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Douglas Caddy

Steven Hager: The Two Oswalds

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Mathias,

White Russians in the Dallas area such as George DeMohrenschildt, Natalie Ray, Anna Meller and others were clearly surprised by Lee HARVEY Oswald’s fluency in Russian in 1962 and 1963, but it is also clear that “Oswald” spoke, understood, read and probably wrote Russian before he even traveled to Russia in the first place.

While “Oswald” was still in the Marine Corps, he had a date with Rosaleen Quinn, who had taken a Berlitz course in Russian and was hoping to work at the American Embassy in Moscow.  Miss Quinn told the Warren Commission that she and “Oswald” spoke in Russian for several hours after seeing a movie and that she thought he spoke Russian very well for someone who took no courses in it.
 
After arriving at the Marine base in Santa Ana California in late 1958, still before he traveled to Russia, “Oswald” famously read Russian newspapers and magazines, listened to Russian music, and was known to the Marines around him as “Oswaldovich.”
  
Days after arriving in Russia, in October 1959, he was admitted to Botkinskaya Hospital in Moscow for an alleged suicide attempt. He pretended he didn't understand Russian, but a doctor wrote about him: "The patient apparently understands the questions asked in Russian. Sometimes he answers correctly, but immediately states that he does not understand what he was asked."

Of course, the Warren Commission and its apologists want us to believe that “Oswald” taught himself Russian during his spare time in the Marine Corps by reading Russian-language newspapers and magazines and consulting a dictionary.  Here’s an image of a Russian-language newspaper printed in San Francisco.  How long do you think it would take you to learn Russian by reading this and consulting a print dictionary, such as those available in the late 1950s?

 

russzh.jpg

 

For more on all of this, please visit HarveyandLee.net.

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4 hours ago, Jim Hargrove said:

While “Oswald” was still in the Marine Corps, he had a date with Rosaleen Quinn, who had taken a Berlitz course in Russian and was hoping to work at the American Embassy in Moscow.  Miss Quinn told the Warren Commission that she and “Oswald” spoke in Russian for several hours after seeing a movie and that she thought he spoke Russian very well for someone who took no courses in it.


So much for the "he taught himself while in Russia" claim.

Though I suppose it's possible Oswald secretly took Russian classes while in the Marines, in preparation for his fake defection. And then improved upon it when in Russia. Jim, do you know how much time elapsed from the time Oswald entered the Marine Corp. till the time he had his date with Rosaleen Quinn? (You need to include the time LEE was inducted, for the sake of proving whether or not Oswald could have learned the language that fast.)


EDIT: Jim, I answered my own question, below.

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen

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Jim Hargrove said:

"In the spring of 1959 Oswald had a date with Rosaleen Quinn, the aunt of a fel­-
low Marine who had studied the Russian language for the past year using the Berlitz
method. She and Oswald conversed in Russian for over two hours and she was very
impressed with his command of the language.
Oswald's proficiency in Russian, and his
interest in Russia, first surfaced at the Marine base in California in 1959--only 9 months
before his "defection" to the Soviet Union. But no one, including the WatTen Commission,
ever determined how or where he learned Russian."


Oswald entered the Marines in October 1956, and had his date with Rosaleen Quinn in the spring of 1959. So the longest Oswald could possibly have studied Russian (before impressing Quinn with his knowledge) was 2 1/2 years. But, of course, he would have had much less time than that given that his whereabouts and fellow Marines at certain times are known and his fellow Marines were interviewed.

In his book, John Armstrong writes that he laid out Oswald's schedule on calendars, looking for periods of time where he could have been learning Russian. He found there was little available time. Problem is, he assumed that Oswald actually attended boot camp, etc. He didn't take into account the possibility that Oswald's activities were cover stories.

Of course, people like Tracy Parnell would have to agree with Armstrong's assessment, given that they believe Oswald was a regular Marine private doing what regular Marine privates do. It seems that Tracy et. al. will have no reasonable way of explaining how Oswald could have learned his Russian so quickly in his spare time.

For those of us who believe that Oswald was no regular private in the Marines, there might be some hope of explaining how Oswald was able to learn Russian so quickly. Unfortunately it is a difficult task for most of us because we'd have to look through all the evidence and determine the periods of time 's where Oswald's activities are unaccounted for, during which times he may have been taking classes.

