Remembering our Missing and Fallen Brothers and Sisters

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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="250" caption=""].[/caption] This photo above, taken from the gunsight of a Soviet MIG fighter, is of C-130 60528 on September 2, 1958. On board this aircraft were 17 members of the United States Air Force. On Friday, September 18th communities across the nation will celebrate National POW/MIA Remembrance Day in ceremonies and events.  In honor of that day and the thousands still unaccounted for, we pause today to remember Americans lost 51 years ago.  On September 2, 1958, a U.S. Air Force C-130A-II was shot down by fighters over Yerevan, Armenia when it strayed into Soviet airspace while conducting a sigint mission. From the Airborne Early Warning Association
They died honorably while engaged in the Silent War.  While on a routine mission along the Turkish-Armenian border on September 2, 1958, a U.S. Air Force C-130 crew inadvertently entered denied airspace over Armenia. Four Soviet MiG-17 pilots intercepted the C-130 tail number 60528 and shot it down, killing the seventeen Americans aboard. The crew consisted of six USAFE flight crew members and eleven United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) reconnaissance crew members. Of all Cold War air incidents involving the Soviets, the shoot down of 60528 is one of the most controversial. Four Soviet MiG pilots took turns firing on the unarmed transport. Unlike other incidents where American aircraft were lost over water, 60528 crashed on Soviet soil. Not wanting to reveal the nature of 60528's mission, the U.S. Government did not confront the Soviets until September 6 when the Soviets denied all knowledge of the incident. They stated on September 12 that they had found a destroyed airplane, and based on discovered remains, "it may be assumed that six crewmen perished." In response to a U.S. demand for information about eleven missing crew members, the Soviets stated on 19 September that "no other information on crew members is at the disposal of the Soviet side." A status quo ensued and the Soviets provided no additional information on the eleven missing airmen for over 30 years. Finally in 1991, Russian President Boris Yeltsin began releasing "available" information on the shoot down. The main source of new data is a joint American/Russian commission on MIA/POW issues formed in 1992. Through that commission the Russians have released from Soviet Air Defense Command (PVO) archives several declassified reports on the 60528 shoot down. In a detailed investigative report dated Sept. 4, 1958 from Armenia to the Kremlin, the Soviet commanding general in Armenia told the Soviet leadership how MiGs intercepted and shot down the C-130. The Soviet report identified the crashed aircraft as a C-130, tail number 60528. A plate on the aircraft indicated that it was assigned to the 7406th Support Squadron. The field report described the air engagement and named the four participating MiG pilots. The report also included MiG gun-camera activated photos showing 60528 in the MiGs' gunsights, with smoke streaming from its engines immediately before the crash. A forensic report verified the number of human remains (six) and noted that other remains may have been present but that intensity of the ensuing fire prevented identification of additional remains. No one was seen parachuting from the C-130. The report concludes that wreckage photos suggest that no one on board could have survived. I recently interviewed an Armenian witness who reached the same conclusion. In all probability all seventeen airmen aboard the C-130 died immediately upon impact. In 1993, local villagers created an Armenian memorial at the crash site honoring the seventeen Americans who perished in the crash. The Soviets recovered a set of TDY orders for the 7406th flight crew, a .45 caliber pistol, some ID cards, ID tags and money (German, Dutch, Turkish and American currencies). In 1993, a U.S. Army graves excavation team recovered at the crash site an ID "dog" tag that belonged to A2C Archie Bourg, an USAFSS airborne maintenance technician aboard 60528 when it crashed. The Soviets returned the bodies of six U. S. airmen in September 1958. Four of the bodies were identified and turned over to their families for burial according to the wishes of their next of kin. The bodies of the two unidentified airmen were buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors in February 1959. Having exhumed the two unidentified bodies to perform DNA testing, the Air Force recently determined that one of the bodies was A2C Bourg. On 2 April 1997 in the presence of his family, A2C Archie Bourg was re-interred at Arlington Cemetery following a solemn, emotional funeral.
From All POW-MIA
September 2, 1958: US Air Force Aircraft Lost Over Soviet Armenia Crew: 17 (6 killed, bodies returned to US custody; 11 unaccounted for, no remains) The aircraft was apparently shot down by Soviet fighters 24 miles inside the airspace of Soviet Armenia. At first the Soviets denied any knowledge of the incident; they later stated that the aircraft had simply "crashed." The remains of 6 crewmembers were returned to US custody on September 24, 1958. The Soviets denied any knowledge of the 11 other crewmembers on October 16, 1958. However, "The Soviet magazine Ogonyok, in a January 15, 1961 article reported that eleven personnel parachuted from the aircraft and were captured in the town of Yerevan... Subsequently Soviet authorities reported the magazine presented incorrect facts." The two lists below are inconsistent with other information available on the numbers of casualties mentioned above. All accounts agree that 11 crewmembers were unaccounted for and 6 remains returned to US custody. However, 13 names, not 11, are on the list of unaccounted for crewmembers for this aircraft presented in January 1992 to the Russian Government by the US Government. The four names listed below under the "known dead" category are those men who were listed in a September 13, 1958, New York Times article containing the names of all 17 crewmembers, but who are not among the 13 in the January 1992 list. Presumably, therefore, two of them in the January 1992 list are actually among those whose remains were returned to US custody.


Unaccounted For Duncan, Paul E. .. CPT Petrochilos, George P. .. MSG Mello, Arthur L. .. TSG Price, Leroy .. SSG Oshinskie, Robert J. .. A1C Bourg, Archie T., Jr. .. A2C Ferguson, James E., Jr. .. A2C Fields, Joel H. .. A2C Kamps, Harold T. .. A2C Maggiacomo, Gerald C. .. A2C Mankins, Clement O. .. A2C Medeiros, Gerald H. .. A2C Moore, Robert H. .. A2C Known Dead (remains returned to US custody) Simpson, John E. .. CPT Swiestra, Rudy J. .. CPT Jeruss, Edward J. .. CPT Vallareal, Ricardo M. .. 1LT
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Robert Henry Moore was my Uncle. My Uncle's class ring was returned to my Daddy last yr. Very touching moment. They also informed us at that time that someone has his remains and is asking for money in exchange for his remains.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.