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Steve Thomas

Revolt of the Colonels?

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Per Bill Kelly, " 

Researcher Larry Haapanen has discovered the 488th seems to have had its own direct chain of command linking it to Washington. In an esoteric publication entitled The Military Order of World Wars (Turner Publishing Company, 1997, p. 120), he found that Crichton "commanded the 488th MID (Strategic), reporting directly to the Army Chief of Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency." 56. And in 1970 Haapanen was told by Crichton’s commander in the Texas Army Reserve, Lt. Col. Whitmeyer, that Crichton's unit did its summer training at the Pentagon.

It is now clear that Stringfellow’s claims about Oswald as a Communist Party visitor to Cuba, though clearly false, fell well within the guidelines for a provocation-deception as set out in the Northwoods and May 1963 documents. All this Cuban deception planning was in support of JCS OPLANS 312 (Air Attack in Cuba) and 316 (Invasion of Cuba). These were not theoretical exercises, but actively developed operational plans which the JCS were only too eager to execute. As they told Kennedy, “We are not only ready to take any action you may order in Cuba, we are also in an excellent condition world-wide to counter any Soviet military response to such action.” 57.

In other words, they were prepared for a nuclear strike against Soviet Russia; even though the JCS, as Air Force General Leon Johnson told the National Security Council in September 1963, believed this would probably result in “at least 140 million fatalities in the USSR.” 58.

At the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, according to Khruschchev’s memoir, Robert Kennedy told the Russian ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin:

The President is in a grave situation and does not know how to get out of it. We are under very severe stress. In fact we are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba…. Even though the President himself is very much against starting a war over Cuba, an irreversible chain of events could occur against his will. That is why the President is appealing directly to Chairman Khrushchev for his help in liquidating this conflict. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American army could get out of control." 59.

 

NOTES

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The Knebel - Bailey II novel based, John Frankenheimer produced  film "7 Days In May" was made because JFK wanted the American people to know that this kind of situation could easily take place.

Of course, it actually did on 11,22,1963.

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I know that being skeptical about this area is not what you all want to hear so I'll stop with this post.  I will say that both Larry Haapanen and I researched this unit as we did a number of scenarios for military involvement in the assassination. But I would caution anyone going this route to spend time understanding how these military commands work and the complexity of the reporting structures for reserve units - when you do certain things become much less mysterious. Things work a bit differently in the regular active service, compared to the Reserves and even more so as compared to Guard units. 

For example, there were only a handful of reserve military intelligence specialist units around the nation and being reserve units they were attached to regional commands but also had a line of reporting within their military specialty area - in this instance that would be to Army intelligence at Pentagon level, to DIA and no doubt from a training perspective to Fort Hoalobird. (sp). If mobilized they could likely be assigned into either staff positions in those locations or to intelligence units with fully activated combat military units. 

Nothing about such a line of reporting is truly unusual or actually interferes with the unit being a group of former staff officers who jointed a reserve unit because somebody had enough clout to organize and get funding for that sort of unit - the reserve and guard units are a bit more "political" than you might think in that respect.  As I recall we found out that a number of former Army officers from around the State of Texas who decided to join this reserve unit and a number of them were indeed working with police forces. We may even have located a Guard intelligence specialty unit, don't remember for sure on that.  

Now of course both Larry and I were in the military, in the Air Force, and he was actually an officer (I was just an NCO) so we might not be all that trustworthy....   The good news for everyone is that I understand Tosh Plumlee has a new book coming out and in the old days Tosh had me chasing after some really mysterious military intelligence units hidden under cover at small, local, civil airfields....you will find that even more challenging, I certainly did. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

 

Now of course both Larry and I were in the military, in the Air Force, and he was actually an officer (I was just an NCO) so we might not be all that trustworthy....   

 

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....

 

Steve Thomas (gnashing his teeth)

 

My father and brother were both in the Navy.

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1 hour ago, Chuck Schwartz said:

Per Bill Kelly, " 

Researcher Larry Haapanen has discovered the 488th seems to have had its own direct chain of command linking it to Washington. In an esoteric publication entitled The Military Order of World Wars (Turner Publishing Company, 1997, p. 120), he found that Crichton "commanded the 488th MID (Strategic), reporting directly to the Army Chief of Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency." 56. And in 1970 Haapanen was told by Crichton’s commander in the Texas Army Reserve, Lt. Col. Whitmeyer, that Crichton's unit did its summer training at the Pentagon.

 

Chuck,

 

See:  page 14.

Reforming Military Intelligence Reserve Components

1995 - 2005

by Colonel Thomas R. Cagley

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a233391.pdf

 

Now Cagley wrote his study in 1991, so I'm not sure when the 488th came into being. Crichton's write up in the Spartacus web page says he stated it in 1956. In his study, Cagley says the MID's became more formalized in the 1960's.

