Thank you for allowing me access to your forum. I can only help out or answer questions up until the time Kennedy was assassinated. That was the last time I had any contact with Rip or the Cuban frogmen he worked with. They just vanished along with the boats I worked on. Gray was considered to be Rip's boss. We didn't see him very much, and never for long. He usually came in with a briefcase and cash to pay the bills. Big Tony, as we knew him, had left the group and started his own. We only heard from him and his exploits second hand. I worked on his boats in late 61. I can tell you he really hated Castro, but I never heard him say anything about JFK. I also never heard Rip say anything about him either. Gray never said much at all. He was like a ghost. The Cubans I worked with didn't like JFK too much. They blamed him for the defeat at Bay of Pigs. They were fun to be around and we conversed in spanglish most of the time. They were all good loyal men and admired and respected Rip very much. As I did.
I also worked with two other Americans..only two. Mickey Kappes and Bob Stevens, or Bob Burke. They told me they had been recruited from the Merchant Marine Academy, and they wore class rings from there. I was pretty friendly with Bob. He said he was leaving to open a helicopter business in Orlando in 63. Although I saw a picture of an Air America pilot in a Vietnam magazine two years ago that sure favored him. They had many ID's and drove different vehicles most of the time. They had trucks with names like "Keys Navigation and Research" on them. I believe Mickey also owned a Corvette. When they came back from a mission, they would bring the boat to our yard. They had keys for the gates. This place was called Dade Marine. It was located in South Miami on US1. We had a worker who came to work around 5 am to get away from his kids going to school. He would check out the boats, patch up any bullet holes, pull off broken windshields, clean out shell casings, grenade pins, the wire left behind when you fired a recoilless rifle, and machine gun links. He would paint over the patches, and make the boat look like a commercial fishing boat.
These boats and motors were usually painted all one color. Dark flat green or gray. If the motors were black, they were not painted. They also worked with a friend of mine that ran Safe Harbor Marina in Key West. His name was Chuck Mersereau. He had been head of the Mercury Race Team before taking this job.
I could ramble on but will answer some other questions now.
I never heard Rip refered to as Carlos, but Carlos is a pretty popular name with the Cubans.
I went to Parris Island in early Jan 64. I tried to find out what happened to Rip through my former boss, but he had lost contact with Rip's wife also.
The farm was their main base near Homestead AF Base. They had a few farms as they called them. There was another one on 117th Ave just south of North Kendall Drive. They kept a lot of boats there. Also had a radio station there, as well as on Adams Key. They had a shrimp boat in Miami on the River just packed full of communications gear, and a full crew manning it 24 hours a day. They seemed to be near a missle base also, as I saw lots of boxes of weapons and ammo with tac marks from them. I also saw a Ryder trailer that they brought from Texas loaded with weapons.
And yes, Rip drove a Rambler wagon, around a 59 model. I could tell you for sure if it was anything but a Rambler.
Thanks again for your kind welcomes. I hope what I know can help fill in some blanks.