Our Missing Heroes
January 29, 2003
This e-mail was sent to me recently. Mr. Beasley didn't know I was a woman and that Wallace was the Wallace Institute. None the less, I was most moved by his story. Below is his narrative. If you jump over to the web site below and scroll down a bit, you'll come to "A Son's Story."
Dear Mr. Wallace ,
I put together a website on the disappearance of my father in Korea(49 years ago this month). I would appreciate your consideration in linking to it, publishing the enclosed narrative at least listing the loss in your website.
Basically, I used my mothers old letters as well as my own research of government documents and recent government letters to determine that my father was flying a peripheral recon flight of North Korea and China when his Neptune possibly suffered a hostile attack. Dad flew 1.5 hours back to South Korea only to be attacked by their Air Defense.
Until recently it has been an unknown Cold War loss and 8 crewmen still unaccounted for as well as unrecognized for their supreme sacrifice. Recently 'some' of the story was told using the information from my website and published in BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY by William Burrows.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The Night of the Widow Maker
This narrative concerns the 1954 loss of an armed Navy P2V-5 Neptune call sign 3 Cape Cod and piloted by Lt. Jesse Beasley. The plane reportedly crashed and disappeared into the Yellow Sea while on a training mission . The information in this account has been gathered from various sources, but also includes theories postulated while trying to locate the missing aircraft and what remains of it s crew. Currently there are important documents which have been requested through the FOIA and are either denied or being withheld.
Three Cape Cod departed Iwakuni Air Base in Japan at 2:26 on the afternoon of January 4, 1954. The crew consisted of ten; two bachelors and eight married. The Flight was categorized as COMBAT and it s purpose was reconnaissance along the coastlines of North Korea and China .
Near the coast of china the plane encountered trouble resulting in one engine reported as disabled. Over the course of a hour and a half the plane signaled a distress call "WE NEED AID" to Iwakuni air base and requested co-ordinates for South Korea s air base at Kunsan. Initially the plane made a rapid decent and then gradually returned to stable flight. Throughout the flight there was interference with radio communications between the plane and its base. Locations and conditions were not shared in a timely, nor accurate manner.
Three Cape Cod was tracked by radar at least part of the time during its fateful flight and descent. The plane gradually lost altitude until reporting 300 feet and it reported " PORT ENGINE ROUGH". The last communication received from 3 Cape Cod were a series of V s which the base had requested and not, as the Navy has put forth, an indication that the radio key had been tied down to signal an imminent ditching or crash situation.
While before the enemy all Practical relief and assistance may not have been afforded 3 Cape Cod. For some unexplained reason search and rescue aircraft were not dispatched until after the crash and then may have been diverted to the wrong co-ordinates, causing some crew members, if any survived the crash, to lose their lives. Autopsy reports on the two recovered crewmen give the time of death as two days after the time of the crash.
The official Navy report is filled with inaccuracies and mistakes that have been proven wrong or logically impossible through contemporary documents. It is therefore believed that the official report was changed for some reason.
One reason postulated for the change is that 3 Cape Cod was on a secret Ferret mission when it was subjected to a hostile attack, causing the breakdown of the first engine and eventually leading to the second engine becoming rough. The aircraft may have been improperly suffered to be hazarded in the presence of the enemy by the absence of essential onboard VHF radio equipment needed to communicate with South Korea s Search & Rescue as well as Air Defense. As the crippled plane crossed South Korean s border it may have been mistaken as a hostile intruder and a second aerial attack on the plane may have occurred. Due to known tension in the area and earlier incidences of attacks which were being arbitrated at the time of the loss, it is plausible to believe that the loss of a reconnaissance mission under such circumstances would have been disavowed and records changed to cover real activities.
It is further believed, however, that since the original document has been changed, more accurate co-ordinates for the plane s final location are available. An effort should be made to find and return the missing crewmen. Our great nation should publicly acknowledge and honor these men as courageous heroes.
CREW of P2V-5 BuNo127752 missing January 4,1954:
Jesse Beasley Lieutenant USN 1310/351146(age 31) Pilot -Missing / Married
Fredric Traynor Prael Lieutenant USNR 1315/3962(age 34) Co-Pilot .-Missing /
Paul Dominick Morrelli Ensign USNR 1325/568090(age 25) Navigator ..-Missing /
Robert George Archbold ADC USN 300 41 28(age 30) .Plane Captain ..-Missing /
James Frank Hand AD2 USN 369 27 26(age 28) ..Second Mechanic-Missing / Married
Bruce David Berger AT3 USN 340 72 62(age 23) ..Radioman .-Missing / Married
Gordon Spicklemier AO3 USN 386 63 32(age 28) .Ordanceman .-Missing / Married
Rex Allen Claussen AL2 USN 303 82 59(age 24) Radioman .-Missing / Married
Stanley Burt Mulford Ensign USNR 1325/556706(age 24) ....Navigator-Body recovered /
LLoyd Bernard Rensink AT2 USN 318 70 25(age 25) ..Radarman-Body recovered /
" A nation reveals itself not only by the individuals it produces, but also by those it honors---those it remembers."
------President John F. Kennedy