I haven't found yet which MID's were in which ARCOM -so I'm not sure which one the 488th was in.

Table V-I on page 48 tells you how many MID's were in each ARCOM, but not which ones. I suspect either the 4th or 5th CONUSA because I'm pretty sure they covered the central United States, but that's just a guess on my part.

 

Steve Thomas

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Go Navy....my comment was intended to be humorous but more seriously I have to be honest and say that I believe there is truly a place for intelligence work, whether in the military, the CIA or elsewhere in the national intelligence community.  I don't think that anyone is particularly suspicious because they were or are working in intelligence.  Sometimes I get the feeling that we paint with such broad brushes that everyone and everything gets to be suspicious. On the other hand, there are certainly intelligence connected folks who went rogue, and that doesn't just apply to the Kennedy era - you can find it going all the way back to Guatemala and all the way forward through Viet Nam and through Iran Contra to Afghanistan.  Even worse post 9/11.  I spend more than enough time on the sins of intelligence in Shadow Warfare.

No offense meant in the post, as I said, both Larry H and I went down this military road years ago because we were curious about not only these Colonels but a lot of other anecdotal stories about particular military connections of the time.  You are just slogging through the same things we already butted our heads against.  Maybe you will get further, I can only share the sorts of things we found and talked about back then. 

I will say the more I work in the areas of military and national intelligence the more I'm forced to constantly educate myself and the more challenging it is to understand how things were organized back then vs. how they are now. One of my standard intelligence reference books that was a great reference up to the 90's was five hundred pages, the current edition is eight hundred and thirty.

 

 

 

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Enlightening posts all. Would it be fair to assume that the COG underground bunker manned by Crichton and his reservists was set up in case of nuclear conflict?

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JFK had initiated the formal COG program about a year before, pretty sure it was sometime in 1962 (just going from memory here); before that Eisenhower had done some very informal COG preparation, distributing letters authorizing certain individuals to assume power and recreate the Federal infrastructure, especially the financial infrastructure.  As I recall Texas has some plans for extensive civil defense including some truly massive bunker systems around the state.  I suspect the Dallas bunker was part of that and was indeed created for atomic civil defense; within a few years COG facilities in other states and cities were being used to respond to civil disturbances and race riots.  There is a good deal of information available on this, much of in in materials on nuclear warfare preparedness and civil defense. I waded through it when I was researching Surprise Attack. I recall finding a newspaper article describing the massive bunker systems - which of course were too expensive to ever really built. As  you might imagine law enforcement as well as Reserve and Guard units were very involved in the Civil Defense preparedness and drills.  Personally I can remember when the atomic shelter signs started going up on Post Offices and other State and Federal buildings.

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  • Paul B., yes , and per PD Scott.."

    Jack Crichton, head of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit of Dallas, was also part of this Mount Weather COG network. This was in his capacity as chief of intelligence for Dallas Civil Defense, which worked out of an underground Emergency Operating Center. As Russ Baker reports, “Because it was intended for ‘continuity of government’ operations during an attack, [the Center] was fully equipped with communications equipment.”(18) In retrospect the Civil Defense Program is remembered derisively, for having advised schoolchildren, in the event of an atomic attack, to hide their heads under their desks.(19)But in 1963 civil defense was one of the urgent responsibilities assigned to the Office of Emergency Planning, which is why Crichton, as much as Secret Service agent Lawson, could be in direct touch with the OEP’s emergency communications network at Mount Weather.

    Jack Crichton is of interest because he, along with DPD Deputy Chief George Lumpkin of the 488th Army Intelligence Reserve unit, was responsible for choosing a Russian interpreter for Marina Oswald from the right-wing Russian community. This man was Ilya Mamantov, who translated for Marina Oswald at her first DPD interview on November 22. What she allegedly said in Russian at this interview was later used to bolster what I have called the “phase one” story, still promoted from some CIA sources, that Russia and/or Cuba were behind the assassination.

    As summarized by the FBI, Mamantov’s account of Marina’s Russian testimony was as follows:

    MARINA OSWALD advised that LEE HARVEY OSWALD owned a rifle which he used in Russia about two years ago. She observed what she presumed to be the same rifle in a blanket in the garage at [Ruth Paine’s residence]…. MARINA OSWALD stated that on November 22, she had been shown a rifle in the Dallas Police Department…. She stated that it was a dark color like the one that she had seen, but she did not recall the sight.(20)

    These specific details – that Marina said she had seen a rifle that was dark and scopeless – were confirmed in an affidavit (signed by Marina and Mamantov, 24 WH 219) that was taken by DPD officer B.L. Senkel (24 WH 249). They were confirmed again by Ruth Paine, who witnessed the Mamantov interview, (3 WH 82). They were confirmed again the next night in an interview of Marina by the Secret Service, translated by Mamantov’s close friend Peter Gregory. But a Secret Service transcript of the interview reveals that the source of these details was Gregory, not Marina:

    (Q) This gun, was it a rifle or a pistol or just what kind of a gun? Can she answer that?

