Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
John Simkin

Grayston Lynch

Recommended Posts

In a letter sent to John R. Tunheim in 1994, Bradley Ayers claimed that he believed that the following " have intimate operational knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the assassination" of John F. Kennedy: Theodore Shackley, Grayston Lynch, Felix Rodriguez, Thomas Clines, Gordon Campbell, David Morales, Rip Robertson, Edward Roderick and Tony Sforza.

I would be grateful for any information anyone has on Lynch.

The namebase entry for Lynch:

http://www.namebase.org/main2/Grayston-L-Lynch.html

Laos 1950 Cuba 1961-1964

Corn,D. Blond Ghost. 1994 (76, 82, 84, 111-2, 117)

CounterSpy 1976-12 (11-2)

Covert Action Information Bulletin 1978-#1 (8, 11-2)

Dinges,J. Landau,S. Assassination on Embassy Row. 1981 (286)

Escalante,F. The Secret War. 1995 (64, 137)

Freed,D. Death in Washington. 1980 (195)

Hersh,S. The Dark Side of Camelot. 1997 (172, 275)

Hinckle,W. Turner,W. The Fish is Red. 1981 (vii, 61, 88, 99, 121-2, 341-2)

Livingstone,N. The Cult of Counterterrorism. 1990 (362)

NameBase NewsLine 1997-01 (10)

New York Times 1996-04-29 (A10)

Prados,J. Presidents' Secret Wars. 1988 (185, 204, 265)

Russell,D. The Man Who Knew Too Much. 1992 (518)

Scott,P.D. Marshall,J. Cocaine Politics. 1991 (27, 29)

Turner,W. Rearview Mirror. 2001 (191, 193, 203)

Wyden,P. Bay of Pigs. 1979 (83-6, 301)

post-7-1148303972_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

There appears to be a Grayston L Lynch, aged 82, living in Tampa, Florida today.

Here is an Amazon review of Lynch's book:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157488237...glance&n=283155

Grayston Lynch was one of two American "advisors" who stormed the Bay of Pigs with the 2506 Assault Brigade on April 17, 1961. In Decision for Disaster, Lynch attempts to set the record straight on what caused the mission to fail. He offers a unique perspective in that his position privileged him to the inner happenings of CIA and White House planning, yet he can also give a firsthand account of the battle itself, having fired the first shots of the invasion himself. Lynch is clearly not content in the contemporary historical account of the Bay of Pigs, proclaiming in the preface that "the true story has never been told, until now." Lynch goes on to tell his story with reasoned contempt for Castro and Camelot, and a deep reverence for the 2506 Assault Brigade.

Lynch became a player in the Bay of Pigs in December 1960. The Texan had just retired from a 22 year career with the US Army, most recently as the captain of a US Army Special Forces A-Team in Laos. He had seen combat and was wounded at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and Heartbreak Ridge in Korea. He was awarded two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star with Valor. The Cuban cause was something that Lynch took to heart; even after the Bay of Pigs he continued to play a major role in anti-Castro commando raids. His decision to write this book now came from the recent passing away of his fellow "advisor" William "Rip" Robertson and the declassification of items essential to the telling of the story. Besides using his first-hand account, Lynch enlisted the knowledge of commanding officers and 2506 Assault Brigade survivors in writing this book.

Lynch had his book published by Potomac Books which was founded in 1983 as a part of British publishing house Brassey's. Since this books publishing, Potomac was purchased by American book distributor Books International. Potomac has strong roots in military history, but has broadened its range to include general history, world affairs, foreign policy, intelligence, memoirs, biographies, and even sports. Its most successful book to date was Michael Scheuer's American Hubris. Potomac's usual offerings come with a strong dose of realism backed with a healthy dose of knowledge and first hand experience; Decision for Disaster is no exception.

