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       Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum

                                   A 501-(c)-3 Washington State Non-Profit Corporaltion

                          13444 124th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA  98034-5403  U.S.A

                                              www.ww1.org - ww1@ww1.org

                                    Tel:  (425)823-4445 - Cell:  (509)723-6059

                                                 

To The Internet Reader:  The following explains itself.  Follow several submissions to JPAC over the years and

                                        receiving no answers and hearing that the Senate was finally going to investigate the

                                        DPMO/JPAC organizations, I sent in a submission to the following, at the end of

                                        July, 2013.  I did receive an answer from the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff

                                        and finally, as I did forward a copy to the Commanding General of the JPAC Command,

                                        I received a reply from him.  Which you will soon be reading.  Based on his stated desire

                                        that I never contact him again, I wrote the following, with the following submission,

                                        to the people shown and as you have read, I sent copies to the involved families for them

                                        to be able to contact their own Senators and Congressional Representative.  Realizing,

                                        that both DPMO and JPAC will tell them, only what DPMO and JPAC want to tell them,

                                        using "cherry picked" parts of complete documents, they refused to believe, when I

                                        had submitted them over the years.  Realizing the odds are, most likely, nothing will

                                        be done to correct the attitudes of DPMP and JPAC and their total dysfunctional

                                        organizations, unless many others come to the support of the familes of all our miliary

                                        dead, and especially support the twelve families involved in these two situations.

 

                                        Please, when you are done and, if you realize these twelve families deserve more than they

                                        have receved since their loved ones did not come back from World War Two.  Personally

                                        contact your two State Senators and your local Congressional Representative and ask them

                                        to visit this web site to learn the facts and then, add their support to the investigation of

                                        and the de-deorganization of the DPMO and JPAC organizations and the creation of one

                                        new civilian organization that is only concerned with the dead of previous wars.  Plus, the

                                        creation of a new military organization that is charged with carring for current war dead. 

 

                                                                                                                       26 Feburary, 2014

Mr. Chuck Nagel Secretary of Defense

 1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301-1000


General Martin E. Dempsey Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

 9999 Joint Staff Pentagon Washington, DC 20318-9999


Mr. John M. McHugh Secretary of the Army

 101 Army Pentagon

Washington, DC 20310-010


Senator Kelly Ayotte

144 Russell Senate Office Building

 Washington, DC 20510


Senator Claire McCaskill

Hart Senate Office Building,

 Suite 506 Washington, DC 20510


Subject: DPMO and JPAC

 Dear Distinguished Americans,

Over the past 20 years, I have had direct interaction with the predecessor organization to the current DPMO/JPAC organizations and the current organizations. For many years, I had researched World War One and World War Two Graves Registration, then, 1994, I attended my first reunion with Graves Registration personnel at Fort Lee, Virginia. For 18 years, a member of our extremely small military museum’s Board of Directors was a World War Two Graves Registration T/Sgt, who landed on Omaha Beach at 11:00 am on “D” Day. I attended that reunion, to learn directly from the men who served in Graves Registration during World War Two, about what they did and how they did it. I believe, they did the very best they could, with the information they had! I believe, if one of them tells you something it will be exactly what happened. Each of them had better recall of their service and involved events, than any other Veterans I have interviewed about their war time experiences!

In the past week, I have spent over 60 hours, preparing a new submission to all of you who had received my previous submission, as well as the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army. My purpose is to present this one submission to all of you equally, each has the latest and most timely information concerning DPMO’s and JPAC’s reply, to the submissions I have made to them, on behalf of twelve families of twelve World War Two dead.

Previously, in the past eight months, I sent my submission to most of you, directly and not tied together at the time. However, I have decided, I must act at once and it is extremely important that all of you, have the attached latest and up to date information available to you as quickly as possible. Last night, thanks to a friend, I reviewed the recent CBS television presentation, which can be found at:

 

:http://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_evening_news/video/19gKOE66BLR9YyS8M8WKiw0KP1ZWSFS6/re mains-of-u-s-servicemen-lost-in-war-go-unrecovered/

 

In addition, I reviewed the following article in the “Stars And Stripes,” which can be found at:

 

  http://www.stripes.com/news/french-lab-identifies-us-soldier-s-remains-after-jpac-refuses-to-investigate- 1.269672

 

When, I had finished watching the first and reading the second, I realized, both were correct and both matched exactly with much of the interaction I have had with DPMO and JPAC, and for how long it has been going on with me and the families, I have represented. Then, I decided, I had to follow up and present to each of you, my long term experience with both organizations. So, all of you can use the enclosed information to help you believe the truth the television presentation and the “Stars and Stripes” article exposed, concerning DPMO and JPAC.

