Friday, September 23, 2016

1958: The Mystery of the Missing Blue Goose

1958 China Post report of the incident

A 2010 piece gives some details....
There was an aviation incident that took place in the East China Sea on 1 October 1958. About 0600 hours, four National Chinese crew members, three Republic of China (ROC) officers and four U.S. servicemen routinely boarded a civilian Foshing Airlines (FAL), a PBY-5 named the “Blue Goose” on Matsu Island, for the return trip to Formosa for some much needed R&R. They were never seen again.

The four U.S. military personnel on board the Blue Goose were Army Major Robert C. Bloom (Eau Claire, WI); Captain Wayne A. Pitcher (Asbury Park, NJ); Navy radioman RM3 Dwight H. Turner (Clarence, MO), and Army PFC Claude L. Baird (Duff, TN). They were all members of the elite Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) and all were assigned to the Matsu Defense Command at the time they went missing.
Then it gets weird...
The United States government has never acknowledged these missing men, nor have they ever honored them for the ultimate sacrifice they made in the cause of freedom. However, one thing is clear, on 1 October 1958, four American servicemen in uniform went missing, and they need to be acknowledged and honored and their families provided with answers.

Foshing Airlines reported that the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND) ruled the incident as a mid-air collision; the MND also ruled the plane was shot down, but no evidence of any wreckage was ever found and the MND cannot produce records to support that theory.

Brigadier General L.S. Bork, Commander of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (1958-60), believes that the aircraft was taken by force to mainland China (U.S intelligence sources seem to confirm that scenario) because the aircraft carried valuable defense plans and had an unnamed “special cargo.” He also believes a $100,000 ransom was offered by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) for the delivery of the Blue Goose to Formosa.

During the second week of October 1958, an intelligence source reported that the aircraft and her crewmembers were seen in Shanghai shortly after the incident and, two weeks following the disappearance of the PBY-5, a Communist Chinese radio news broadcast reported that the PBY-5 aircraft reached the mainland and even identified one ROC officer who was on board and reportedly spoke on the broadcast.

During that same timeframe, two American families heard similar newscasts that reported the names of all the U.S. servicemen and confirmed they were being held by Communist China.

Mrs. Margret Baird Petree and Mrs. Sue Baird Walden, the sisters of PFC Claude L. Baird, have had a very difficult task in trying to unravel the unexplained issues of this case.

The Department of the Army declared the incident an “Operational Loss” and the servicemen were declared “missing” for a period of one year. Then, without any further proof or evidence, these men were listed under the “Presumptive Finding of Death” on 2 October 1959. The U.S. Army declared the flying boat was “lost without a trace,” and a thorough search by planes and ships found nothing new to report.
UPDATE: Wreckage found

I have placed a Yahoo forum post with a timeline under the READ MORE line:



THE BLUE GOOSE Pby-5A B-1402 - Lost without a Trace  01 Oct 1958 


The Blue Goose, Pby-5A B-1402, was a commercial aircraft chartered by the Military Ministry of National Defense) to transport the military from Taiwan to the offshore islands.

 The emergency and safety equipment on board the PBY included:
One (1) twenty (20) man life raft with emergency pack
Life jacket with light, signal mirror, shark repellent and a sea-marker was under each seat; also a portable radio and a first aid kit

Aboard the aircraft were 11 men, 4 crewmen and 7 passangers:
Sun Mingyuan First Pilot
Chen Weiwen Assistant Pilot 
Luo Zhaoming Radio Operator
Yan Huiqun Chief Duty Flight Mechanic

The 7 passengers included 4 American military and 3 ROC military officers:
Major Robert Bloom US Army
Captain Wayne Pitcher US Army
PFC Claude L. Baird US Army
RM3 Dwight Turner US Navy
Colonel Wang Xu Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command
Colonel Niu Ying Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command
Major Zhang Dechen Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command

Capt. Pitcher, PFC Baird and RM3 Turner were returning to Taipei from TDY with the MDCAT Team on Matsu. Major Bloom had volunteered to be the pay master on 01 Oct 1958 for the MAAG troops on Quemoy and Matsu.

