Date: Mon Oct 03 1994 21:55:46
From: John Powell
Subj: Bill English Article
_The Grudge 13 Affair_ - Part One
(From _Fortean Times_ No. 75, 1994, pp 22-27)
By Peter Brookesmith
One night in Spring 1992, Andrea had begun to snore. I disengaged her
knee from my nose and slithered under the mosquito net to seek some work
of fiction, with which to help down the rest of the Armagnac. In our
fine, oak-panelled library, fallen into the cobwebs beside the cabinet
containing great-Uncle Edwin's collection of human shin-bones, I came
upon George Clinton Andrews' "Extra-Terrestrials Among Us" (Llewellyn,
1986).  Not admitted fiction, true, but one has oft been grateful to
'Fortean' writers for providing amusement - ranging from a modest simper
to an agonising fit of hysterics.
Back to bed and brandy. Andrea opened an eye, smirked from beneath her
raven tresses, threw an arm (her own, I was relieved to see) around me,
and resumed snoring. I was not disappointed by the book. Many were the
titters to be heard issuing from the boudoir as I perused this wonderful
volume. But then around pages 188-191 the smirk fell from my face like a
flying saucer in New Mexico airspace.
UFO buffs will remember that on 11 February, 1949 the US Air Force set
up Project Grudge to assess the UFO 'problem'. It has long intrigued
ufologists that, of the 14 reports Grudge issued, #13 has never been made
public. The USAF denies the very existence of the report. It insists
that the number 13 was missed from the sequence simply because it is
traditionally 'unlucky' - just as elevators in American skyscrapers
rarely list a 13th floor.
However, Andrews maintains that the report does exist, and tells how a
summary of its contents became public knowledge. He recounts that in
1981, two ufologists - Col Wendelle Stevens, based in Tucson, Arizona,
and Thomas R. Adams of Project Stigma, based in Paris, Texas - were
contacted by a former Green Beret officer and Vietnam veteran, whom
Andrews gives the pseudonym 'Captain Toulinet'. According to Andrews,
while in Vietnam Toulinet had investigated a Boeing B-52 "that had been
forced down in the jungle by a UFO."
He was then posted to a desk job as an intelligence analyst at the USAF
base at RAF Chicksands in Bedfordshire, England. For the record, RAF
Chicksands is essentially a huge electronic ear, home for many years to
the 7274th Air Base Group and the 6950th Electronic Security Group, part
of the intelligence-gathering resources of the US Third Air Force (USAFE).
In 1993 these units were redesignated the 774th Air Base Group and the
450th Intelligence Squadron.
One day in 1977, a 624-page document landed in Toulinet's in-tray for
study. Although amazed by its contents, he duly wrote his analysis.
Shortly afterward, Toulinet was told he was to be dismissed from the Army
for 'unsatisfactory performance of duty' (which came as a severe
surprise), and that he had been declared an 'undesirable alien' by the
British. He was then flown that day to the USA by the USAF.
The bulky document was none other than the 'non-existant' Grudge Report
#13. It described animal and human mutilations caused by UFOs; UFO
types, drive systems and armaments; an interview with a captured alien;
and details of autopsies performed on alien bodies retrieved from crashed
saucers. Full-colour photographs of the dissected alien bodies were
included, and showed classic features: oversized head, large eyes, grey
skin and a body about 3ft long. Not long after telling this story to Col
Stevens and Thomas Adams, Toulinet had a traumatic experience while
investigating an alleged UFO landing site in New Mexico - more on this
later - and 'then disappeared'. Andrews may have intended to imply that
Toulinet had been disappeared. (sic).
There were many details here that didn't ring true to anyone even
faintly acquainted with the way the military works. In the course of
satisfying myself that this was a tall tale, I wrote, on the off-chance,
to Thomas Adams of Project Stigma, asking for 'Toulinet's' real identity.
I didn't (then) intend to publish the man's name: but, with it, I could
at least find out it he had ever existed, and some details of his career.
I had a courteous and helpful reply. 'Toulinet's' real name, Adams
revealed, was William S. English. He had indeed gone 'undergound' in
1982, and had renewed contact with Adams in 1988, from the state of
Virginia. English was brought up in the small town of Sierra Vista,
Arizona, and was the son of an Arizona State Representative. Along with
the original 'Memorandum' on the Grudge Report #13 received by Adams in
1982, a long report, made by the 'controversial' UFO researcher John Lear,
on English and the Grudge 13 affair, was enclosed. A few days after
receiving this, I had a phone call from Bill English himself. He
corrected some of the nonsenses I'd detected in George Andrews' version
of the tale, yet his account raised as many questions as it answered.
How, I asked, did a captain in the Green Berets, an officer in the US
Army, get to be working at a base like Chicksands, in the UK?
"I was a civilian by the time I started work at Chicksands," said
English. "I'd gotten out of the service in Germany; I was honourably
discharged with the rank of captain in 1973. My then wife was a
dependants' schoolteacher, a GS-9, and she had taken a transfer to RAF
Chicksands' Department of Defense schools. In the Officers' Club one
night I met one of my old commanding officers, who was at this point
working for the National Security Agency.  He asked me if I would
like a job. This was 1974; I was there until July 21 1976, working at
their listening site, in what we referred to as the 'elephant cage'.
