MATEJOV, JOSEPH ANDREW
GROUP BURIAL 12/95
DISPUTED BY FAMILY
Name: Joseph Andrew Matejov
Rank/Branch: E4/US Air Force
Unit: Detachment 3, 6994th Security Squadron from Ubon, Thailand
Date of Birth: 02 February 1952
Home City of Record: East Meadow NY
Date of Loss: 05 February 1973
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 153755N 1065957E (YC143291)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action/Killed In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Dale Brandenburg; Todd M. Melton; George R. Spitz;
Severo J. Primm III; Peter R. Cressman; Arthur R. Bollinger (all missing);
Robert E. Bernhardt (remains recovered)
Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov Courtesy 6994th Security Squadron
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
REMARKS: KIA 3 - POSS CAPT 4
SYNOPSIS: On February 5, 1973, about a week after the signing of the Paris
Peace Agreement, an EC47Q aircraft was shot down over Saravane Province,
Laos, about 50 miles east of the city of Saravane. The crew of the aircraft
consisted of the pilot, Capt. George R. Spitz; co-pilot, 2Lt. Severo J.
Primm III, Capt. Arthur R. Bollinger, 1Lt. Robert E. Bernhardt, Sgt. Dale
Brandenburg, Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov, all listed as crew members, and Sgt.
Peter R. Cressman and SSgt. Todd M. Melton, both systems operators. The
families of all aboard the aircraft were told the men were dead, and advised
to conduct memorial services.
It is known that Cressman and Matejov were members of Detachment 3, 6994th
Security Squadron from Ubon, Thailand. The aircraft, however, was flying out
of the 361st TEW Squadron (Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron) at Nakhon
Phanom Airbase, Thailand. Primm, Melton, Spitz, Brandenburg and Bernhardt
were assigned to the 361st TEW Squadron. Bollinger's unit is unknown.
The men in the 6994th were highly trained and operated in the greatest of
secrecy. They were not allowed to mingle with others from their respective
bases, nor were the pilots of the aircraft carrying them on their missions
always told what their objective was. They were cryptology experts, language
experts, and knew well how to operate some of the Air Force's most
sophisticated equipment. They were the first to hear the enemy's battle
Over five years later, Joe Matejov's mother, Mary Matejov, heard columnist
Jack Anderson, on "Good Morning America", describe a Pathet Lao radio
communique which described the capture of four "air pirates" on the same day
as the EC47Q carrying her son was shot down. NO OTHER PLANE WAS MISSING THAT
DAY. Anderson's information indicated that reconnaissance personnel had 40
uninterrupted minutes in which to survey the crash site.
The report of the reconnaissance team, which was not provided to the
families for over five years, showed that three bodies, which were thought
to have been higher ranking officers because of the seating arrangement,
were found strapped in seats. Four of the men aboard the aircraft were not
in or around the aircraft, and the partial remains of the eighth man
(Bernhardt) was recovered. No identification was brought out from the crash
site, and no attempt was made to recover the three bodies from the downed
aircraft. It is assumed that the reconnaissance team was most interested in
recovering the sensitive equipment aboard the EC47Q. The EC47Q became known
as the "Flying Pueblo". Most of the "kids" in back, as some pilots called
them, were young, in good health, and stood every chance of surviving
There were specific reports intercepted regarding the four missing men from
the aircraft missing on February 5, 1973. Radio reports indicated that the
four were transported to the North Vietnam border. None were released in the
general POW release beginning the next month.
Peter Cressman enlisted in the United States Air Force in August, 1969 and
after two years at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska he volunteered for
service in Vietnam and left for Da Nang in June 1972.
In Da Nang, Peter spent his free hours at Sacred Heart Orphanage. His
letters to his hometown priest in Oakland, New Jersey, resulted in the
forming of "Operation Forget-Me-Not". Community schools, churches, merchants
and citizens joined the effort to help the innocent victims of war. The
group eventually provided a boxcar of supplies to the orphans.
Peter was transferred to the airbase at Ubon, Thailand. He believed the
secret missions being flown into Laos were illegal, and had written letters
to his congressman in that regard. His family has been active in efforts to
locate information on Peter and the nearly 2500 others who remain
unaccounted for. They founded the National Forget-Me-Not Association for
POW/MIAs in St.Petersburg, Florida, the largest POW advocacy group in the
Joseph Matejov enlisted in the Air Force in 1970 from his home state of New
York and went to Southeast Asia in April, 1972. Joe's father and two
brothers were career military. His sister graduated from West Point in 1981.
Steven Matejov died in 1984 not knowing what happened to his son. Joe's
mother, Mary says, "Joe may be alive. If so, this government has a legal and
moral responsibility to get him home. The next generation of servicemen
should not have to wonder if they will answer the call to defend their
country only to be abandoned. We must stop this tragedy now, and never allow
it to happen again."