On 01 Oct 1958 at approximately 1745 hours the Blue Goose (aka Blue Swan) departed from Matsu Island for Taiwan. The plane flew down the Tamsui Valley to the straits and then flew on a straight course at an elevation of about 1000 feet toward Taipei. At 1810 the radio operator sent a message stating that the plane was 80 miles from Taipei proceeding on a 130 degree course. The message indicated that the plane would arrive at Taipei at 1855. The message was concluded at 1814 with call off signs at 1815. This was the last contact with the PBY-5A.
SAR (Search and Rescue):
A three (3) Search and Rescue included:
ROC Air Force
Fu Hsing (Foshing) Airlines
US Navy 7th Fleet
Fu Hsing Airlines continued their own SAR until 31 Oct. 1958
The SAR efforts produced no evidence that the plane was shot down or had an accident at sea.

Weather: 
The weather at Matsu at the time of the plane’s departure was calm with sea waves enroute under three feet. The MND/Foshing Airlines report states that although the weather was not satisfactory, it was not to the degree that it affected the flight.

US Army Board of Officers conclusion as to the cause of “accident:” 
Lost without a trace
MND Taiwan and Foshing Airlines conclusion (Nov. 1958)
There was no way to prove the cause of accident because of lack of evidence.

12 December 1958
Ambassador Beam, at Warsaw at the 85th meeting with the Chinese Communist Representative, Ambassador Wang Ping-nan, requested information regarding the Blue Goose and passengers. 

January 1964. 
At the 119th meeting with Ambassador Cabot and Ambassador Wang, another inquiry by Cabot was made regarding the Blue Goose and passengers. Wang said he had no information regarding the Blue Goose.

8 Oct 1999
An inquiry by Lloyd Evans, Chairman of the BOHAUSA to the Ministry of National Defense, Taiwan resulted in an email stating that on 01 Oct. 1958 the PBY-5 was shot down by a MIG-17 above Matsu island.

Oct. 2000
A book, titled “Taiwan’s Treasured Times Reporting Heritage of the 20th Century” published in Oct 2000 by the National Library of Taiwan states the mishap as a result of a shoot down.

09 April 2001 
An inquiry by Margaret Baird Petree also to the MND, Taiwan resulted in a reply from Chien- Jen Chen from TECRO, Washington, DC that the plane was shot down between the Matzu Islands and Pai-Chuan Islands by a Chinese Communist MIG-17 jet fighter.

Nov. 2006
After many inquires to TECRO, Washington, DC by the US Dept. of Defense, POW/MIA office DPMO) requesting written reports of the shoot-down, a reply from MND Taiwan via TECRO stated that no evidence could be found that the plane had been shot down .

2 August 2000
Dept. of Defense POW/MIA office reopened the files of the 4 missing Americans on the Blue Goose at the request of Margaret Baird Petree and Sue Baird Walden, sisters of PFC Claude L. Baird.

May 2002
A copy of World News Roundup WTOP (CBS) from Taipei dated 16 Oct 1958 found in the National Archives was sent to PFC Baird’s sisters by DPMO. The report stated that the missing amphibious plane”Blue Swan” and it’s passengers including four American soldiers were in the Communist hands. The Shanghai announcer was heard to introduce a Col. NU Yeng identified as a former Deputy Commander of the 69th Div. On Matsu and one of the three Chinese military passengers who was aboard the Blue Swan when it vanished.