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen

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If you look at the evidence, there is a progression of LHO''s ability. When he arrived in Russia, he could barely communicate. By 1963, he could speak Russian pretty well. Nothing mysterious here. If I ever get the time, I would like to do an article n this. But Jim Hargrove got me interested in Veciana debunking that turned into a major project. Not that many people care about H&L anymore anyway.

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9 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:


Oswald entered the Marines in October 1956, and had his date with Rosaleen Quinn in the spring of 1959. So the longest he could possibly have studied Russian (before impressing Quinn with his knowledge) was 2 1/2 years. But, of course, he would have had much less time than that given that his whereabouts and fellow Marines at certain times are known and his fellow Marines were interviewed.

In his book, John Armstrong writes that he laid out Oswald's schedule on calendars, looking for periods of time where he could have been learning Russian. He found there was little available time. Problem is, he assumed that Oswald actually attended boot camp, etc. He didn't take into account the possibility that Oswald's activities were cover stories.

Of course, people like Tracy Parnell would have to agree with Armstrong's assessment, given that they believe Oswald was a regular Marine private doing what regular Marine privates do. It seems that Tracy et. al. will have no reasonable way of explaining how Oswald could have learned his Russian so quickly in his spare time.

For those of us who believe that Oswald was no regular private in the Marines, there might be some hope of explaining how Oswald was able to learn Russian so quickly. Unfortunately it is a difficult task for most of us because we'd have to look through all the evidence and determine the periods of time 's where Oswald's activities are unaccounted for, during which times he may have been taking classes.

 

It may be easier to understand than that. For example, when LEE Harvey Oswald arrived in Atsugi, Japan in September 1957, he was soon befriended by a Marine named Zack Stout.

John Armstrong interviewed Stout in November, 1998, and asked him if he ever saw Oswald studying the Russian language.  Stout answered as follows:

"Most of the time we were with a mobile radar unit. Shortly after he arrived we left Japan and traveled constantly from location to location in the South China Sea [beginning in November 1957]. I know Oswald didn't attend any Russian classes or read any Russian books or listen to any Russian records. He didn't have anywhere to get such materials and if he had them we [Stout and fellow Marines] would have known about it. We slept in the same bunkhouse and most of the time worked on the same radar crew. The idea that Oswald studied Russian in Japan is ridiculous--it just didn't happen."

Atsugi, Japan was LEE Harvey Oswald’s home base until November 1958.  During that period of over one year, he gave no indication whatsoever that he had any interest in the Russian language or culture.  But the very next month, Lee HARVEY Oswald reported for duty at the Marine Air Facility at Santa Ana, California.  One month after that, “Oswald” took and passed (although with a “poor” grade) a Russian language exam!  Just a couple of months later, he spoke Russian for hours during his date with Rosaleen Quinn.

This is just a bit of the evidence, but there was nothing gradual about “Oswald’s” sudden interest and proficiency in the Russian language.  It first appeared during Lee HARVEY Oswald’s stationing at the Santa Ana base, less than a year before the so-called “defection.”  I don’t see any innocent explanation for this.  

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Days after arriving in Russia, in October 1959, he was admitted to Botkinskaya Hospital in Moscow for an alleged suicide attempt. He pretended he didn't understand Russian, but a doctor wrote about him: "The patient apparently understands the questions asked in Russian. Sometimes he answers correctly, but immediately states that he does not understand what he was asked."

Hello Jim, that is indeed very interesting and explains the KGB's suspicion. It adds substance to the claim that Oswald was on some sort of intelligence gathering mission.

Quote

Atsugi, Japan was LEE Harvey Oswald’s home base until November 1958.  During that period of over one year, he gave no indication whatsoever that he had any interest in the Russian language or culture.  But the very next month, Lee HARVEY Oswald reported for duty at the Marine Air Facility at Santa Ana, California.  One month after that, “Oswald” took and passed (although with a “poor” grade) a Russian language exam!

Some questions come to mind. What kind of exam was that? Was is it just a written test or was there  an oral part too?  Multiple choice? Was essay writing a part of it? And most crucially: What was the target level? Without that information it is hard to  assess the significance of Oswalds's performance and the time he possibly invested in studying.

Does the actual exam paper still exist?

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The test covered, apparently, Russian reading and writing skills. The most thorough description of it I'm aware of came from the WC testimony of Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Allison G. Folsom: 

Mr. ELY - All right. Now, moving further down page 7, we have the record of a Russian examination taken by Oswald on February 25, 1959. Could you explain to us what sort of test this was, and what the scores achieved by Oswald mean? 