Thousands of reports received by the U.S. Government have convinced many
experts that hundreds of Americans remain captive in Southeast Asia. Members
of a crew flying a secret mission after a peace agreement had been signed
would likely be considered war criminals. If they are among those thought to
be alive, the survivors of the EC47Q have been held captive over 15 years.
It's time we brought our men home.
excerpts from letters....
August 6, 1994
from Mary Matejov to friends
Enclosed are the papers I spoke to you about the latest game the
Air Force is playing with me. There are remains, there are not remains
depending on who you are writing to......
April 19, 1994
from Department of the Air Force to Senator D'Amato
"....The Armed Forces Identification Review Board (AFIRB) has not met
nor made any determination concerning a group burial which would include
the remains believed to be of Sergeant Joseph A. Matejov. The
recommendation of the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, will be
only one of many factors evaluated by AFIRN. The United States Army is
the Department of Defense Executive Agent for Mortuary Affairs and is
responsible for identifying the remains of deceased personnel prior to
1993 ("ancient" remains). ......
May 14, 1994
Mrs. Mary Matejov to Col. Spinello, Commander PERSCDM
"Enclosed is a copy of a letter sent to the Honorable Alfonse M. D'Amato
which states there are remains believed to be Sgt. Joseph A Matejov...I
would like these remains sent to Dr. Michael Charney of Colorado...."
May 23, 1994
Department of the Army to Mrs. Matejov
" ....Unfortunately, you have misunderstood what has transpired in this
case as there has not been a recommendation for individual identification
of the remains of Sergeant Matejov. CILHI recommended that comingled,
unsegregated remains recovered from the crashsite of the aircraft on
which Sergeant Matejov was a manifested crewman be identified as the
group remains of the crew including Sergeant Matejov. Therefore, there
are no individually segregated remains that can be identified as
Sergeant Matejov available for an independent opinion......"
May 25, 1994
Dr. Charney to Mrs. Matejov
..." It so happens that Mr. Huey was here this morning on another case,
that of Mark Danielson, also airforce, shot down June 1972. I had
spoken with Huey when he was last here, as I mentioned to you over the
phone and in my note, about the fact that you would be asking that the
"remains" of Joseph be brought, to me and that is when he said that
there was ONLY AN IDENTIFICATION TAG. THAT WAS ALL. ......I will
certainly look over the lot...as they did the teeth of Danielson
National Alliance of Families,
Bits n Pieces
DESPITE THE VALIANT EFFORTS OF SENATOR BOB SMITH AND CONGRESSMAN BOB
DORNAN AND THEIR STAFFS THE BARON 52 BURIAL REMAINS SCHEDULED TO MARCH
ON FEB. 23, 1996, DINO CARLUCCIO, OF SENATOR SMITH'S OFFICE AND AL
SANTOLI OF CONGRESSMAN DORNAN'S OFFICE MET WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF DPMO
TO DISCUSS THE VIHN PHU LIVE SIGHTING REPORTS, THE BARON 52 INCIDENT,
LIMA SITE 85 INCIDENT, LAO POW/MIA ARCHIVES, THE CASE OF DAVID HRDLICKA
AND THE MISSING SERVICE PERSONNEL ACT. REPRESENTING DPMO WERE SENIOR
DPMO ANALYST, FOR LAOS AND CURRENT OPERATIONS, WARREN GRAY; DIXON
JORDAN, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS OFFICER; FRANCIS O'BRIEN, GENERAL COUNSEL;
AND ELBERT HAMPTON, ASST . FOR POW/MIA AFFAIRS AND DRUG POLICY, OFFICE
OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS (OSD/LA). MONG
POINTS ACKNOWLEDGED BY DPMO:
VINH PHU LIVE SIGHTINGS - "THE ORIGINAL 1990 LIVE SIGHTING REPORT HAD
BEEN RULED A FABRICATION WITHIN 9 DAYS OF THE REPORT ARRIVING IN THE
THEN-DIA SPECIAL OFFICE FOR POW/MIA. MR. GRAY INDICATED THAT HE WAS NOT
COMFORTABLE WITH THIS DETERMINATION AND THAT THE SOURCE SHOULD HAVE BEEN
IMMEDIATELY RECONTACTED AT THE TIME FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. HE ALSO
STATED THAT THE PERSON AT DIA WHO ANALYZED THE REPORT HAD ONLY BEEN
THERE FOR A SHORT PERIOD AND HAD LEFT TWO DAYS AFTER THE REPORT WAS
APPROVED AS A FABRICATION."
