern section which matched Trotsenko’s recollections.

A long time resident of the area volunteered additional pertinent information. He stated that

soldiers who died while at the hospital, who had no relatives to claim the remains, were buried in

unmarked graves in the northern end of the cemetery. The area corresponded to where Trotsenko said

the American was buried.84

Next, the U.S. visited the hospital accompanied by a local policeman - Konstantin Mikhailovich

Maksimov. LTC Viktor Mikhailovich Aleksandrov, the hospital commander, was hostile and

argumentative. Once again, he pointed out that the hospital was stucco and not red brick. Also he

maintained that two large wings extending from the main building had always been a part of the hospital,

thus contradicting Trotsenko’s description.

This inconsistency was resolved during a later visit to the hospital grounds by the U.S., Colonel

Vasilkov, and Vladimir Trotsenko. During the visit, the group met Proskovya Fyoderovna who was

working in the hospital laundry. Fyoderovna, who had lived in Novosysoyevka since 1947 and had

worked in the hospital since 1957, stated that there had previously existed a red brick building on the

hospital grounds. This building was separate from the main hospital building and contained a

barakamero85 and vertushka.86 She remembered these facts because as a young woman she had seen

84 Aleksei Yakovlevich Lazarenko, R 090550Z Aug 95 FM Amembassy Moscow

85 A barekamero is a pressure chamber used to familiarize pilots with the various effects of pressure

changes.

154

how the pilots were spun around in the vertushka.87 Fyoderovna’s earlier testimony is highly

suggestive.88 It is unclear why she later wavered in her testimony. Whether she felt pressure to do so

from Popov’s presence or whether she honestly changed her mind, is not clear. But even Popov’s

recollections do not contradict the fact that there may have been a barekamera on the hospital grounds

in the early 1950s. The barekamera that Popov worked at was not installed until 1956.

In addition to interviews with Fedorova and Popov, the U.S. team was given a guided tour of

the hospital. The U.S. investigators noticed several other interesting items:

· In places where the exterior stucco had fallen away, it was clear the building was made of red brick.

· The manner in which the exterior walls were joined, i.e. not interlaced and uneven suggests that

wings were added later.

The U.S. met with Mikhail Ivanovich Vasechko, a retired driver at the hospital. He started

work at the Novosysoyevka Hospital in 1942 and worked there until his retirement. He pointed out

that during World War II the hospital was called 307 Military Hospital, but after the war was changed

to 404 Military Hospital - the number that Trotsenko remembers it as.

Next, through the good graces of Colonel Vladimir Giorgiovich Raduzin, Deputy Chief of

Correctional Affairs, U.S. investigators were able to meet with Colonel Aleksandr Pavlovich

Lavrentsov, a KGB (now SVR) official who had been helpful to the U.S. in the past.

86 A vertushka is a large wheel in which a person is spun to experience different “G” forces.

87 R 3411308Z Oct 95 FM Amembassy Moscow, Subject: Joint Commission Expedition to

Novosysoyevka Cemetery, 23 - 26 October 1995

88 In March 1996, Joint Commission investigators interviewed Vasily Ivanovich Popov. In 1956 he

installed and operated a barekamera on the grounds of Military Hospital 404. According to Popov, the

barekamera he helped install - model SBK 48 - was placed in a wooden building and not a brick one.

Later when Proskovye Fyoderovna was re-interviewed in the presence of Vasily Popov, she agreed

that the barekamera was housed in a wooden building. When asked about her earlier testimony that it

was in a brick building, she said she must have been wrong because “Popov worked there and he

should know.” R 121104Z Apr 96 FM Amembassy Moscow

155

While interviewing Colonel Lavrentsov, U.S. investigators mentioned that Trotsenko said that

the colonel who interrogated the Americans drove a German Opel. Colonel Lavrentsov responded that

after World War II many German cars were confiscated and distributed to MGB and MVD officers for

their use.89

On 27 July 1995, the last day before returning to Moscow, the U.S. members, Vladimir

Trotsenko, and LTC Vasilkov returned to the cemetery for one last look. They came to a mutual

agreement that the most likely spot for the American’s grave is an unmarked grave in the northwest

corner of the cemetery, near where the old fence once stood and with three other graves that lay in a

north to south manner.

What Were The Results?

The trip to Novosysoyevka was revealing. Doubt about the veracity and accuracy of Vladimir

Trotsenko’s testimony disappeared. Even local Russian authorities who had viewed Trotsenko with

great skepticism seemed convinced as to the authenticity of his recollections.

As a result of this trip, the following became clear to all sides:

1. Trotsenko’s description of the cemetery with a wooden fence, a handful of graves lying north to

south, and a short path leading to the cemetery was confirmed.

2. The existence of a “red brick” building with a barekamera in which Trotsenko saw the four

Americans was confirmed on the fourth visit to the hospital grounds.

3. Trotsenko’s description of the hospital in 1951 as a three story, red brick, rectangular hospital was

confirmed.

4. Trotsenko’s recollection of the German “Opel” driven by one of the interrogators was confirmed.

Other aspects of Trotsenko’s testimony have been confirmed by other sources. For example,

Trotsenko recounted how a Soviet colonel, “...pulled something out from under the sheet from around

the neck of this patient...some kind of medallion - a round medallion.” Clearly this was a dog tag or

89 R 090550Z Aug 95 FM Amembassy Moscow

156

military identification tag. 90 Yet, the description of it as a round medallion was confusing. We believed

that American dog tags were rectangular. However, the U.S. Navy Artifacts Historian revealed that

from 1940 until approximately 1956, the U.S. Navy employed round dog tags.

Russian Response

On Monday, 28 August 1995, Vladimir Trotsenko addressed a general session of the U.S.-

Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs. His testimony was moving and convincing. The

Russians made no serious attempt to discredit Trotsenko. Colonel Semin from the National Archives of

the Ministry of Defense, however, did point out that a review of the admission records for Hospital 404

indicated that Sergeant Trotsenko was a patient there from 24 March to 4 May 1951 and not in the

October/November 1951 time frame.

At the end of the 12th Plenum in his closing remarks, General Volkogonov summed up the

Russian position when he publicly stated, “I agree with the remarks of Ambassador Toon that the

witness Vladimir Aleksandrovich Trotsenko is the first witness who displays a sufficient degree of

reliability and honesty.”91

Subsequent Trips

In an effort to find the grave that reputedly contained the remains of the fifth American, the Joint

Commission sent a team of American and Russian investigators out to Novosysoyevka Cemetery for

the period 24 - 26 October 1995.

Working together, American and Russian soldiers commenced digging the first of three pits in

the Novosysoyevka Cemetery on 24 October. Despite the use of modern anthropological methods the

digging was slow and uneventful. Then, towards the end of the day in an effort to square off the left

corner of the pit, one American jumped into the pit. As his boots hit the ground of the pit, they made an

90 Ibid.

91 Closing Remarks - Plenary Session, 12th Plenum of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on

POW/MIA Affairs, 30 August 1995, Moscow, Russia

157

odd sound. The other soldiers noticed this and asked him to jump to the right side of the pit. It then

became apparent to everyone that the sounds were different. Something was under the dirt in the left

corner of the pit.

