Accounting for American crews missing from Cold War aircraft losses has been one of the principal goals of the Commission. Accounting for Soviet crews missing from Cold War losses and for Soviet POW/MIAs from the conflict in Afghanistan has been of equal importance in the Commissions work. The Cold War Working Group of the Commission was established in 1993 with A. Denis Clift, President of the Joint Military Intelligence College, designated as the American Co-chairman and General-Lieutenant Anatolii Krayushkin, Directorate Chief of the Federal Security Service, designated as the Russian Co-chairman. In 1996 Colonel Vladimir Konstantinovich Vinogradov replaced General Krayushkin on the Russian side. By mutual agreement of the two sides of the Commission, the Cold War Working Group has focused on ten specific incidents involving U.S. aircraft with eighty nine crew members unaccounted for:
· 8 April 1950, PB4Y2 Privateer shot down over the Baltic Sea, 10 unaccounted for.
· 6 November 1951, P2V Neptune shot down over the Sea of Japan, 10 unaccounted for.
· 13 June 1952, RB-29 shot down over the Sea of Japan, 12 unaccounted for.
· 7 October 1952, RB-29 shot down over the Pacific Ocean, 7 unaccounted for.
· 29 July 1953, RB-50 shot down over the Sea of Japan, 13 unaccounted for.
· 17 April 1955, RB-47 shot down over the Bering Sea, 3 unaccounted for.
· 10 September 1956, RB-50 lost over the Sea of Japan, 16 unaccounted for.
· 2 September 1958, C-130 shot down over Armenia, 13 unaccounted for.
· 1 July 1960, RB-47 shot down over the Barents Sea, 3 unaccounted for.
· 14 December 1965, RB-57 lost over the Black Sea, 2 unaccounted for.
Cooperation which could not have been imagined during the Cold War era has enabled us to obtain information regarding the ten incidents that simply was not available in earlier times. However, there are still very important questions which remain unanswered. This report is on the work we have conducted from 1992 to mid-1996, the results that we have achieved thus far, and areas where further
work is still required. Through archival research, interviews and field investigations important information has been developed, as is reported in the status reports on each of these incidents in Sections 1-10 of this portion of the Commissions report.
To summarize these findings, as a result of access to Russian archival material and of the research conducted thus far more than 80 primary Soviet source documents have been obtained which contain some 200 pages of information of the highest authority relating to the incidents as well as charts and, in one case, gun-camera photography. As work to locate additional documentation continues, the U.S. side will continue to press for fuller access to all relevant Russian archives.
Scores of interviews with Soviet pilots who participated in the shootdowns as well as with other participants, witnesses and knowledgeable individuals have provided first-hand accounts of these Cold War incidents. The Commission has undertaken field trips across Russia as well as in the former republics of the Soviet Union. Witnesses to the loss of the RB-29 on 7 October 1952, for example, provided testimony which led to the field investigation, recovery and repatriation of the remains of Captain John Robertson Dunham, USAF.
The Commission also conducted a field investigation of the 2 September 1958 loss of a C-130 near Yerevan in Soviet Armenia, visiting the crash site in August 1993, interviewing witnesses and coordinating a detailed investigation by forensic anthropologists from the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI). This investigation is documented in Section 8. Field investigations of the Cold War incidents will continue.
In the course of its work the U.S. side has pressed the Russian side repeatedly for access to Border Guards archives in the belief that Soviet Border Guards units would have played a role or, at least, been fully aware of the circumstances surrounding each of these incidents. The testimony of Border Guards sailor Vasiliy Saiko, which led to the recovery of Captain John Dunhams remains, supports the view held by the U.S. side. At the request of the U.S. co-Chairman of the Cold War Working Group, Ambassador Toon wrote to the Chief of the Russian Border Guards specifically requesting the Border Guards play a more active role in the work of the Commission. No response to this request was received. The Border Guards declined to participate stating that all relevant
information had already been provided to the Commission. Standing U.S. questions relating to the Border Guards were again passed to the Russian side at the February 1996 Technical Talks.
