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The Unreturned
The Retired Officer Magazine ^ | Nov 2002 | Ralph Wetterhahn

Posted on 10/21/2005 7:21:00 AM PDT by robowombat

The Unreturned Investigators hope to shed light on the fate of American pilots secretly taken into the Soviet Union during the Korean War.

By Ralph Wetterhahn

On Aug. 1, 1952, in an area over North Korea called MiG Alley, U.S. Air Force Maj. Felix Asla and his wingman were piloting F-86E Sabre jets against Soviet-made MiGs. Painted on the side of Asla's jet were nine red stars, signifying the pilot had nine kills. During a swirling dogfight, Asla became separated from his wingman and failed to answer his radio calls. Later, a member of another flight witnessed an attack on an F-86 and saw the plane lose its left wing. The aircraft was last seen spinning from an altitude of 23,000 feet near Sinuiju, North Korea.

Now, intelligence reports made available after the collapse of the Soviet Union have revealed that Russian pilots flew 75 percent of the combat over Korea and that the Soviets secretly took a large number of American POWs into the U.S.S.R., where the fate of pilots like Asla remains shrouded in mystery.

Since 1992, the United States/Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, whose American side is called the Joint Commission Support Directorate (JCSD), has been searching throughout the former Soviet Union trying to learn what happened to missing Americans. The program began with high hopes, but progress has been slow and painstaking. Setbacks include the expulsion of five JCSD researchers from Moscow in response to the ousting of Russian diplomats from the United States during the Robert Hanssen spy case in March 2001.

Another problem, explains current JCSD member Maj. Tim Falkowski, USA, is that "during the Korean conflict, the Soviets were never 'legal' combatants. [Premier Josef] Stalin kept their participation secret, and admitting Russia's [alleged] role in the war even now is still a source of embarrassment."

In 1950, Stalin cloaked Soviet participation in the Korean War partly to conceal Russia's need to bridge the widening technology gap with the West. When the war began in June, Stalin already had positioned three MiG-15 fighter regiments along the Manchurian border. In November, he ordered his pilots into combat. For the next four months, the MiG-15 scored well, especially against B-29 bombers. Then the new F-86 Sabre arrived in quantity, and MiG losses increased. Stalin took note, coveting everything about the Sabre as well as the improvements to the B-29.

Capture an F-86 by any means In March 1951, Soviet Capt. Aleksandr Orlov was called into the Military Intelligence Directorate (gru) in Moscow and offered a secret mission. He accepted, received his briefings, was issued civilian clothes, and with five subordinates departed by train for Antung Airfield on Manchuria's border with North Korea. From there, Orlov's boss sent him and three others into North Korea to interrogate American prisoners. Of greatest interest were the F-86 pilots because of the toll the new fighter was taking on the MiG-15.

In North Korea, Orlov reported to gru Col. Aleksey Zherabyatov, intelligence advisor to the North Korean staff. Orlov prepared questions that were put before captured American pilots, including details about the F-86's range, tactics, speed, radar, and armament; the new antigravity suits used by Sabre pilots; and rescue equipment on board the aircraft. Reports were filled out and sent to Zherabyatov, and from there to Moscow. Soviet teams began combing the Korean countryside looking for downed American planes. Parts were stripped from wreckage and sent directly to Moscow design bureaus. But in Stalin's mind, bits and pieces were not enough. Shortly thereafter came an order from the Kremlin: "Capture an F-86 by any means."

By April 1951, no Sabres had been "captured," so Stalin sent a special group of test pilots to Antung with the sole mission of forcing an F-86 to land on friendly soil. A crude attempt to corral an F-86 wound up getting one MiG shot down and two others seriously damaged. A second try eight days later resulted in the death of a Soviet test pilot. When a third pilot was killed, the senior pilots retreated to Moscow, while the others were absorbed into regular combat units.

On Oct. 6, 1951, fortunes changed in the Soviet quest for a Sabre. Russia's leading Korean ace (23 credits), Col. Evgenie Pepelyayev, got on the tail of an F-86 with black-and-white striped markings piloted by U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Bill N. Garrett. Pepelyayev damaged the plane, which crash-landed onto a sandbar on the coast. The tide came in, protecting the jet from a furious battle that took place overhead between Sabres trying to allow rescue of Garrett and MiGs trying to shield the Sabre. Garrett was picked up by a U.S. sa-16 seaplane, while his plane was pulled ashore by the Chinese. The wings were removed, and the sections were packaged and sent to Moscow.

