Escape & Evade Codes. Most of us know what that means, but for the benefit of those that do not know what that means, let's talk about them for a moment.
Scot O'Grady. Remember him? He was the pilot that was shot down over Bosnia a few years ago. He was rescued by the Marines. He survived by eating bugs. Came home a hero. Happy ending, thank God.
Remember the circumstances surrounding his shoot down? After he was shot down, some AF General announced to CNN (and the world) that the US was receiving "beacon" (beeper/radio) signals from Mr. O'Grady and therefore he was alive. The US Marines mounted a hurry up rescue because they knew what was not obvious to the General. That the Serbs could listen to CNN too!
Well the US Marines honed in on his "beacon" and were able to contact him. The way that they confirmed that the person they were in contact with was Scot O'Grady was having him give them his Escape and Evade (authenticator) code.
Escape and Evade codes are given to pilots and they are as unique to the pilots as their fingerprints or DNA. During Escape and Evade training, and most pilots like Col. Ted Guy or Capt. Red McDaniel will bear this out, pilots are trained to use the landscape around them in order to "build" the escape and evade authenticator in the landscape so that the code could be seen from the air.
It could be argued that these authenticator codes could be tortured out of captured Prisoners, but because of their uniqueness--because these codes are are as unique as your fingerprints or DNA--the enemy would not know with any degree of certainty that they tortured the CORRECT authenticator code out of the captured prisoner. Therefore the authenticator would not be of any real use to the enemy.
The only time that these codes could POSSIBLY be of any use to the enemy is directly after the capture of a prisoner, as would have been in the case of Scot O'Grady. For each passing day that the prisoner is held, the window of opportunity to use the authenticator code becomes slimmer and slimmer.
With the passage of time, these codes would become virtually useless to the enemy.
In June, 1992, just outside of Dong Vai prison in North Vietnam USA spy satellites picked up "72TA88" and above this number were the letters "S-E-R-E-X".
72TA88 was the authenticator belonging to pilot Henry Serex who had been shot down on April 2, 1972 during the "Bat21" incident. Rent the movie, "Bat 21" with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover. Gene Hackman depicts LtCol. Iceal Hambleton, who was a VIP on the Bat 21 flight that was shot down. A huge rescue operation was mounted to rescue Colonel Hambleton, succeeding after 12 days. Henry Serex was a crew member on this ill fated flight.
A hundred yards from the Serex authenticator, also in June 1992, another escape and evade code took shape. GX2527 was detected. The 72TA88 was given a "70% certainty rating", while the GX2527 was given "100% certainty" evaluations by *NPIC Colonel Lorenzo W. Burroughs, which is unheard of in the world of cover your backside Washington. The GX2527 code corresponded to that of Lt. Peter Matthes.
* NPIC=National Photo Intelligence Center
The official Air Force Account of the ill fated flight of Lt. Peter Matthes is that:
"25 November 1969, Captain Earl C. BROWN (Aircraft Commander), First Lieutenant Peter R. MATTHES (C0-Pilot), Major Michael D. BALAMOTI and Captain Richard O. GANLEY (Navigators), Staff Sergeant Donald L. WRIGHT (Flight Engineer), Sergeant Rexford J. DEWISPELAERE and Staff Sergeant Larry I. GREWELL (Loadmasters), and Staff Sergeant Charles R. FELLENZ (Illuminator Operator) comprised the crew of an Air Force C-130A on a Forward Air Controller (FAC) mission over Laos.
"Due to the overcast in the area of the original target, they requested their secondary target which was around Ban Salou, Laos. The weather around this area was clear with a full moon.
"The escort aircraft saw anti-aircraft artillery fire burst close to the C-130A and advised Capt Brown that he was being fired upon. Capt. Brown responded and made a turn from his position to a southerly heading. The escort aircraft observed the C-130A aircraft in flames and descending from 9,000 feet. An explosion was observed prior to the aircraft impacting the ground.
"No parachutes were sighted and no beepers or voice transmissions were heard by escort aircraft that remained in the area for 30 minutes following the crash. On 25 November, an aircraft operating in the area on a FAC mission located wreckage in the area of the reported crash location. However, there were no signs of life and no parachutes sighted, and no beeper signals were heard.
"All eight members of the crew are carried in the presumptive status of Dead, bodies not recovered."
That's an official version of what the US Air Force refers to as SUMMARY OF INCIDENT INVOLVING REFNO 1530. Using the REFNO 1530, this summary can be found in the Library of Congress.
There is another document from the Department of Defense National Military Command Center Message Center. It is too lengthy to post here, but under the heading of letter H "Rescue Information," number 1 it states: which means a beeper had been heard but no chutes had been seen.
So there are two documents, both official, that contradict one another. One states that no beeper (which is also known as beacon) was heard, the other states that a beeper was heard.