Lynch gets off to a rough start in his account. He attempts to weave together several concurrent stories that will eventually lead to the invasion. A difficult enough task by itself, he attempts to do it as a flashback story while on his voyage to invade Cuba. This continued flashback-fastforward-recollection-juxtaposition can give the reader a mild case of mental whiplash. His constant foreshadowing and alluding to the invasion gave me a strong case of deja vu by the time he was invading in real time. However, whatever Lynch lacks in authorship, he makes up for in laying out an intriguing fact-laden journey through all relevant events leading up to the invasion.

One of the stories Lynch tells exceedingly well in the build up to the invasion is Castro's initial revolutionary undertakings in Cuba. Lynch robs any Bolivarian Romanticism from Castro's invasion, likening him and his cohorts more to a buffoonish F-Troop, who shortly after arriving are gunned down from eighty-three men to twelve. What is especially amazing is that through some perfect storm of idiot journalism, Congressional nativity, and Batista's yellow belliedness, Castro still somehow manages to seize power in two years time. This is something that the US backed 2506 Assault Brigade would fail to do.

When all members of the invasion force meet in Nicaragua, Decision for Disaster takes off. From here Lynch takes command of the story and tells it with an earnestness and humorous wit that allows the reader to experience a real empathy for him and the 2506 Assault Brigade. The story that follows is so outlandish and multi-dimensional that it left me wondering why fictional war stories exist. The politicking, bravery, cowardice, mutiny, and chance that make up the Bay of Pigs invasion is mind numbing. There is no way an academic or bureaucrat could deliver a better synopsis of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

All good stories have a villain, and Decision for Disaster's is not who you might think. Though Lynch makes no doubt about his contempt of Castro, he dismisses him as a thuggish opportunist who only reigns due to the failing of our true villain: JFK. Lynch begins his case against Kennedy during his presidential race with Nixon. He quotes Kennedy arguing with Nixon, "If you can't stand up to Castro, how can you stand up to Khrushchev?" Kennedy played this weakness card throughout the election, and was befuddled to learn of the extensive invasion plan already in place when he arrived in office. From here, Lynch documents action after action that Kennedy takes to push the project closer and closer to failure. Against the heeds of all military advisors, Kennedy relocates the invasion spot, restricts Air Force use, and delays the project enough to allow Castro to receive his first shipment of Soviet tanks and arms.

What is especially frustrating about Kennedy's actions is that not only did they doom the invasion, but they did absolutely nothing to meet his misguided intention of hiding the obvious US involvement. Kennedy's inexcusable pussyfooting around the invasion offers a case example of what happens when the US tries to placate international concerns. A more Machiavellian approach, using overwhelming power to achieve decisive victory, would have brought success and avoided the missile crises that followed due to its failure. Lynch succeeds in painting Kennedy as an incompetent boob, who should be held ultimately responsible for the deaths and loss of American respect that resulted from the Bay of Pigs fiasco. For those who would like to place blame elsewhere, Lynch starts his book with the following quote, "For the greatest enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, pervasive, and unrealistic". This is quoted from none other than JFK himself.

Decision for Disaster is an excellent book that succeeds in telling the story in a believable manner. There is no circular logic or excuses made in Lynch's book. His humbleness while telling the story makes it clear that he has no agenda outside of relating the story as it should be told. Though Lynch occasionally stumbles to tell his story coherently in the beginning, he builds enough momentum through humor and insightfulness that it is easily overlooked. With Decision for Disaster, Lynch offers a great opportunity to relive the macrocosm of the Bay of Pigs with a genuine and witty tour guide, highly recommended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Lynch's book (p. 187):

"Grayston L. Lynch is a retired U.S. Army captain and a former CIA officer. He was wounded at Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and Heartbreak Ridge in Korea; served with the Special Forces in Laos; and received three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star with a V for valor, among other awards. He joined the CIA in 1960. For his heroism at the Bay of Pigs, Lynch was awarded the Intelligence Star, the CIA's most coveted award. In the six years after the Bay of Pigs, he ran over one hundred commando operations into Cuba, to be the topic of his second book. Lynch retired from the CIA in 1971."