Meanwhile, the Russians needed captured pilots to help with analysis of the wreckage — preferably more than one so the Russians could compare answers and filter out disinformation. Former JCSD investigator Bob Bishop says, "We believe a whole lot were transferred." Witness debriefings, field investigations at a number of gulags, and research done at the Russian State Archives have yielded the following information.

The plane wreckage JCSD researchers interviewed retired Lt. Col. Yuriy Klimovich, former Ministry of Internal Security (MVD) officer. Klimovich had served in Korea and recalled the recovery of the F-86 that had been forced down on the sandbar. The plane was transported to the Sukhoi Design Bureau in Moscow for exploitation. Klimovich stated that a close friend, now deceased, had confided to him that an American pilot had been brought to Moscow as well. Klimovich said that neither he nor his friend knew what happened to the pilot they had heard about, because the man was allegedly in the hands of the MVD. When another witness stated he had interrogated American pilots inside Soviet territory, he was pressured by officers from the successor to the MVD, the Federal Security Service, to retract his testimony, according to Bishop.

JCSD interviewers went to the Sukhoi Design Bureau, where they met engineers who clearly remembered the Sabre being brought in during the Korean War. None of them had spoken with an American pilot. They did, however, receive information from a member of the project who claimed participation in the interrogation of a pilot. The JCSD team then visited the Zhukovskii Central Aero-Hydrodynamics Institute. There they spoke with Professor Yevgeniy I. Rushitskiy, chief of the Institute's Information Division and chairman of the History Section. Rushitskiy confirmed that the F-86 had been delivered to the institute to be disassembled and copied. According to the professor, when they were finished, all parts from the plane were destroyed or melted down.

But what happened to the American pilot or pilots brought to Moscow? The institute engineers did not know.

Additionally, retired Gen. Georgii Lobov, former commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps, stated in an interview before his death that at some point in the war, the Chinese and North Koreans became less cooperative in providing U.S. POWs. As a result, the Russians turned out 70 teams looking for downed U.S. pilots and equipment. Shu Ping Wa, a former head of a division-level POW collection team in the Chinese People's Volunteers serving in Korea, testified that between November 1951 and March 1952 he personally turned over three American pilots to the Soviets just north of the front lines. He stated that his superior told him, "The Russians wanted the pilots."

Many Air Force POWs held within the North Korean prison system were kept in separate camps segregated from other captives. One such POW was Air Force Sgt. Daniel Oldewage, a B-29 crew member, who stated that he and a group of prisoners were transported to Antung for questioning. The Soviet interrogators wore Korean and Chinese uniforms without visible rank, but appeared European to the POWs. And in one case, an Asian interrogator spoke Russian to the white men who accompanied him.

The control system in Korea for these camps demonstrates the far-reaching involvement of the Soviets. The secretary general of the top secretariat in the camp system was a Soviet officer named Takayaransky. Director general of the POW control bureau was Soviet Colonel Andreyev; its deputy director, Lieutenant Colonel Baksov. The chief of the Investigation Section, one of the three components of the bureau, was Soviet Colonel Faryayev.

Witnesses maintain the Soviets transferred U.S. POWs from the Korean War two ways: through the Manchurian rail transshipment point of Man-chu-li or the rail center at Pos'yet across the border in the Primorksiy Krai. According to JCSD reports, American pilots were next evaluated by a team of intelligence officers at a facility in Khabarovsk, just inside the Soviet border. Selected POWs then were moved deeper into the Soviet Union. The MVD is considered the only organization with enough resources to accomplish a mission of this scale in secrecy.

The missing pilots According to U.S. Air Force data, 1,303 Air Force personnel were declared missing between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953. This figure eventually was reduced to 666 MIAs whose bodies were not recovered. Of that number, circumstances of loss indicate that several hundred survived and were potential candidates for transfer to the Soviet Union. There is strong evidence that this was indeed the case for certain technically proficient, well-educated crew members.

Most captured American aviators who did not die in the North Korean prison camps were repatriated. However, there is one significant statistical anomaly: F-86 pilots. A total of 56 Sabres were downed in aerial combat or by antiaircraft artillery. From these, 15 live pilots and one set of remains were repatriated. Of the 40 remaining losses, the circumstances of downing indicate a high probability of death for nine, leaving 31. Of those remaining cases (see "The Missing," page 64), conditions were such that survival was highly possible. The resulting 55 percent MIA rate is unusually high compared to missing rates for pilots flying other airframes.