"THE USG ASKED THE VIETNAMESE IN NOV. 1995, TO VISIT THREE MOUNTAINOUS
LOCATION WITH GRID COORDINATES IN VINH PHU PROVINCE, NORTH VIETNAM..."
"IN EARLY JANUARY 1996, THE VIETNAMESE INFORMED THE USG THAT SUCH AN
INVESTIGATION WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE THE REPORTS OF AN UNDERGROUND
PRISON FACILITY IN VINH PHU PROVINCE HAD ALREADY BEEN INVESTIGATED BY
USG AND CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS IN RESPONSE TO BILL HENDON'S PUBLICIZED
STATEMENTS..... MR. GRAY EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THE USG HAD NOT YET
EXPLAINED TO THE VIETNAMESE THAT THE AREAS IN QUESTION HAD NOT BEEN
VISITED BY EITHER THE USG OR CONGRESSIONAL STAFF. THE PREVIOUS
INVESTIGATIONS WERE REPORTEDLY LIMITED TO A VILLAGE AREA SEVERAL MILES
FROM THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION BASED ON COORDINATES BILL HAD HAD OBTAINED
FROM THE LIVE SIGHTING REPORTS. MR. GRAY SAID THAT THE COORDINATES IN
ONE OF THE HEARSAY REPORTS HAD BEEN REPORTED ERRONEOUSLY BY A DEBRIEFER
AT THE TIME THE REPORT WAS OBTAINED."
"MR. GRAY SAID HE DID NOT BELIEVE GENERAL WOLD HAD RAISED THE MATTER
DIRECTLY WITH THE VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS DURING HIS TRIP. (NOTE: AT THE
JAN. MEETING AT THE WHITE HOUSE ATTENDED BY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
ANTHONY LAKE AND THE MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DELEGATION, GEN. WOLD
HAD CONCURRED THAT THE MATTER NEEDED TO BE RAISED WITH VIETNAMESE
OFFICIALS, ESPECIALLY BY THE PRESIDENTIAL DELEGATION IF THE MATTER WAS
NOT SATISFACTORILY RESOLVED BY THEN.)"
BARON 52 AND THE NSA INTERCEPTS: "MR. GRAY INDICATED THAT HE WANTED TO
CONDUCT HIS OWN ANALYSIS OF THIS CASE, BECAUSE HE APPARENTLY WAS NOT
SATISFIED WITH A PREVIOUS ANALYSIS CONDUCTED BY MR. DESATTE IN 1987.
"MR. HAMPTON FURTHER INDICATED THAT MR. GRAY SHOULD MAKE HIS OPINIONS
KNOWN TO GEN. WOLD ON THE NEED FOR RE-EXAMINATION OF THE NSA MESSAGES,
AND THAT, IF MR. TROWBRIDGE DID NOT OBJECT, DPMO STAFF SHOULD RECOMMEND
TO GEN. WOLD THAT HE CONSIDER ASKING THE APPROPRIATE DOD OFFICIALS TO
RESCIND THE DETERMINATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CRESSMAN AND MATEJOV.... IF
MR. TROWBRIDGE OR OTHERS HAD OBJECTIONS, THEN MR. HAMPTON STATED THE
ISSUE SHOULD BE FURTHER DISCUSSED BETWEEN MEETING ATTENDEES."
"MR. CARLUCCIO INDICATED THAT HE HAD SEVERAL POINTS TO MAKE AT A LATER
DATE CONCERNING THE ACTUAL NSA MESSAGES, AND THAT HE WANTED TO BE
INVOLVED WITH THE RE-EXAMINATION OF THESE REPORTS BY DPMO ON BEHALF OF
SENATOR SMITH. HE REMINDED THE PARTICIPANTS THAT IT WAS UNFAIR TO ASK
THE CRESSMAN AND MATEJOV FAMILIES TO ACCEPT THE AFIRB (ARMED FORCES
IDENTIFICATION REVIEW BOARD.) DECISION WHEN DPMO WAS CURRENTLY UNABLE TO
DEMONSTRATE CONCLUSIVELY TO WHO THE NSA MESSAGES PERTAINED TO IF IT WAS
NOT BARON- 52. HE A GAIN INDICATED THAT NO OTHER AIRCRAFT, SOUTH
VIETNAMESE OR AMERICAN WAS SHOT DOWN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA ON THE DATE OF
THE BARON-52 INCIDENT, AND, AS EARLY AS FEB. 14, 1973, THE DIRECTOR OF
NSA HAD SPECIFIED THE LOCATION OF THE CAPTURED AIRMEN IN THE SAME REGION
OF LAOS WHERE THE SHOOT-DOWN HAD OCCURRED."