 

Before, I saw the news presentation and read the “Stars and Stripes” article, I thought, my 60 hour week’s goal was to prepare another counter information package to the reply letter, I had just received from Major General McKeague, Commander, the Joint POW/MIA Command, concerning my recent submissions to them. Then, I realized, from now on, I cannot help by submitting more and more information, as the General’s mind, as he basically states, is cast in stone and nothing can change that. The result of this, is no more information will be presented. Now, with knowledge, that I am just one of many, I will concentrate on supporting the many and begin to challenge both organizations. This new submission is a direct result! As, he had listed the Joint Staff, the DPMO and the Army PCRB (Interesting, in that none of the families I have helped and some of which I am the PAD, I have never heard from them?), as receiving copies

of his reply to me.

Based on the underlying intent of his reply, that any additional input I might have in the future, must not be sent to him directly, I take him at his word and will cease to do so. With the dismissive tone of the letter, I realized it was not by error that the JPAC organization has never replied in a timely manner. Early this morning, I realized, I had wasted most of that 60 hours time and effort. And, as the letter basically suggests, I am not to submit additional information as they have made a final decision and they will do nothing for the eight families who now know, the information they have believed about the loss of their loved one during World War Two, is false. Then, he adds what must be an inside joke, by stating it remains an “open case.”

As, to proof of the above and all the following, I am prepared to appear before any of you, your direct representatives or any investigating committees and deliver testimony and full documentation of my charge, that both organizations must be disbanded and a new organization created. One, that will be work with all, instead of dismissing most, unless it becomes one of their selected targets, which will help them achieve larger grants and larger organizations.

For seven years, I have sent submissions to them, that would have easily, last year, doubled the number of MIAs recovered and/or Misidentified dead properly identified. As the truth of this situation, would lead to four, now misidentified dead joining the MIA list and four MIA remains, currently buried in Normandy or National Cemeteries, being properly identified and removed from the MIA list.

However, both DPMO and JPAC, continue to refuse to reopen, the closed cases of four identified dead, which every one, but DPMO and JPAC, agree have misidentified remains in their currently “official graves!”

I was told, five years ago, they would do nothing, unless I located the real crash site of the Melville B-17, as “official documents” of that day, places the true Melville crash site approximately 250 miles to the east of where the misidentified dead had died, I began there. On 9 November, 2013, I found that crash site on a mountain side, 35 miles to the west of Strasbourg. From the local citizens, I also learned the American dead from that crash site, had been buried in their village cemetery. Then, after the war ended, and the United States Graves Registration continued to deny the dead could be American dead, in the late 1950's or early 1960's the Germans had disinterred the dead and took their remains to a German World War Two military cemetery for burial as German military dead. Upon my return, I immediately informed DPMO and JPAC, that the four Melville crew dead, appear to have been buried as German military dead.

Obviously, Major General McKeague and DPMO leadership, decided they wanted nothing to do with American dead buried in German military cemteries, as the General’s reply, totally disregarded this new information. Which, I suppose, I was not too surprised to read the “Stars and Stripes” article and learn, this would not be the first time, DPMO and JPAC would deny our American war dead, their American heritage and their death as Americans during World War Two.

The four dead Melville crew dead were denied at their true location of death, because of the earlier misidentification at the crash site of other dead, 261 miles to the west of their true location of death. Neither, the MACR, nor the IDPFs of those Melville dead, were in the Graves Registration base files, when they arrived at Luvigny, France, and were told of the crash on the mountainside and the dead in the local cemetery. As, there were no MACRs or IDPFs, that would tie to the location of these dead’s location of death, the decision was made to deny their American heritage and do nothing.

I know, this will be disputed by both DPMO and JPAC! However, I have personal experience with exactly the same situation, while researching a man from my home town, who disappeared in the summer of 1944, while evading. In May, 1945, American Graves Registration went to a reported American grave in the Ardennes of World War One fame, disinterred the remains, determined they could not be of American origin and re-interred the remains. It was not until a Senator, in 1948, acting on the behalf of the Missing In Action man’s family, forced Graves Registration to go back to the grave and re-investigate the remains. They realized they had made an error, admitted the error and today, that man is buried in the United States Ardennes Cemetery in Belgium.

