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[Spacer] [Air Force - 1.1K] Frederick Thomas Garside
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[Bunting - .4K]  Remains Returned List - 1991   [Bunting - .4K]

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  • Name: Frederick Thomas Garside
  • Rank/Branch: E4/US Air Force
  • Unit: 314th Air Division - Osan Airbase, Korea
  • Date of Birth: 16 November 1936
  • Home City of Record: Plymouth MA
  • Date of Loss: 23 March 1961
  • Country of Loss: Laos
  • Loss Coordinates: 192855N 1031014E (UG081550)
  • Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 1
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: C47
  • Other Personnel in Incident: Lawrence Bailey (released 1962); Alfons Bankowski; Ralph W. Magee; Glenn Matteson; Leslie V. Sampson; Edgar Weitkamp; Oscar Weston (all missing)

  • REMARKS: On DOD 12/96 Remains Returned List
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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] SYNOPSIS [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    SYNOPSIS: Henry Kissinger once predicted that an "unfortunate" by-product of "limited political engagements" would be personnel who could not be recovered.  On March 23, 1961, one of the first group of Americans to fall into that "unfortunate" category were shot from the sky by Pathet Lao antiaircraft guns.  Most Americans at that time did not even know that the United States had military personnel in Southeast Asia.  In fact, most Americans had not even heard of the name "Laos".  The Geneva Agreements had yet to be signed; air rescue teams had yet to arrive in Southeast Asia.

    The C47 aircraft crew consisted of 1Lt. Ralph W. Magee, pilot; 1Lt. Oscar B. Weston, co-pilot; 2Lt. Glenn Matteson, navigator; SSgt. Alfons A. Bankowski, flight engineer; SSgt. Frederick T. Garside, assistant flight engineer; SSgt. Leslie V. Sampson, radio operator; and passengers Maj. Lawrence R. Bailey and WO1 Edgar W. Weitkamp.
    Bailey and Weitkamp were assigned to the Army Attache Office at Vientiane, Laos.
    The aircraft crew were all Air Force personnel flying from the 315th Air Division, Osan Airbase, Korea.

    This C47 was a specially modified intelligence-gathering SC-47 which took off from Vientiane for Saigon.  The passengers and crew were bound for "R & R" in the "Paris
    of the Orient".  Before heading for Saigon, the pilot turned north toward Xieng Khouangville, a Pathet Lao stronghold on the eastern edge of the Plain of Jars.  The
    crew, experienced in intelligence collection, planned to use their radio-direction finding equipment to determine the frequencies being used by Soviet pilots to locate the Xieng Khouangville airfield through the dense fog that often blanketed the region.  Pathet Lao anti-aircraft guns downed the plane, shearing off a wing and sending the aircraft plummeting toward the jungle.

    Maj. Bailey, who always wore a parachute when he flew, jumped from the falling aircraft and was captured by the Pathet Lao.  Bailey spent seventeen months as a prisoner in Sam Neua, the Pathet Lao headquarters near the North Vietnamese border, before being repatriated after the signing of the Geneva Agreements on Laos in 1962.  The caves at Sam Neua were said to have held scores of American prisoners during and after the war.

    The seven men lost on March 23, 1961 were the first of many hundreds of American personnel shot from the sky only to disappear in the jungles of Laos.  Four Lao sources stated that 7 of the 8 personnel on board died in the crash of the aircraft, and were buried in the vicinity.  Sixteen years later, in February 1977, several Pathet Lao films were obtained by a friendly foreign government showing an identification card with a photo
    of SSgt. Garside, and an open passport bearing 1Lt. Magee's ID number.  The fact that these items were recovered in good condition is evidence that further information is available on the crew, due to the fact that the plane was not completely destroyed, and
    the Pathet Lao were present at the site of the crash.

    Clearly, someone knows what happened to the crew of the C47.  Because Laos was not included in the Paris agreements ending American involvement in Southeast Asia, and because no agreement has been reached since regarding Lao-held American POWs, hundreds of Americans remain missing, including the crew of the C47.  Many Americans were known to have survived, and hundreds of reports point to their survival today.

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