DOWNEY, JOHN T.
Name: John T. Downey Branch/Rank: CIV Unit: CIA Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Date of Loss: 29 November 1952 Country of Loss: China Loss Coordinates: Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Acft Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: Richard Fecteau, returnee - see updates Refno:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File. Notes below are "sourced" and taken from numerous articles. Updated 2011.
REMARKS: 730312 RELEASED BY CHINA
This article appeared in an unknown newspaper in March of 1973.
China releases U.S. fliers John T. Downey. a CIA agent shot down over China in 1952, arrived in New Britain, Conn. March 12 after he had been released by Chinese authorities that day.
Three days later, two U.S. airmen imprisoned in China after being shot down during missions in the Indochina war were released. They were Lt. Cmdr. Robert J. Flynn, 35, of Colorado Springs, Colo., shot down Aug. 21, 1967 aboard an A-6 in southern China and Major Philip E. Smith. 38, of Roodhouse, Ill., shot down Sept. 20, 1965 over Hainan Island near the Gulf of Tonkin when his F-104 veered off course. Flynn and Smith crossed the border into Hong Kong and were flown to Clark Air Force.
Downey had been flown via Clark Air Force in the Philippines and Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska in order to be with his mother, who was suffering from a stroke in a New Britain hospital. His impending release had been announced March 9 by Ronald L. Ziegler, White House press Secretary, who said Premier Chou En-lai had agreed to free Downey earlier than planned after being informed by the U.S. of his mothers illness. Ziegler also said China would Flynn and Smith March 15.
At a March 13 news conference in New Britain, Downey said he looked on his 20- year imprisonment as "to a large extent wasted," adding: "I don't see that it benefited anybody."
Downey noted that during his first eight or nine months in jail he was questioned closely by his captors and that he "revealed about every bit of information I had."
Asked about the Chinese people, be said be felt sympathy for them in some respects" and they were "more behind their government than I dreamed would be possible."
============================== [adamsck1.txt 08/01/91] "POLITICS PREVENT POWS RETURN" by Dennis Adamscheck
... Americans were also held in China after the Korean War, as bargaining chips to gain political favors. Joseph King and Walter Enbom were returned in 1957. Steve Kiba, a 1955 returnee, stated "While a prisoner of the Red Chinese after the Korean War, I saw over fifteen Caucasian prisoners. These fifteen men are in addition to John T. Downey and Richard Fecteau, with whom our B-29 crew spent three weeks. (December 7 to 28, 1954). I reported these sightings to our Air Force Intelligence, the CIA and the State Department upon my return to freedom. Their reaction was one of indifference and I was admonished to forget not only the fifteen, but also, Downey and Fecteau. It was suggested that perhaps I had imagined that i had seen these men."
Richard Fecteau was returned in 1971 and John Downey in 1973, over 19 years after Steve Kiba had reported seeing them in captivity in 1954....
============================== [ADAMSCK3.TXT 08/05/92] A CONSPIRACY TO COVER UP by Dennis Adamscheck
... The government's idea of "good politics" is playing a game with the lives of captive U.S. servicemen and the emotions of family members. What is frightening is a conspiracy of this nature among governmental offices would have had to originate from the top. Five U.S. Presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush, knew that American citizens had been left behind in communist captivity. President Bush, having been in charge of the CIA, would have been most knowledgeable. Consider the following: CIA agents Richard Fecteau and John Downey were seen in a Chinese prison camp by Steve Kiba, and airman shot down during the Korean War. When Kiba was released by the Chinese in 1955, he told the CIA, the State Department and Air Force Intelligence about Fecteau, Downey and many other Americans he had seen in the nine prison camps he had been held captive in, in China. Kiba said their reaction was one of indifference and he was admonished to forget the many he had seen, especially Fecteau and Downey.
Fecteau was released to freedom in 1971 and Downey in 1973. Downey secretly appeared from his captivity in China with the second to last group of American POWs who were returned from captivity in Viet Nam on March 12, 1973. Secret negotiations between China and the U.S. had surely taken place to accomplish this release. The DIA and State Department could not have been part of the negotiations without Presidential knowledge. Their success in gaining the release of U.S. government agents is to be applauded. But are the many other soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen of no consequence?...
============================ [insi12.95 01/16/96] THE INSIDER DECEMBER 1995
... 10. On 10/15/90 Insight Magazine published a story by Susan Katz Keating, about the Korean war downing on 1/12/53 of Air Force radio operator Steve Kiba who was not released until August 1955, along with 10 others held in China. The story also shows a photo of Fecteau who was not freed until 1971....
The Bamboo Cage, by Nigel Cawthorn The Full Story of the American Servicemen still held hostage in South-East Asia.
...The CIA were also dealing in drugs to fund some of their operations in Laos, ....Downey was held until March, 1973, when Nixon finally admitted publicly that Fecteau worked for the CIA. (3)...
========================= St. Joseph (MO) New Press 07/03/98
CIA honors 2 spies who survived imprisonment in China for 20 years
By ROBERT BURNS Associated Press
WASHINGTON - On the same day President Clinton arrived to a red carpet welcome in China last week, two men stood to applause in a banquet room at CIA headquarters and accepted awards for a very different experience in China.....
=========================== The Honorable John Downey resides in Connecticut where his is a Superior Court Judge.
US Seeks Chinese Help on Korea MIAs -- April 8, 1999
By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration wants China to open its Korean War-era records in search of clues to the fate of several missing Americans, including two pilots apparently killed when their unmarked plane was shot down on a CIA covert mission in Manchuria in November 1952.....
China OKs US Search For Cold War Remains July 08, 2002
"BBC - Search for 'spy' pilots in China
The US Pentagon is sending a team to north-eastern China to investigate the possibility of recovering the remains of two pilots who died during a spy mission 50 years ago....
SEARCHERS will seek CIA pilot's remains Louisville Courier Journal - Louisville,KY,USA
Searchers will seek CIA pilot's remains Louisville man's plane shot down in China over 50 years ago
By CHRIS KENNING firstname.lastname@example.org The Courier-Journal
American investigators will search in northeastern China for the remains of a Louisville pilot killed during a secret CIA mission more than 50 years ago....
Remains are not pilot's in China spy mission Louisvillian Schwartz shot down in 1952 March 23, 2005
By Sheryl Edelen email@example.com The Courier-Journal
U.S. military investigators analyzing materials from the site of a plane crash in China that killed a Louisville pilot on a CIA mission in 1952 have identified remains found there as those of his co-pilot.....
Jun 2, 2011 ... WASHINGTON - A
documentary about a secret
mission in China, ... The agency plans a public
release of the
film about two CIA
officers captured ... The
obtained a copy of the
film under the ...