Until I watched the CBS news presentation and read the “Stars and Stripes” article, I accepted DPMO and JPAC’s constant demands, that what I had presented to them, was not good enough. Suddenly, that evening, I realized my problems with both organizations was not what my research proved, it was that both DPMO and JPAC were conspiring to control what “open cases” would be worked on and which would be refused, no matter what new information they may continue to receive. In that conspiracy, DPMO and JPAC leadership determined, their organizations could and would dismiss any new information for basically any reason they wanted and then continue to demand new input. They knew, if they did it long enough, people requesting their help, would either gave up or passed on. As long, as they kept what they were doing from becoming public knowledge, none of the submitting entities would realize that it was an organizational conspiracy that made them think, it was their own failure to forward more information, before DPMO or JPAC would act.

Now, that CBS and others have proven to the American public and personally to myself, after all these years, it had nothing to do with my research and its correct findings, it was a proven pattern of the total failure of the leadership of DPMO and JPAC, and many of those serving under them to fulfill the assigned mission of their organizations.

Secondly, I learned why they had seemed uninterested, once I fulfilled their demand, what I had to do for the eighth involved families of the Mohr and Melville crew dead, before they would “reopen” their “open cases.” I was told, I had to locate the true crash site, where the four misidentified Melville crew men had died. Which, is exactly what I had accomplished on 9 November, 2013. Then, I learned from the “Stars and Stripes” article, that JPAC had already refused to properly identify one American military dead buried in a German military cemetery and certainly, I realized, they had decided by the time General McKeague sent his reply, to again deny another four American war dead, buried in a German miliary cemetery as German military dead, their American heritage.

For this alone, I believe, General McKeague should be removed from his Command at once. He signed, and sent a document to me, without any reference to our museum or the families I have been helping, in effect telling us, they will do ,what they will do and never to send additional information or requests again. I realized at one point in his letter, he stated, they demand specific information and two paragraphs later, he states do not sent them anything. This to me and I believe, all of you, when you realize that I am just one of many, this Command Commander requires immediate removal from his Command. His letter proves, what has become a “totally dysfunctional” Command, has a Commanding General who supports continuing to be dysfunctional, no matter what else he presents to you and our government.

General McKeague’s letter was a direct dismissal of twenty-five years of my research. Most specifically tied to my last seven year’s research into what I believe, has proven beyond any doubt to any reasonable person, without a hidden agenda, that four remains from a crash site in France, were misidentified as being four aircrew men who had actually died 261 miles and two hours earlier, to the east of the misidentified crash site, at Voves, France. Which, if understanding all the letter entails, includes another research project, now entering into its 23rd year.

The General dismissed it all, stating I had failed to present “strong historical documents” or forensic documentation.” All of you, who have received my previous submission will find it full of documentation that meets, exactly, that demand. As to “forensic documentation,” a search of my file in their possession and my own, will prove that I have asked them to help do, what I cannot legally do in France, concerning the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor crash site that I will write about soon. In addition, if DPMO keeps files of their employee’s email, you will find one to us, concerning the misidentified dead. A DPMO historian, after indicating the reply we could expect to receive, informed us that the best way to solve the one family’s concern involving the mis-identity of their brother’s “officially recognized” remains, their best option would be to seek a private disinterment to achieve DNA from the remains and then, they need hire a private specialist in DNA research to either prove or disprove the misidentity. Otherwise, informing us, that nothing can be expected to be done under the current leadership of both organizations. So, it is up to the families of the dead to pay all required expense and research fees for what is supposed to be the assigned mission of these organizations.

If, I am wrong, then they will know it, if I am right, reasonable people like yourselves, upon personally reviewing all the evidence presented (please see review attached, that shows all the official “strong historical documentation” that they have refused to accept as proof), you will agree, a major mistake certainly took place and you will agree, it is time these eight families are told the truth by their government and the situation properly followed up and corrected. Which is exactly what Major General McKeague refuses to do, in his attached, reply letter.

Following is a short history of my personal experience with both DPMO/JPAC and their previous organizational forms.  The driving reason leading to this current situation, occurred on Christmas Even, 1991. While I was visiting France to experience the weather, the World War One military faced at that time of the year. I was asked by a Frenchman to identify a grave, he maintained in the village of Cartigny, France. Which, contained the remains of an Unknown Amercian World War Two Aviator who gave his life for the Liberty of France.

By that time, I had researched our WWII Graves Registration deeply and I knew the efforts they had made to locate all such dead, until they were forced to stop at the end of 1951, by all having the funding for the continued search for our WWII MIA dead removed and only the funding for recovery remained.