"It was my job to analyse the translated transcripts of radio
transmissions that had been received from Soviet bloc nations through the
listening post at Chicksands. We monitored military frequencies mostly.
I had to assign what we called a probability rating to the material and
create a possible scenario that might result from the transmission or
might have resulted in the transmission. Say, for example, if we
received information that so-and-so was on vacation somewhere, and then
we heard a phone call made from a certain location, we'd compare the two
and get an indication whether or not this gentleman really was on
vacation or not."
"Then this 624-page document called _Grudge Report 13_ lands on your
"No, it was called _Grudge/Blue Book Report 13_. It had 625 pages.
I'd reported for work as usual. We would sign in at the security desk,
and we were then escorted by a military policeman to our offices -
cubicles, actually, with doors on 'em. The duty officer would then bring
our assignments to us. That day, June 28 or 29, 1976, if my memory
serves me correctly, he brought a diplomatic pouch with what we called a
'disposition form' attached. This instructed me to read the document
enclosed and assign a probability rating to it. Which was what I did."
At this point, English said: "Before we go any further, let me tell
you, I have over the years publicly acknowledged that the material I
viewed could very well have been misinformation. I've never denied that
This was an interesting aside, for I had already found it curious that
such a document should be in the United Kingdom at all. And why was a
person like Bill English asked to review it?
He didn't quite answer this question, but gave one reason why he
believed at the time that the report was genuine. There was Cyrillic
handwriting on it, and the diplomatic pouch came from the US Embassy in
Moscow. English inferred that the Soviet Government had had the document
at some point, and that it had been supplied to them by the US government.
Over the years other things confirmed his belief. "Most notably, in
1980, J. Allen Hynek [the astronomer who advised the US government on
Project Blue Book] and I sat in the green room at CBS Studios at 21st
Century City in California and talked for the better part of two hours.
His handwritten notes were all over the document and I flat out asked him
about it. At first he denied any knowledge of it. And finally he said,
'Yes, the document's true, but I will deny it. Because I'm not going to
endanger my retirement or any of that stuff. And if you say that I said
anything, I'll call you a liar. Who are they going to believe, you or
me?'." English added: "Oddly enough, the probability rating I assigned
the document was based largely on a set of photographs in it that I had
taken in Vietnam. I recognised them immediately."
Were these the pictures, I asked, related to the story about him going
out to examine a crashed B-52 in Nam? I said: "The first question I'm
going to ask is, what was its serial number?"
"You mean the tail number? I haven't got the faintest idea. You have
to realise, we were a Special Forces group. I didn't know airplanes from
baloney. And we were in enemy territory, in Laos, and I don't care what
anybody says, you have the tendency to move quickly in that situation.
In, out, goodbye. I think we spent all of maybee three hours at the
crash site. My job was to go in and find the aircraft, see if there were
any survivors and bring them out, and come back with any flight recorders
or any classified material, and to destroy the aircraft.
"When we got there, what we found was pretty bizarre. First of all
the aircraft was fully intact. It had not crashed. It looked like a big
hand had grabbed it and set it down in the jungle. There was no crash
trail or anything. The hatches were sealed. We didn't know how to get
into the damn thing, so we popped a hatch with a det-cord charge. We
found the crew still in their seats in their harnesses, horribly
mutilated. And there was very little blood, when there should have been
pools of it on the deck of the aircraft.
"We photographed the bodies, took dog tags, and obtained the maps and
everything else we needed to, set satchel charges in the bomb bays (which
were full of bombs), and hauled ass. With the bodies still in the
aircraft. We got picked up, flew back into Saigon, turned everything
over to MACV [Military Assitance Command Vietnam] headquarters and went
to our next assignment. This was April or May 1970."
[A map of Southeast Asia is reproduced with the following
caption: "A map of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war,
showing the US airbases and North Vietnamese airfields. Note
that Laos is more than 200 miles from the capital Saigon,
not a trip to be made by helicopter. Most of Laos adjacent
to Vietnam, scene of Bill English's supposed exploits, is not
actually triple canopy jungle, but tropical scrub."]
Going back to the Grudge report, I asked English about his expulsion
from the UK.
"I reported back to work one morning, was told that the base commander
wanted to see me, was escorted by two AIr Security policemen to his
office, was informed by him - Colonel Robert Black - that my services
were no longer required by NSA and that I'd been declared an undesirable
alien by the British Government and was being deported back to the United
States immediately. I told him: "Well, losing my job's no biggie, I'm a
dependant husband technically, I'll just go through debriefing and go
"To which he replied: 'No, you're leaving the country.'
I said: 'At least let me call my wife over at the school and tell
her what's happening.'
"'No, you're incommunicado. You're not to talk to anybody.'
"I was popped on a plane at RAF Lakenheath and flown back to the US
and given a plane ticket to Tucson, Arizona, which was my home of record.