One of those 31 is the aforementioned Major Asla. He was flying the latest version of the F-86, the E model, tail number 12767. The E model had a number of new features and was doing well against the MiG-15bis, the latest version of the MiG in use. A subsequent aerial search by American forces failed to reveal any trace of the missing aircraft or pilot. However, photographs taken in Korea of the wreckage of Asla's F-86 have been obtained in Russia. Former American embassy JCSD researcher Danz Blasser found the photos and a declassified Soviet document that indicates Capt. Nikolai I. Ivanov shot down an F-86 with a tail number matching Asla's plane. The report further states that the Soviets retrieved the wreckage and found Asla's body.

No reports have led to the discovery of the remains of an American POW inside Russia to prove undeniably that prisoners were taken there, but the Moscow report on Asla is being used now in North Korea, where American recovery teams are conducting excavations.

JCSD investigators believe the best chance for unraveling the mystery regarding missing POWs lies in the continued search of records in Moscow, at border outposts, and on-site in the extensive gulag system. Unfortunately, as confirmed by retired Lt. Gen. Yuriy F. Yezerskiy, formerly of the KGB Ministry of State Security (whose function was espionage and counterespionage), "Tracking down specific foreign prisoners in the former Soviet prison system would be difficult because the names of foreigners were routinely changed." He suspects that records of name changes may exist, most likely somewhere in Moscow.

Regardless, JCSD continues to translate thousands of records to which they already have obtained access while pursuing interviews with former military and MVD/KGB officials and Russian citizens. A major breakthrough occurred recently when the Russian government released a large batch of documents discovered by U.S. researchers. This collection consisted of 6,000 pages of documents and some 300 photographs, all relevant to Korean War MIAs. The material has proven helpful in clarifying the circumstances of loss and the fate of crew members in 140 cases, as in Asla's situation.

Searching the gulags One additional project has been added to JCSD's charter: the Gulag Study, a compilation of reports asserting that throughout the Cold War period, U.S. servicemen were held in Soviet camps and prisons. The study draws on accounts from varied sources, including people who were incarcerated in the gulag system. In addition to recent witness testimony, a cia report dated Sept. 2, 1952, indicates Korean War POWs were sent to the Molotov region, now known as Perm. "The prisoners were clothed in Soviet-type cotton padded tunics with no distinctive marks. They were first transported from the railway station to the MVD prison and then sent by rail in a train consisting of nine wagons, to Molotov on or about April 5, 1952. The train was heavily guarded by railway guards of the MVD. ... From December 1951 up to the end of April 1952, several railway transports of American and European (probably British) POWs were seen passing at intervals of 10 to 20 days through the Komi-Permyak National District in Northwestern Siberia. These transports were directed to Molotov."

Falkowski, JCSD's Gulag Study project manager, and Chief Petty Officer Mike Allen, usn, a study analyst, found themselves crammed inside a van this past winter on a four-hour drive from Perm, a small city in rural Russia. The vehicle swept past open fields blanketed with unblemished snow. Small stands of pine and birch appeared in the distance, but the overall impression was one of immense emptiness and cold. A power line paralleled the road, its poles sprouting arms adorned with glass insulators, circa 1930. This writer also was aboard the vehicle, along with escorts from Perm, Robert R. Latypov and Veronica Goussarova from the Memorial Society, a private Russian organization involved in gulag research.

Finally, the van came to a stop in front of our destination, a gulag known as Perm-36. Located near a branch of the Kama River, just short of the Urals, the gulag was an isolated "strict regime camp." It was not a hard labor camp, like those to the east in Siberia, but a camp to house special prisoners: "dangerous political dissidents."

We traveled to Perm-36 because the Gulag Study had yielded new reports about U.S. military personnel held in the region. These accounts cite secret prisons called "camps of silence" and list the names of camp commanders and former prisoners.

A visitor to Perm-36 is struck by the sense of isolation and hopelessness that prisoners must have felt as they arrived in the windowless back of a so-called "meat wagon," a truck inside which they were packed together in tiny cells.

Prisoners were kept busy doing menial jobs such as manufacturing small electrical components. It would have been difficult to attempt escape. Guard towers and floodlights kept every square yard of the grounds under surveillance. Electrified wire sealed in the prisoners, and violation of the "death zones" got prisoners shot on sight. Even if an escape were successful, a bleak, cold death most likely awaited escapees on the outside.

Perm-36 is one of the camps that might have housed American POWs, but on this trip, no firm evidence of that turned up.