The Cold War Working Group has addressed the Russian sides request for information on its servicemen missing from the conflict in Afghanistan, as reported in Section 11 of this report. The United States has provided important, detailed information on Soviet losses in Afghanistan which has assisted the Russian Federation in reducing the number of official MIAs resulting from the Afghan conflict from 315 to 287. The U.S. side has also created an annotated computerized database for the Russian side with detailed information on each of the remaining 287 MIAs.
The Cold War Working Group has also addressed the Russian sides request for information on incidents involving Soviet servicemen missing from the Cold War era. The Department of Defense, Departments of Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corps, the Joint Staff, the Department of State, the National Archives and intelligence organizations of the United States have engaged in a search of records and archives in order to be as responsive as possible to each Russian request. The U.S. has provided important information on certain of these incidents, including the return of ships artifacts relating to the loss of the Soviet Golf-class submarine in 1968, reports, messages, deck logs and other documentation relating to Soviet aircraft lost on 4 September 1950, 18 November 1952 and 25 May 1968, as well as film footage documenting the 1968 crash. The U.S. side has provided a significant number of documents from the National Archives pertaining to the loss of a Soviet IL-12 on 27 July 1953. Information on seven Soviet advisors captured in the Ogaden in July 1978 has also been provided. Work relating to the fates of missing Russian servicemen continues on the U.S. side.
The Cold War Working Group has developed information of central importance to the work of the Commission and continues to pursue new avenues of inquiry. The working group is totally dedicated to the fullest possible accounting of all servicemen still unaccounted for from Cold War losses.
The current status of each aspect of the working groups investigations is reported as indicated below. The entire report of the Cold War Working Group with attachments has been provided to the National Archives and Records Administration and to the appropriate armed service casualty offices.
Cold War Incident Page Number
8 April 1950 PB4Y2 Privateer incident ..............................6
6 November 1951 P2V Neptune incident .............................13
13 June 1952 RB-29 incident ....................................18
7 October 1952 RB-29 incident ...................................26
29 July 1953 RB-50 incident .....................................33
18 April 1955 RB-47 incident ....................................42
10 September 1956 RB-50 incident .................................46
2 September 1958 C-130 incident ..................................50
1 July 1960 RB-47 incident ......................................56
14 December 1965 RB-57 incident .................................62
Soviet Missing in Action, Afghan conflict ............................67
Soviet Cold War losses .........................................71
U.S. NAVY PB4Y2 PRIVATEER - - 8 APRIL 1950 - - BALTIC SEA
Summary of Incident. On 8 April 1950, a PB4Y2 Privateer aircraft stationed at Port Lyautey, Morocco, serving on temporary duty in Wiesbaden, Germany, carrying a crew of ten, was shot down by Soviet fighter planes during the conduct of an operational mission over the Baltic Sea. American search and rescue efforts continued until 16 April but were unsuccessful. The only known eyewitnesses to the incident were the Soviet fighter pilots who shot down the plane. The entire crew is unaccounted for. A presumptive finding of death was issued by the U.S. Navy on 11 April 1951 (Tab A).
Personnel Involved. PB4Y2 crew
|FETTE, John H., LT
|SEESCHAF, Howard W., LT
|REYNOLDS, Robert D., LTJG
|BURGESS, Tommy L., ENS
|BECKMAN, Frank L., AT1
|DANENS, Joe H., AD1
|THOMAS, Jack W., AD1
|BOURASSA, Joseph Jay, AL3
|PURCELL, Edward J., CT3
|RINNIER, Joseph Norris Jr., AT3
U.S. position. The U.S. position prior to the establishment of the Joint Commission was that this plane had been on a routine flight when it was attacked by Soviet fighters and shot down over international waters. When the case was presented to the Russian side of the Commission in 1992, the U.S. side acknowledged that the plane had been on an intelligence gathering mission.
Russian position. At the time of the incident, the USSR insisted that the plane had violated the state border of the USSR, flying 21 kilometers inland over Soviet territory in the vicinity of Liepaya and then opening fire on Soviet fighters. The USSR maintained that the Soviet fighters had returned fire only after being shot at by the American plane, which had then turned towards the sea and disappeared. The USSR claimed that the American aircraft had been a B-29. There were no USAF B-29 aircraft in the vicinity of Liepaya on that day. During the work of the Commission, the Russian side has acknowledged from the beginning that the PB4Y2 was shot down by Soviet aircraft.