The next morning the excavation continued. It was soon apparent that the odd sound was

caused by a coffin under the dirt. Further digging uncovered a coffin, but it was not lying north-south as

expected, but east-west. The excavation continued in such a mannner that any graves oriented northsouth

would have been revealed.92

Nevertheless, Russian and American forensic specialists opened the coffin. With respect and

care, they examined the remains. Based on an analysis of the overall condition of the teeth, it was clear

to both countries’ specialists that these were not the remains of an American. Moreover, the lay of the

grave substantiated the conclusion that this was not the area Trotsenko remembered.

The forensic specialists replaced the remains and decided to halt the operation for the present

time. Both the Russians and Americans agreed to seek additional information that would help any future

excavation teams to more precisely locate the graves described by Trotsenko.

Then a few months later, 17 March - 3 April 1996, the Joint Commission sent out another team

of Russian and American investigators. This time the team came with a ground radar set provided by

CILHI.93

As a result of the efforts of the Joint Russian-American team using the ground radar, two graves

buried in a north-south configuration and a third grave which lay in an east-west configuration were

uncovered.

Of the two graves oriented north-south, according to the CILHI anthropologist on the scene,

one contained the remains of an Asian. These remains were returned to the grave. The second set was

92 R 311308Z Oct 95 Fm Amembassy Moscow

93 Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii - a U.S. Army laboratory dedicated to retrieving and

identifying remains.

158

identified as probably the remains of a Caucasian male. The teeth of this unidentified male did not match

the dental records of any of the missing crew members of a 6 November 1951 Navy P2V shot down

by the Soviets. Nevertheless, with Russian permission, a small bone sample was taken for possible

DNA testing. The remains were re-buried and their location carefully noted.

Although the remains of the American reputedly buried in the Novosysoyevka Cemetery could

not be located, the U.S. side of the Joint Commission still places much credibility in Vladimir

Trotsenko’s recollections. The focus of the U.S. side of the Commission has changed from trying to

find the one set of remains said to be in the Novosysoyevka Cemetery to a search for clues on the

names and fates of the four men seen alive in Military Hospital 404.

Conclusions

There are two conclusions that can be drawn from the testimony of Vladimir Trotsenko:

· Vladimir Trotsenko quite probably saw four American servicemen in the Novosysoyevka Hospital

in 1951.

· These four American servicemen did not return to U.S. military control.

While Trotsenko’s testimony requires verification, similar testimony from other witnesses

reinforces his credibility and the possibility that American servicemen were held in the Soviet Union

during the Korean War. The U.S. will continue to investigate these allegations.

159

GENERAL LIEUTENANT GEORGI AGEYEVICH LOBOV

General Lieutenant Georgi Lobov was the commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps in

China/North Korea during the Korean War. As such, General Lobov was the senior Soviet unit

commander in the Theater of Operations. Only Generals Krasovsky, Razuvaev, and Shtykov were

more senior.

From October 1951 until the end of 1952, General Lobov commanded the 64th Fighter

Aviation Corps. It was an enormous command encompassing virtually all the Soviet troops engaged in

combat operations in the Korean Peninsula.94 The 64th Fighter Aviation Corps included not only air

divisions but anti-aircraft and search light divisions as well. It reached its peak strength with 26,000

personnel in 1952.95

Given the political sensitivities surrounding Soviet involvement in the Korean War, the

commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps did not answer to the normal military chain of command.

General Lobov stated it succinctly, “I took my orders directly from Moscow.”96

Below is an extract of an interview conducted with Lobov. It contains that portion of the

interview where Lobov discusses the transfer of American POWs to the Soviet Union. General

Lobov’s seniority, access, and unique command position gave him insight into virtually all aspects of the

war - military operations, intelligence operations, military-civilian relations, etc. Little went on in the

Korean theater of operations that Lobov was not aware of.

Unfortunately, General Lobov passed away a few years ago. However, before his death in

February 1992, he consented to an interview. The person who interviewed him is a native speaker of

94 S. Ruban, "Sovetskie letchiki v nebe korei" This is a short, informal history of the 64th Fighter

Aviation Corps in Korea written by a Russian archival official.

95 Yefim Gordon and Vladimir Rigmant, MiG-15: Design, Development, and Korean War

Combat History (Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers, 1993), p.

120.

96 Jon Halliday, "Secret War of the Top Guns" in The Observer [London], unknown date.

160

Russian and a Russian citizen - Igor Morozov. In 1995, Mr. Morozov provided by the U.S. with a

transcript of his interview with the General.

During the interview, the General discussed the transfer of American POWs to the Soviet

Union:

Question: Were not one-half of the (American) prisoners transferred to Soviet territory?

General Lobov: I don’t have any accurate information about POWs. But I can testify to the

following; I know that in summer 1952 at least 30-40 American POWs were placed in a

separate and closely guarded carriage, attached to a goods train, and sent to the USSR. The

most ‘valuable goods’ on this train was the American pilot of Russian origin Colonel Mahurin -

he was a wing commander in the USAF, and by Soviet standards a ‘wing’ amounts almost to a

division. I know that Mahurin agreed to work with our intelligence people, and he helped us a

lot. In particular, he explained details of the ‘Sabre’, which we were greatly interested in at the

time. We have to presume that the other 30-40 prisoners were also of some value to our

intelligence. They must have been a treasure-trove. I imagine that it was specifically from these

people that the GRU’s remarkable knowledge of our adversary came. If necessary, I could

request from Moscow information on any squadron and that information would be supplied

immediately. Furthermore, it was surprisingly detailed - right down to what brand of whisky the

commander of the squadron preferred, and even what sort of women he preferred - blondes or

brunettes. Incidentally, I know that it was accurate information of this sort, gathered from these

Americans held on Soviet territory, which in 1951 helped us seize a Sikorsky helicopter from

the Americans. This was something Moscow was extremely interested in at the time. You have

to guess that this helicopter helped our military-industrial complex greatly in producing our own

Soviet military helicopter.

That is what I know for certain. As regards the subsequent fate of those 30-40 Americans, I ,

like yourself, can only guess...”

161

Given the political sensitivity of General Lobov’s statement, it is not surprising that controversy

surrounds this statement.

Igor Morozov, the Russian journalist who interviewed General Lobov, did not tape record nor

video tape the interview. Instead, he took detailed notes, and then went back to his office where he

wrote up the interview. Once he reconstructed the interview, he failed, however, to obtain Lobov’s

signature on the transcript verifying the accuracy and authenticity of the interview.

For several years the Lobov interview lay in Morozov’s files. Then in 1994, the prestigious

Russian newspaper Komsomolskaia Pravda published a long article by Igor Morozov on the Korean

War.97 A close reading of Morozov’s article in Komsomolskaia Pravda shows that it follows point-bypoint

the transcript of the Lobov interview. Indeed, the article follows in the same order the issues that

Lobov discussed in his interview. First, he describes the size of his command, then the number of

American aircraft shot down, next the merits of the MiG-15, the POWs issue, background political

issues, etc. Often quotes are taken directly from the transcript.