Colonel FOLSOM - The test form was Department of the Army, Adjutant General's Office, PRT-157. This is merely the test series designation. Now, under "understands" the scoring was minus 5, which means that he got five more wrong than right. The "P" in parentheses indicates "poor." Under reading he achieved a score of 4, which is low. This, again, is shown by the "P" in parentheses for "poor." 

Mr. ELY - This 4 means he got four more questions right than wrong? 

Colonel FOLSOM - This is correct. And under "writes" he achieved a score of 3, with "P" in parentheses, and this indicates he got three more right than he did wrong. His total score was 2, with a "P" in parentheses meaning that overall he got two more right than wrong, and his rating was poor throughout. 

Among the unanswered questions, of course, was what the heck was a Marine Corps private and school dropout doing taking a Russian language exam?  In total, he got more questions right than wrong. Although we don't know the format of the questions, it would certainly appear from this and other evidence that he knew more than a little Russian before he "defected" to the Soviet Untion.  The Warren Commission did not seem to have much interest exploring how he learned Russian.  

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On 1/10/2017 at 5:52 AM, W. Tracy Parnell said:

I have a (non-confrontational) question for Jim Hargrove/David Josephs. At the Armstrong/Baylor files is found the following document (p. 4):

http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/po-arm/id/2517/rec/1

This is an interesting document because it confirms the date of Marguerite's marriage to Ekdahl-May 5, 1945. As you may know, the date is mentioned in some records as May 7 instead of the 5th. Small point, but important for the historic record. My question did Armstrong obtain this document himself or was it found in some existing government files? I don't see anything that indicates it was in the FBI files or anything and it looks like Armstrong may have obtained this on his own. If so, I would like to give him credit for that in any future projects I do.

:cheers

I sent him a note Tracy asking him.....  he spent 10 years in and out of the Archives copying as much as he could.

I can see why they would just send him a copy of the certificate, if public property, right?

DJ

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Mr. ELY - All right. Now, moving further down page 7, we have the record of a Russian examination taken by Oswald on February 25, 1959. Could you explain to us what sort of test this was, and what the scores achieved by Oswald mean? 

Colonel FOLSOM - The test form was Department of the Army, Adjutant General's Office, PRT-157. This is merely the test series designation. Now, under "understands" the scoring was minus 5, which means that he got five more wrong than right. The "P" in parentheses indicates "poor." Under reading he achieved a score of 4, which is low. This, again, is shown by the "P" in parentheses for "poor." 

Mr. ELY - This 4 means he got four more questions right than wrong? 

Colonel FOLSOM - This is correct. And under "writes" he achieved a score of 3, with "P" in parentheses, and this indicates he got three more right than he did wrong. His total score was 2, with a "P" in parentheses meaning that overall he got two more right than wrong, and his rating was poor throughout. 

Jim,

So Oswald's Performance was far from stellar. How is this evidence that there were two Oswalds?

Edited by Mathias Baumann

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You can't explain how "Oswald" learned Russian, Mathias, but I can.  His ability is consistent with that of a kid who learned Russian as a young child and then was brought to the U.S. where he started using English instead.

A funny dialog about this very issue is from Oliver Stone's movie JFK. It's spoken by the actor Kevin Kostner, who played Jim Garrison:

It's incredible, honey -- the whole thing. A Lieutenant Colonel testifies that Lee Oswald was given a Russian language exam as part of his Marine training only a few months before he defects to the Soviet Union. A Russian exam!

. . . Honey, in all my years in the service I never knew a single man who was given a Russian test. Oswald was a radar operator. He'd have about as much use for Russian as a cat has for pajamas.

. . . And then this Colonel tries to make it sound like nothing. Oswald did badly on the test, he says. "He only had two more Russian words right than wrong." Ha! That's like me saying Touchdown here . . . (points to the dog) . . . is not very intelligent because I beat him three games out of five the last time we played chess.

As you know, there is no evidence whatsoever that "Lee Harvey Oswald" ever received foreign language training, and plenty of evidence that he didn't.  If you want to see how good the evidence for two Oswalds really is, read the Marine Corps chapters from Harvey and Lee. 

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2 hours ago, Mathias Baumann said:

Jim, you're right I cannot explain how Oswald managed to teach himself Russian. That's why I believe he received professional training.