Work of the Commission. The U.S. side included the issue of the unaccounted-for crew from the 8 April 1950 shootdown at the Joint Commissions first formal session in Moscow, March 1992. As reviewed in the second through fifth sections, the Commission has researched archival records and interviewed participants and witnesses as part of the ongoing investigation into the fates of those unaccounted for. The current status of the Commissions work on this incident is presented in Current status.
Live sighting reports
Russian. The Russian side has passed to the U.S. side diplomatic and military documents during the meetings of the Joint Commission. Soviet archival sources establish that Soviet fighters shot down the plane because the PB4Y2 violated Soviet airspace. Soviet fighters were scrambled from an airfield near Liepaya and intercepted the PB4Y2 south of Liepaya at the coastline. The Soviet documents state that the U.S. plane fired on the Soviet fighters first and that they were forced to return fire. Four Soviet fighters, flown by Senior Lieutenants Tezyaev, Gerasimov, Sataev, and Dokin from a Guards Aviation unit, engaged the PB4Y2. The Soviet documents report that the American plane sharply descended and entered the clouds on a course of 270° crashing into the sea 5-10 kilometers from the coastline.
These actions occurred at 1739 hours local time.
During plenary sessions of the Joint Commission the Russians have passed the U.S. side
documents which shed light on the air engagement and the Soviet search effort. These documents state
that 45 Soviet vessels and 160 divers participated in the search but found no part of the plane and no
The holdings from Russian archives that have been provided to the U.S. side in the work of the
Commission are as follows (included with translations at Tab B):
Handwritten reports of pilots Tezyaev, Gerasimov, Sataev and Dokin dated 8 April 1950
Handwritten report to Colonel Kovalenko dated 13 April 1950
Letter to Stalin and Bulganin from Yumashev dated 14 June 1950
Corrections made by Stalin to an article on the shootdown for publication in Pravda
U.S. This incident is heavily documented in U.S. files. The Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean ordered a special board convened at Port Lyautey to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the PB4Y2s loss. The Board of Investigation interviewed at least 17 individuals and examined hundreds of pages of documents. The United States made several formal diplomatic protests to the Soviet Union, although the case was never taken to the International Court of Justice. U.S. records indicate that the plane was shot down within a 50 mile radius centered at 56-19N 18-45E. This location was estimated by the Chief of Naval Operations based on current and wind information and the locations of debris picked up by search crews.
The PB4Y2 took off at 1031 Greenwich time from Wiesbaden, Germany. A radio transmission was received approximately two and one half hours later which stated that the plane had crossed the coastline of the British Zone of Germany. The plane was tracked between 1412Z hours and 1457Z hours by American radar. A projection of the flight plan indicates that at the time of the incident the plane should have been at approximately 53 30N 20 17E.