Just before attending my first Graves Registration reunion in 1994, I had proven, over after two years into my research into the history of that grave, that the remains in that grave had actually came from a crash site about two miles away. I presented all the official documents and testimony I could locate to Mortuary Affairs. Where, they all met all the current requirements of DPMO/JPAC as stated, to meet the “strong historical documentation” demanded by Major General Kelly K. McKeague, Commander of the Joint POW/MIA Command, that I have recently received. A highlighted copy is included as an attachment.

My research, at that time, was approved by the chief military archivist at NARA, College Park, Maryland; the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base; the (then) leadership of Mortuary Affairs, Fort Lee, Virginia; and numerous military historians, who have verified my research.

On 9 November, 1994, with the help of the French Military History group; the Commemo-Rangers; LES Souvenir Francais; the French National Military Association, which is the equal to our National Legion and V.F.W. combined; and numerous French citizens, we dedicated a Memorial at the crash site of the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor B-17, the “Lady Jeannette.” Located, just to the north of Tincourt-Boucly, in the Somme Region of France. At the newly identified grave, we also dedicated a new grave marker, listing the four dead from that crash. Attending were some family members and one survivor. All four families asked, that the grave never be disturbed, as the men died together, please let their partial remains, which were testified by the Village Elders, as being a mixture of human remains, remain in the gave, co-mingled forever.

On Memorial Day, 1998, I visited the Grave and the crash site and held a discussion at the Tincourt-

Boucly village hall about the events that led up to the now identified crash site and grave and how, they could help preserve this local knowledge and proven history into the future. That day, just before I left for the Memorial Service at the Bony WWI Cemetery at Bony, France, a farmer gave me two of the first relics from the crash site, that were large enough to be recognized and researched. Within two months, I was able to prove all American documents and prior testimony concerning that crash site and all organizations that believed that it was the true crash site of the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor B-17, the “Lady Jeannette” crash site were wrong! Of course, I had also proven myself wrong, when no one else had been able to do so. The two relics were items used in the production of just one American bomber, the B-24. Somehow, my research was wrong, I was the one who proved it and it was up to me, to correct the identity of that crash site and find the true crash site of the “Lady Jeannette.”

By September, 1998, I had found another crash site, that matched the date of the crash the “Lady Jeannette” and realized, I had found that site during my earlier research in 1994. However, when contacted in 1994, by a French friend, the Frenchman who was writing a book at that time, told my friend, it could not be the B-17 crash site we were looking for, as the one he was writing about, had crashed two weeks after the one we were searching for. As his description of the crash in question did not match, even remotely, the crash and death descriptions given in the two Congressional Medal Of Honor Citations. I immediately dismissed, that crash site as a possible location concerning my research. After another telephone call to the book author, in 1998, the author admitted to my French friend, that he was afraid the American might steal his research, so he had lied about the date in 1994.

In November, 1998, my wife, Carol, myself and our French friend, visited the crash site in question and discussed it with several citizens of the Village of Hattonville, Department of the Meuse, France. By that time, I had located all the survivors of the crash and all but one had been treated at the 106th Military Hospital, which had been located 8 miles from the crash site. We had attended their reunion in October and talked with several people who had handled the wounded. All remembered the crash perfectly, as their hospital location was on the side of a hill, across from the American WWI St-Mihiel Cemetery. Due to their height above the plain to the north of their location, many of them had observed the B-17 as it came very low from the east, appeared to begin to circle and then, disappeared into a woods, followed by a flash fire. In about a half hour, the first ambulance arrived with three survivors with another being brought to the hospital by the hospital Adjutant, who had taken a jeep to the crash site to see if they could help. We had met with all of the attendees, who had been involved and learned about the men and what happened to them, which matched perfectly with the testimony of the survivors we had already met and interviewed.

Upon my return, I again brought Mortuary Affairs up to date on all my research. However, they declined to believe my research and maintained the first crash site was going to remain the true crash site as all their “officially accepted documents” proven otherwise. And until, I could find something that would force them to change their position, that was not going to change.