    (A) It was a gun

    Mr. Gregory asked: Can you describe it?

    NOTE: Subject said: I cannot describe it because a rifle to me like all rifles.

    Gregory translation: She said she cannot describe it. It was sort of a dark rifle just like any other common rifle…

    Subject in Russian: It was a hump (or elevation) but I never saw through the scope….

    Gregory translation: She says there was an elevation on the rifle but there was no scope – no telescope.(21)

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Interestingly this may also help explain another old time mystery.  Years ago when some of us were looking more deeply into the organizational structure of the DPD, local sources told us that a DPD intelligence unit (or at least some DOD intelligence personnel) were working out facilities at the Fair Grounds. That seemed pretty strange at the time but now I'm wondering if a number of groups moved at least some of their intelligence people into the new emergency operations center to take advantage of new digs and better communications?

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To Chuck Schwartz and Larry Hancock,

 

I will curse you until the day I die.

This is going to take a lifetime of study and research.

 

Larry, to just quickly comment on what you said about the Fairgrounds and DPD intelligence units, yeah, Ian Griggs steered me onto that a bunch of years ago. The DPD Special Service Bureau office was located there. The names of Special Service Bureau personnel factor greatly in the JFK assassination investigation. (Just as an aside: When Westphal went to write up his report of TSBD employees, he went to the Fairgrounds office to do it, and then had to run it down to Curry at City Hall).

 

Chuck, your reference to the Military Order of World Wars is very intriguing to say the least, but it has led me to one thing I think.

I think I understand the confusing references to George Whitmeyer. In various places, he was referred to as:

"Mr. Lawson acknowledged
that Lt. Col. George Whitmeyer, who was part of the Dallas District U.S. Army
Command,

1/31/78 HSCA interview of Secret Service agent Winston Lawson (RIF#18010074-10396)


In their combined Batchelor, Lumpkin, Stevenson after-action report, Whitmeyer was referred to as,

Lt. Colonel George Whitmeyer, U.S. Army, Dallas Sub-section Commander.”


Dallas Morning News 11-16-1965
"
Lt. Col. George L. Whitmeyer, deputy East Texas sector commander...


On April 22, 1964 Police Chief, Jesse Curry told the Warren Commission, “I had Deputy Chief Lumpkin, and a Colonel Wiedemeyer who is the East Texas Section Commander of the Army Reserve in the area...

 

These identifications didn't make any sense to me until I read the entry for 

 

Lieutenant Commander Roy C. Anderson on page 49.

"Key West Chapter Commander"

"Department of Florida Commander"

"Region VI Commander"

 

https://books.google.com/books?id=ibtADE8gMeoC&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=Crichton+"Military+Order+of+World+Wars"&source=bl&ots=UsV45IHPh-&sig=pJBNm3klVtGA0fLuSeHMLi0Redk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_9LPJvp7SAhWLy4MKHfQLB7sQ6AEIJjAC#v=onepage&q=Crichton%20%22Military%20Order%20of%20World%20Wars%22&f=false

 

(Jack Crichton has an entry on page 87 of that same book.)

 

I wonder if Whitmeyer's various identifications didn't refer to the "Reserves" as such, but to this "Military Order of World Wars"

 

As an interesting little aside, read the entry for 

 

Col. Adrian L. Hoebeke on MOWW on page 51.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ibtADE8gMeoC&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=Crichton+"Military+Order+of+World+Wars"&source=bl&ots=UsV45IHPh-&sig=pJBNm3klVtGA0fLuSeHMLi0Redk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_9LPJvp7SAhWLy4MKHfQLB7sQ6AEIJjAC#v=onepage&q=Crichton%20%22Military%20Order%20of%20World%20Wars%22&f=false

After retiring in 1963, he worked for the City of Dallas for 10 years.

Was Treasurer of the Dallas Chapter. He was also the Dallas Chapter Commander.

 

I wonder what Whitmeyer's relationship to Hoebeke was. 

 

As far as the connections to Civil Defense,  “While at the Presidio, Brandy (Frank Brandstetter) had prepared a draft of a Domestic Emergency Plan, which he revised and submitted in 1954 as part of the Cloverleaf I exercise, to G-2 of the Fourth Army Command in Dallas, Colonel M.H. Truly.”

Our Man in Acapulco, p. 121.

(Cloverleaf I was in 1957)

 

See also the last paragraph in the Military Order of World Wars entry for 

Lt. General Herbert R. Temple  on page 60.