Continuing the investigation JCSD team members continued to pursue other evidence. Falkowski and Allen had just returned from a visit to the Sakha Republic, where they confirmed the existence and location of a series of tightly controlled camps along the Lena River. Normally, gulags were under the control of the MVD, but these camps were controlled by the KGB, whose focus was on external or foreign espionage activity.

According to Falkowski, "Two individuals confirmed the existence of a KGB camp nicknamed Kazarma, a strict regime camp that was believed by one source, who lived nearby during the operation of the gulag, to be called Camp-315." This testimony augments previous reports by former Polish inmates who reportedly met American POWs in Camp-315 and maintained that approximately 480 American and British prisoners from the Korean War were held there and later perished by order of Stalin. A detailed, hand-drawn map of the locations of the strict regime KGB camps was provided to the American researchers and will be used during further investigation in Siberia.

The prisoners endured a period of confinement before they died from camp conditions or were executed. The longer their incarceration, the more likely it was that U.S.S.R. citizens would learn of their existence. After the Soviet Union's collapse, a number of Soviet survivors from the vast gulag system have come forward to relate contacts with Americans.

Russian authorities claim they have provided all they can on Soviet involvement in POW activity. But the fate of many F-86 pilots remains in obscurity. When Pete Peterson, previous chairman of the U.S. commission and former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, was given a paper that said the gru had provided everything they had on these matters, Peterson responded, "I am going to give you the same answer I gave our intelligence people: Fine, go back and look again."

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy; Russia
KEYWORDS: coldwar; northkorea; ussr

1 posted on 10/21/2005 7:21:01 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

The Transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union


The United States lists 8,140 casualties from the Korean War whose remains have not been repatriated. Some of that number are "truly unaccounted for" in that there is no evidence at all as to the circumstances of their loss or to their ultimate fate. One estimate is provided at Appendix A. F1 Since the Joint Commission was established, a mass of convincing evidence has accumulated that U.S. POWs were taken to the Soviet Union in a tightly controlled MGB operation and never repatriated.

We believe that the transfer of U.S. POWs to the Soviet Union involved two separate programs.

1. Technological Exploitation. This program was a pure intelligence collection program for the purpose of acquiring high-tech equipment and their operators technical exploitation. The F-86 Sabre Jet was the great prize. However, we believe that Soviet intelligence collection requirements were not limited to the F-86. There is growing evidence that other types of aircraft, including the B-29, were also the subject of intelligence collection.

2. The Hostage Connection. The other program was based on the collection of POWs as hostages and for general intelligence exploitation.

These programs are discussed in Parts I and II which present our assessment of the origins and operation of the transfers.

From the conduct of the transfer operation, we switch in Part III to the next stage in the issue: evidence of Americans actually within the Soviet concentration camp system. Here we discuss the mass of sightings by citizens of the former USSR of U.S. Korean War POWs.

Footnote 1 The "truly unaccounted for" casualties of the Korean War include those who were killed on the battlefield and those who were taken prisoner where there were no witnesses or reporting the enemy. All wars, especially those that involve rapid retreats and advances, heavy casualties, and fighting over rugged terrain such as the Korean War result in large, unexplained losses.


Note 1: Throughout this document references will be made by various quoted sources to the primary Soviet security organ as the NKVD, the MGB, or the KGB. All references are to the same organization and represent only an organizational name change. At the time of the Korean War, the organization was titled the MGB and will be referred to as such. Quotations will not be altered where the speaker is imprecise. The MGB (Ministerstvo Gosudarstvenoi Bezopasnosti) was formed in March 1946 by the merging of the NKVD and the MVD (Ministry of Internal Security). This new organization was broken back into its original two parts in March 1953 after Stalin's death. That part that had been the NKVD was renamed the KGB.

Note 2: Task Force Russia was organized under the auspices of the U.S. Army in June 1992 to support the U.S. side of the U.S.- Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. There were two elements in the task force: (1) The Washington-based analytical, translation, and administrative element (TFR-H), and (2) the Moscow-based research, interview, and liaison group (TFR-M). In June 1993, Task Force Russia was subordinated to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/MIA Affairs, and TFR-H was renamed the Joint Commission Support Branch (JCSB). The Moscow-based element will continue to be designated Task Force Russia - Moscow (TFR-M).

Note 3: Translations of documents provided by the Russian side of the Joint Commission were translated by TFR-H and are numbered as TFR documents, e.g., TFR-36, and are referred to as such in the narrative.