However, when the POW issue is addressed, the article departs from the Lobov transcript.

Rather than quoting directly that “at least 30-40 American POWs were ... sent to the USSR”, the article

takes a speculative turn. After noting the ability of the GRU to provide details on such matters as the

type of whiskey that American squadron commanders’ drank or their preference for blonde or brunette

women, the article suggests:

“Even if there would have been in the American Army on the Korean Peninsula hundreds of

intelligence agents at work (and it is agreed that there is little probability of this) - even then to

collect such detailed and exhaustive formation for us it would have been hardly possible. In

such a case there remains one plausible explanation as to how the Soviet GRU was so wellinformed

about the enemy - information this complete could only be received from tens or

hundreds of American POWs already on the territory of the Soviet Union. By the way, we

repeat - this is above all only a hypothesis which demands documentary evidence.”

97 Igor’ Morozov, “Koreiskii poluostrov: sckhvatka vnich’iu” in Komsomolskaia Pravda, 16 July

1994, p. 4

162

This passage is very revealing for two reasons. First, the editors of the Komsomolskaia Pravda,

a respected newspaper not known for sensationalism or yellow-journalism, obviously found Morozov’s

interview of Lobov credible otherwise they would have rejected the article for publication.

Second, the Komsomolskaia Pravda article closely followed the form and content of the original

Morozov transcript of the interview. The only deviation from this pattern is when the article addresses

the POW/MIA issue. No doubt realizing the political sensitivity of the issue, the editors dropped

General Lobov’s statement “at least 30-40 American POWs were...sent to the USSR.” In its stead,

the editors replaced Lobov’s direct statement with a more speculative one, that perhaps “tens or

hundreds of American POWs (were) already on the territory of the Soviet Union.”

As a consequence of these two factors, the U.S. side of the KWWG believes that the interview

with General Lobov accurately reflects what the General knew to be the case, i.e. the Soviets indeed

sent some American POWs from Korea to the Soviet Union.

163

COLONEL GAVRIL IVANOVICH KOROTKOV

Colonel Gavril Ivanovich Korotkov is a retired senior Soviet military officer who, while serving

in the Soviet Far East, helped collect intelligence on the morale of U.S. servicemen.

In the first of several interviews with U.S. investigators, Colonel Korotkov related how he had

interrogated two American POWs in Khabarovsk during the Korean War. He also discussed the

system whereby American POWs would be screened in North Korea and selected for further

interrogation in the Soviet Union.98 Later suggesting he had been pressured by Russian authorities,

Colonel Korotkov retracted some of his earlier statements. However, the central core of his testimony

remains consistent, i.e. Americans were interrogated by Soviets and some were taken to the former

Soviet Union.

Gavril Korotkov is a soldier-scholar, a man who has dedicated much of his career to Far

Eastern issues. He has served as a staff member at the Institute U.S. and Canada, Institute of Military

History of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, and is currently at the Ministry of Defense’s Scientific

Research Institute.

He was first introduced to Far Eastern affairs in 1950 upon his graduation from Institute of

Foreign Languages. As a young lieutenant, he was assigned to the Special Analytical Group of the

General Staff reporting to Marshall Rodion Yakovlovich Malinovskiy, then the Commander-in-Chief of

the Far Eastern Military District. Lieutenant Korotkov was a psychological warfare officer.

Lieutenant Korotkov’s responsibility at the time was analyzing the morale of American fighting

men. But such analysis required intelligence on the values, perceptions, and concerns of American

military men and such data was not readily available. Consequently, Korotkov and his colleagues were

eager to interrogate American POWs in order to learn first hand the answers to these vital questions.

Colonel Korotkov asserts that Soviet military specialists were given permission to conduct

interrogations of American POWs. However, these interrogations were conducted in a covert manner.

98 R 241259A August 1992 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA Team Interview with

Colonel Korotkov

164

The Soviet interrogator, for example, would wear a Chinese military uniform. The Soviets were

concerned that open, blatant interrogation of Americans would reveal the level of their involvement in

the Korean War.

While some interrogations of Americans by Soviet officials did take place, the Russians maintain

that such interrogations were prohibited. To stress this point, the Russian side of the commission has

produced several directives signed by senior Soviet officials expressly forbidding the interrogation of

Americans. Nonetheless, Colonel Korotkov remains firm in his statement that the Soviets routinely

conducted interrogations of Americans.

Korotkov described an interrogation system that resembles medical triage methods. The first

stage took place in North Korea. Newly captured Americans would be interrogated. There those

deemed of value due to their technical skills and knowledge would be tagged for further interrogation in

the Soviet Union. Second stage interrogations usually took place in the Soviet Union. Apparently,

during this stage, technical experts would question the Americans in an effort to obtain the most detailed

information possible.

Those Americans selected for interrogation in the Soviet Union would normally be sent to the

Soviet naval base at Pos’yet99. From there, they would be flown to Khabarovsk, where the second

stage interrogations took place.

The NKVD, forerunner of the KGB, maintained control over the American POWs sent to the

Soviet Union. Generally the Soviet military interrogators had only a few hours with the Americans, but

on occasion they had several days in which to interrogate the POWs. After interrogation, the NKVD

would spirit them away to some unknown destination. From this point on, Gavril Korotkov had no

further knowledge of the fate of these American servicemen.

99 The Pos'yet Naval Base is located in the Soviet Union near the tri-border region [China, North

Korea, and the USSR].

165

Colonel Korotkov stated clearly in his first interview with the U.S. that he personally

interrogated two Americans in Khabarovsk. He can not remember precisely the names of the two men.

However, he recalls that one was an Army officer from the 24th Infantry Division.

In a subsequent interview, Colonel Korotkov described the interrogation point as a

pre-detention facility or “KPZ”.100 He would arrive in the morning and the prisoner who was to be

interrogated would already be there. He never saw any Korean or Chinese guards, just Soviet Border

Guards. Gavril Korotkov does remember seeing, however, one female North Korean interrogator at

the facility.

Once they completed the interrogation of a POW, a report would be written and sent on to Far

East Military District Headquarters. Another copy was also sent to Moscow and to the Main Political

Administration’s Seventh Directorate. The reports from the technical group were sent through GRU

channels to Moscow.

Based on the information he obtained from the interrogation of American POWs, Gavril

Korotkov wrote a Psychological Operation (PSYOP) study entitled “Morale of U.S. Service Men in

Korea”. This analytical work outlined the psychological vulnerabilities of American fighting men and

served as a guide to Soviet psychological warfare specialists in the field.

Visit From the Security Services

On 29 September 1992, several members from the U.S. side re-interviewed Colonel

Korotkov. The interview was held at the old Central Committee building - Ilyinka 12.

At the very start of the meeting for all to hear, Colonel Korotkov recounted a late night visit to

his apartment the night before. The visitor came to discuss Korotkov’s forthcoming testimony. What

was said is unknown, but he behaved in such a manner, Korotkov said, as to leave one with the

impression he was from the “special services”, a Russian euphemism for secret police.