That’s a perfectly logical assumption, Mathias, but the Big Picture may be a bit more complicated than that. Russian-speaking Lee HARVEY Oswald took his Russian exam, spoke Russian for two hours with Rosaleen Quinn, and established his Russian commie credentials while stationed at the Marine Corps Air Facility (MCAF—also known as MACS 9) located near Santa Ana, CA.  FBI interviews coupled with USMC records indicate he was there from the fall of 1958 until July 1959.

During the early part of this same period, American-born LEE Harvey Oswald was still stationed in Atsugi, Japan, departing from Yokosuku aboard the USS Barrett and arriving in San Francisco on November 15.  He was briefly at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS—also known as MACS 3) near El Toro, CA, then at Vincent Air Force Base in Yuma, AZ, and then at Marine Control Group 3 (MAG 3), also near El Toro. Two pictures of LEE Oswald on his trip to Yuma are in the National Archives.  Allen D. Graf told the FBI that he was Oswald’s Platoon Sergeant for 6-8 months at MAG 3.  During all this time, Russian-speaking Harvey Oswald was stationed at MACS 9 near Santa Ana!  

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On 7/14/2017 at 8:00 AM, Jim Hargrove said:
On 7/13/2017 at 10:12 PM, Sandy Larsen said:


Oswald entered the Marines in October 1956, and had his date with Rosaleen Quinn in the spring of 1959. So the longest he could possibly have studied Russian (before impressing Quinn with his knowledge) was 2 1/2 years. But, of course, he would have had much less time than that given that his whereabouts and fellow Marines at certain times are known and his fellow Marines were interviewed.

For those of us who believe that Oswald was no regular private in the Marines, there might be some hope of explaining how Oswald was able to learn Russian so quickly. Unfortunately it is a difficult task for most of us because we'd have to look through all the evidence and determine the periods of time 's where Oswald's activities are unaccounted for, during which times he may have been taking classes.

 

 

It may be easier to understand than that. For example, when LEE Harvey Oswald arrived in Atsugi, Japan in September 1957, he was soon befriended by a Marine named Zack Stout....

....Atsugi, Japan was LEE Harvey Oswald’s home base until November 1958.  During that period of over one year, he gave no indication whatsoever that he had any interest in the Russian language or culture.  

But the very next month, Lee HARVEY Oswald reported for duty at the Marine Air Facility at Santa Ana, California.  One month after that, “Oswald” took and passed (although with a “poor” grade) a Russian language exam!  Just a couple of months later, he spoke Russian for hours during his date with Rosaleen Quinn.


Jim,

I was hoping you'd chime in. You know Oswald's history like the back of your hand. And that will make the task I described easier to accomplish.

I earlier determined that Oswald had at most 2 1/2 years (from October 1956 to the spring of 1959) to learn enough Russian to impress his date. (For the sake of this argument I'm assuming there was just one Oswald.) With your knowledge at hand we can cut away at that 2 1/2 years.

You then showed how Oswald was in no way taking Russian classes for the ~year he was in Atsugi (from September 1957 to November 1958).  After returning from Atsugi he took a 30-day leave (as recalled by Robert). He took the Russian test just a couple months later and then had his date a month or two after that. He surely could not have learned Russian in the three months prior to his date... and besides, it would not have made sense for him to take the test first and learn the language afterward! So really, there was no reasonable opportunity for Oswald to take Russian classes from the time he set sail for Atsugi and the time of his date.

Therefore, Oswald had to have learned Russian at some point between his induction into the Marine Corp in October 1956, and when he set sail for Atsugi in August 1957. That is, Oswald had at most ten months to learn Russian well enough to impress his date by talking with her in Russian for a couple hours straight.

Can we whittle away more from that ten months?

Can we, for example, say that Oswald MUST have really gone through boot camp (even though he was a special Marine, one whose sole purpose was to defect to the USSR with some radar secrets in hand)? I'm pretty sure that Oswald could not have taken Russian classes instead of attending boot camp and gotten away with it. He wouldn't have known how to behave like a Marine, right?

Oswald was in boot camp from October 1956 through the middle of January 1957. I see in Harvey & Lee that there is plenty of evidence showing this to be the case. So we can subtract three months from the ten and say that Oswald had at most seven months to learn Russian well enough to impress his date.