Part I
Technological Exploitation

The First Modern Air War. One of the worst-kept secrets of the Cold War was the head-to-head clash in Korea between the two former Allies of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States. Although the ground war was fought essentially with the weaponry and tactics of the Second World War, the air war was the first major field test of the new air power technologies of the postwar world. The Korean War was the first modern air war and was characterized by an entirely new technology that was electronics intensive and depended not only on the keen wits and high mastery of the pilots flying the jet combat aircraft but on a host of advanced support activities such as air-intercept radar and airborne reconnaissance.

The Technology Gap. This was the backdrop for an even more insidious form of warfare. The Soviet Union cloaked its participation in the Korean War partly to conceal its urgent need to bridge the technological gap with the West which was widening geometrically even then. Based upon a precedent repeatedly acknowledged by senior Soviet officers, which began with the wholesale reverse engineering of the Massey-Ferguson tractor by the State Automobile Factory in the 1930s, the Willys Jeep in the 19409, and a variety of propeller technology aircraft during World War II, the Soviets sought to avert the inevitable by systemized theft of design.

The 64th Fighter Aviation Corps. The Soviet Union initiated its battlefield testing in the Korean War with the activation of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps Headquarters in Antung (now Dandong), Manchuria, in November 1950, just as North Korea teetered on the edge of destruction. The Corps was charged with a threefold mission: (1) air defense of the area north of the 38th Parallel; (2) protection of the trans-Yalu bridges; and (3) training of North Korean and Chinese pilots. Analysis of documents provided by the Russian side, however, shows that the 64th had yet another mission: the management of the overt and covert Human Intelligence (HUMINT) effort targeted against the U.S. air forces. A review of the documents provided by the Russians reveals regular and intense coordination between Moscow, the senior advisors to the Korean General Staff, and the Commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps (General Georgii A. Lobov) on a variety of topics related to prisoner of war interrogation and control. The gaps in this documentation insinuate a direct role which the Russian side to date denies.

The air-focused Soviet priorities are perhaps best summed up by the comment of retired Colonel Aleksandr Semyonovich Orlov, a


veteran of the 64th, and the chief of intelligence for one of its divisions. He casually dismissed the significance of ground forces personnel with the comment that he knew more about the operations of the American infantry battalion than a U.S. Army captain would. Orlov, himself a captain at the time of the Korean War, then described in painstaking detail Soviet intelligence collection requirements which were focused on aircraft technical parameters. F2

The Soviet Interrogation Effort. The Soviet interrogation effort was largely disguised. Soviet interrogators, when present for interviews, wore Korean and Chinese uniforms without visible rank, and in some cases were ethnic Koreans or other oriental Soviet nationalities. One such officer is Colonel Georgii Plotnikov, who called himself by the Korean translation of his name Kim-Mok-Su, which means carpenter in both languages. F3

Another Soviet officer was a Buryat Mongol. F4

Most Soviet involvement was probably concentrated on the preparation and translation of collection requirements to be filled by their North Korean and Chinese allies. Some, however, appears to have taken place without the Chinese and North Koreans. One such case is that of escaped POW Marine Corporal Nick A. Flores who was mistaken for an F-86 pilot when captured by Soviet anti-aircraft troops and sent directly to Soviet interrogation at a Soviet airbase in Antung. This case is developed in more depth at the end of this section. Additionally, General Lobov, Commander of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps, has stated that at some point in the war, the Chinese and North Koreans became somewhat less cooperative in turning over captured U.S. POWs for interrogation. As a result, Lobov had 70 Soviet teams out looking for shot down U. S. pilots.F5

According to one report, Stalin had singled out U.S. Air Force POWs to be held as hostages.6

All USAF POWs already held in the camp system were segregated from other POWs, held in separate camps under Chinese jurisdiction on North Korean territory, and subjected to interrogation by Chinese and Soviet personnel. One such POW was USAF Sergeant Daniel Oldewage who has stated that he and a number of other captured USAF NCOs were transported to Antung for interrogation by the Chinese and the Soviets. Oldewage stated that the Soviets were dressed in Chinese uniforms and appeared to be pilots based upon their thorough professional understanding of air operations against the B-29.7

2 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with Colonel Aleksandr S. Orlov, 18 December 1991, Moscow.

3 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview With Colonel Georgii Plotnikov, 17 December 1991, Moscow.

4 Paul M. Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview With Colonel (ret) Viktor A. Bushuyev, 16 September 1992, Moscow. This Soviet Buryat Mongol was named Kolya Mankuev.