In late May, 2000, my wife and I, were at the crash site with the Mayor of the Village of Hattonville. As, we could not get permission from Mortuary Affairs or from the government of France to do any research below the level of the grass roots, the Mayor was helping us clear the site of as many of the remaining crash

relics we could find. Each visit back to the site, as we worked to preserve the evidence of exactly how the “Lady Jeannette” had really crashed, we found new evidence the site was being visited by French historians, who were using illegal metal detectors to find and remove relics, often leaving holes that could cause older visitors to trip and hurt themselves. The Mayor, working just to the bottom level of the grass roots, first found a skull fragment that appeared to be from just behind the right ear of the person the skull came from. A few minutes later, less than two feet away from where he found the skull fragment, he found an undamaged American ID Tag. The tag had obviously been around the neck of 1st Lt. Donald J. Gott, Congressional Medal Of Honor when the “Lady Jeannette” crashed. Suddenly, as much as so many wanted to disagree this crash site was not their correct crash site, the ID Tag was undisputable proof of the truth, it was the correct site. Thus, it was myself, who again proved my own original research had a flaw and it was my wife and I, who provided the required research to establish the correct crash site, along with the generous help of the Mayor of Hattonville.

That next morning, we arrived at the Mortuary Affairs Center in Germany to do, as our law requires, immediately turn such human remains over to our government. At that time, Mortuary Affairs received the partial remains which by our law belonged to our government and the ID Tag, which by the same law belonged to our museum, as the Mayor of the Village of Hattonville, that by the law of the United States owned all relics, except for human remains, found at the crash site had gifted the ID Tag to our museum for our efforts to identify and preserve the site. The personnel at the Center, promised to return the ID Tag, but wanted current possession, as it would be a help in the positive identify of the crash site.

Before, we left, they asked to meet us at the crash site that weekend to conduct a preliminary inspection of the crash site, to verify where we located the remains and the possibility that our research had revealed the three complete bodies the French had seen, had been buried at the crash site and were not taken to the Limey cemetery in 1944. One of the Mortuary Affairs representatives met us at the village and he, the Mayor, Carol and I, went to the site and after a review, he agreed, that Mortuary Affairs must go to the site and conduct an “Official Search and Recovery” as soon as possible. A major reason for that decision was, the “official”Individual Deceased Personnel Files for all four men that died at that crash site indicated a major problem existed. When the “Disinterment Directive Remains Inventory” for each, were reviewed side by side, I had discovered, if all the remains from all four tables had been put on one table, there was no duplication of any human bone, when it was a proven fact, that four men had died at the crash site under totally different circumstances, as indicated in the medal Citations. We also knew, the French had observed three complete bodies and knew nothing of the one man who was hanging under the tail of the B-17 as it lowered into the woods and he had been torn apart and his remains spread over a distance of 400 feet.

The dual Congressional Medal Of Honor B-17, the “Lady Jeannette,” did not dive toward earth, blow up once, strike the earth, blow up a second time an disintegrate as stated in the Pilot’s medal Citations! She had lowed into the Woods of Hattonville, after coming from the east, very low and very slow. The people of the village and the Americans stationed there, thought it was going to crash into the village. However, she completed the turn, cleared the village church and began to head back toward Germany. Then, in the distance, she began a turn back toward a large field where they might have slid into a safe landing.

When coming from the east, they were too high to land in the field and too low to fly over the large hill just to the west of the village. Watching the “Fortress” come toward their village, both the villagers and Americans saw men bailing out and thought, as the bomber came closer the men bailing out were probably the pilots, they hoped it would not crash where they were and then they watched, as she turned and flew right over their heads.

Though, the pilots, 1st Lt. Gott and 2nd Lt. Metzger could have turned into the large field on their way to the east and perhaps saved their lives, they did not. However, the B-17 continued toward the east and then began to turn back. All along the length of the field, where they might have landed, there were French farmers in the fields, an American radar station completing a move to a new location and still in the air, the three men who had just bailed out over the field. If, the pilots had turned and slid in, they may have saved their lives, they did not. I believe, even though the Citations are very different, they deserved the medals for this act on its own.

They continued until all of the involved personnel were clear and then attempted to turn back to land in an area free of people. Halfway, through the turn, the B-17 began to lower into the Woods of Hattonville. S/Sgt. Herman Krimminger, their tail gunner, unknown to the pilots had pulled his parachute too early and was hanging under the tail. He was the first to die! Lying on the radio room deck, was the crewman shown in the medal Citations. As the B-17 broke into four large pieces, the main fuselage broke in half at the rear of the radio compartment and the radio man’s body fell 5 to 10 feet to the ground.

Immediately, after that, the rest of the forward fuselage struck the earth, pushed up a mound of dirt, slewed to the right and came to a stop. All followed by a flash fire that lasted a few minutes and went out, except for the right wing landing assembly and tire, which burned for some time.