Also from the book (p. 156, 168):

"Kennedy not only failed to stand up to Castro, or to Khrushchev, but he would not stand up to his own State Department, and pliantly approved request after request from State to water down the invasion plan. The cancellation of the only remaining air strike against Castro's jets, a cancellation that doomed the 2506 Brigade, cost the lives of many good men, and one year later was to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war. . . .

"The failure in 1961 was just that, a failure. But not a total failure, for it did accomplish for the New Frontier a solution to one of its problems. It got rid of the 2506 Brigade.

"Their 'dumping' into Cuba was flawless!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John,

Just happened to have Weyden's book on my desk. There is a photo of Lynch with a group of men. The caption reads: "En route to Cuba aboard the command ship Blagar, Alonso and his team posed with CIA agent Grayston Lynch, whom they knew only as 'Gray' .... Gray commanded the first group ashore and gave the OK for the brigade to land."

There are additional page references to Lynch besides the 83-86 and 301 noted in your original message (131-132, 134-138, 160n, 191, 216-221, 225n, 229-232, 267, 275, 276-282, 284-285, 287-288, 295-297, 300-302, 309).

Here's a brief snippet from p. 83: "Unconventional warfare was Grayston Lynch's profession. An oil driller's son from the tiny town of Victoria in South Texas, 'Gray' had enlisted in the Army at fifteen by lying about his age ..... When he retired as captain in 1960, to join the CIA with a six-month contract at ten thousand a year, the transition was 'practically no change at all'; he had just returned from Laos where he had operated in unfriendly territory wearing civilian clothes."

Plenty of details about his activities during the invasion are provided in the book. Lynch, along with the other survivors, were deeply distraught and angry at the failure of the mission. "In Guatemala City, Bob Davis, the CIA station chief, was frantic not only about the project's outcome but about the state of the Americans who had trained the Brigade... They locked themselves in their rooms in a CIA safe house and refused to come out. Davis thought onje or more might kill themselves, they were in such despair. Some disappeared and couldn't be found for days. Their fury at the politicians in Washington was limitless. Davis thought they were unsettled enough to kill people: 'If someone had gotten close to Kennedy, he'd have killed him. Oh, they hated him!'" (p. 300)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is interesting that Grayston Lynch was linked to the oil industry in Texas. Lynch was interviewed by Seymour Hersh for his book, The Dark Side of Camelot. He blamed John F. Kennedy for the failure to overthrow Fidel Castro. Lynch was also involved in Operation Mongoose and by 1963 was paramilitary trainer at JM/WAVE. According to David Corn (Blond Ghost), Lynch "ran his own outfit of exile raiders".

In 1971 Grayston Lynch retired from the CIA and became a federal drug agent. In his work he encountered narcotics traffickers who had previously worked with the CIA. Lynch admitted that "a lot of drug smugglers learned their skills" at JM/WAVE under Theodore Shackley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a stunning piece on Lynch and Robertson in Frank Camper's book, 'The MK/ULTRA Secret.' It is facinating. I believe I have learned more about the BOP from Camper in 20 pages than from any other source. It would go a long way to providing a cause for Robertson's presence in the Plaza - The Cubans so distrusted any US official that they ONLY trusted Gray and Rip. I wish we could find and invite Camper to the Forum. He seems to call the shots fairly well, IMO.

- lee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

I was reading through a document from the HSCA segregated collection on Bernard Barker which is very interesting although parts of it still deleted, and on page 6 it mentions Lynch. Apparently he was connected with someone 'COLLAR' (presumably a codename) and was recruited by Lucien Conein.

The full page is here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=6

The memo is interesting because it also mentions Barker's association with E H Hunt and JM Wave:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...amp;relPageId=3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a stunning piece on Lynch and Robertson in Frank Camper's book, 'The MK/ULTRA Secret.' It is facinating. I believe I have learned more about the BOP from Camper in 20 pages than from any other source. It would go a long way to providing a cause for Robertson's presence in the Plaza - The Cubans so distrusted any US official that they ONLY trusted Gray and Rip. I wish we could find and invite Camper to the Forum. He seems to call the shots fairly well, IMO.