5 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with General Georgii A. Lobov, 18 December 1991, Moscow.

6 Celestine Bohlen, "Advice of Stalin: Hold Korean War POWS, New York Times, 25 September 1992.


The Soviet Hunt for F-86 Pilots

According to U.S. Air Force data, 1,303 USAF personnel were declared missing for all reasons between 25 June 1950 and 27 July 1953. After reclassification, this figure had been reduced to 666 whose bodies were not recovered (BNR).8 Of that number, the argument can be made from an analysis of their circumstances of loss, that several hundred survived their crashes and were potential candidates for transfer to the Soviet Union. There is almost blatant evidence that this was, indeed, the case for a number of technically proficient, well-educated, and highly- skilled pilots of the F-86 Sabre jet. Most captured American pilots who did not die in the prison camps did in fact return. However, there is one major statistical aberration: the F-86 pilots.

A total of 56 F-86 aircraft were downed in aerial combat or by anti-aircraft artillery. From these aircraft, 15 live pilots (Appendix C) and one set of remains were repatriated. Of the 40 remaining losses, for whom no pilots were repatriated, the circumstances of loss indicate a high probability of death for nine. Of the 31 remaining cases (Appendix B), conditions were such that survival was possible. The 55 percent missing in action rate is unusually high compared to missing rates for pilots flying other airframes.

7 Transcription by Task Force Russia of a videotape statement by Daniel Oldwage, 13 May 1993.

8 USAFEAF Battle Casualties -- Korean War Summary, cumulative with adjustments through 6 October 1953. The reclassified 637 included: 370 declared dead, 44 returned to military control (REC), 220 declared POW, and 3 recovered before the end of the war.


In late Summer 1992, the Russian side provided two lists of U.S. POWs that they stated had been provided to them by the Chinese and/or North Koreans.9

One--list had 59 names and the other 71 names. There were 42 names that appeared in both lists and in almost identical sequence. The list of 59 names purported to be of those POWs who had transited an interrogation point. On a number of documents provided by the Russian side (translated in TFR-76) were the names of Soviet officers who had had some role in interrogations or the reporting process. The most prominent of them was a Lieutenant General Razuvayev whose position was such that he could report on occasion directly to the Defense Minister and the Chief of the General Staff. F10

The names of these Soviet officers are at Appendix F.

At the request of the American side, the Russian side provided the interrogation files associated with these two lists. However, the Russians provided files for only 46 individuals. By reviewing the archival data handwritten on the files, Task Force Russia determined that 120 pages were missing. In those cases where interrogation material was missing, another 41 names can be correlated from the two lists. F11

Analysis of ancillary information and coordination with Air Force Casualty Affairs indicates that the 120 missing pages should contain data on eight identifiable MIAs. In addition to these eight, a ninth MIA was identified in the interrogation files whose name was not on either list. The nine MIAs are listed below: F12

9 The first list with 59 names on it was entitled, "A List of Air Force personnel shot down in aerial combat or by anti- aircraft artillery during combat operations in Korea and who transited an interrogation point." The second list of 71 names was entitled, "A list of USAF aircrew members participating in combat operations in North Korea in 1950-1953 and about whom information is found in files of the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps." Both documents have been translated in TFR-3.

10 General Razuvayev appears to have been the liaison officer between Kim Il Sung and Stalin. He signed a letter discussing the captured American General Dean to the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff.

11 "Add the two lists: (59 + 71 - 130). Subtract the duplicated names (130 - 42 - 88) which provides 88 individuals. All but one of those names (Kharm) has been matched with a POW, thus 87 identified names. Add the number of names mentioned in Russian documents and the number we think should also be in the files (46 + 41 = 87), and we arrive at the number 87 again as the total number of identified POWs.

12 Task Force Russia (POW/MIA), "Report to the U.S. Delegation, U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, 4 June 1993; and Task Force Russia (POW/MIA), "Report to the U.S.