When I got back to Tucson, I tried very desperately to get in touch with
my wife and let her know what had been going on. For the better part of
a year, every time I tried to call the house in Clop Hill, Bedfordshire,
where we lived, a man's voice would answer: 'She's not here, she doesn't
live here any more, there's no such person at this number' - this kind of
thing. After a year she apparently was transferred to a different Air
"So," I said, "she thought you'd just done a bunk? And there was no
other explanation made to her, or to you, about your deportations, and no
connection was admitted between your deportation and Grudge 13?"
"None whatsoever. I also asked the British Government why I had been
deported from the country. They turned back and said, 'We don't know
what you're talking about.'"
I asked: "The story as told by George Andrews implies that your
commanding officer was fired at the same time. Is that true?"
"No. In actuality, two years later Colonel Robert Black, the base
commander, showed up at my place of business, a leather goods store in
Tucson, with his operations sergeant, and told me they had been
released from the serice very shortly after I had left because of
_Grudge/Blue Book Report 13_."
"What did he mean - 'because of' the report?"
"At the time, I didn't really think about it. I was too concerned to
prove what I had seen was true. And they seemed to have the way to do it.
They said they had information that there was a very large flying saucer
buried at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico, that it was
too big to move, and they were going to go out and find it. And they
wanted me to go with them. At this point I was desperate to find some
sort of evidence to vindicate myself. I sold my business, and put the
money together with theirs, and we purchased a van, which we outfitted
with desert tyres, marine radar, listening devices, magnetometers and
some pretty flaky video cameras of the time.
"We rendezvoused and travelled along the perimeter of WSMR, and in
certain areas we would cross into the test range and look around.
Ultimately we wound up in White Sands National Park. From there we drove
onto the range. Toward sunset, I was walking on the range about 1,000
yards in front of the vehicle. Black and his sergeant were both in it
at the time. I heard a rather familiar sound, and screamed 'Incoming!'
and went face first into the dirt. The next thing I know, the van is
blowing up. I think they fired a rocket. Then there are helicopters all
over the place, and I am running for my life, literally. I made it back
to Tucson on foot."
"What's the official version of Colonel Black's demise?"
"There is no record of it. I tried very hard to track that down."
"What did you do when you got back to Tucson?"
"We had asked Wendelle Stevens if he wanted to join us on this trip,
but he was busy at the time working on the Billy Meier stuff, which you
could say is the reason he's alive today.  I made for his house. I
showed up there at about 2, 2.30 in the morning, damn' near drowned in
his swimming pool, and started scratching on his window. Much to his
credit he didn't shoot me, but brought me inside. I took a shower and he
gave me a shirt and fed me, and then gave me a ride to my apartment, the
other side of town. I spent a couple of days more or less hiding, then I
decided it was time to disappear."
"How did you do that?"
"I very publicly started selling off personal items, and bought myself
a backpack and all the survival equipment that I would need for a camping
trip. I caught a bus to Phoenix, walked up to a police officer in the
bus station, got smart with him and promptly got myself arrested. There
was a reason: I wanted to lay a trail that said I was heading north. The
cop arrested me on an old traffic ticket. They hauled me to the Phoenix
jail, booked me in, and my sister came up that night, got me out, and I
went back to Tucson.
"I paid the traffic ticket the next morning, spent another night at my
sister's and split out of her house in the middle of the night. I walked
from Tucson to Los Angeles, heading west, not north. In L.A. I spent
several weeks living on the street and then got into a halfway house,
called Hudson House, where nobody would think I would stay because it was
for gays. I spent three months there. I was the only straight guy in
"Ultimately I made my way to Lynchburg, Virginia, where I lived on my
mother's farm incommunicado for almost two years. I got myself a job as
a cameraman at the local television station, WSET, Channel 13. This was
under my own name: people have a tendency to overlook the obvious. And
they did. It was eight years before I came out of the woodwork.
"Do you think someone did all this to you in order to find out what you
would do afterwards? It sounds like some kind of experiment. Which is
unfortunate for you, as the white rat in the maze."
"Well, for a country that's exposed GIs to atom bomb tests and drug
testing and that kind of thing, what do you think? I've often thought
about this, and it's occurred to me that one of the reasons [that I might
have been chosen for such an experiment] may have been that I seemed to
have an extraordinary ability to survive under the most adverse
conditions. Additionally, over the years, I have defied conventionality,
and done the unexpected. Like, for example, disappearing the way I did."#
SIDEBAR - FROM HICK TO GRUNT
"I volunteered for the Army, very much so. I was 16 years old. We
lived out on a little ranch outside of Tucson. There was a little
Baptist church up a little knoll just above our house. Every Sunday
afternoon I did yard work there after their service.
"One Sunday while I was doing this, the pastor and deacon came down
and started banging on the door. My mom answered, and they started
giving her a God-awful time - fundamentalist Christians, you know what I
mean? They had her in tears. It got me very angry. I sat there several
hours after they left and decided the only way to stop it happening again
was just to get them out of there completely. So I took a 5-gallon can
of gas up there and burned the church to the ground.