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010
To: "Lynn O'Shea" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: sad news
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of
Mary Matejov. Mary passed
peacefully on August 15th.
She is the mother of Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov, missing in
Joe was part of the Baron 52 crew.
Buried without remains, the
To the Matejov family we extend our deepest sympathy.
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars - Afghanistan
Lititz Record Express
Lititz VFW holds emotional ceremony for POW/MIADay
Lititz Record Express
She wore a black leather vest embroidered with an eagle and an American flag with the words “Run for the Wall,”
“POW/MIA Prisoners of War Missing ...
Family asks KIA status be
overturned - powerpoint
As National POW/MIA Recognition Day approaches, I have a message for you from John Matejov, the brother of Sgt. Joseph Matejov of the Baron 52 crew. On February 5, 2016, the Matejov family made a formal presentation to DPAA, DOD, and the Department of the Air Force requesting a status change from KIA to MIA for their brother, Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov. John’s message dated August 9th is:
An unexpected delay most probably made by my questioning the lack of Mr. Linnington’s analysis of the Tourism documents (page 33). The upcoming History of Flight’s repatriation of remains from Tarawa next month…Mr. Linnington’s resignation possibly attached to the History Flight upcoming event with paralleling connections to the Baron 52 case where entities outside DPAA are submitting more evidence to correctly account for missing service personnel than from within DOD.
As my final family remarks to Mr. Linnington in the presentation room on 5 Feb stated in part…"We feel that the honor of our brother’s service to his country has been betrayed" to now read…"We feel that Mr. Linnington’s words to us on that day are a further betrayal to our brother’s Honor of his service to our country. He now has that to ponder, and I hope that he does."
FYI: Here are the references to the Tourism memos from the Matejov PowerPoint presentation:
• 12/17/91 – Sedgwick Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: – Memo examines DOD’s MIA totals – "Two Sets of Books" and concludes: The Baron-52 crew "were reported as having been killed by the U.S. Air Force three weeks after their loss, in the absence of any compelling evidence of death and in a manner inconsistent with the normal casualty investigation procedures.
• 12/17/91 – Sedgwick Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: – Memo further concludes: "The reporting to the Defense Department that the EC-47Q aircraft personnel were ‘Dead’ and not ‘Unaccounted for’ effectively removed these eight individuals from any serious consideration for recovery. The simple fact that the U.S. Air Force had reported them as having died removed them from all lists of ‘Unaccounted for’ and would reasonably have moved them into a category of ‘died’ which had the affect of making them invisible to those U.S. intelligence personnel who had the mission of actively collecting information on the fate of those ‘Unaccounted for’ or who had died without their remains being recovered."
• 12/17/91 – Sedgwick Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: – Memo further concludes: "Furthermore, U.S. military intelligence resources in Laos and Thailand which could have been employed to help determine the fate of such personnel may have been actively prevented from doing so by the CIA Station in Vientiane, Laos." – "In short, U.S. intelligence resources were available in the area to help learn about the fate of the EC-47Q personnel but were not used or authorized
• 6/10/92 – Sedgwick Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: – "On January 27, 1973, U.S. Navy Commander Harley H. Hall is shot down in South Vietnam. He is initially reported by the U.S. Navy as MIA and in February the Navy reports him to be a POW. He is the last such individual to be placed in that status. In early February an EC-47Q aircraft based in Thailand is shot down in southern Laos. On February 12th the Air Force reports that they have confirmed one crew member is dead. On February 22nd the Air Force reports confirmed the entire crew is dead although not all remains are recovered."
6/19/92 – Tourison/Lang Memo to Senate Select Committee: – "Disagreements over the Air Force’s handling of this incident [Baron 52] are evident in DIA documents through 1979."
• 8/2/92 – Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig for the Senate Select Committee: – "18 servicemen listed in DIA’s own internal documents with a casualty code of having died in captivity. DIA responded that the code, KK, has been used for the last 19 years to indicate died in captivity. However, in early 1973 it was used briefly to signify died while missing." – SSC Staff Comment: "DIA’s response is reasonably explained by both the casualty files and other archival documents. However, DIA's own declassified documents indicate an analytical judgment through at least 1979 that the crew of Baron 52 may have survived into captivity. The 4 in this case are not in DIA’s list of 83 possible live POW candidates and further explanation is required.