Table 1. USAF Korean War POWs
On Whom the Russian Archives Should Have Information
Name Aircraft Duty Position
Tenney, Albert Gilbert, CPT F-86 Pilot<
Wendling, George Vincent, MAJ F-86 Pilot
Harker, Charles A., Jr., lLT F-84 Pilot
Niemann, Robert Frank, lLT F-86 Pilot
McDonough, Charles E., MAJ RB-45C Pilot
Unruh, Halbert Caloway, CPT B-26 Pilot
Shewmaker, John W., CPT F-80 Pilot
Reid, Elbert J. Jr., SSgt B-29 Gunner
Bergmann, Louis H., SSgt B-29 Radar Operator
[NOTE: I put the above in table format in order for it to appear in heading form as it did in the document--WEBMASTER]

Of the seven pilots in this group, three flew the F-86 and one the experimental RB-45C reconnaissance aircraft, types of aircraft in which the Soviets had high interest. In addition to the F-86s, the Soviets would have had an equally high interest in the RB-45C flown by Major Charles McDonough. The North American RB-45C was the first operational U.S. multi-engine jet bomber employed by the U.S. Air Force, and its reconnaissance configuration would have made it doubly interesting .13 The Russians have even provided evidence of their interest in the B- 45 series in a document dated 6 February 1951 in which intelligence collections requirements against U.S. forces in Korea were listed (TFR 34-46).14 U.S. records also show that SSgt

Delegation, U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on POW/MIAs, 18 June 1993.

13 There were only three of the RB-45Cs in the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO); they arrived at Yakota on 29 September 1950. By November and December they were flying along the North Korean- Manchurian border on a daily basis. Although the RB-45C could outrun Migs, it had little maneuverability at altitude. Soviet ground controllers could have prepositioned MiGs for intercept. As shown in the interrogation of Major McDonough provided by the Russians, the Soviets were interested in the B-47 as well.

14 TFR 34-46 is a list of Soviet intelligence collection requirements in the Korean Theater of Operations (KTO) dated 6 February 1951 and includes the following items

7. Through interrogation of prisoner pilots, ascertain the morale of flight personnel, intensity of aircraft flights by type (heavy, medium bombers, fighters), personnel, deployment, turn-around time and the tactical


Bergmann, a radar operator on a B-29, was interrogated at least once by the Soviets.15 Furthermore, retired Soviet Colonel Viktor A. Bushuyev, Deputy Chief of Intelligence for the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps stated that they had attempted to interrogate an F-86 pilot named Neiman or Naiman that most likely was lLT Robert F. Niemann, USAF, shot down on 12 April 1953.16

Another pilot among the 31 missing was mentioned in an interview by Colonel Valentin Sozinov. He stated:

The name of Major Delit came up in my conversation with Lobov. I don't know what his position is. But he also ejected and was captured and then escorted somewhere. I think he was on the People's Republic of China territory. F17

We believe this individual is Major Deltis H. Fincher, USANG, shot down on 22 August 1952.

The 15 F-86 Pilots That Came Home

Colonel Valentin Sozinov, an advisor to the Korean General Staff, admits to having interrogated one of the leading F-86 personalities, Colonel Walker 'Bud' Mahurin, a World War II ace and a wing commander in Korea who was eventually repatriated."18 However, in a recent interview, Colonel Mahurin recently stated that he had no memory of being interrogated by Soviet personnel. F19


nature fot he 6002nd, 6140th, 6131st, 6147th tactical support wings, quantity of B-45 jet-engined bombers nd F-84 jet fighters, and to which units they are attached and deployed.

15 Air Force Manual 200-25, Missing in Action -- Korea, 16 January 1961, p. 11.

16 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with Colonel Bushuyev, 16 September 1992, Moscow.

17 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with Col. Georgii Plotnikov and Col. Valentin Sozinov, 30 March 1992, Moscow.

18 Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with Col. Georgii Plotnikov (ret) and Col. Valentin Sozinov (ret), 30 March 1992, Moscow.

19 Task Force Russia Interview with Colonel Bud Mahurin, November 1992; Paul Cole, RAND Corporation, Interview with Col. Georgii Plotnikov and Col. Valentin Sozinov, 30 March 1992, Moscow.


We believe that there were four critical factors that could have led to Colonel Mahurin's eventual repatriation, as well as the return of the other 14 F-86 pilots who were repatriated (Appendix B):
(1) In the case of Colonel Mahurin and the other 14 pilots, one critical factor may have been that they had been seen by too many people in the POW camp system. Having been formally enrolled in a prisoner of war camp, moving them to another country might have been considered too obvious. It is doubtful that there was any contact at all between the aviators who are still considered missing and those who were repatriated. F20 Whereas prisoner of war status may not have assured survival, it possibly assured accountability.
(2) The second critical factor was the nature of the intelligence collection requirement for F- 86 pilots. A collection requirement like this probably was specialized and probably changed over time. An example of this sort specialized collection requirement was the intensive interrogation over a short period of time of all B-29 crewmen in Camp #2, described in a U.S. report as being "prompted by an intelligence requirement. F21 Documents provided by the Russians