"The next morning a deputy sheriff came out to investigate the
burning. I've never lied to a police officer in my life, and I'm not
about to start. He said, "'Do you know anything about what happened up
there?' and I said, 'What do you want to know?' and he said, 'Well, do
you know who set it?' I said, 'Well, aah...' and he said, 'What do you
know? and I said, 'Well, they pissed me off.' He said, 'You're coming
with me, boy.' Then they called my mom, and she thought she was upset
with the churchers - you shoulda seen how upset she was with me!
"Ultimately we went to the juvenile court and the judge looked down at
me and said, 'I understand you burned this church down.' I was a cocky
little shit back then. I said, 'You bet your ass I did your Honor, and
if they come and do what they did before I'll burn it down again.'
"The judge was a fairly understanding fellow and he said, 'Now wait,
there's something here I need to know about.' So I told him what
happened, and he turned around, looked at the pastor and said, 'Is this
true?' The pastor said, 'Yes.' And the judge said, 'Well, I tell you
what. If you ever go on this woman's property again I'll help him torch
"And he looked at me and said, 'Boy, you got a choice. You can stay
in the juvenile home until you're 21, or you can join the Army. And I
looked at him and saluted and said, 'Yes, sir.' And I was on my way.
"I was given a battlefield commission in Vietnam. After I got out of
PoW camp there they bumped me up to first lieutenant, and when I left
Vietnam they tagged me a captain. I left the army because Vietnam was
over and they had an excess of officers.
"I had no West Point and no OCS, so I was given the choice of being
reduced back down to Sergeant E-6 or taking a $10,000 bonus and getting
out. Which I did. Took the money and ran."
SIDEBAR - ALL SHOOK UP
Andrews' statement in _Extra-Terrestrials Among US_ that English went
into a psychiatric hospital as a result of visiting a B-52 that had been
attacked by a UFO is not true. English did spend some time as a
psychiatric patient, but for more prosaic reasons.
He explained: "I was in the middle of a firefight when they rotated me
back to the States, and 24 hours later, after two tours in Vietnam, I was
sitting in my mom's living room. A friend invited me to go deer hunting
with him, and I was sitting cleaning my rifle, and a couple of kids threw
some firecrackers in the front yard. I punched out a $200 plate-glass
window and if I'd had ammunition in the gun I'd probably have killed
"My mom came running into the living room. I told her to get her
blankety-blank head down before it got blown off, and she picked up a
20lb brass samovar lamp, which she had gotten in Iran, and nailed me in
the back of the head with it. Then she called Davis-Monthan AFB and they
sent an ambulance and two APs [Air Force Security Police] out there, and
they sent me on a special flight to Walter Read Army Hospital. I spent
six months going through deprogramming, and then they rotated me to
 George Andrews is a poet whose work was published in the 1960s in
_The Psychedelic Review_, _City Lights Journal_, Residu and Aquarius_,
and gathered together in _Burning Joy_ (1966). He edited (with Simon
Vinkenoog) _The Book of Grass_ (1967), and (with David Solomon)
_Drugs & Sexuality_ (1974) and _Drugs and Magic_ (1975). He was
instrumental in introducing _The Gemstone File_ into the UK. The Gang
of Fort were acquainted with him at the time and found him somewhat
lacking in critical faculties.
 The NSA's major task is conducting and analysing electronic
surveillance and intelligence. It would have been tied in with the
work of the 6950th (now the 450th), who do much the same thing, as
well as with the UK's GCHQ. When I asked Captain Lewonnie E.
Belcher, Chief of Public Affairs at Chicksands, if the NSA had a
presence on the base, she said she was not permitted to answer, she
admitted that the question was tantamount to asking if a given
aircraft was armed with nuclear weapons, and enquiry always met with a
stonewall 'No comment.' That's how secret(ive) the NSA is.
 This seems to have been a slip. The 'elephant cage', as English
explained in a subsequent conversation, is actually the nickname for
the huge FL-9 ("Flare-Nine") antenna that facilitates the base's task
of electronic eavesdropping. This is confirmed by Captain Belcher.
 Eduard 'Billy' Meier maintained that between 1975 and 1978 he had
numerous contacts with a group of cosmonauts from the Pleiades star
cluster; he took hundreds of quite impressive photographs of what are
purportedly their spacecraft. Whatever the truth about Meier's
subjective experiences, there seems no reason to doubt that his photos
were faked. See _UFO...Contact from the Pleiades_, Genesis III
(Phoenix, AZ) 1980, which details Wendelle Stevens' by no means
sceptical investigation of the case.
End of Part One.
_The Grudge 13 Affair_ - Part Two
(From _Fortean Times_ No. 76, 1994, pp 31-35)
By Peter Brookesmith
When I first read the story of Bill English and the _Grudge Report #13_ I
thought it was a folk tale like the famous Vidal teleportation case 
Or that it was a hoax, a put-on by someone who either didn't know enough
to get the details right, or who had made deliberate, judicious errors
to alert the wise. But getting the full detils from the horse's mouth
left my boggle threshold in need of major repair. On the other hand, it
did restore the smile to my face.
What can one make of Bill English's extraordinary claims?
