GROUP BURIAL 12/95 - On USG remains returned list

Name: Severo James Primm III
Rank/Branch: O1/US Air Force
Unit: 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
Date of Birth: 03 November 1947
Home City of Record: New Orleans LA
Date of Loss: 05 February 1973
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 153755N 1065957E (YC143291)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action/Killed In Action
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: EC47Q

Other Personnel in Incident: Arthur R. Bollinger; Dale Brandenburg; Todd M.
Melton; George R. Spitz; Peter R. Cressman; Joseph Matejov (all missing);
Robert E. Bernhardt (remains returned)

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.


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.

                                                [ssrep7.txt 02/09/93]

                   SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES

Laos                   Arthur D. Bollinger
                        Dale Brandenburg
                        Peter R. Cressman
                        Joseph A. Matejov
                         Todd M. Melton
                      Severo J. Primm, III
                         George R. Spitz

On February 5, 1973, an EC-47Q disappeared over Saravan Province
while on an electronic intelligence mission.  An airborne search
effort later located the wreckage of the aircraft.  A ground search
team located three or four charred bodies and was able to recover
one of them, the remains of Robert E. Bernhardt.  In providing his
own analytical comments concerning the meaning of a Vietnam
People's Army radio message intercepted shortly after the loss of
the EC-47Q, Baron 52, an U.S. Air Force communications analyst
concluded the substance of the message indicated that several of
the Baron 52 had been captured alive and were being moved to North
Vietnam.  However, based on the condition of the crash site and the
evidence found there, the commander of the unit concluded that
those on the aircraft had all perished.  In February 1973 the crew
was declared killed in action, body not recovered based on a
presumptive finding of death.

In June 1989, a private U.S. POW/MIA hunter in Thailand reported
information from a self declared Lao resistance leader that six of
the Baron 52 crew were alive and he believed they were being held
in Saravan Province.  In June 1990, a DIA field element in
Thailand, the Stony Beach Team, received information from a source
asserting that five of the crew were alive and living with ethnic
Lao Theung in Laos (Bollinger, Brandenburg, Spitz, Primm,
Cressman.)  A Lao resistance group asserted it would take action. 
DIA concluded this was a similar to the earlier and fabricated

In the fall of 1992, the Senate Select Committee received sworn
testimony from DIA's senior POW/MIA analyst, Robert DeStatte.  Mr.
DeStatte provided detailed information on what was known about the
disappearance of Baron 52 and the intercepted North Vietnamese
communications, noting that the report that so excited the U.S. Air
Force analyst actually related to the movement of four airmen to
the area of the port city of Vinh in the panhandle of North Vietnam
and hundreds of kilometers from the site of Baron 52's
disappearance.  With such a message received only minutes after the
loss of Baron 52 in South Laos, DIA concluded the report correlated
to airmen other than those in Baron 52.

In October 1992 the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on
POW/MIA Affairs forwarded his strong recommendation to the Lao
Government that the planned crash site investigation of Baron 52
take place as scheduled.  On November 2, 1992, a joint U.S./Lao
team traveled to Sekong Province and to the crash site of Baron 52. 
The team found the wreckage still there.  Two witnesses were
interviewed who described the crash of the aircraft and the
resultant fire.  One witness described visiting the site the next
morning and finding a burned corpse which was recovered by SAR
aircraft.  Three North Vietnamese advisors arrived several days
later to inspect the site.

The joint team recovered one of Joseph A. Matejov's dog tags from
the site as well as personal and military artifacts, including
pieces of two flight suits.  The team's recovery of unopened
parachute canopy releases indicated some of the missing crewmen
were undoubtedly still on board the aircraft at the time of impact.


                                                [TAM0122.TXT  03/02/92]

22 JANUARY 1992


One of the most discussed incidents to come out of Southeast Asia,
especially since it happened after the cease fire, was the BARON 52
incident.  While I will not rehash all the details that have already
been reported in various forms, I will just state the following
information which some conjectures.

When the GUARD monitor came into the analysis shop (where I worked) to
report that BARON 52 just went down, we asked how many were on board. We
were immediately informed that there were ten individuals aboard, not
the eight on the manifest.  When queried again about the total, the
answer remained the same.  I believe we were told that the extra two
were "dead- heading" back to Ubon.  However, due to the mission of the
aircraft and the special tasking, the other two might have been
Vietnamese linguists.  My section immediately began searching through
the traffic for any communications that might reflect information on the
shoot down.  As our aircraft were flying too far north, it was not
surprising that we had no immediate communications reporting on that

The aircraft we had up were diverted further south in order to try to
pick up after action reports.  The only report that we came across was a
request we saw two days later for more SA-7s.  Another report we saw
came on February 17, 1973.  I am the analyst who issued this report.
The unit that we had intercepted was requesting transportation for three
"giac lai my", the Vietnamese phrase for any American captured in flight
suits.  It means bandit American pilot.  Couple this with the four who
had been captured on February 5, and you have seven crew members who had
been captured.

It is my opinion that BARON 52 was downed by at least one and probably
two SA-7 missiles.  The SA-7 would hit the heat source.  In this case it
would be the engines.  The detonation pattern would also, in all
probability, have severed the radio transmission lines thus rendering
the plane mute.  It also would have allowed most, if not all, the crew
to bailout.  I further believe that the aircraft was hit while it was
heading south and that the first "stick" of four crew members bailed out
almost at once.  The remainder of the crew would be tasked with trying
to destroy the equipment.  They did not completely do so.  The second
"stick" of crew members went out around the immediate area where BARON
52 went in.  I believe the make up of the first stick would be
Bollinger, Matejov, and the two extras.  I believe that Berhardt was
killed by shrapnel of the SA-7.  The rest of the crew that jumped would
be Spitz, Primm, Melton, Brandenberg and Cressman.  The two members of
the crew that went back to probably sanitize either the aircraft or
Bernhardt would be Primm and Melton.  Both were found shot to death at
the site.  (This comes from another witness to this committee.)  We knew
that the three referenced on February 17th did not have a linguist among
them, but that the three were SIGINT specialists.  All seven would be
taken first to Tchepone then to Khe Sanh then to Vinh.  At Vinh, we know
that the SIGINT specialists would then be taken either to Moung Sen or
Bai Thuong.  I believe that they were sent to Bai Thuong.

A know that the aircraft was NOT downed by AAA fire.  I have seen a
photograph, now in possession of the Cressman family, which shows the
body of the aircraft intact.  It also shows two helicopters, probably
American JOLLY GREEN jolly types, flying directly to the crash sight.
All subsequent photographs show massive damage to BARON 52.

One further note on this incident.  In January of 1978, I saw a request
from Hanoi going out to all "special" camps asking if all the tu binh
thong tin ky thuat (SIGINT specialists POWs) had been sent to Hanoi.
This was during the period when the special flights were occurring.  See
Appendix G.  If the crew were still alive, and there was no evidence
indicating otherwise, then all SIGINT specialists from BARON 52 were
sent to the Soviet Union by the end of January of 1978.