Date: Mon Oct 03 1994 21:55:46 Subj: Bill English Article BAMA - _The Grudge 13 Affair_ -

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Date: Mon Oct 03 1994 21:55:46 From: John Powell Subj: Bill English Article BAMA ------------------------------- _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). [1] 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. [2] 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'.[3] "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 desk." "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 possibility." 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 home.' "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 Force base." "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. [4] 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 the place. "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 your church.' "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 them. "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 Germany." ======================== NOTES: [1] 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. [2] 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. [3] 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. [4] 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 [1] 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. [2] Was the mysteriously downed B-52 English says he investigated one of the three that crashed in 1969? [3] 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 special B-52. 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." [4] 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. [5] "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 everything. "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 my arms. "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 answer. 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. [6] 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 confused. 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 truth? 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." [7] 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? ================= NOTES: [1] 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). [2] "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. [3] 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. [4] "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 crewmen." [5] "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. [6] 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 he? [7] 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. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 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. ===================

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