100 In Russian kamera predvoritel'nogo zaklyucheniya

166

Korotkov was raised under the old repressive Communist system which was characterized by

late night police visitations. Such a visit by a man who comported himself in the “old manner”, must

have been a source of concern.

By mention of this visit, Colonel Korotkov put the Commission on notice. Henceforth, his

subsequent testimony became tentative, contradictory, and more equivocal. For example, he now said

that American POWs were not held in Kharbarovsk, contradicting what he had said earlier. Rather, the

Americans were held in a mountainous area near where the borders of the Soviet Union, North Korea,

and China meet.101 He could not definitely identify the country because no border marking were

present. However, he suspected that it was in North Korea, or, perhaps, in an unclaimed zone. He

also now claimed that he had been in North Korea whereas earlier he said he had not.

Had Colonel Korotkov simply retracted his earlier statements or amended them consistently,

then his subsequent testimony would have been less troublesome, more understandable. But after

saying in September 1992 that no Americans were taken to Khabarovsk and implying that none were

sent to the Soviet Union, he contradicted himself eighteen months later. In another interview, Korotkov

stated, “Yes, I think I knew then and state now that part of these (American) POWs, a certain group of

them, of course, found themselves in the Soviet Union.”102

Then less than a month later, Gavril Korotkov appeared before a plenary session of the U.S.-

Russia Joint Commission in Moscow. And he again changed the tenor of his testimony.

“In June 1950, I was sent to the Far East for service, to the headquarters of the military

district...You should know, that I had nothing at all to do with prisoners of war...There were

rumors to the effect that prisoners, who could have been Americans, and who could have been

taken to the USSR, were captured. But I never saw them. These were just rumors...I can say

101 R 261132Z Oct 92 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Follow-up Interview with

Colonel Gavril Korotkov

102 BBC interview May 1994

167

it again. I never saw Americans taken to the Soviet Union. I saw U.S. prisoners of war in

China and Korea.”103

Then a month later, in an interview with a South Korean newspaper, Gavril Korotkov, again

reversing himself, is quoted as saying that many South Korean and American captives (from the Korean

War) were sent to POW camps in the Soviet Union and China, with many of the South Koreans going

to camps in Soviet Central Asia.104

Conclusions

The critics point to these contradictions in Korotkov’s testimony as evidence that he is an

unreliable and unstable witness. Furthermore, Korotkov can not provide documentary evidence to

support his earlier statements. Much of what he purports to know is based on hearsay.

Indeed, these are valid criticisms. It is, however, quite possible that many of the shifts in

testimony by Korotkov can be traced to real or imagined intimidation by authorities, especially when he

was requested to testify before official bodies. Nevertheless, Colonel Korotkov has stated and restated

when not in official venues that American POWs were transferred to the Soviet Union.

103 9th Plenary Session of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission, 1 June 1994

104 "Many ROK Prisoners of War Reportedly Sent to Central Asia", R 221237Z Jul 94 Fm FBIS

Seoul KOR

168

COLONEL PAVEL GRIGOREVICH DERZSKII

In September 1993, U.S. team members visited the Kiev War Museum to take photographs of

captured American war equipment. While there, museum officials suggested they contact a Colonel

Derzskii, a World War II and Korean War veteran.

Consequently, on 17 September 1993, the U.S. interviewed Colonel Derzskii in his small Kiev

apartment. He revealed to the U.S. investigators that he helped arranged the transfer of American fliers

from Korea through China to the Soviet Union during the Korean war.105

Colonel Pavel Grigorevich Derzskii is an old man now - born before the First World War in

December 1913. He had a long and distinguished military career.

Pavel Grigorevich Derzskii graduated from the Kiev Infantry School in 1934 and went on to

serve in the Soviet Army through World War II and the Korean War leaving military service only in

mid-1957. During the Second World War he served with Terenty Famich Shtykov - then a Soviet

general officer. Shtykov was a rising star in both military and party circles.

In 1950 Shtykov was both a general-colonel and ambassador to North Korea. More

importantly, he was Stalin’s trusted advisor and his eyes and ears in Korea. As Shtykov was Stalin’s

trusted advisor, Derzskii was Shtykov’s trusted advisor. Colonel Derzskii summarized his relationship

with General Shtykov as, “He trusted me completely. He didn’t trust anyone else. He felt he could

trust me and tell me everything that he couldn’t tell anyone else.”106

For reasons that still are not clear, whether it was Shtykov’s intervention or just the caprice of

Soviet military bureaucracy, Colonel Derzskii in early 1949 found himself and his family in a GRU villa

near Moscow - held virtually incommunicado. Then in March 1949, he received orders to report to

105 R 271401Z September 1993 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Trip to Kiev, 14-

18 September 1993

106 Transcript September 1993 Interview with Colonel Derzskii

169

North Korea and to the chief of staff of the 4th Infantry Division.107 His family, meanwhile, moved to a

settlement in China not far from the Korean border.

One of Colonel Derzskii’s first duties was to write the Operations Order (OPORD) for the 4th

Division’s role in the attack on South Korea. It was an act that Derzskii considered shameful, but one

he executed nonetheless. Later, he encouraged an aide to provide a copy to U.N. officials in order to

unmask the Soviet Union’s dishonesty in the war. As a consequence, Colonel Derzskii was denied a

promotion to general and transferred to lesser duties.

In the course of several interviews with Colonel Derzskii, he made three points. First, he helped

arrange the transfer of a captured U.N. intelligence agent to the Soviet Union. Next, he said there was

a standing order to send all captured F-84 pilots, later changed to all pilots, to the Soviet Union. Third,

and finally, he said he helped arrange the transfer of General Dean, the captured commander of the U.S.

24th Infantry Division to the Soviet Union.

Colonel Derzskii was unable to provide many details on the U.N. intelligence agent other than

his name being Andreiko. Derzskii was not certain of the intelligence agent’s nationality , but believed

he was either British or American. Andreiko was captured in Seoul in June of 1950. Based on the

nature and number of documents found on Andreiko, the Soviets were convinced he was a “rezident”

or senior agent.

The NKVD, forerunner of the KGB, was deeply interested in Andreiko and ordered that he be

sent to the Soviet Union. Colonel Derzskii appointed another colonel - a political officer named Colonel

Nikolaev - to accompany Andreiko to the Korean/Soviet border. There, in Derzskii’s words, “He was

taken to the Soviet Union. He was taken to the border, met there, and taken to the Soviet Union.”108

107 It should be noted that there is some uncertainty over exactly what dates Colonel Derzskii served

in Korea. In his first interview he gave the dates 1950 to 1951. In a second interview he said he

served in Korea from March 1949 to June 1951. When this apparent contradiction was pointed out to

him, Colonel Derzskii replied, "Yes. I wanted to be more accurate."

108 Transcript September 1993 Interview with Colonel Derzskii

170

In his several interviews with U.S. staffers, Colonel Derzskii noted that there were standing

orders to send captured pilots to the Soviet Union. Indeed, Derzskii made this point several times. On

each occasion, however, he varied the story somewhat. During his first interview, he said the GRU

ordered all captured F-84 pilots be brought to the Soviet Union. Later, he said the orders were to send

“all pilots”. This time, however, he attributed the order to the General Staff, but said it was General

Shtykov who told him personally of this directive.