20 Air Force Manual 200-25, Missing In Action Korea, 16 January 1961. This document is the Air Force element of the so- called 389 List", developed after the Korean War, which is a list of 389 missing in action cases. The nature of the 1098 in each was such that the United States Government believed the Communist side should have knowledge of them. AFM 200-25 then represents an exhaustive review of all available information at the time on each of the Air Force's 187 losses. In each case, i9 included the testimony of U.S. personnel who had any information on the circumstances of loss. In none of these did a repatriated pilot report contact with the MIAs. The Joint Commission Support Branch is now interviewing repatriated F-86 pilots to recreate that data base and ascertain if any pertinent information was omitted.

21 OSI Special Report (Office of Special Investigations), The Inspector General, Headquarters USAF, "USAF Prisoners of War in Korea," 1 July 1954, p. 13. The study states: "On one occasion all B-29 crew members were taken from camp and interrogated on all phases of their B-29 training, equipment, tactics, organization, etc. Thus it appeared that these interrogations were prompted by intelligence requirements which were sent down to the camps from higher Chinese headquarters." Since only the Soviet Union was capable of defense against the B-29 and was at that time intensely Interested in defense against US strategic bombers, it is certain that this intelligence requirement was initiated by the Soviets. This intelligence requirement probably was behind the interrogations described by Sgt Oldewage. A separate line of investigation into B-29 crewmen who may have been transferred to the Soviet Union is in preparation

2 posted on 10/21/2005 7:29:33 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

Stalin was such a louse. My only regret is that we were never able to hold Stalin accountable the way the IRAQI people will hold SADAM accountable for his crimes.

3 posted on 10/21/2005 7:29:46 AM PDT by wmileo
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To: wmileo

Don't worry. There is a Judge who will hold Stailin to account.

4 posted on 10/21/2005 7:39:55 AM PDT by Fudd
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To: wmileo
More than just an evil louse. It is not by chance that Saddam modeled himself and his regime after Stalin. Saddam nurtured long range schemes of making Iraq the controlling power in the Middle East and by virtue of control of Middle east oil a sort of global super power. His attack on Iran in 1980 was part of that strategic framework. If he could destroy or at least conclusively defeat the Persians Iraq would be the most powerful state in the Gulf and able to dictate to the oil producers. This didn't work and the Iraqis found themselves in a fight for existence as an independent state.

The occupation of Kuwait was to recoup monies to pay down the crushing debt load Iraq accumulated because of the war with Iran and to demonstrate that Iraq was if not the dominant state in the region at least on the south shore of the Persian Gulf. We know how that adventure ended. But Saddam's dreams of regional dominance lay at the root of his determined intransigence after 1991.

Stalin, his mentor, thought in terms of continental conquest and in long time blocks. His goal was to at least make the USSR supreme in Eurasia. While he miscalculated about Hitler thinking the German dictator was duped by Stalin's protestations of peaceful intent and Russia's almost eager delivery of important raw materials to Germany under the terms of the Russo-German Nonaggression Pact. In fact Hitler duped Stalin and sucker punched the Soviets before they could launch their own attack on the Reich which would have happened later in 1941.

Stalin's whole career has to be considered one endless exercise in the will to power, first the CP, then through collectivization and rearmament and purging the whole country and after that was to be the conquest of Europe.
We are fortunate his health failed and he died before he could launch World War III.
5 posted on 10/21/2005 7:44:41 AM PDT by robowombat
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To: robowombat

Nelson DeMille wrote a fictional novel in the 80's called Charm School, where the premise was that downed US pilots from Vietnam were turned over to the Soviets to provide intelligence on fighter tactics or something, and then when they were so old that their information was thought to be out of date, they were used to train spys to act like Americans. Good book.

I guess it's not hard to see why the Russians would want any evidence of having held US POWs lost or destroyed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Tough to say, "we want to be friends and get some start up money from you; and oh by the way, we had a few hundred of your pilots here for about thirty years, but we might have killed them or worked them to death when they weren't useful anymore."

6 posted on 10/21/2005 7:44:44 AM PDT by NYFriend
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To: robowombat

I read somewhere that US pilots shot down over Laos during the(VN war)were also transfered to Russia.Again the rationale was to secure technology.

7 posted on 10/21/2005 7:56:28 AM PDT by Thombo2
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To: robowombat

They served their country and deserve to be remembered. Ping to the top...

8 posted on 10/21/2005 8:46:43 AM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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