First, let's take what allegedly happened in the jungles of Laos in
April or May 1970. English maintains that _Grudge/Blue Book Report #13_
relates how the last message from a B-52 bomber before it crashed on a
mission over Laos described an attack by a UFO; this was the same plane
that he had investigated, and his photos of the mysteriously mutilated
crew were in the report he read while serving at RAF Chicksands.
Twenty-nine US aircraft were shot down during operations over Laos
between 9 March and 22 April 1970. Not one was a B-52, although B-52s
were used by the 7th Air Force's Commando Hunt campaign against Laotian
segments of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at that time. Indeed the records at
the US Air Force's Center for Air Force History shows that no B-52s were
lost anywhere in South-East Asia from July 1969 until July 1972. 
Was the mysteriously downed B-52 English says he investigated one of
the three that crashed in 1969?  There could be no good reason for
leaving an aircraft sitting in the jungle for nine months without
attention, and English said his job was "to go in and find the aircraft,
see if there were any survivors and bring them out." That implies a very
recent crash. So, if a B-52 did flop into the Laotian jungle in April or
May 1970, the fact has been kept from the official record.
This is more easily said than done. A B-52 Stratofortress is a very
big and very expensive aircraft, and it's difficult to mislay one without
someone soon noticing. It's also quite easy, if you have the patience,
to trace the entire history of any of the 744 B-52s turned out of
Boeing's Seattle, Washington, and Wichita, Kansas, plants between
November 1951 and October 1962, from production line and force acceptance
through upgrades and base assignment to combat loss, operational loss or
mundane retirement. Some buff would have noticed by now if a B-52, the
mighty winged equivalent of a dreadnought, had gone missing from the
record 24 years ago (or at any time). None has. Every one of them can
be accounted for.
English says he didn't note the tail number of the B-52 he
investigated - that he "didn't know aircraft from baloney." One of the
Royal Military Academy at Sandhurt's most distinguished historians
confirmed to me that the tail number of the aircraft, its squadron, crew
members' names and service numbers, even specifications of code books,
would be given to such a team. English can remember the precise date of
his summary expulsion from the UK, but not the tail number of this very
Sending an Army Special Forces A-team to poke around a downed B-52
would have been highly unusual in the Vietnam conflict. If the
circumstances were very strange, then perhaps strange measures would be
taken. But the US Air Force had their own very effective system for
finding and retrieving surviving crewmen. This is hardly surprising; the
planes were theirs, after all, not the Army's, and they had an empire to
build, just like the rest of the military establishment in Vietnam.
The four squadrons of the USAF's 3d Aerospace Rescue and Recovery
Group operated from 18 airfields and were directed from 7th Air Force HQ
at Ton Son Nhut. A typical Search and Rescue (SAR) task force consisted
of HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant choppers, A-1 Skyraiders ('Sandies') to
defend them and, later, Rockwell OV-10 Broncos acting as flying
communications posts for the various parties involved. The USAF's SAR
teams performed extraordinary feats of bravery and daring to fish downed
airmen out of trouble. The would have had no trouble finding or
investigating the B-52 that English describes.
Ground troops were occasionally used to help rescue airmen. In one of
the most controversial rescue operations of the war, in April 1972, Lt Col
Iceal Hambleton - the sole survivor of, as it happens, a downed B-52 -
was finally extricated from enemy territory by a squad of US Marines on
the Cam Lo River. But, note, these were common Marine grunts doing the
job: it wasn't deemed necessary to call up the Green Berets for the task.
English says that he flew to and from the crash site by helicopter.
My Sandhurt source says simply that ground troops would have been used
for SAR work only if the crash site was inaccessible by air. However,
there were exceptions, and parts of the known practice in Vietnam do
accord with English's account.
There was an extremely secret command based in Saigon called MACV-SOG:
an acronym for Studies and Operations Group, which was a cover name for
all kinds of 'black' operations. Within it was SOG-80, the Recovery
Studies Division, whose speciality was retrieving downed airmen from
behind enemy lines. It is also worth quoting here Captain Shelby
Stanton's comment: "The blackest MACV-SOG operations were premised on
concepts of absolute denial if ever exposed."  But if English did
work under SOG-80 it's curious that he can't remember it; admitting as
much seems rather less of a secret to blow than the 'fact' of a UFO
wreaking havoc with a B-52 bomber.
So, all in all, to believe English's B-52 story, you have to accept a
plethora of deviations from the usual track of events. Besides, the USAF
allegedly knew that UFOs were involved. If the legends about
Wright-Patterson AFB are true, wouldn't the USAF have kept this one well
within their own walls? But the real question here is: why would anyone
bother to cover up a B-52 crash, be there whole squadrons of UFOs
involved, that happened in a war zone? The war itself provides all the
cover you need.
What English says happened after his alleged visit to the downed plane
is intriguing, too. Not long after he received a battlefield commission,
his Alpha team was led into an ambush by an American defector. 