In spite of the apparent contradictions in Derzskii’s recollections, much of it tracks with what is

already known, especially when viewed in a broader context. For example, at one point Derzskii said

that the GRU ordered that pilots be sent to the Soviet Union. Later he says the General Staff issued the

order. However, it is important to note that technically the GRU is part of the General Staff. It is the

intelligence support apparatus in direct support of the General Staff.

Colonel Derzskii originally said that all captured F-84 pilots were ordered sent to the Soviet

Union. He made this statement, however, in the broader context of a discussion of the GRU’s desire

to capture an intact F-84. At a later interview, he broadened the statement to include all pilots.

There is no doubt that during the Korean War the Soviets wanted to capture a high

performance American jet. It is, however, unlikely that they wanted a F-84 since it was a ground attack

aircraft rather than an high performance air superiority fighter. While modern, the technology of the F-

84s was not the most sophisticated. The Soviets wanted an F-86, then the top-of-the-line fighter in the

American inventory.

In an effort to capture an intact F-86, the Soviets formed a special group under LTG A.

Blagoveshchensky. Composed of test pilots and other elite pilots, the so-called Blagoveshchensky

Group had the unenviable mission of forcing an F-86 to land at a Soviet controlled airfield.109 They

were not successful.

109 Yefim Gordon and Vladimir Rigmant, MiG-15: Design, Development, and Korean War

Combat History (Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers, 1993),

p. 113.

171

Colonel Derzskii does relate the capture of an “F-84”.110 When returning from a visit with his

family in China, he saw a plane make a forced landing in a rice paddy not far from the road on which he

was traveling. Initially, he thought it was a Soviet plane, but upon reaching the site, he realized that it

was an American aircraft. Derzskii immediately sent his interpreter to call Colonel General Shtykov

with the news. Then together with his driver, he helped the American pilot out of his aircraft and

administered first aid to him.111

The interpreter returned a short while later with instructions from General Shtykov. They were

to stand by and wait for a truck to transport the plane to place where it could be examined more safely.

Also, Soviet specialists from Andung would escort the pilot to an undetermined location. Later, a truck

showed up and took the aircraft and pilot away.

This aircraft was most likely the same F-86 taken to Moscow where Pavel Antonovich

Koval’skii and three other engineers at the Central Aero-Hydrodynamics Institute disassembled the

aircraft. The key components of the F-86 were dispatched to the relevant engineering institutes so that

they could be studied in detail. Meanwhile, Pavel Koval’skii and his associates took apart the aircraft

and produced detailed drawings so that a similar aircraft could be reconstructed.112

The fact that Colonel Derzskii confuses an F-84 with an F-86 is the result of his advanced

years, lack of technical expertise, and the passage of more than four and a half decades. He is correct

on the central issue: the Soviets wanted to capture a high performance jet fighter in order to study its

advanced engineering capabilities.

110 Colonel Derzskii has described this aircraft as both an F-84 and later an F-86. In his September

1993 interview, he said it was "an F-84, this I remember." Then in early 1994 he said it was an F-86

because General Shtykov told him it was.

111 R 240820Z Mar 94 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Re-interview of Colonel

(Ret) Derzskii

112 Minutes of the 9th Plenary Session of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs,

1 June 1994

172

While the F-86 was clearly evacuated to the Soviet Union, the fate of the pilot is less certain.

When asked whether higher headquarters in the Soviet Far East ordered the pilot sent to the Soviet

Union, Colonel Derzskii replied, “Yes, (we were ordered) to send the pilot to China and to the Soviet

Union”.

Derzskii recounts that direct orders to “transfer American pilots to China for further travel to

Moscow” were conveyed to him by two very senior General Staff officers who had come to Korea to

review the military situation. One used the cover name Pavlov. In reality, he was General Pavlovskii,

future Chief of Operations of the General Staff of the Soviet Army. The other man used the cover name

of Matveyev, but in reality was Army General Matvey Vasilievich Zakharov, Deputy Chief of the

General Staff.113

In the course of several interviews, Colonel Derzskii stated that he believed approximately 100

American were taken to China and another thirty or so taken to the Soviet Union. It should be noted,

however, in all of these events, Colonel Derzskii had “knowledge of” transfers of American POWs, but

he did not directly witness the events. As befits a senior officer, he directed subordinates such as

Colonel Nikolaev to actually conduct the transfers.

Colonel Derzskii is steadfast in his insistence that Major General William F. Dean, commander

of the U.S. Army’s 24th Infantry Division, following his capture was sent to the Soviet Union.114

General Dean was a distinguished and courageous American fighting man. He was captured early in the

war during the first desperate weeks of fighting when he went forward to set the example and to rally

113 Colonel Derzskii said in his first interview that “Matveyev” was in reality General Maximov.

Derskii, however, recounted his story from memory. He did not have access to notes. A scholar with

recent access to the archives revealed more details behind the surprise visit of the Soviet delegation to

Korea. See Alexander Mansourov, “Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China’s Decision to Enter the War Sept

16- Oct 15 1950, New Evidence From the Archives” from paper delivered to the Cold War History

Project, Washington, DC, 13 December 1995.

114 Dr. Valentin Konstantinovich (Kil-Yong) Pak, a Korean/Soviet and former deputy to Kim Il

Sung in a recent interview stated that the North Koreans tried to convince General Dean to make

propaganda broadcasts against the UN, but he refused to do so.

173

the soldiers of the 24th Infantry Division. Major General Dean was repatriated and at no time did he

state that he went to the Soviet Union.

Colonel Derzskii recounts his efforts to interrogate General Dean under the guise of a Red Star

reporter. But General Dean recognized Derzskii from an earlier pre-war encounter, and the

interrogation came to an abrupt end. A short time later General Shtykov told Derzskii to arrange for

General Dean’s transfer to the Soviet Union.

Derzskii, who was, no doubt, busy with affairs at the front, instructed Colonel Nikolaev to carry

out the transfer of General Dean. This is the same Colonel Nikolaev who arranged the transfer of the

intelligence agent Andreiko. Of course, Colonel Nikolaev complied with his orders. When he returned

from his mission, he described to Derzskii in some detail how the transfer of General Dean was actually

conducted.

According to Colonel Derzskii, Nikolaev escorted the General to a bridge that spanned the

Soviet/Chinese border. There he was met by several Soviet generals with vehicles. They took control

of General Dean and delivered him to a nearby airport for further transportation within the Soviet Union.

From this point on both Derzskii and Nikolaev washed their hands of General Dean.

Conclusions

Colonel Pavel Derzskii enjoyed a unique position during the Korean War. He was a senior

officer, entrusted with important state secrets. Moreover, he was a close advisor to Colonel General

Shtykov, then Ambassador to North Korea and de facto governor-general of the region.