He was involved in the same thing in California.

 

Larry, I think I read (maybe from something Peter Dale Scott wrote?  that Dallas was one of about six national civil defense sites)

 

Larry, you wrote, " No offense meant in the post, as I said, both Larry H and I went down this military road years ago because we were curious about not only these Colonels but a lot of other anecdotal stories about particular military connections of the time.  You are just slogging through the same things we already butted our heads against.  Maybe you will get further, I can only share the sorts of things we found and talked about back then."

 

I doubt I will, but I'll keep reading and learning from people like you and Larry Haapanen and Chuck and Peter Dale Scott. There is something there, I think.

 

I keep going back to "means, motive and opportunity", and thinking about the "means". It seems like you would have to have somebody who knew the local terrain: the Apache scouts who knew the layout of buildings, the escape routes and knowledge of the streets in and out of the city, which "tribal elders" to trust, etc.

Did these "colonels" serve that role?

 

Steve Thomas

 

Surprise Attack.  Great. Now I've got something else to read. I'll curse you till the day I die.

 

 

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Steve, I certainly agree that the tactical folks needed people on the ground.  My hypothesis has been that what they really needed was someone with contacts into the DPD, who could pick up gossip about the motorcade planning, security etc and provide recommendations on local support people who could be unwittingly used...people who would be sacrificial if necessary.  I think they needed a couple of dirty cops or former cops who could get uniforms, they may have brought weapons with them or needed to source weapons, ammo and other gear locally so someone who could make introductions to a trusted contact for that would be good.

Basically I've felt for some time now time the primary field contact recruited for Dallas was Jack Ruby and he was a perfect fit for everything I listed above.  That was really the extent of his role but he got a very new one assigned - which actually made him physically ill for a time - after news spread of Oswald's arrest...alive.

I wondered down a lot of paths before fixing on Ruby, but in the end he fits so well and a micro analysis of his activities supports him as the guy so well that I have focused on him as the key element in the local "means".

 

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33 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

.... Basically I've felt for some time now time the primary field contact recruited for Dallas was Jack Ruby and he was a perfect fit for everything I listed above.  That was really the extent of his role but he got a very new one assigned - which actually made him physically ill for a time - after news spread of Oswald's arrest...alive.

I wondered down a lot of paths before fixing on Ruby, but in the end he fits so well and a micro analysis of his activities supports him as the guy so well that I have focused on him as the key element in the local "means".

 

 Ruby drafted Larry Crafard into his crew when Ruby did a short stint at the fair grounds. I'm sure you were aware of that. 

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I wondered down a lot of paths before fixing on Ruby, but in the end he fits so well and a micro analysis of his activities supports him as the guy so well that I have focused on him as the key element in the local "means".

Makes a better explanation for Ruby's "hiding in plain sight" in the DPD halls and at the midnight press conference than his "Twistboard Jack" act.  Everybody wanted to give him access, nobody wanted to acknowledge him.  Henry Wade defers to his expert pronouncement on the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee" title without challenging his credential as a reporter, and gives radio interviews with Ruby as middleman.

Larry, might the existence of reserve intel units in Texas be a means of monitoring border traffic and securing the border during any incident, or was their existence and placement all some sort of porkbarrel action?  Was every reservist a Texas native or longtime resident?  (Not quickly answerable questions, I know.)

 

Edited by David Andrews

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David, in terms of Texas Army units, the regular Fourth Army command which included Texas and several adjacent states had been designated as a training and recruiting command following WWII, in general all the regional commands had one major specialty plus some fairly routine duties including actually supporting Reserve and Guard units.  There were always close relationships, and you see a lot of crossover as individuals moved from Regular to one or the other active service or retirement. My impression is that a lot of officers in particular, wanted to stay involved and that there was a certain amount of pork-barrel in the case of at least some reserve units....securing reserve units was part of the overall political game for Congressmen.

I don't know specifically why Texas got an intel unit but my impression is that the Texas units were built largely around staff specialties and G2 is one of those.  That would have been staff level work plus field intelligence.  Those are the sorts of staff you want on hand if you do a call up and start building large units from scratch. Finding combat folks is easy when you are rebuilding, but finding intelligence, logistics, artillery, special forces is something else again so you want to have a pool handy.

I've run across a handful of WWII intelligence officers who were from Texas, Howard Burris being one. My gut tells me it was a relatively glamorous specialty and that may have led to lobbying to get a reserve intel unit in Texas. And yes, generally both reserves and Guard members are locals, especially the officers. That makes for extra stability in the units which is desirable. Hard enough to keep a reserve unit ready to go into combat, best if their officers are former regular Army and if they have local ties and are going to be around for a good while.  

 

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