Two Frenchmen, arrived at the crash site within five minutes, the fire was out and they made their way to the cockpit area and peering in, they saw two men in the seats, both were dead from tree limbs breaking into their cockpit as the “Fortress” lowered into the woods. One of the Frenchmen went to the cockpit, entering through the broken radio compartment and checked both pilots to verify they were dead. The second man started to walk toward the broken tail, lying a hundred feet away and just beyond the flash fire zone and he discovered another body lying among the large black berry bushes that the B-17 had crashed into. This body showed very little fire damage, but they assumed he had bailed out so late, he had landed in the flash fire zone and the fire had killed him. To prove, his body was only slightly damaged, instead of showing the few remains his IDPF stated was in his grave when disinterred for “Final Disposition” in 1948. His family received his wallet in 1945, which he carried in his left inside shirt pocket, it had suffered a small amount of smoke damage, with all the other contents in perfect condition.

Based on all this being submitted to Mortuary Affairs and being in their files, we were informed a “Search and Recovery” had been scheduled for February, 2001. All was well, soon the families would know the truth. Then, two weeks before the scheduled date, I received a telephone call, telling me, the mission was being delayed, due to their having an emergency recovery. There was only one problem, I had been to the location that they were calling an emergency, before it was reported to Mortuary Affairs some years before, it had taken them around eighteen months to suddenly, declare it an emergency!

Please excuse the number of forgoing pages. However, I believe, it is necessary for you to really understand the rest of this letter. I have included the above for one reason and one reason only. At this time, I wish to charge the current DPMO/JPAC organizations with conspired failure to respond to legal requests in a constant and provable manner, to help support the current disclosures by others who have suffered what both organizations have been committing to all of us during the past fourteen years.

It has been 13 years since, JPAC and DPMO, since both of which appear to have been forming about then, conspired to never go to the Hattonville crash site for that promised full “Search and Recovery.” And, from a historical view, it was at this time, the organizations were being set up and were being formed by their leadership to become the “fully dysfunctional organizations” they are being proven to have become at this time thirteen years later.

By denying any and all information, we have submitted over the years as not meeting their standards, which were mostly the exact same documents and testimonies that DPMO and JPAC already had in their files for many years and all are the same documents that Major General McKeague, USAF, states, cannot meet their “strong historical documentation requirments!” He leaves one, with only one way to interpret his denial of truth and dismissal. All “official USAAF documents, including all MACRs”, all “official US Army documents, including all Individual Deceased Personnel Files,” all “official French and United States documents” that may be included in our’s and other’s submissions to their organizations, cannot be believed to possess the truth! Only, their own specifically “cherry picked” portions of such “official documents” and testimony provide “strong historical documentation” and all the rest included in each and every document and testimony, is false.

As someone, who was described by them, to a Representative’s inquiry, as a “wing nut” from Seattle, I will dare to question their ability to understand what strong historical documentation consists of. Major General McKeague is now on record as stating, only they can decide which document or specific content of a document, will meet their standards. What qualifies anyone at these two organizations to make that decision, stating that only their “cherry picked” portions of the millions of “official documents available” pertain to my specific situations with their organization or Command, or any other “open case” in their files?

The first truly and fully “official document,” which does have such strong historical documentation is the “official and Secret, at the time, 3rd Bomber Division’s Track Chart for 6 September, 1943. This disregarded document by DPMO and JPAC, absolutely states Strasbourg was the “official secondary target and the 388th Bomber Group (H) bombed Strasbourg on that date.” Another such document which is truly and fully “official document” was the “Mission Report” of the 388th Bombardment Group. Which, I must believe, is a strong historical document that on its own, proves the Melville B-17 could not have crashed at Voves and certainly, its crew dead did not die there, 261 miles from where crash site has just been proven to have been located 35 miles to the west of Strasbourg!

Two more such documents are the “official MACRs, MACR 3124 and MACR 3126.” Each bears a specific statement concerning the mission the day these aircraft and crews became Missing in action! Now DPMO and JPAC, have decided in their “cherry picking” of what is true and what is not, that the “official statement” concerning the Melville loss is to be dismissed as non-factual. Yet, that one statement, if it is true and believed to be a strong historical documentation by any reasonable person is absolute, non-disputable proof that the Melville B-17 left the formation in a fatal spin, out of control and was seen going down at the same time as a German fighter near Strasbourg, contained in these “official documents” have been dismissed by both organizations.