As a consequence, Colonel Derzskii was informed of much that went on in North Korea. This

is especially true given that he was a close and trusted associate of the Soviet Ambassador - Colonel

General Shtykov. But also, as befits a senior officer, Colonel Derzskii instructed other, more junior

officers to carry out orders.

Consequently, much of what Colonel Derzskii related to U.S. investigators is “hearsay

evidence”. Moreover, it is possible to point to the lack of documentary evidence to support Derzskii’s

assertions. And, there are errors in the various months and dates that Colonel Derzskii cites.

174

In spite of this, we find the testimony of Colonel Derzskii to be highly credible. This is not to

say that we accept all aspects of his testimony. We are reluctant, for example, to accept his

recollections on General Dean. Nevertheless, he is very convincing. Colonel Derzskii is not, for

instance, the only former Soviet military officer to come forward with recollections of transfers of

American POWs - at least three other retired Soviet officers have done so as well. Moreover, details

such as the capture of the F-86 - which he first related to U.S. investigators in 1993 - have since been

confirmed.

175

NIKOLAI DMITRIYEVICH KAZERSKY

Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kazersky is a veteran of the Second World War. He was awarded two

Orders of the Red Banner as well as numerous other decorations. In 1950, he was arrested on felony

charges, convicted, and sentenced to twenty years in the gulag.115

In the fall of 1952 or spring of 1953, while serving time in the Zimka Camp, he had a single

encounter with an American pilot whose plane had been badly shot up over North Korea and forced to

land in the Soviet Union near Vladivostok. The American pilot told Kazersky that his plane had a crew

of three.

The Zimka Camp was an appropriate place to “hide” American POWs. Located in a desolate

portion of Siberia on the Veslyana River, it was far from civilization and other population points. It was

a work camp. And the American worked in the Consumer Goods Section making frames for

greenhouses. The discipline was strict and it was hard for inmates to mix and talk with other inmates.116

Nevertheless, Nikolai Kazersky had one fleeting opportunity to meet with the American pilot.

The pilot had been in isolation for a year or more and had learned little Russian, and Kazersky knew

little English. Yet they managed to communicate.

The pilot told him that there were two other crew members from the plane. His radioman had

been at Zimka with him, but the American pilot thought the radioman had been transferred to another

camp - named “Yaser”. As for the other crew member, the American pilot had no idea what fate had

befallen him. The American also told Kazersky that he was from California.

According to Nikolai Kazersky, the American pilot remained at the Zimka Camp for three to

six months and then was transferred to another, unknown camp.

115 Nikolai Kazersky was released after four and a half years upon receiving an amnesty following the

death of Stalin.

116 R 301715Z Oct 92 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: POW/MIA: Interview with Nikolay

Dmitriyevich Kazersky

176

In spite of the passage of many years, Kazersky was able to provide a description of the

American pilot. He was about thirty years of age at the time. He was approximately 5’ 7” tall, slender,

with dark hair and complexion. Unlike most Soviets, he did not smoke. Kazersky remembers that the

American had a small oval scar on one of his cheeks. He was, Kazersky believes, of Southern

European ethnic extraction, possibly Greek or Italian.

Task Force Russia provided Nikolai Kazersky’s description of the American to the Air Force

Casualty Office. After a computer search, Air Force Casualty concluded LT Mooradian came the

closest to fitting the description for several reasons:

1. LT Mooradian’s shootdown date (23 October 1951) would place him in the time frame such that

he could have been sent to Zimka at the same time as Kazersky.

2. LT Mooradian fit the physical description to include a round scar on one cheek.

3. LT Mooradian was Armenian with the typical the dark hair and dark complexion associated with

that ethnic group.

4. LT Mooradian came from California.

There were only a few minor points that did not match with the information Kazersky provided

to TFR:

1. LT Mooradian aircraft was shot down over the Bay of Korea on the opposite side of the Korean

Peninsula from Vladivostok.

2. LT Mooradian was a bombardier and not a pilot.

3. LT Mooradian crew had thirteen members and not three.

On 17 December 1992, Nikolai Kazersky was shown sixteen photographs of American airmen

who had disappeared during the Korean War. After reviewing all the photos, Kazersky chose three

that he thought looked like the American he met in the gulag. LT Mooradian picture was among them.

177

Conclusions

There are numerous people who claim to have seen American POWs in the Soviet gulag.

Nikolai Kazersky is one of those who said he saw Americans. The details of his description, moreover,

increase the plausibility of his testimony. Unfortunately, it is not possible to be certain that the man

Kazersky saw in the gulag was in fact LT Mooradian although his identification of LT Mooradian

photograph is highly suggestive.117

117 Unfortunately the U.S. investigators did not use the most scientifically valid methods. Nikolai

Kazersky should have been shown more and varied photographs rather than being asked to choose

from a pool of only sixteen. The scientific validity of the identification would have been increased

significantly.

178

DR. VALENTIN KONSTANTINOVICH (KIL-YONG) PAK

Dr. Valentin Konstantinovich Pak is a Moscow pensioner. An ethnic Korean, but of Soviet,

now Russian citizenship, Dr. Pak was drafted into the Soviet Army during World War II. In 1945 he

accompanied the Soviet Army into Manchuria and Korea. He then served in the Soviet occupation

forces in Korea until 1948. He was next ordered to demobilize and to become a North Korean citizen.

As a good communist, he followed orders.

While in Pyongyang, Valentin Pak became a trusted deputy to Kim Il Sung, the leader of North

Korea. He soon became First Deputy Foreign Minister, the second highest post in the North Korean

Foreign Ministry. During this time, he became privy to many of the secrets of the then nascent North

Korean government. And, indeed, Pak knew about or participated in many of the most important

policy decisions made in North Korea at the time.

Near the end of the Korean War, he left Pyongyang to serve as North Korean Ambassador to

Czechoslovakia and then to East Germany. He returned to Moscow in the early 1960s to attend the

Higher Party School. By that time, he had fallen out of favor with Kim Il Sung and he chose to remain

in Moscow.

Dr. Pak was interviewed recently in his Moscow apartment.118 He said he was told by a

Chinese foreign service officer named LU (NFI) that American POWs were sent through China to the

Soviet Union. In an earlier interview, he was less specific but did say he heard rumors during the

Korean War that the Chinese took their POWs to a camp in Mongolia and then sometimes the Chinese

did transfer some U.S. prisoners of war to the Soviets. The Soviets would then in turn exploit the

POWs for their knowledge of U.S. technology.119

While this is hearsay information, what gives this unconfirmed testimony greater than normal

importance is that it comes from a former highly placed official in both the North Korean and Soviet

118 MFR date 5 March 1996 “Interview with Valentin Konstantinovich Pak”; interview took place on

7 February 1996.

119 R 151245Z September 1995 Fm Amembassy Moscow, Subject: JCSD-Moscow Interview with

Dr. Valentin Konstantinovich Pak

179

governments. For Valentin Pak was no mere functionary at the time, but a trusted aide and advisor to

President Kim Il Sung.

Obviously the testimony of one man is not sufficient to make the case that American POWs

were transferred to the Soviet Union. But when taken in the broader context, here is yet again another

person, and a senior figure as well, who has heard about or had knowledge of the transfer of U.S.