The American search and rescue effort started almost immediately after the plane was reported missing. American, British, and Swedish vessels searched until 16 April. Two life rafts were found that were tentatively identified as belonging to the lost aircraft. The nose wheel of the PB4Y2 was found on
25 April 1950 by Swedish fishermen. Seat cushions, radio logs, and other debris washed up on the
coastline and were brought to U.S. authorities conducting the search. No survivors or remains were
An unconfirmed press report by an American news commentator on 30 April 1950 stated that
the Soviets had succeeded in finding the sunken PB4Y2 and were attempting to salvage its electronic
Summary of U.S. holdings. Documents relating to this case found in U.S. holdings are as follows
(included at Tab C):
Letter to Secretary of the Navy from Chief of Naval Operations dated 14 April 1950
Telegram no.1143 to Secretary of State from Moscow dated 15 April 1950
Press Releases of Diplomatic Notes dated 18 April 1950
Foreign Service Dispatch to State Department from Helsinki dated 21 April 1950
Telegram no. 1193 to Secretary of State from Moscow dated 21 April 1950
Message to CNO from CINCNELM undated
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 22 April 1950
Naval Message from American Embassy STOCKHOLM dated 23 April 1950 1800 hrs
Telegram no. 526 to Secretary of State from Stockholm dated 24 April 1950
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 25 April 1950
Telegram no. 537 to Secretary of State from Stockholm dated 26 April 1950
Naval Message from VP 26 dated 26 April 1950
Telegram no. 542 to Secretary of State from Stockholm dated 26 April 1950
Telegram no. 299 to Secretary of State from Copenhagen dated 27 April 1950
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 29 April 1950
Naval Message from ALUSNA STOCKHOLM dated 1 May 1950
Naval Message from CNO dated 1 May 1950
Naval Message from CNO dated 2 May 1950
Memorandum for Under Secretary of State dated 2 May 1950
Intelligence Report 396-50 dated 2 May 1950
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 3 May 1950
Naval Message from ALUSNA COPENHAGEN dated 3 May 1950
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 3 May 1950
Naval Message from CINCNELM dated 4 May 1950
Naval Message from COMNAVFORGER, BERLIN dated 5 May 1950
Confidential Memorandum for Op-03 dated 15 May 1950
Memorandum for Secretary of the Navy from Naval Intelligence dated 24 May 1950
Memorandum for Record dated 7 December 1951
Security Information dated 25 January 1952
Security Information - Department of State dated 28 January 1952
Note no. 79 from the Soviet Government dated 13 August 1956
Memorandum of Conversation dated 5 July 1955
Letter to the Honorable Alvin M. Bentley from Walter Stoessel dated 29 December 1955
Excerpts from Foreign Relations
Excerpt from Soviet Weekly
The only known eyewitnesses to this incident are the four Soviet fighter pilots. The Russian side of the Commission has passed to the U.S. side the debriefings of the four Soviet fighter pilots, all of which confirm the facts of the case as maintained in the Soviet archival record. At the 9 th Plenary of the Joint Commission Mr. Anatoliy Gerasimov, one of the Soviet pilots, was interviewed. Mr. Gerasimov stated that the plane was approximately 70 kilometers from the Russian coast when it was intercepted by Soviet fighters. On the approach of the Soviet planes Mr. Gerasimov indicated to the American plane that it was to fly towards land. The PB4Y2 attempted to fly out to sea. Mr. Gerasimov was ordered to fire warning shots at the American plane, which he did. The Soviet pilots were then given the command to fire on the plane. Mr. Gerasimov stated that his comrades opened fire and the plane caught fire, exploded in the air, and fell in pieces into the sea. After circling the area a few times the Soviet fighters returned to base. Mr. Gerasimovs testimony accords with the facts as established by U.S. archival evidence. Mr. Gerasimovs full account is at Tab D.
On 2 September 1992, retired Soviet General Fyodor Shinkarenko was interviewed. General (ret.) Shinkarenko stated that he had heard from another Soviet citizen that the PB4Y2 had been salvaged and sent to Moscow. General Shinkarenkos full account is at Tab E.
An article printed in the Russian newspaper Izvestiya in the morning edition of 29 August 1992 stated that a letter had been received from a former Soviet sailor, Victor Shevchuk, who claimed to have participated in the search for the PB4Y2. Mr. Shevchuk remembered items from the plane being raised to the deck of the ship he served on, and heard from divers that the remains of the crew of the PB4Y2 was found in the cockpit of the plane. Efforts to locate and interview Mr. Shevchuk are currently underway.
As a result of the work thus far of the Joint Commission, the U.S. side has had the opportunity to examine the loss of the PB4Y2 in some detail. Archival data, eyewitness accounts, and the testimony of one of the Soviet pilots who shot down the plane have contributed to the information available to the Commission.
The Commissions efforts to develop information on the fates of those missing from this incident continue. Specific archival documentation related to this incident was identified in 1995 and requested from the Russian side. It has not yet been received. Additional witnesses to include participants in Soviet search and recovery operations are also being sought.