The Matejov family continues to await a decision by the Air Force more than 6 months after their presentation. I wonder…Is the government having difficulty refuting the facts, do they now acknowledge that mistakes were made to account for these men? If so, how long will it take to realize that they must change Joe’s status from KIA to MIA?Kathy
National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Gulf Wars + Afghanistan 1302 24th Street West, #315 Billings, Montana 59102-1442 An IRS recognized 501(c) 3 organization EIN 94-3146805
Sept 1 2016
(Photo Credit: http://www.stripes.com/news/us/vietnam-war-airman-s-death-re-examined-after-decades-of-controversy-1.402908 )
First a sincere "Thank you" to Mr. John Matejov for all of his hard work and dedicated research on his brother’s case and for sharing his message with the Alliance and its followers. John is the brother of Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov of the Baron 52 crew. (He is also Joe’s PNOK) On February 5, 1973, roughly a week after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement, an EC47Q aircraft (call sign Baron 52) was shot down over Saravane Province, Laos, about 50 miles east of the city of Saravane. The crew of the aircraft consisted of the pilot, Capt. George R. Spitz; co-pilot, 2Lt. Severo J. Primm III, Capt. Arthur R. Bollinger, crewmember 1Lt. Robert E. Bernhardt, crewmember Sgt. Dale Brandenburg, crewmember Sgt. Matejov, and Sgt. Peter R. Cressman and SSgt. Todd M. Melton, both systems operators. The families were told the men were dead and advised them to conduct memorial services. On the 43rd anniversary of the crash, February 5, 2016, the Matejov family made a formal presentation to DPAA, DOD, and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) requesting a status change from KIA to MIA for their brother, Sgt. Matejov.
Mr. Matejov shared the following message with the Alliance and has given permission for us to share in our Bits n Pieces:
An unexpected delay has occurred with the Secretary of the Air force (SecAir Force) rendering the final decision on the Baron 52 case, most likely made by my questioning the lack of the Director, DPAA (Mr. Linnington’s) analysis of the Tourison documents (see below, page 33 of these documents). On 19 August, I was informed that the decision package is pending final review by GEN Grosso (A-1 to Sec Air Force). This is the second time I have been informed of a "final review." I have not been told a reason for the delay or further review, leaving only speculation on my part.
At the DPAA presentation, my final remarks to Mr. Linnington noted,"We feel that the honor of our brother’s service to his country has been betrayed." Mr. Linnington closed the presentation with the statement, "We [DPAA] take these matters very seriously, and we will look over everything you have provided to us today." I now question this stated commitment and feel that Mr. Linnington’s words to us are a further betrayal to our brother’s honorable service to his country. It appears DPAA did not conduct a further analysis of the Tourison documents at all. His empty promise to all those present, including our four attorneys and three WY Congressional staffers, has added salt to our wounds. He now has that to ponder, and I hope that he does.
For your reference, some highlights of the Tourison documents include:
•12/17/91 – Sedgwick Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: examines DOD’s MIA totals – "Two Sets of Books" and concludes the Baron52 crew "were reported as having been killed by the [USAF] three weeks after their loss, in the absence of any compelling evidence of death and in a manner inconsistent with the normal casualty investigation procedures.
•12/17/91 – Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: concludes "The reporting to the [DOD] that the EC-47Q aircraft personnel were ‘Dead’ and not ‘Unaccounted for’ effectively removed these eight individuals from any serious consideration for recovery. The simple fact that the [USAF] had reported them as having died, removed them from all lists of ‘Unaccounted for’ and would reasonably have moved them into a category of ‘died’ which had the affect of making them invisible to those U.S. intelligence personnel, who had the mission of actively collecting information on the fate of those ‘Unaccounted for’ or who had died without their remains being recovered."
•12/17/91 – Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: concludes "Furthermore, U.S. military intelligence resources in Laos and Thailand which could have been employed to help determine the fate of such personnel may have been actively prevented from doing so by the CIA Station in Vientiane, Laos … In short, U.S. intelligence resources were available in the area to help learn about the fate of the EC-47Q personnel but were not used or authorized.
•6/10/92 – Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig: "On January 27, 1973, U.S. Navy Commander Harley H. Hall is shot down in South Vietnam. He is initially reported by the U.S. Navy as MIA and in February the Navy reports him to be a POW. He is the last such individual to be placed in that status. In early February an EC-47Q aircraft based in Thailand is shot down in southern Laos. On February 12th the [USAF] reports that they have confirmed one crew member is dead. On February 22nd the [USAF] reports confirmed the entire crew is dead although not all remains are recovered."
6/19/92 – Tourison/Lang Memo to Senate Select Committee (SSC): "Disagreements over the [USAF’s] handling of this incident [Baron 52] are evident in DIA documents through 1979."
•8/2/92 – Tourison Memo to Francis Zwenig for the SSC: "18 servicemen listed in DIA’s own internal documents with a casualty code of having died in captivity. DIA responded that the code (KK) has been used for the last 19 years to indicate died in captivity. However, in early 1973 it was used briefly to signify died while missing." SSC Staff Comment: "DIA’s response is reasonably explained by both the casualty files and other archival documents. However, DIA's own declassified documents indicate an analytical judgment through at least 1979 that the crew of Baron 52 may have survived into captivity. The four in this case are not in DIA’s list of 83 possible live POW candidates and further explanation is required.