"He killed our point man and took his place. All we saw was the back
of his head, a guy in uniform, using all the right hand-signals and
"We were a 10-man team. Four of us were killed outright in the ambush,
six of us were taken captive. Out of the six, I was the only survivor,
because they took 'em all out and tortured them to death at their
leisure. The last man they took out, they skinned him alive. As he was
dying they threw him back in the tiger cage - which was essentially a big
bamboo cage that you can hardly lie down in, you can't sit very
comfortably and you can't stand up - with me.
"Apparently, when they had released him from his ropes he had fallen
to the ground and picked up a lid from a C-ration can, which he stuffed
under the muscle on his chest. When they put him back in the cage with
me he pulled this out and said 'Get outa here, you're next.' He died in
"I used the lid to cut my way out of the cage and I cut my guard's
throat with it. Next thing I remember, there was this big 300-pound
black Army sergeant tackling me. They had apparently tracked me with a
helicopter for about two or three miles at a dead run. I spent several
months at the hospital in Saigon."
On hearing my version of this heroic tale, my expert Sandhurst source
said drily: "He got the bamboo cage out of _The Deer Hunter_." Not being
familiar with NVA's preferred arrangements for their US guests in the
field, I have enough difficulty with the arithmetic. IF there was an
American defector and a dead point man, how were there four men killed in
the ambush and six survivors out of the 10-man patrol? (Which anyway was
two down on the usual A-team complement of 12.)
One might say it is (a) sheer coincidence, or (b) proof of the lengths
to which the Establishment UFO cover-up gang will go, or (c) convenient
to Bill English, that there is no one alive today who might publicly
corroborate key aspects of his story. His A-team, which took part in the
B-52 investigation, was wiped out; and the two other crucial figures,
"Colonel Robert Black and his operations sergeant" from English's time at
RAF Chicksands, also allegedly died in suspicious circumstances.
Full-blown conspiracy addicts will have little difficulty with these
objections. They might even portray the US defector who led the A-team
into an ambush as a double-agent, in the pay of the Government UFO gang,
leading these guys to their doom to ensure their silence. But in that
case, why didn't someone slip English, the true-grit survivor of this
byzantine plot, the poisoned needle while he was in hospital in Saigon?
A good conspiracist should take no more than five minutes to produce the
English's version of his time in Special Forces in Vietnam doesn't
hang together either. He says that he was posted to Vietnam from Fort
Davis, Panama, where he was serving with 8th Special Forces Group. His
unit was attached to 5th Special Forces in Vietnam. The locations for
these Groups are correct, but there is no record of any 8th SF being
attached to the 5th SF. Rather odder is English's designation of his
unit as "1st Battalion, 5th Platoon, attached to Operation Phoenix". You
would at least expect a company number in between the battalion and the
platoon (the latter was never the same thing as an A-team, incidentally).
Even in this garbled form, the unit seems not to have existed. But you
would not expect to hear of a unit being attached to what was actually
called the Phoenix-Phung Hoang programme, which was run mainly by the
South Vietnamese and co-ordinated by the CIA. Only individual US
military advisors were involved. 
Odder still, English cannot remember the number of his A-team
detachment, which is surely a strange lapse in a professional soldier.
It does, however, make it impossible to check a claimed unit against the
fairly comprehensive records of A-teams and their locations that are in
the public domain.
While English implies he was based in or near Saigon in May 1970, he
has twice told me that his A-team was based near the DMZ (the
demilitarized zone, roughly following the 17th parallel, between the old
North and South Vietnams; this was in I Corps Tactical Zone). Where,
exactly? "Dien Bien Phu, north of Phnom Penh."
Neither of these names appears on large-scale maps of the DMZ area
that I have consulted. This is a pity, but not a surprise. Because,
while Dien Bien Phu is rougly north of Phnom Penh, it is in former North
Vietnam, and was an unlikely base even for US Rangers. Phnom Penh was
always an unlikely name for a Vietnamese town, being the capital of
Cambodia. Mr English's geography, as well as his memory, seems to be
What about English's close encounter with _Project Grudge/Blue Book
Report #13_? There is no doubt that English is familiar, for whatever
reason, with RAF Chicksands: he can describe the place minutely. It is
certainly possible that a document just as he describes it, was put his
way. If English _did_ see such a report, it seems to me that it was more
likely faked than not, and at least possible that he was the object of a
species of psychological experiment.
In _Revelations_ (Souvenir, 1992), page 179), Jacques Vallee notes
that both Bill English and 'UFO Believer' Bill Cooper claim to have seen
_Grudge/Blue Book Report #13_. He writes: "I am not questioning the good
faith of their testimony. The documents in question may have been
nothing more than fabrications designed by their superiors to test their
abilities to screen disinformation... It would only have been natural to
test their degree of gullibility and their analytical skill by thrusting
under their noses a document that mixed some elements of reality with
some preposterous claims, as any good piece of disinformation art would.
If that was the case, they certainly did not pass the test." And if that
was the case, J. Allen Hynek's hand in it (and his qualified admission to
Bill English) may be no more than the simple truth. Note that, like
other star witnesses in this saga, Allen Hynek can't comment on his
alleged part in it all - because he is dead.