Only eleven crews returned that day, consisting of a minimum of 110 individuals and all agreed, the Melville B-17 disappeared from their formation a short distance after they left Strasbourg and two hours later the Mohr B-17 left their formation, about 50 miles from the Voves crash site. Which, both DPMO and JPAC continue to state is absolutely, proven by them, to be the true crash site of the Melville B-17. By what method and evidence, they fail to communicate back to us.

In November, 2013, both organizations were provided with the information that the true Melville crash site was located by me, 9 November, 2013, at a location 261 miles from where they continue to claim is the true crash site of the Melville B-17 and about 262 miles from the located and documented crash site of the German fighter in the Bruche River, near Wisches, France, located 33 miles from the Strasbourg target location. As extremely strong German historical documents prove, there no German fighters any where near the Voves crash site that day and all strong French historical documents prove the only B-17 shot down by German fightes over Voves, had been shot down on 14 June, 1944, and one man did fall to his death. The shoot down observed by every one that early summer day, happened almost under almost exactly the same circumstances as the Melville B-17 had been reported being shot down near Strasbourg nine months earlier.

Imagine, yourselves, when investigating the four dead removed from a crashed B-17 at Voves and taken to the St. Cheron Cemetery eighteen miles away and buried as Unknown dead. You are on your first assignment in France, as a Graves Registration person. A job that you did not want, but are being forced to do. Right now, consisting of clearing a rear battle zone of all isolated American war dead and here you are at a cemetery with almost all the dead Americans, buried as Unknown. You know nothing about the USAAF, you know nothing about the aircraft they fly. In fact, the only ones you may have ever seen, were way above you in the sky back at the farm, or over your head as you work with remains that have been dead for months, if not years. You have no idea of the distances in France or the names of the cities, all you have is a military issued map of the immediate region where you are assigned to recover the isolated dead.

Told to go to the listed crash site and ask the people there what you know, you have to depend on a French interpreter that appears to understand English about as well as you understand the French. When you arrive at the village hall, you tell the French interpreter to translate what you believe are very understandable questions, of course you have no idea why he completes the interpretation, sometimes in seconds after you took two minutes to explain the question and other times, he goes on and on, when you asked a basic yes or no question. As he repeats to you, what the people around you are supposed to be saying, again you notice a great difference at times in the time spent of each side of the interpretation. So what, he must know, what he is doing, I don’t understand a word of what is being said in French.

You are told, yes there was such a crash. Yes, a wounded man was brought to the village hall, placed on that table over there and then taken to Chartres. They had heard a rumor he had died, but had no proof. The German fighters had attacked the “Fortress,” just to the north of the village and it flew over the village as it began to crash. Its nose was on fire, its left wing was on fire and a man bailed out and he fell to his death. Some men got out and when they landed, the Germans caught some and some were hidden by Resistance Fighers. The “fortress” had crashed, just to the south of the village and the Germans had taken the dead away. They did not know, exactly how many men may have died, but the Germans had not guarded the crashed “Fortress,” so all of them had visited within a few days. When asked, if they knew any of the names, someone told them, he could not remember the full name, but it had a “ville” at the end, just like the French word “ville!”

You arrive back at the cemetery in Chartres and forward what you have learned to the central identification processor of isolated grave identifications. They go though all their MACRs and find one that meets all the right date information and when reviewing the reported condition of the crashing B-17, it listed exactly what had been learned and a returning POW survivor had provided testimony, that a man he had bailed out with, had fallen to his death. And, the most proving evidence had to be the name of the pilot. Among the MACRs, they also had located another MIA fortress, however an evading officer had reported the pilot had told him, they were going to fly out over the channel and they must have gone down there. While disregarding the equal testimony of a Enlisted Evader, who reported, he was told by the Resistance his Fortress had crash to the west and dead were found inside.

So that B-17 only had one working engine, had I known its last location was just 33 miles to the east, which was not on the maps I had been given and I had any knowledge at all about B-17s and airplanes, I might have realized, it may also be this B-17, at this crash site at Voves. However, all that evidence was offset by the French testimony, only one B-17 lost over France that day, supposed to be to the west of Strasbourg, which someone told me, is east of here, meets their testimony. The description of its condition when it was last seen, matched up with the eyewitness testimony of the villagers of Voves, the man at the village hall matches closely with the testimony of a returning POW survivor and the fact, that one man fell to his death. The “icing on the cake” was the pilot of the other possible B-17 was named Mohr. The pilot of the B-17 that matched the eyewitness reports, was named Melville and one or more of the eyewitnesses, stated the pilot of the “Fortress,” they were discussing, name ended in “Ville.”