Air Force Document
In Feb of 1974, DIA’s casualty report changes their status from Missing in Action to KK, (died in captivity). There is no explanation for DIA’s conclusion that some had been captured alive and then may have been killed, information totally inconsistent with the Air Force’s official version.
The above paragraph clearly needs to be explained, and several points demand clarification:
(1) How can the DIA have separate accounting records that differ from official USAF accounts?
(2) If all the Baron 52 crew were declared KIA by the USAF on Feb 22 1973, why did DIA officials find it necessary to change their secret accounting status for four of this crew to "KK" status over a year later?
(3) Who placed these four crew members in the KK status and why? Who changed their status over a year later and why?
(4) How were DIA officials allowed to testify to the SSC in the early 1990’s that "All crew members died in the crash, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to show that any of the crew survived." Knowing full well that they possessed information directly contradicting this statement?
(5) If the SSC possessed this information in the early 1990’s, why did no one challenge these officials? These documents were only recently discovered at Texas Tech University in January 2016 by our attorneys.
(6) Has anyone actually gained possession of the USAF Document "Pending Declassification" mentioned on page 33?
If the recent re-organization of the DOD Accounting Agency (DPAA) was supposed to enhance the accounting process due to past "leadership weaknesses" (page 1 of the July 2013 GAO report), why has the first family case brought before the DPAA appear, at this juncture, to have failed as an early litmus test for the new organization? Furthermore, the new DPAA Director’s early resignation is a puzzle to all of us. His perceived personal commitment to our family on 5 Feb 16 that he was in the position for the long haul and to "take these matters very seriously, and …look over everything, appears a broken promise.
My belief is that in light of the facts concerning the four Baron 52 crew members "captured and killed in captivity" as recorded by the DIA, there were indeed American POWs known to have been captured alive and summarily abandoned by our government…with the full knowledge of the DIA. I also perceive Mr. Linnington’s resignation may be connected to this fact, and his choice to resign an honorable one after 33 years of faithful service to our country knowing he did not want to become the "Fall Guy" in this national disgrace. Mr. Linnington called me four days after his resignation was announced to explain his action. In this phone conversation, he unknowingly gave me insight as to why the Baron 52 case may not be re-opened. Ask me what he said, and I will gladly tell you.
In September 2016 we will hear of a private organization called "HISTORY FLIGHT." This organization invited DOD to participate in excavation efforts on the Island of Tarawa to unearth and repatriate about 40+ U.S. Marines buried there during World War II. DOD initially, declined this offer. Subsequently, HISTORY FLIGHT volunteers have indeed discovered over 40+ U.S. Marine remains. These remains are to be turned over to the identification lab in Hawaii next month. DPAA has since contracted with HISTORY FLIGHT on a limited basis.
The salient point is that a non-federal entity (relying on donations and volunteers) has accomplished a significant task that most considered to be DOD’s job. A hurculean task pursued based only on threads of evidence…not unlike the Baron 52 case. The difference is that this private organization was able to recover bones to be identified. In Baron 52’s case , only the DIA has any record of what truly (?) happened to the crew.
After 43 years and now seven months, we wait the final decision of the Sec Air Force on Baron 52. The focus of my review of this decision will be directed towards any noted analysis of the Tourison documents if the decision is to not re-open the case.
It is readily apparent to me at this time that if this is to be the decision, that DOD clearly goes on record of denying irrefutable facts unless I can personally bring my brother’s bones home to them. My brother…and many other family members do not deserve this form of accounting. Baron52’s facts speak for themselves. It may be a sad tale that while DOD is fed ‘facts’ that have always been in plain view, they simply do indeed ignore them.
The concerns shared by Mr. Matejov are justified. This lengthy decision process makes the Matejov family and those following the case wonder if the DOD, DPAA and the USAF are having difficulty accepting or refuting the facts, or pondering the pitfalls of a moral dilemma?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Air Force denies MIA status for airman in Vietnam-era Baron 52 case
The Air Force and Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency weighed the possibility of a review for eight months but notified the family Tuesday that the ...
BARON 52 UPDATE… May 2017
As of today, sadly the Baron52 case lingers on….
On 8 Nov of 2016, John Matejov received the official resolution phone call from the office of the Sec of the Air Force. 3 Star Lt Gen Grosso had 6 people assembled in the conference room to listen in.
“I have determined that there is no basis to re-examine or disturb the original 1973 KIA determination.”