The GX2527 that was picked up by US satellites, and given a 100 percent certainty by the NPIC [National Photo Intelligence Center], belonged to the co-pilot of that C-130-A, Peter Matthes, by this time promoted to Major.
As stated above, although these escape and evade authenticator codes are unique to every pilot and although they are taught to use them in a way that would blend in with the surrounding area, if they had to, and although the Vietnamese may have tortured them out of Henry Serex and Peter Matthes, what possible use would these codes have been to the Vietnamese in 1992? There would be no use. So the only logical conclusion was that we had two different pilots signaling that they were being held at this Dong Vai prison in North Vietnam and the only logical reason they would be signaling was to tell us that they wanted to come home.
The Department of Defense PoW/MIA Office, the same office that Bob DeStatte works in, declared with a straight face that both codes were "shadows or anomolies or natural phenomenons". Even the code that had Serex's name above it and which translated exactly to Henry Serex.
We spoke with Pete Matthes' brother, Bill, on October 3, 1997 about his brother's case. He told the PoW/MIA Forum that in January 1993 the Air Force informed him that Pete's crash site had been located and the area would be excavated and any remains sent to Hawaii for identification.
In May of 1993, he received a call from Jennifer Serex who told him that during the April 15th 1993 Larry King Live Show, Senator Bob Smith revealed that Pete's secret pilot authenticator code (GX2527) was detected from a June 1992 satellite photo outside Dong Vai prison in North Vietnam.
In November of 1993, the Air Force informed him that it was "recommending a group burial of all eight crew members."
Excerpts from the official finding from Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii:
Proposed Identification of the Remains
(Designated CILHI Group Remains 3-95)
TAPC-PED-H (600-8-1m) 15 April 1995
"On 19 and 21 January 1993, a Joint American-Laotian Investigative Team operating in Xekong Province, Laos, conducted interviews with three witnesses in Ban Klong Village, Kalum District, and surveyed a crash site of a propeller-driven, cargo-type aircraft. Two witnesses stated that although they had been in the area at the time, they did not actually witness the crash. They first became aware of the crash when they noted the fires associated with the impact of the aircraft. The witnesses indicated that Vietnamese troops went to the site and told them they had killed six Americans on the plane. The two witnesses visited the crash site two to three days later and did not observe any remains or personal effects. A third witness claimed that he had been at the crash site in 1989 and had seen a skull and boots.
"The Joint Investigative Team visited the crash site and examined and/or recovered aircraft wreckage and personal equipment. Analysts on the Joint Investigative Team correlated the location of the crash site and type of aircraft wreckage to the REFNO 1530 incident.
"From 21 October to 8 November 1993, a Joint American-Laotian Search and Recovery conducted an excavation at the site identified by the Joint Investigative Team as the crash site associated with REFNO 1530. The geographical location of the crash site was adjusted XC90138 59552 by the use of a satellite tracking system.
"The employment of standard archaeological techniques resulted in the recovery of aircraft wreckage, life support equipment, three rusted pistols, human skeletal and dental remains, and personal effects to include four identification tags for members of the aircrew of REFNO 1530 (one for "BALAMOTI MICHAEL D.," two for "GANLEY RICHARD O.," and one for "FELLENZ, CHARLES R."). The remains and selected personal effects excavated from the crash site associated with REFNO 1530 were accessioned at the United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) and given the laboratory processing number of CILHI 0208-93.
"2. Summary of Findings
"The Joint Task Force-Full Accounting analysts have indicated that the wreckage found at the crash site correlates with a C-130 type aircraft. This information, coupled with the location of the crash site and the names and social security numbers on the identification tags, provides conclusive evidence that the crash site is associated with REFNO 1530.
"The three rusted pistols and the associated pistol fragments recovered from the REFNO 1530 crash site were submitted to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) with a request to restore the original serial numbers. The HPD report indicated that the three pistols were consistent with Smith and Wesson brand M&P caliber .38 Special revolvers. The serial numbers from the three weapons were determined to be "775667," "77875-," and "501988" or 5011989." Comparison of the restored serial numbers from the revolvers with the recorded serial numbers of the revolvers issued to the crew indicates that two revolvers can be reasonably associated with Capt Brown and CMSgt Wright, respectively. (The recorded serial numbers of the weapons issued to Capt Brown and CMSgt Wright are "SV778758" and "SV501089"," respectively.)
"The discrepancy between the restored serial numbers "501989" and "SV501089" could possibly represent a simple recording error between a "9" and a "0" in the series. The revolver with the serial number "775667" could possibly be associated with Lt Col Ganley as U.S. records do not indicate the serial number of the weapon issued to him.