Now, we know their correct identification, we have to insure the recovered remains match the IDPFs of the four Melville crew dead. It was not easy, we finally found an Unknown that had all his flight clothing and accessories complete with his remains and he appears to have fallen to his death. Because no clothing marks matched his serial number, we disregarded all of them and when, we received a German document confirming the man from the Melville crew who had fallen to his death, we made the decision this remains had to be his. Now, the next one, was a pile of messed up human remains, however this teeth came somewhat close to the Melville crew member we decided, had to be him. Now, the third had the same sort of error, however ...we had identified two, he had to be the third and the fourth remains was easy, “we used the process of elimination,” as the other three had been identified, the fourth had to be the one that is left.

Now, that is complete, the MACR and IDPF’s of these, now (misidentified) identified dead no longer needs to be in the MACR files to be compared with future findings.

It may have been me, some months later at a small French village in a mountain valley, when I was taken to the cemetery of the village of Luvigny and shown graves containing what the French declared were the dead from a B-17 up on the mountain to the south of the village. By now, I am so used to working with the dead, I will have great stories to tell sometime in the distance future. We verified, there were no American documents, such as MACRs and IDPFs, that place any lost B-17 or four crewmen anywhere near this village and by now, I know enough French to indicate to them, those dead were not and could not be Americans. Little, did I know, nearly seventy years later, some one would prove me wrong. However, the current organizations were still protecting their past and also denying American war dead, their heritage!

Gentle people, both organizations have been provided, several times, with this absolute proof, based on what I believe, all of you will agree with me, are truly “strong historical documents.” If you continue to permit, these organizations, to “cherry pick” among such documentation in order to select specific bits of information and clips of given testimony and then disregard all the rest, as people who hold high positions in our government and our miliary, you will join DPMO and JPAC in giving the American public and the world, solid proof that no archived documents of American military history can be believed in the future.  And, that only self-selected governmental agencies can determine from now on, which sentence is absolute truth in an “official” document and all the rest is to be disbelieved by everyone else.

I ask each one of you this question, “Is a General, who writes such a dismissive letter as a reply to submissions made on the behalf of eight families of our MIA and Misidentified dead, qualified to be the Commander of an organization that is charged with “finding, correctly identifying our military dead and Honoring our military dead,” this General?

I listened, as he gave his statement in the CBS presentation and, as someone who has a long term exposure to his organization, I will state, he should be removed at once and a temporary Commander assigned, until both JPAC and DPMO have been replaced by a new organization! One, with none of the previous leadership, from the top down, involved.

The only way to correct what they have created, is to replace both organizations, moving the MIA and Misidentification work to a new organization, I believe, it should removed from the direct command of the military, while recreating what used to be Mortuary Affairs to work with and account for our casualties in the future. Then, as soon as a casualty might be declared “officially” as Missing In Action, they immediately come under the control of the new organization, charged specifically to clear as many MIA cases as reasonably possible, including a systematic reduction of our buried Unknowns by individual case re-investigation consisting of disinterment to obtain DNA (if possible), statistical reduction of possible identities (only recently available with the transfer to electronic storage), then finalize, if possible with MDNA or DNA. If, DNA testing can not be accomplished, the next step had to done by determining through the process and statistical matching, the best possible identification possible and present the family with the truth of the process and permit them to make the final decision, as to approve the identity of their loved one, or leave the remains as first recovered, Unknown and Honored in the original Unknown grave.

Many MIA identifications could be finalized in a much shorter time, with a simple re-setting of current identification standards and with the use of non-profit organizations, other than ours, and local historians across the globe. Many of those MIAs, who could have been found by now, if only DPMO and JPAC had actually done their job during the past 14 years, now face growing odds, every day, that their families will never have closure. As, the people in the locations where they died, are now dying and taking with them, the local knowledge that is the foundation of locating our MIA dead, everywhere!

I wish to thank, each and every one of you, that do take the time to read this very long letter, for your service to our country and ask, that each of you review the attached material and think of the eight families of the Melville and Mohr crew dead and the four families of the dual Congressional Medal Of Honor B-17, the “Lady Jeannette” crew dead. DPMO and JPAC leadership have denied these families the truth long after they became aware of the truth involved with both situations.


In Remembrance,

(Signed)


Willis S. Cole, Jr. “Sam”

Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum

A 501-(c)-3, W ashington State Non-Profit Corporation

 

 

 

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Modified For The Internet By:  Willis S. Cole, Jr. "Sam" - Battery Corporal Willis S. Cole Military Museum - 23Mar14(1prt-C-1.1-5))