As for English's tale of being expelled from the United Kingdom:
after months of my getting the most obtuse and oblique run-around from
officials in the shiftiest and most paranoically furtive organisation in
the land, our own dear Home Office, the Parliamentary Under-Secrtary of
State, Charles Wardle MP, was persuaded to reveal that "following a
further search of Immigration Department files, my officials can locate
no immigration papers relating to a Captain William English." Mr Wardle
also made it clear that only US military personnel are exempt from
immigration control and deportation under the Immigration Act 1971, Bill
English was a civilian when he was allegedly deported. Who's telling the
English has repeatedly and consistently referred to the USAF commander
of RAF Chicksands at the time he worked there as "Colonel Robert Black".
The ever-helpful Captain Lewonnie Belcher, Chief of Public Affairs there,
was unable to establish whether or not a Colonel Robert Black has ever
served at Chicksands, since the base does not hold records that old. But
she did supply me with a list of all the officers who have commanded the
base since September 1956 to the present. There is no Col Black on the
list. From September 1974 until August 1976 the base commander was Col
James W. Johnson Jr.
The USAF Military Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas, has two Col
Robert Blacks on its retired list. One retired in 1971, the other in
1981. The latter has communicated that he does not wish to discuss his
military service. Make of that what you will. There is no Col Robert
Black on their 'deceased' list.
What of the visit to White Sands, during which 'Col Black' - whoever
that person may really have been - and his 'operations sergeant'
allegedly died? Larry D. Furrow, Chief of Public Affairs at the US
Army's White Sands Missile range wrote to me: "I can assure you that we
have never fired a rocket at an intruder or his vehicle. In fact the
idea is ludicrous." The helicopters that patrol the range perimeter are
not armed, he said, "but their occupants can be."  Well, yes,
nod-nudge-wink, they would say that, wouldn't they? But rocketting
unwanted guests is a pretty ludicrous idea. Like hiding the loss of a
bomber downed in a war zone, it's unnecessary; and messy, extremely
expensive, and probably calling for a mountain of paperwork. Why bother?
I have other reasons for not taking everything Bill English says at
face value. One: I'd still like to see the copies of his DD-1422s
(service records) that he has so often promised to send, and has even
agreed may be published. Two: I was startled to hear him say on more
than one occasion that Budd Hopkins habitually shows photographs of
female abductees' genitals (complete with alien-induced scars) at his
lectures in the United States. Such a thing doesn't accord with the Budd
Hopkins I have seen in public or met in private. Indeed, Hopkins was at
the very least disturbed and probably quite angry when he learned that
Rima Laibow had showed such a picture at a conference held in Fairfield,
Connecticut, USA, in May 1989. (See Jim Schnabel's _Dark White_, Hamish
Hamilton, 1994, pp 176-177.) I have a third reason too, but a third
party's privacy would be disturbed if I discussed it here.
I wish someone (men in black, I don't care) would let me have a gander
at _Grudge/Blue Book Report #13_. I could probably just about put up
with the consequences, if they meant being declared an undesirable alien
and being flown to Tucson, Arizona, at the USAF's expense. #
EPILOGUE: RUSSIAN RIDDLES
After I'd completed most of the research for these articles I happened to
come across the 'Sverdlovsk' case in John Spencer's _UFO - the Definitive
Casebook_ (BCA 1991, page 130.) Briefly, some time in 1961, an Antonov
AN-2P mail plane disappeared from radar between Sverdlovsk (now reverted
to the name Ekaterinburg) and Kurgan. A UFO was being tracked on the
radar when the plane vanished. Helicopter-borne troops found the AN-2P
absolutely intact in a tiny glade in dense forest - which was equally
intact, no crash trail, etc. There was, and never has been since, any
sign of the seven people that were on board.
Incidentally, about 100 metres from the aircraft was a circle of
scorched grass 30 metres wide. Bill English said he'd never heard of the
Sverdlovsk case; when I recounted it, he roared with laughter and,
between chuckles, said: "Ooh dear. Shades of a crashed B-52 in Laos!"
Naturally, I thought it would be interesting to know where and when the
case was first published in English, and where it's been referred to
since (Spencer gives no references). I asked the ever-reliable Janet
Bord to ferret about in her library for me. And suddenly the matter of
B-52s gets even more intriguing, especially in view of my earlier passing
thought about folk tales. For what should she find but a paragraph in
Ion Habana and Julien Weverbergh's _UFOs From Behind The Iron Curtain_
(Corgi, 1975, page 285) that recounts how, in 1961: "A small transport
aircraft carrying four passengers and luggage vanished mysteriously over
central Russia. Two days later it was found intact near Tobelak
(Siberia), but it seemed to have enough fuel for another two hours'
flight. There was no trace of the crew and passengers but 100 metres
away there was a round patch of burnt grass and disturbed soil." The
source of the story is given as _Flying Saucer Review_, May 1967, but
there is no reference to the case in that issue. And, interestingly,
there appears to be no 'Tobelak' in Siberia or, indeed, anywhere in
Russia. So, did Hobana and Weverbergh get their 'facts' wrong? Where
did they get their story? Did Spencer get his facts wrong (again) and
where did they come from? Or do we really have a whale tumour here, that
in due course dressed itself up in combat gear for an outing in Laos?