Now, Oswald had a fellow Marine in boot camp by the name of Allen Felde who was interviewed by the FBI. According to him, he was also with Oswald through ITR training, A & P School in Jacksonville, and Aviation Electronics School in Memphis, TN. The question is, can we trust Felde's testimony? Or could he have been paid for and brought in by the FBI to cover up the fact that Oswald was in reality taking Russian classes during that period of time?

I haven't been able to figure out a way around this. Other than, certainly Oswald must have received training to do the work he did in Japan. Maybe Jim Hargrove can think of something. But as it stands, we know that Oswald had at most seven months to learn Russian well enough to impress his date.

 

 

 

Edited by Sandy Larsen

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Sandy,

That's an interesting question that I'll try to find time to look at more fully.  As usual, though, some or all of the answer can be found in John's book.  Perhaps you'll recall this section from the opening pages of Harvey and Lee:  


Russian-speaking Oswald

One of the unexplained curiosities, which always perplexed and intrigued me,
was Oswald's near perfect command of the Russian language, which was allegedly self­-
taught and mastered within a couple of months. I studied the German language for two
years in high school, had a German-speaking neighbor as a tutor, and became somewhat
proficient in elementary German. After two years of study, I could understand and
speak simple sentences, but was completely lost during a normal conversation. I won­-
dered how Oswald, with a 9th grade education, could have mastered the Russian
language within a few months, without the aid of a teacher, tutor, or language school.

I studied Oswald's Marine Corps records to see if there was a time period dur­-
ing which he could have received language training, possibly at the Army Language
School in Monterrey, CA. I began by listing the dates of his Marine Corps training,
assignments, transfers, and duty stations on 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 calendars. I soon
realized there was no time for Oswald to have taken Russian classes in boot camp
(1956), ITR training (early 1957), aviation training in Jacksonville, Florida (March-April,
1957), or radar school in Biloxi (May-June, 1957). In August 1957, Oswald boarded the
USS Bexar to Japan and no one saw him reading or studying Russian during the voy-
age.

In September 1957 Oswald arrived in Atsugi, Japan and was photographed
standing in front of his locker. JFKlOl-03 Fellow Marine Zack Stout befriended Oswald and
the young men spent a lot of time together. I asked Zack if ever saw Oswald study the
Russian language. Zack said, "Most of the time we were with a mobile radar unit.
Shortly after he arrived we left Japan and traveled constantly from location to location
in the South China Sea (beginning in November 1957). I know Oswald didn't attend
any Russian classes or read any Russian books or listen to any Russian records. He didn't
have anywhere to get such materials and if he had them we (Stout and fellow Marines)
would have known about it. We slept in the same bunkhouse and most of the time
worked on the same radar crew. The idea that Oswald studied Russian in Japan is ri-­
diculous-it just didn't happen."2

After speaking with Zack, I gathered FBI, Warren Commission, and HSCA
interviews of Marines who had known and served with Oswald in Japan. I wanted to
see if any of these Marines saw Oswald with a Russian book, Russian records, or Rus­-
sian reading materials. Not surprisingly, no one saw Oswald with Russian literature nor
remembered that he studied the language while in Japan, where he was stationed un­-
til November 1958.

According to the Warren Commission, Oswald left Japan and reported for duty
at the Marine Corps Air Facility in Santa Ana, California, in December 1958. A month
later he took, and passed, a military language exam in the Russian language. Fellow Ma­
rines who served with Oswald in Santa Ana remembered that he read Russian news­-
papers, listened to Russian records, and was interested in everything Russian. How was
this possible? Where and how had Oswald studied and learned Russian?

In the spring of 1959 Oswald had a date with Rosaleen Quinn, the aunt of a fel­-
low Marine who had studied the Russian language for the past year using the Berlitz
method. She and Oswald conversed in Russian for over two hours and she was very
impressed with his command of the language. Oswald's proficiency in Russian, and his
interest in Russia, first surfaced at the Marine base in California in 1959--only 9 months
before his "defection" to the Soviet Union. But no one, including the WatTen Commission,
ever determined how or where he learned Russian.

--From Harvey and Lee, pp. 4-5, copyright © 2003 by John Armstrong

As you probably know, the time period you're examining is discussed in H&L starting around page 146.  Mainly from unit diaries, John presents the following timeline:

Boot camp in San Diego-October 24, 1956 thru January 18, 1957
Camp Pendleton (ITR training)-January 20 thru February 26, 1957

On leave

NaTechTraCen (Naval Technical Training Center) in Jacksonville, Florida
(Aviation Fundamentals School)-March 18 thru May 3, 1957.