POWs to the Soviet Union.

180

262 INTERROGATIONS

A few days before Christmas 1954, General Slyusarev, commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation

Corps, sent a long ciphered telegram to Moscow. Addressed to the Soviet Minister of Defense

Marshal of the Soviet Union N. A. Bulganin and to the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force Marshal

of Aviation P. F. Zhigarev, the message outlined the accomplishments of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps

in the Korean War. It was a dry, detailed report written in Soviet bureaucratic style full of statistics and

facts.

Buried in this rather lengthy report was a brief, matter-of-fact statement, “During this period (the

Korean War), 262 American flyers, shot down in air battles or by anti-aircraft artillery, were taken

prisoner and processed through an interrogation point.”120 The report went on to explain that the

interrogation point was established so that tactical and technical information could be gleaned from

captured airmen.121

The message did not identify the location of the interrogation point, but did indicate that “the

interrogations were conducted under the direction of the (64th Fighter Aviation Corps’) intelligence

department.”122 The Chinese and North Koreans actually conducted the interrogations, according to

the message, but the Soviets provided overall direction. And, of course, the Soviets received copies of

all the interrogation reports.

That the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps conducted 262 interrogations during the Korean War

raised more questions then it answered. In late 1992, the Russian side provided the Americans with the

so-called “List of 59” along with interrogation reports. The List of 59 was supposedly a list of fifty-nine

American airmen who were interrogated during the Korean War. On closer analysis, the List of 59 was

120 Deciphered Telegram entry No. 307717/sh

121 The precise words used in the message were, "An interrogation point was organized for captured

fliers who were shot down in air battles over the territory of northern Korea and China in order to

obtain enemy operational tactics, radar sets, and radio information."

122 Ibid.

181

really a list of 56. Two of the names on the list were duplicates and one of those listed was an

Australian. Moreover, when one examined the accompanying “interrogation reports”, it was clear that

only thirty were really full interrogation reports. Some of the reports were extracts from larger reports,

others were merely mentions of people seen, still others were short, simple one paragraph biographies,

and finally some were just lists of personal effects.

Upon learning that 262 American flyers transited the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps’ interrogation

point, the key question therefore became - where are the remaining 206 interrogations?

Consequently, at the 9th Plenum of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs

held in Moscow, Russia, the U.S. side brought up this question directly. The Russian response to the

question was tentative and vague.

“Not all interrogations, or let’s say answers, were of great interest. Some, let’s say, that had the

most valuable information, or were from the most valuable pilots, these interrogations were

forwarded to higher headquarters. Regarding other pilots that didn’t have valuable information,

or were not themselves of great value, their interrogations were most likely retained at an

interrogation point. They might have been destroyed there and the only thing that was reported

to higher headquarters, was that such and such an individual, or pilot was interrogated, and they

would attach any documents that they picked up from him.”123

Another Russian commissioner added,

“I am convinced that we are not going to find 262 interrogation reports. Why? Because I

remember, specifically the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps and the aviation section of it, we made

summaries out of the interrogation reports, and the reports themselves were sent back to the

Koreans or Chinese. Brief summaries of the interrogation reports were forwarded up to

123 Minutes of the Ninth Plenary and Working Group Sessions, U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on

POW/MIA Affairs, 2 June 1994, Moscow, Russia, p. 33.

182

another headquarters. Therefore, the interrogation reports that we have, are from 1952-1953,

when it was more formalized.”124

While the Russians were no doubt sincere in explaining the absence of 206 interrogation

reports, their explanations are not entirely satisfying. For example, one of the Russian representatives

stressed that only “...the most valuable information, or [interrogations that] were from the most valuable

pilots, these interrogations were forwarded to higher headquarters.”125 Yet, the aforementioned report

to Marshal Bulganin makes special mention of Colonel Walker “Bud” Mahurin, “commander of the 4th

Fighter Aviation Group” and Major Richardson, “chief of staff of the 33rd Aviation Group” as being

“among those captured and processed” through the interrogation point.126 Clearly General Slyusarev

viewed these interrogations as important and surely they must have been forwarded to Moscow. While

the U.S. side can not say that these interrogations exist, it seems likely that they do. Moreover, it seems

probable that many of the two hundred or so other unaccounted for interrogations exist as well.

A further reason that the U.S. side of the Korean War Working Group is inclined to believe that

there are still some interrogation reports yet to be provided to the American side rests on an assessment

of the nature of Soviet bureaucratic culture. A hallmark characteristic of Soviet communist culture was

the demand that all collectives at least meet or better yet over fulfill the plan. Quantity rather than quality

counted. Even the military could not escape this emphasis on meeting quantitative goals.

Consequently, it is certain that the intelligence chiefs of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps, not to

mention its commander, were interested in producing the maximum number of interrogations and

forwarding them to GRU [military intelligence] headquarters in Moscow as well to Far East Military

District Headquarters in Khabarovsk.

Indeed, the fact that General Slyusarev was able to state with precision that 262 interrogations took

place is indicative of not only good record keeping but an interest in numbers and quantity.

124 Minutes of the Ninth Plenary and Working Group Sessions, p. 36.

125 Ibid., p. 33

126 Deciphered Telegram entry No. 307717/sh

183

The interest of the U.S. side in the 206 unaccounted for interrogations derives from a

fundamental hypothesis. That is, if any Americans were sent to the Soviet Union, they were no doubt

first pre-screened. During this pre-screening process that probably took place in North Korea or

China, those judged of value to the Soviet Union would be pulled aside. And, of course, interrogations

were the basis of this pre-screening.

The American side considers the review of any extant interrogations of particular value. This is

not so that former American POWs can be prosecuted for providing aid and comfort to the enemy, but

rather because the reports may be an indicator of Soviet efforts to select out some American POWs for

transfer to the USSR.

Given the Soviet penchant for producing as many reports as possible as well as its emphasis on

record keeping, the U.S. side finds it difficult to accept that only 56 interrogations are available and that

206 still remain unaccounted for.

184

THE SOVIET SECURITY SERVICES AND AMERICAN POWs

In the nearly seventy-five years of the Soviet Union’s existence, the KGB, or MGB as it was

known then, was one of the pillars of the Soviet state.127 Charged with domestic political security,

counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence collection, border security, signal intelligence, and the protection

of political leaders, the security organs were given the most sensitive missions.128

In 1992 a retired Soviet colonel - Gavril Korotkov claimed that American POWs were taken to

the Soviet Union for interrogation. Colonel Korotkov recalled that while on the territory of the Soviet

Union the NKVD maintained control over the Americans. Soviet military interrogators were given only

a few hours with the Americans and then they were returned to NKVD control.

In part, because of Colonel Korotkov’s testimony, a working hypothesis by the American side

has been that the MGB and/or its subordinate organs played an important role in any transfer of

Americans to the Soviet Union and almost certainly had control over Americans on the territory of the

Soviet Union.129 Moreover, because the MGB was a political agency subordinate directly to the

Central Committee and the Politburo, it did not report to or through the military chain of command.