Upon hearing these words, John interrupted Gen Grosso and immediately asked for an explanation of how this is possible considering that the Tourison documents clearly show the Defense Intelligence Agency recorded that 4 of the 8 crew were “captured”.
Gen Grosso could not verbally offer an explanation as requested but assured him that the documents were analyzed and the explanation would be forthcoming with the written analysis accomplished by DPAA.
The written analysis arrived a week later with absolutely no mention of the Tourison documents whatsoever.
Gen Grosso had assured John during this call that she would “do some more work on the documents and that “We will be getting back with you shortly.”
On January 10th 2017, John received the following written response from Gen Grosso’s office. It was signed by H. L. Larry, SES, USAF (who was one of the attendees during the conduct of the 8 November 2016 phone call.)
“We appreciate that this response likely does not fully answer your questions regarding the Defense Intelligence Agency’s parallel personnel classification system. However, given the passage of time since the downing of the Baron 52 flight and DPAA’s mission focus on POW/MIA personnel, DPAA is the agency best suited to assist you in these matters”
In essence, Sec of the Air Force was passing the buck back to DPAA.
Sec of the Air Force based the above written response on a paragraph directed to Congressman Van Hollen… in which DPAA’s Director of Outreach and Communications- Mr Todd Livich, (who was tagged with handling all matters left unfinished by Mike Linnington’s resignation).
“In our May 24, 2016 response to your April 21,2016, letter on behalf of the National Alliance of Familes for America’s Missing Serivemen, we promised to respond to the unanswered questions. As the director of Outreach and Communications, I am pleased to repond to those questions.”
(Case question from family member John Matejov): Recently revealed Tourison Documents from Texas Tech University show that DIA had a parallel accounting system. In this system four crewmen from Baron52 were listed in a KK status, which according to their system meant “captured, died in captivity”. Please provide the documents concerning this status for these servicemen, (a status under which they carried until 1979) and explain why DoD organizations testified to the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs that these men were carried KIA after the war. Please add any other new/updated information that is available.
In this response came the following paragraph which did not answer the question at all, but rather gave blatantly false information. This response speaks directly to the hallmark of DPAA’s obfuscation and deceit, while pointing the accusatory finger to the Matejov Family’s pursuit of the truth about their brother.
“Regarding the Tourison Documents discovered at Texas Tech, the Defense Intelligence Agency used numerous letter codes to denote the status or condition of missing or captured personnel. The Matejov family questioned DIA on the association of the code “KK” with the loss of Sgt Matejov. According to the documents provided by the family, DIA responded to them in the 1990’s, informing them that “KK” was used to denote servicemen who were captured and died in captivity; however,”… in early 1973 it was used briefly to signify died while missing”.
(1) This answer did not at all answer John Matejov’s question about the official testimony before the Senate select committee in which the testimony directly stated that all crew died in the crash.
(2) This answer did not provide any substance whatsoever as to the association of KK status given to the Baron52 crew… and why this was done by DIA.
(3) This answer provided no documents as requested that supported DIA’s assessment of “KK” status of the crew.
(1) At no time was there any response or documents given to or “provided by”the Matjov Family in 1973 pertaining to KK status as stated by Mr Livick. If there were documents provided at that time (and Mr Livick obviously claimed he was aware of them with this response of April 2016), why did he not provide these very documents to Congressman Van Hollen in support of his statement?
(2) Lt Gen Grosso’s pledge to John Matejov that he would receive DPAA’s analysis of the Tourison documents did not at all occur when John received the official written SecAirForce resolution.
On April 27 2017, John Matejov received the following written interim response to a FOIA he sent to DIA.
“This is an interim response to your February 9, 2017, Freedom of information Act (FOIA) request for any and all correspondence or communication sent to or received from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Secretary of the Air Force pertaining to the Tourison documents and their relevance to POW case # 1983 (Baron 52) during the period 5 Feb, 2016 through February 9th 2017. We received your request on February 14, 2017, and assigned it case # FOIA-0201-2017. We will be unable to respond to your request within the 20 day statutory 20 day time period due to unusual circumstances. These unusual circumstances could be: (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this office: (b) the potential volume of records responsive to your request,: (c) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies which may have substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records. For these reasons, your request has been placed in the queue and will be worked on in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is in excess of 1,139 requests.”
As you can see, FOIA’s only have so much credibility to them in obtaining any assistance.
John’s Congressional Representatives from Wyoming are about to receive a letter asking them to now become the direct representatives of the Matejov Family. They are being asked to intervene on behalf of his family and to ask all the direct questions still not yet answered, even though they have complied with all the guidelines dictated to him by providing new and compelling evidence… (the Tourison documents), They must now seek the truth after this trail of deceit has run it’s course with his family.