Biloxi, Mississippi-radar school at Keesler Air Force Base (shown as Henderson
Hall, Arlington, VA)-May 13 thru June 24, 1957

On leave

Marine Corps Air Facility, El Toro, CA & USS Bexar to Japan-July 9 thru
September 12

MACS 1, MAG II, 1st MAW FMF (Japan)-September 12 thru December 31, 1957

[Source: H&L pp. 156-157]

I would have to go through H&L with a fine tooth comb to see what information is available for each of the elements above, but one I know right now concerns the Biloxi Mississippi radar school.  Regarding that, Donald Peter Camarata told the FBI that during the time he knew [Lee] Oswald at the school, he had "no recollection... of any remarks on his [Oswald's] part concerning Communism, Russia, or Cuba."

Allen Felde knew Harvey Oswald through much of his early USMC time, but it's a complex subject starting with what appears to be two different names in USMC records for who John is convinced is the same fellow. The two names are Alexander D. Felde and Allen R. Felde.  

Here is the FBI report of Felde, whose account differs somewhat from the Unit Diaries:

57-08.jpg

57-09.jpg

 

I've kind of run out of time for this right now.  This isn't a very good post, I'm afraid, but I'll try to get back to the subject.


 

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9 hours ago, Jim Hargrove said:

As you probably know, the time period you're examining is discussed in H&L starting around page 146.  Mainly from unit diaries, John presents the following timeline:

Boot camp in San Diego-October 24, 1956 thru January 18, 1957
Camp Pendleton (ITR training)-January 20 thru February 26, 1957

On leave

NaTechTraCen (Naval Technical Training Center) in Jacksonville, Florida
(Aviation Fundamentals School)-March 18 thru May 3, 1957.

Biloxi, Mississippi-radar school at Keesler Air Force Base (shown as Henderson
Hall, Arlington, VA)-May 13 thru June 24, 1957

On leave

Marine Corps Air Facility, El Toro, CA & USS Bexar to Japan-July 9 thru
September 12

MACS 1, MAG II, 1st MAW FMF (Japan)-September 12 thru December 31, 1957

[Source: H&L pp. 156-157]

I would have to go through H&L with a fine tooth comb to see what information is available for each of the elements above, but one I know right now concerns the Biloxi Mississippi radar school.  Regarding that, Donald Peter Camarata told the FBI that during the time he knew [Lee] Oswald at the school, he had "no recollection... of any remarks on his [Oswald's] part concerning Communism, Russia, or Cuba."

Allen Felde knew Harvey Oswald through much of his early USMC time, but it's a complex subject starting with what appears to be two different names in USMC records for who John is convinced is the same fellow. The two names are Alexander D. Felde and Allen R. Felde.  

Here is the FBI report of Felde, whose account differs somewhat from the Unit Diaries:

57-08.jpg

57-09.jpg

 

I've kind of run out of time for this right now.  This isn't a very good post, I'm afraid, but I'll try to get back to the subject.

 

Thanks Jim, especially for posting Allen Felde's affidavit.

So far I have shown (with your help and John's book) that Oswald had at most seven months to learn Russian well enough to impress his date. (Specifically, from the time he left boot camp on January 18, 1957, till the time he set sail for Atsugi on August 22, 1957.) If we knew that Felde's affidavit and the unit diaries were real and not fabricated to hide Oswald's whereabouts (that being in intensive language training), we could subtract several months from that seven. But for now I will leave most that time alone.

On May 2, 1957 Oswald traveled from Jacksonville, Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi in order to take a radar course. The course ended on June 17. I think we can remove this period of time because 1) surely Oswald needed to take the course given that he would later be involved in that kind of work in Japan; and 2) there were witnesses to Oswald attending the course (including Daniel Powers). Oswald was part of a group of six, and they were granted leave from June 20 to July 9. There were witnesses to Oswald taking two-week leaves around that time (Marguerite's neighbor, Lee M. McCracken), and so it's likely Oswald actually did take that leave.

Therefore, Oswald had at most five months to learn Russian well enough to impress his date. (Specifically, from the time he left boot camp on January 18, 1957 till the time he set sail for Atsugi on August 22, 1957. Minus the time he spent at radar school and on leave, from May 1 till July 9.)

Can we whittle off more?

 

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