"The accession designated CILHI 0208-93 consists of dental portions, one component of a removable dental prosthesis, and fragmentary skeletal material. The dental remains and prosthesis were evaluated and segregated into those which could be associated with CMSgt Charles R. Fellenz (CILHI 0208-93A), Capt Earl C. Brown (CILHI 0208-93B, the dental prosthesis), and those which could not be associated with any member of the manifested crew at the exclusion of the others (CILHI 0208-93C). The dental remains designated CILHI 0208-93C consist of an unrestored maxillary canine, two small jaw fragments with alveoli and associated root portions, and approximately 20 calcinated tooth fragments. The skeletal portions consist of approximately 700 fragments. Although the exact number of individuals represented by the can not be determined, anthropological analysis of the recovered bone fragments indicates that they are representative of at least one individual. Due to the extensive fragmentation of the bones, no stature estimates or racial determinations are possible. The fracturing of several of the bone fragments are consistent with the perimortem trauma commonly resulting from with aircraft crashes. None of these dental or skeletal remains could be exclusively associated with any member of the crew, and they were subsequently consolidated and designated CILHI 0208-93C.
"Analysts at the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and the Defense Prisoner of War Missing in Action Office (DPMO) have indicated that there is no information in their files which suggests that any of the eight crewmembers in REFNO 1530 were captured or survived the crash.
"It is the experience of the CILHI staff that scavenging of aircraft sites both during and after the Vietnam War for usable metal and remains by citizens of Laos is not unusual. These practices destroy both circumstantial and biological evidence, and may have been a contributing factor which indirectly influenced the results of the recovery effort and ultimately lead to the paucity of remains recovered.
"The location of and the physical evidence recovered from the crash site indicate that the site correlates with the REFNO 1530 incident. Analysts at the JTF-FA and DPMO have indicated that there is no evidence to indicate that any of the crew survived the crash of the C-130A.
"Analysis of the biological remains designated CILHI 0208-93C indicates that they can not be exclusively associated with any of the eight unaccounted for individuals in REFNO 1530.
"Based on the preponderance of the evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that the remains designated CILHI 0208-93C are the commingled remains of Capt Earl C, Brown, Maj Peter R. Matthes, Maj Michael D. Balamoti, Lt Col Richard O. Ganley,
CMSgt Donald L. Wright, CMSgt Larry I. Grewell, CMSgt Rexford J. DeWispelaere, and CMSgt Charles R. Fellenz, and it is recommended they be identified as CILHI Group Remains 3-95.
JIMMIE C. SCHMIDT
Notice that LtCol Schmidt actually admitted that none of the remains that they examined could be racially identified, nor could they state conclusively the exact number of individuals that were represented by the bone fragments, nor could they determine stature, meaning height, weight and possibly even gender that these remains represented.
Despite the fact that there were indications that someone survived, remember the beeper?, and despite the 100% certainty value placed on the escape and evade code belonging to Peter Matthes by NPIC professionals, CILHI was not given this information and determined that everyone involved in the flight had been returned in the form of unidentifiable bones. It is beyond comprehension that based on their own negative findings, they could make a determination that the entire crew had been identified.
Bill Matthes told me that no evidence was found which could be linked to Pete. In addition, enemy records of the shooting incident recorded only five, not six, American pilots were killed. In spite of Bill's written objections to the Secretary of the Air Force, the commingled remains were buried in Arlington on November 28, 1995.
During an impromptu meeting at the hotel where the families of these soldiers were staying awaiting the burial, it was discussed among them that the partial denture plate attributed to being those of Captain Brown, the aircraft commander, his family stated that he didn't have any partials. There was also a wedding ring that none of the family members claimed.
Bill also told me that he felt that the dog tags recovered were conveniently manufactured specifically for this identification. Do you see a pattern developing?
How many families have to be tortured by our own government in the quest to show how superb cooperation the United States is being given by our former enemies? You have to wonder how our enemies deal with us without laughing outright.
This is another case of questionnable identification.
"Amidst the uncertainties of war, every soldier is entitled to one certainty...that he will not be forgotten or abandoned."
1. Why wasn't CILHI given the information regarding the beeper being heard?
2. Why weren't they given enemy documentation that claims five and not six Americans were killed? If the family has seen this documentation or was told about it, certainly CIL-HI should have been so informed.
3. Why wasn't the fact that Matthes' Escape and Evade code seen outside Dong Vai prison in North Vietnam in June of 1992?
5. If you cannot discern stature, height, weight, gender, race, the number of people these bones belonged to, how can you then identify them as every member of the crew?
5. How can our government have the gall to ignore a 100% certainty rating from NPIC professionals and label the imagery as an anomoly or natural phenomenon? Why employ experts or spend the (tax) dollar amounts developing these spy satellites if when they pick up something, our government can dismiss the intelligence as an anomoly?
See Bill Matthes' Page Honoring His Brother
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