John’s congressional representatives have verbally agreed to this request for support.
It is obvious to us all that the Baron 52 case is merely only one of many cases being ignored by DOD and DPAA. Sgt Joseph Matejov’s service secretary is now implemented in this unjust/unfair accounting as well, as the Sec of the Air Force should have officially requested DPAA analyze the Tourison documents upon realization that they had not done so in the review conducted in 2016.
The Matejov Family should not be instructed to become the mediator between DOD Agencies in this case after they have already accomplished all tasks they were asked to do with their 5 Feb 2016 presentation to DOD officials.
Hopefully by this time next year, there will be a much more positive update to share with you.
Thank you all for this opportunity to inform you of our brother’s fight to be properly accounted for.
(PNOK, Sgt Joseph Matejov USAF)
(307) 763 6260
John Matejov sent this latest link concerning the Matejov family's quest to change Joe's status from KIA to MIA. You will find it informative and proof, once again, that Joe's status must be changed from KIA to MIA. You may wish to review the Matejov Powerpoint which was sent to you in February 2016.
Joe Matejov was aboard the last Air Force Security Service EC-47 shot down during the Vietnam War. This FB page is maintained by his family.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the downing of the Baron 52.
HI folks,Today is the 50th anniversary of the downing of the Baron 52 crew aboard an EC47Q intelligence collector aircraft over Laos after the signing of the Paris Peace Accord on January 27, 1973. Below you will find a message from Heather Atherton who wrote the recent opinion piece about the Baron 52 which appeared in USA Today. Please share with your contacts.
---------- Forwarded message ---------
Date: Fri, Feb 3, 2023 at 8:39 PM
Subject: Baron 52 in national spotlight - Printed in USA Today Friday, Feb. 3rd
Happy Friday! I’m sending you this email to thank you for your ongoing support over the past few years to help me analyze and ultimately help shed light on the Baron 52 incident that had a profound impact on so many of us. Two weeks ago, USA Today published a personal opinion piece online I wrote after spending the last five years researching the incident, the last three of which were alongside John Matejov and his sister Mary, siblings of one of the “backender” intelligence crew on the flight, Joe Matejov. They have carried that torch since 1973 pushing for answers to legitimate questions and had all but given up in 2019. John was happy to have someone from my generation motivated to learn and amplify their remaining questions when I reached out in 2020. We are so proud to share this piece with you and let you know that IT WAS PRINTED IN THE FULL USA TODAY PRINT EDITION TOMORROW WHICH WILL BE ON NEWSSTANDS ALL WEEKEND – SUNDAY IS ACTUALLY THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BARON 52. Printing, as you know, has become a lost art and is now reserved only for the pieces most moving to the editors. They loved our perspective and story that captured the emotions associated with these 50th anniversaries – the Paris Peace Accords, Baron 52’s downing and Operation Homecoming beginning (next week through March 29th).
I would love to hear from you about it if you’d like to reconnct. We also would be very grateful if you’d share the online version with anyone you feel would be interested. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2023/01/21/vietnam-war-paris-peace-accords-remember-baron-52/11021128002/
Additionally, our crash expert, Ralph Wetterhahn, also published a piece in this month’s VFW Magazine about Baron 52 from a measured, technical perspective. He spent years evaluating the materials and evidence for the Matejovs before they presented their questions – which are clearly laid out in his piece – and were met with little interest in helping answer them by multiple related government agencies and the League. That story is in print and should go online in March.
Thank you again for all of your support and those of you from the squadron who shared your experiences and recollections of my dad and this incident with me. I know it’s not an easy topic to talk about, especially with a middle-aged woman who didn’t see battle. But I experienced a different battle, the PTSD aftermath my dad struggled with and our family continues to process. Those of you who experienced that understand that silence doesn’t heal. So, we hope the sunlight on this story will provide some healing for those touched by it, in some way.
We will keep you posted on any further progression of this journey. If you feel moved to do something additional, please support Legacies of War, the organization I serve as a board member, which not only removes the remaining UXO’s on the ground in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia but they work hard to educate the public about the Secret War. Their work is helping address the remaining physical and emotional scars of the War that are still festering 50 years later. Their Lam Vong Circle is just $10 a month which helps support the education efforts. The $45 million of Congressional funding for demining is 100% for that purpose. I help support their operational budget for the additional programs.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
I can be also reached here or at my research email – email@example.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Be sure to read the USA TODAY editorial link by Heather Atherton which appeared in Saturday, January 21's USA TODAY.
Friday, January 27, 2023 is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accord. But not all POWs came home.
Below is the You Tube link to Episode#2 Part #2 of our Baron 52 podcast series.
Feel free to share it far and wide... It speaks for itself.