 In _Confrontations_ (Ballantine/Random House, 1990), the
venerable Dr Jacques Vallee gives good reason for stating bluntly:
"There are no Vidals. The incident never happened." But he also
wryly notes: "The incident is described in detail in a dozen books."
Sure enough, John Spencer's BUFORA-sponsored _UFO Encyclopedia_
(Headline, 1991 - note the date!) relates how Argentine lawyer Dr
Geraldo Vidal and his wife were travelling from Chascomus to a dinner
date when their car was enveloped by dense fog and they lost
consciousness. When they awoke, they found that two days had elapsed
and they were in Mexico City, 4,000 miles from home. Spencer gives no
hint that the story is anything but true. But then, in the same
volume, he also regales readers with that old chestnut about the
"regiment" of Norfolks "abducted" by a cloud-like UFO in Gallipoli in
1915 (see Paul Begg's 1978 demolition job, FT27:35-38).
 "On November 22, 1972 and December 20, 1972, respectively, B-52s
severely damaged over North Vietnam crashed in Laos while trying to
get back to [base at] U-Tapao. All but one crew member were
successfully recovered." Letter to the author from Jacob Neufeld,
Director, Center for Air Force History, Bolling AFB, 31 Jan 1994.
 The official answer, which I see no real reason to doubt, is No.
Of the three B-52s lost by the USAF in 1969, two were lost just after
take-off in the United States. They were B-52H 61-037, which crashed
on 21 January 1969 at Minot AFB, North Dakota, and B-52G 58-0215,
which crashed on 4 September 1969 at Loring AFB, Maine. In both cases
all crew members died. The third aircraft, B-52D 56-630, was lost in
South-East Asia while taking part in Opertion Arc Light. It too
crashed on take-off on 27 July, at Anderson AFB on Guam, with the loss
of all eight crew members. And just for the record, there were 15
B-52s lost during Operation Linebacker II - which started on 18
December 1972 - most to SAMs and most coming down either in North
Vietnam or in Thailand. In 1972, two B-52s crashed in Laos after
taking hits over North Vietnam, one on 22 November and the other on 29
December. Either Mr English has his date of April/May 1970 wrong or
he has made some other fundamental error.
 "Special Military Operations", _War In The Shadows_ , Boston
Publishing Co., 1988. See page 77, and also page 82: "The Air Force
often relied on MACV-SOG teams to rescue their drowned (sic) air
 "North Vietnam apparently raised several Soviet-advised
counter-raider teams...designed to surprise and eliminate the
MACV-SOG recon[aissance] teams...either Russians or renegade
Americans, whose existence, even, is classified, imitated white and
black patrol members." Shelby L. Stanton, op. cit., page 78.
 Shelby L. Stanton's monumental _Vietnam Order of Battle_
(Galahad, New York, 1987) and Col F.J. Kelly's _US Army Special
Forces 1961-1971_ (Vietnam Studies, US Army, 1973) are the
authorities for most of the assertions in this paragraph. Of course,
anyone claiming to have been in Special Forces in Vietnam can claim
almost anything, since some very odd things went on and many of them,
especially MACV-SOG operations, remain classified. I am reminded of
a man (his name was Wally) who claimed he'd been in 2 Para in the
1970s, although he didn't remember ever coming across a certain
Nobby Arnold - who was only the Regimental Sergeant Major, wasn't
 Letter to the author, 8 Dec 1993 and 23 Feb 1994. Mr Furrow
provided a decently detailed account of what does happen to
unexpected trespassers on the range at White Sands. He would not
discuss how they were detected. The only recorded case of an
intrusion at the time English claims 'Black' and his other companion
were killed involved a straying motorcyclist who was intercepted by
Cortez III (private contractors who guard the range), questioned by
military police and then released.
These articles would not be what they are without the help of many
people. Despite knowing my scepticism, Bill English gave generously
of his time in telling me his story and explaining many points that
were obscure to me. Special thanks to:
Thomas R. Adams, Bill Gunston, Stan Morse, Chris Bishop and Jon
Duke of Aerospace Publishing Ltd; Stasz Gnych of Brown Packaging
Ltd; Shelby L. Stanton, Captain US Army (Ret.); Dr John Pimlott, RMA
Sandhurst; Tammy L. Cournoyer, Staff Sgt USAF; Lewonnie E. Belcher,
Captain USAF; Larry D. Furrow, US Army White Sands Missile Range; Dr
Jacob Neufeld, Director, Center for Air Force History; Richard L.
Ziegler, The Boeing Company; Carolyn Russell, Boeing Defence & Space
Group; Dudley Fishburn MP; Janet Bord (good cheese, too); John J.
Clark, Jr, USAF Safety Agency; Archie DiFante, USAF Historical
Research Agency; and the real Col Robert Black.
Any mistakes I have made or erroneous conclusions I have drawn
are not the fault of any of these: they're all mine.
No thanks whatever are due to Mr G. McAllister, B3 Division,
Section A, and Mrs J. McCluskey, B2 Policy Division, of the
Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office. Their
unhelpfulness should be legendary.