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We will be laying the groundwork in part 1 with the evidence to follow in this three part series. The series focuses on the loss of a CH 53 out of NKP Thailand on 13 May 1975
Some light shines on the Mayaguez Incident
A Salvadorian merchant ship, under lease to an American.Company, SeaLand was sailing her way with a “secret mission” of sorts that included a special type of cargo. The SS Mayaguez and her cargo were secret because it was nuclear and US Citizens didn’t know just yet that Former President Nixon secured this little “deal” a few years prior. A US crew from Nakon Phanom Royal Thai Airbase (NKP) was assigned the Nuclear Security Mission. En route….a CH-53 Call sign Knife13 “crashed’ at Ban Donkoy, Tambol Sawang, Tambil Kamin.
The following is their last communication with INVERT:
1410- Invert, Knife one dash three level at 9 thousand
-Hello, Knife one dash three invert sixteen radar contact, radar monitor
-Knife one dash three, Roger
1411-1415 NO COMMS TO FOLLOW FROM KNIFE 13
(COMMS FROM KNIFE 12 TO INVERT IN REGARDS TO THE LOCATION OF K13)
1422 – Ah this is one two. Can you give us an idea of how much in advance he was of us?
-Ah maybe five minuets
-Ah was he scheduled to fly out to these various points then straight down to U-Tapao
-Ah yes sir I think that is affirmative
(Knife 12 reporting spotting the “crashed” helo)
1425 -Ah we just passed a fire at 9 o’clock
Other helos in the air were scrambled to U-Tapoa. A SAR was initiated and an HH53 was sent to the scene with a medical team who stated no survivors. While on the ground they were notified by an orbiting helo of a crowed rushing to the scene with “torches flashlights, etc.” They picked up the medical crew and lifted off. The AF stated all 23 aboard perished in the “accident” and all bodies were recovered on site.
-Nuclear Security detail by USAF for the SS Mayaguez
-Knife 13 shot down enroute
-COPS/SURV.PONY EXPRESS POLICE DOG……OFFICIAL COMMS
-Possible Survivors of K 13 taken POW.
-Scrambled HELOS and delayed Marine insertion allow time for George Bush Sr. CIA Liaison to China at the time, to secure the release of the SS Mayaguez crew and cargo
– J2 (intel) and J3(ops) passed a seven page Intel threat assessment for KOH TANG ISLAND to a J3 Ops LT Col to brief the air crews and marines. The LT Col said briefing SAC Tanker Crews were more essential. An incorrect enemy threat brief was given to the marines; Enemy Air Defense Artillery was omitted. 15-20 armed framers turned into 300+ Kuhmar Rouge troops heavily armed.
The threat assessment began by stating the old Cambodian navy garrison of 18-20 sailors and later about page 6 it said there could be 300+ Khymer Rouge troops fully armed. Likely no AAA capability beyond .30 cal to .50 cal machine guns. They also had RPG’s (rocket propelled grenades). One CH-53 actually had it’s tail badly damaged enough to prevent it taking off after landing marines on one beach LZ.
In essence the Mayaguez Incident was a staged event to cover both the nuclear weapons transport , the loss of a CH-53 along with survivors being taken POW. Sadly that staged event was very real to those AF and Marines sent to Koh Tang.
-POWS then held for 11 years 4/26…..?
Part 2 coming soon. We will lay out the operational plan built by the 7th AF in support of this operation and show the many errors, Whether these errors and false reporting were accidental or deliberate will be for you to decide. But it raises the question, WHY?
By Jennifer Stelling
Jennifer Stelling is the niece of Sgt Jimmy Black.