At the request of a family member, information on the crew was sent to five Russian psychiatric hospitals asking if members of the crew had ever been in these hospitals. Responses received to date have indicated no record of such individuals.
Paramount to the efforts of the Commission is the question of determining whether or not there were survivors. There are no references to survivors in any of the documentation presented thus far by either side, nor do any witnesses or participants interviewed thus far mention survivors. Work continues as identified above.
U.S. NAVY P2V - - 6 NOVEMBER 1951 - - SEA OF JAPAN
Summary of Incident. On 6 November 1951 a P2V Neptune stationed at Atsugi Airfield, Japan, assigned to Fleet Air Wing Six, carrying a crew of ten, was shot down by Soviet fighter planes during a reconnaissance mission over the Sea of Japan. American search and rescue efforts were conducted through 9 November; they were unsuccessful. The only known eyewitnesses to this incident are the two Soviet pilots. The entire crew of the P2V is unaccounted for. A presumptive finding of death for the crew members was issued by the U.S. Navy on 7 November 1952 (Tab A).
Personnel Involved. P2V Crew
HODGSON, Judd C., LTJG Unaccounted For
ROSENFELD, Sam, LTJG Unaccounted For
SMITH, Donald E., ENS Unaccounted For
BAGGETT, Reuben S., AO1 Unaccounted For
FOSTER, Paul R., AD1 Unaccounted For
RAGLIN, Erwin D., AT1 Unaccounted For
JURIC, Paul G., AL2 Unaccounted For
MEYER, William S., AT2 Unaccounted For
WIGERT, Ralph A. Jr., AL2 Unaccounted For
LIVELY, Jack, AD3 Unaccounted For
U.S. position. The U.S. position prior to the establishment of the Joint Commission was that this plane had been on a weather reconnaissance flight when it was shot down by Soviet fighters over international waters. When the case was presented to the Russian side of the Commission in 1992, the U.S. side acknowledged that the plane had been on an intelligence gathering mission.
Russian position. At the time of the incident, the USSR insisted that the plane had violated the state border of the Soviet Union in the vicinity of Cape Ostrovnoy. The USSR Foreign Ministry protested the alleged border violation to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and asserted that Soviet fighter planes had been forced to return fire when the P2V fired on them. During the work of the Commission, the Russian side has acknowledged from the beginning that the P2V was shot down by Soviet aircraft.
Work of the Commission. The U.S. side included the issue of the unaccounted-for crew from the 6 November 1951 shootdown as an agenda item at the Joint Commissions first formal session in Moscow in March 1992. To further the work of the Commission, the U.S. side presented a case study to the Russian side in 1993 (Tab B). As reviewed in the second through fifth sections, the Commission has researched archival records relating to the incident and carried out field investigations in the Soviet Far East. The current status of the Commissions work on this incident is presented in Current status.
Live sighting reports
Russian. The Russian side has passed to the U.S. side diplomatic and military documents related to this incident during the meetings of the Joint Commission. These documents begin to clarify what happened to the P2V.
Soviet archival sources establish that Soviet fighters shot down the plane because the P2V violated Soviet airspace in the area of Cape Ostrovnoy approximately 7-8 miles from the shore. Soviet fighters were scrambled and intercepted the P2V south-west of Cape Ostrovnoy. Two Soviet LA-11 fighters, flown by Senior Lieutenants Lukashev and Shchukin from 5 th Fleet Naval Aviation, engaged the P2V. The Soviet documents report that the American plane fell, burning, into the water and exploded 18 miles from the shore. These actions occurred between 1010 and 1018 hours local time.
During plenary sessions of the Joint Commission, the Russians passed to the U.S. side documents addressing the air engagement and their search efforts. The holdings from Soviet archives
that have been provided to the U.S. side in the work of the Commission are as follows (included with translations at Tab C).