Hence, directives from Moscow that military officials were to have no direct contact with American

POWs did not pertain to MGB officials.

In the course of conducting research over the last three years, the U.S. has found from time to

time indications of MGB activities. The evidence is not conclusive but it is highly suggestive. For

example, there is evidence that MGB organized the interrogation of American POWs as well as

participated in the interrogations. Unlike the military’s GRU intelligence department, the MGB does not

127 The Soviet security services have gone by numerous names in its history - Cheka, GPU, OGPU,

NKVD, MGB, MVD, and KGB. At the start of the Korean War, it was still known as the NKVD,

but by the end of the war it was called the MGB.

128 Russians often refer to the MGB/KGB as the spets-sluzhba or special services. The plural is

used because of the magnitude of all the responsibilities that fall to the MGB/KGB.

129 See discussion of Colonel Gavril Korotkov in preceding section.

185

seem to have faced a prohibition against contact with Americans. There are, moreover, strong

indications that the MGB had, and quite probably still has, interrogation reports in its possession.

Indicative of MGB involvement with American POWs is a long report sent to Moscow by

General Slyusarev, commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps, on 26 November 1952. Addressed

to Colonel General Malinin and Colonel General Batitskii and marked “urgent”, the message was a

summary of the interrogation of an RB-29 assigned to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron that

was shot down over North Korea in the summer of 1952. The Soviets obviously placed great

emphasis on interrogating the crew because at the end of the document the statement was made,130

“Representatives from the MGB USSR and China have arrived from Peking to conduct further

prisoner interrogations, to gain more precise information on spy centers, landing strips, and

incidents of overflights of the territory of the Soviet Union. The interrogation will be continued

in Pekton.”

“I consider it advisable as well to send specialists on other matters.”

“I request your instructions as to the procedures for sending you the materials and advisability of

our participation in the interrogations.”

At the very bottom of the document was a note penned by Colonel General Malinin that

contained instructions to organize immediately a supplementary interrogation of the Strieby crew.

This message indicates that the MGB was involved in the interrogation of American POWs.

Second, the statement, “I request your instructions... and advisability of our participation in the

interrogations” confirms that Soviet military officials were prohibited to interrogate American POWs

without permission. Yet, the statement “Representatives of the MGB USSR and China have arrived to

conduct further prisoner interrogations” clearly suggests that the MGB, which is not part of the military,

did not need permission to conduct interrogations of Americans.

There is yet another example where the MGB played a role in the interrogation of American POWs:

 

 

130 TFR 300-15 & 16, Deciphered Telegram Msg No. 503826/sh, Correspondent 3

186

“I am reporting that, according to the report of the MGB USSR advisor in China, 9 crew

members of an aircraft shot down from the 91st Reconnaissance Detachment, American

Strategic Aviation, which was shot down in the An’dung region on 12 January 1953, were

taken prisoner...On the instructions of the TsK (Central Committee) of the Communist Party of

China, they will be sent to Peking and subject to interrogation.”

“The Minister of Public Safety of China, having reported on 27 January 1953 to our advisor on

this decision of the TsK KPK (Central Committee of the Communist Party of China), requested

that our advisor help the Chinese investigators organize the interrogation of the prisoners of war

and check their work.”

“The MGB USSR advisor was ordered to render us such help.”131

The shoot down mentioned above refers to the so-called Arnold crew. Colonel John K.

Arnold, Jr. was the commander of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and senior officer

aboard a B-29. On 12 January 1953 Colonel Arnold’s B-29 was on a PSYOP leaflet drop

when it was attacked at approximately 2245 hours by MiG-15s and radar controlled antiaircraft

fire. The aircraft was hit and crashed.

Eleven of the fourteen member crew were repatriated. The Chinese, who captured the crew

near Andung, China, sent them to Beijing for interrogation - an interrogation organized by the MGB.

Both of these reports clearly show that the MGB was active in the interrogation of American

POWs. Moreover, one of the documents (TFR 300-15/16) suggests that the MGB, unlike the Army,

was not restricted from establishing direct contact with American POWs. Furthermore, since the MGB

helped organize the interrogations, it seems probable that the Chinese would have given the Soviets at

least a courtesy copy of the interrogations.

There is in fact direct evidence that the MGB did receive at least some of the interrogations.

One of the documents provided to the U.S. side is titled “A List of Documents on the Testimonies of the

131 TFR 37-23

187

Prisoners of War; Colonel Arnold, Captain Llewellyn, and A1C Kiba”.132 The U.S. side received the

interrogation of Colonel Arnold but not the interrogation of Captain Llewellyn or of A1C Kiba. The

U.S. received only short one paragraph biographies on each, but not interrogations.

Moreover, A1C Kiba, who returned to military control after the war, distinctly remembers

being interrogated by Russians, and Soviet records such as the one above clearly indicate they had

possession of Kiba’s interrogation. Furthermore, it seems quite likely that these and other interrogations

are still extent in the archives of the Russian security services.

In summation, a review of the evidence of MGB (KGB or security service) involvement with

American POWs is not conclusive. However, it is highly suggestive that the MGB was more deeply

involved with American POWs than previously recognized. While the MGB cannot be directly linked

with any transfers, it can be linked with interrogations. The MGB also appears to have had unfettered

access to prisoners. Finally, there is a high probability that the Russian security service archives still hold

interrogation reports on American POWs.

31 was a graduate of West Point, Class of 1927. He was assigned as an assistant air attaché to Berlin, Germany in 1939, and served there until the outbreak of war. He was interned at Bad Nauheim and held until May 1942 when he was exchanged. In 1946 was assigned to Bucharest, Romania where he served as military attaché. In 1948 he was accused of espionage by the Soviet backed regime, arrested, placed on trial, and

found guilty. was subsequently declared persona non grata and expelled from Romania in 1949. Upon his return to the United States in 1949, he transferred into the United States Air Force and was assigned to the Directorate of Intelligence. On Thanksgiving Day, 1950, he went TDY to Headquarters Far East Air Forces in Japan.


32
Because of conflicting statements on the number of people who managed to bail out of the RB-45, the case of is inextricably intertwined with that of , the aircraft’s pilot.


33
At the time General Sergie Shtemenko was the Soviet Minister of Defense and General Pavel Fedorovich Batitskii was the first deputy commander of the Air Force.

34 Stepan Akimovich Krasovskii (1897-1983) was promoted to Marshal of Aviation in 1959. From 1956 until 1970 he was commander of the prestigious Military Air Force Academy named after Iu. A. Gagarin.
35
Colonel Hamilton B. Shawe, Jr., USAF, Ret for a short time shared a prison cell with . At the time, then Lieutenant Shawe was interrogated by a Soviet major accompanied by English and Russian speaking Chinese interrogators. Shawe stated in a letter to DPMO, “To the best of my ...was also interrogated by Russians.”

 

36 The source of this information was Colonel Hamilton B. Shaw, Jr., USAF, Ret. who shared a cell with .

37 was promoted to major posthumously.

 

 

132 TFR 182-25