- lee

Frank Camper might make an interesting member. You can find out more about him here:

http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/09/fp.back_i...sue/camper.html

http://www.christian-sauve.com/reviews/200...oks01b.htm#Merc

http://www.vpc.org/studies/awapara.htm

http://www.namebase.org/main2/Frank-Joseph-Camper.html

http://www.zmag.org/Chomsky/ni/ni-c10-s03.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just happened to have Weyden's book on my desk. There is a photo of Lynch with a group of men. The caption reads: "En route to Cuba aboard the command ship Blagar, Alonso and his team posed with CIA agent Grayston Lynch, whom they knew only as 'Gray' .... Gray commanded the first group ashore and gave the OK for the brigade to land." (Peter Fokes)

Peter,

I don't have the book you refer to but is this the image below?

If so, that is Lynch on the left in the light colored shirt. Alonso was Jose Alonso who along with Andy Pruna (a very interesting character himself) commanded the Brigade frogmen. Alonso is the fit looking guy second from the right.

Some of the other guys in this image ended up on the Rex and were a part of some serious militant action. Others were loyal to Rip Robertson and continued to be a part of his tight network of assets.

FWIW.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James,

Are you sure that's Lynch on the left? It sure doesn't look like the same man shown in the first post of the thread. I guess the photo in the first post must have been taken many years, less pounds, and more hair before.

Ron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James,

Are you sure that's Lynch on the left? It sure doesn't look like the same man shown in the first post of the thread. I guess the photo in the first post must have been taken many years, less pounds, and more hair before.

Ron

Hi Ron,

According to my source it is. Hopefully Peter will respond and confirm or not if that is the same image in the book he cited.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW.

James

Richard, What was that from? And any idea on the photo on this thread who is on bottom left? Thanks.

Peter,

That piece came from an Agency memo regarding Lynch. As to the guy in the photo, several sources claim it to be different people so I will check into it and try to find some common ground.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW.

James

Richard, What was that from? And any idea on the photo on this thread who is on bottom left? Thanks.

Peter,

That piece came from an Agency memo regarding Lynch. As to the guy in the photo, several sources claim it to be different people so I will check into it and try to find some common ground.

James

-----------------------------------

RE: Francesca query -- Bernard Barker [cryptonymed AM/CLATTER-1] was picked up at my base [b.A.M. San Julian, Pinar del Rio Province] on the afternoon of January 18th, 1960. This exfiltration was accomplished by a U.S. Air Force C-54 [Douglas DC-4] operating with documentation as the U.S. Embassy [Am/Emb/Havana] aircraft that I mentioned in a previous post. I had my men keep the aircraft and crew under cover of my machineguns throughout their 25 minute "visit" !!

Also, the reference to Grayston Lynch having employment problems with __/COLLAR is a reference to the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration [crypto= PB/COLLAR]; and wherein Lou Conein was Chief of the DEA Int'l Intelligence Ops. Gray had arguments constantly with the former U.S. Customs agents, especially those just returned from Vietnam [RVN] service with USAID, and whom had been recently hired by DEA. [Congressional hearings released some names of the former Miami Customs agents who had been hired by DEA.]

The balding potbellied dude at the left [on the stern of the M/V Blagar] is Larry LaBorde, not Gray. The guy with the glasses [far right in the pic] is one of the holdovers from the group of instructors originally sent down to Guatemala [Retalhuleu & Base TRAX] by Lansdale, and headed up by Filipino Colonel Napoleon G. Valeriano ["Colonel Vallejo"] and Carl Bohanan.

The man squating down in the lower left of the pic is "Mateo", one of the UDT/Frogmen; who is 1st cousin to Chris Cox's contact Rafael Huguett -- one of the 2nd Front Escambray [Menoyo] Rebel Army officers who was on the August 1961 mission into Cuba with me.

GPH

_______________________

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...