Letter to Stalin from Kuznetsov with enclosures dated 6 November 1951
Journal of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on 7 November dated 7 November 1951
meeting with U.S. Charge dAffaires
Letter to Stalin from Kuznetsov dated 7 November 1951
Central Committee Report, Demarche to U.S. Government dated 7 November 1951
Special Report from Deputy Chief, Border Guards Headquarters dated 9 November 1951
Decree awarding Red Banner to pilots Lukashev and Shchukin dated 17 November 1951
U.S. This incident is also documented in U.S. files. The U.S. exchanged diplomatic notes with the USSR, made a protest to the United Nations, and considered requesting the Secretary General of the UN to make a claim against the USSR in the International Court of Justice. The American legal position was unclear because of the P2Vs official status as part of UN forces. For this reason the claim was not pursued further.
The last communications check from the P2V was at 0646 hours. U.S. military authorities tracked the plane by radar from Hokkaido to latitude 42 39 North longitude 138 12 East at 0850 hours. A routine report which should have been transmitted at approximately 0945 was not received. No signals were heard from the plane indicating an attack or reporting the approach of Soviet fighters. The American search and rescue effort started almost immediately. Aircraft from the Sixth Fleet Air Wing and search and rescue units from the Atsugi area participated. The search continued until 9 November 1951 but no debris or survivors were found.
Summary of U.S. holdings. Documents relating to this case found in U.S. holdings are as follows
(included at Tab D).
Report on Circumstances Attending the Disappearance of P2V-3W dated 11 November 1951
Message traffic to CINCUNC JAPAN from SECDEF dated 8 November 1951
Memorandum to JCS from Chief of Naval Operations dated 9 November 1951
Security Information for OSD from CINCUNC TOKYO JAPAN dated 10 November 1951
State Department telegram to American Embassy Moscow dated 13 November 1951 6:08 p.m.
War Diary of Commander, Fleet Air Wing Six
Request for Information to CG FEAF Japan and COMNAVFE dated 14 November 1951
Department of State Bulletin dated 3 December 1951
Letter to MG Samford from James Walsh dated 3 December 1951
Memorandum for Record- USAF Directorate of Intelligence dated 12 December 1951
Letter to James Walsh from Colonel Kieling dated 17 December 1951
Semi-Annual Historical Report of Patrol Squadron Six dated 12 March 52
The Soviet fighter pilots involved have not been located. Efforts to locate and interview them continue.
Several trips have been made to the Russian Far East to search for information regarding this incident. Two former Soviet prison camps, Magadan and Susuman, have been visited and their card files searched for mention of names of American personnel.
In March 1995, representatives of the Joint Commission visited Vladivostok in an attempt to locate eyewitnesses and confirm archival data pertaining to the loss of the P2V. In response to an
appeal for information published in a local newspaper, Mr. Vladimir Trotsenko contacted Commission representatives and stated that in late October or early November 1951, while in a military hospital in the town of Novosysoyevka in the Soviet Far East, he saw four American servicemen who were being treated for injuries. He also said he had been shown a grave in the hospital cemetery in which a fifth American was buried. A field investigation with the participation of CILHI specialists was conducted in October 1995. No American remains were discovered.
As a result of the work of the Joint Commission, the U.S. side has had the opportunity to examine the loss of the P2V in some detail. Archival data and field investigation have contributed to the information available to the Commission.
Efforts to locate witnesses to this incident who might clarify the fate of those unaccounted for from the crew of the P2V continue. To date, as stated above, neither of the two Soviet pilots involved in this incident has been located. Finding and interviewing these pilots remains a priority in the investigation of this incident. Additional documentation on this incident is also being sought, to include reports on the debriefing of the pilots and reports from the Border Guards detachment nearest the location of the incident.
Paramount in the efforts of the Commission is the question of survivors. There are no references to survivors in archival evidence from either side. The possibility that the testimony of Mr. Trotsenko, repeated in detail at the 12 th Plenary Session of the Joint Commission in August 1995, relates to this incident is being thoroughly researched. During the Plenary Session, the Russian side of the Commission stated that archival records indicated that Mr. Trotsenko was a patient in the hospital from March through May 1951. Following the 12 th Plenary Session the Russian side provided three documents identifying the period March-May 1951 as the time of Trotsenkos hospitalization. The U.S. side continues to follow up on his testimony. Additional archival research and efforts to locate additional witnesses are currently underway.