Dec 2006
DPMO meet with the PRC and presents the Blue Goose case to the PRC for any information that might be available on the passengers of the Blue Goose.
NB: in 1999 and 2001, the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA ran a request for information in Taiwan newspapers, in the hope that they are read on the communist mainland, it read:
REWARD: Matsu Defense Command Advisory Team (MDCAT)
Blue Goose (Pby- 5A B-1402airplane) flying to Taipei from Matsu on
01OCT58. Four U.S. military POW/MIA's:
Major Robert C. Bloom (US Army, not in picture), Captain Wayne Pitcher (Signal Corps., US Army, 2nd. from R. 2nd. row);
PFC Claude L. Baird (US Army, back row between the two sailors in front; Radioman Dwight H. Turner (US Navy, 1st sailor from left).
Airplane was rumored to have been seen at port side in Shanghai (1958), per Brig. Gen. L.S. Bork, Chief, MAAG 1958. $500.000 in gold was offered by communist China for anyone hijacking a plane to the mainland from Taiwan. Chairman Lloyd V. Evans II, of the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA, is offering a US$ 1,000,000. reward [1999] for Information leading to closure on this matter [Increased to 2 million in June 2001]. 
Ad ran in Taipei Evening News, hopefully it was read on the communist mainland and specifically in Shanghai.
- Lost without a Trace

The Blue Goose, Pby-5A B-1402, was a commercial aircraft chartered by the Military Ministry of National Defense) to transport the military from Taiwan to the offshore islands.

 The emergency and safety equipment on board the PBY included:
One (1) twenty (20) man life raft with emergency pack
Life jacket with light, signal mirror, shark repellent and a sea-marker was under each seat; also a portable radio and a first aid kit

Aboard the aircraft were 11 men, 4 crewmen and 7 passangers:
Sun Mingyuan First Pilot
Chen Weiwen Assistant Pilot 
Luo Zhaoming Radio Operator
Yan Huiqun Chief Duty Flight Mechanic

The 7 passengers included 4 American military and 3 ROC military officers:
Major Robert Bloom US Army
Captain Wayne Pitcher US Army
PFC Claude L. Baird US Army
RM3 Dwight Turner US Navy
Colonel Wang Xu Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command
Colonel Niu Ying Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command
Major Zhang Dechen Chinese Armed Forces Penghu Defense Command

Capt. Pitcher, PFC Baird and RM3 Turner were returning to Taipei from TDY with the MDCAT Team on Matsu. Major Bloom had volunteered to be the pay master on 01 Oct 1958 for the MAAG troops on Quemoy and Matsu.

On 01 Oct 1958 at approximately 1745 hours the Blue Goose (aka Blue Swan) departed from Matsu Island for Taiwan. The plane flew down the Tamsui Valley to the straits and then flew on a straight course at an elevation of about 1000 feet toward Taipei. At 1810 the radio operator sent a message stating that the plane was 80 miles from Taipei proceeding on a 130 degree course. The message indicated that the plane would arrive at Taipei at 1855. The message was concluded at 1814 with call off signs at 1815. This was the last contact with the PBY-5A.
SAR (Search and Rescue):
A three (3) Search and Rescue included:
ROC Air Force
Fu Hsing (Foshing) Airlines
US Navy 7th Fleet
Fu Hsing Airlines continued their own SAR until 31 Oct. 1958
The SAR efforts produced no evidence that the plane was shot down or had an accident at sea.

Weather: 
The weather at Matsu at the time of the plane’s departure was calm with sea waves enroute under three feet. The MND/Foshing Airlines report states that although the weather was not satisfactory, it was not to the degree that it affected the flight.

US Army Board of Officers conclusion as to the cause of “accident:” 
Lost without a trace
MND Taiwan and Foshing Airlines conclusion (Nov. 1958)
There was no way to prove the cause of accident because of lack of evidence.

12 December 1958
Ambassador Beam, at Warsaw at the 85th meeting with the Chinese Communist Representative, Ambassador Wang Ping-nan, requested information regarding the Blue Goose and passengers. 

January 1964. 
At the 119th meeting with Ambassador Cabot and Ambassador Wang, another inquiry by Cabot was made regarding the Blue Goose and passengers. Wang said he had no information regarding the Blue Goose.

8 Oct 1999
An inquiry by Lloyd Evans, Chairman of the BOHAUSA to the Ministry of National Defense, Taiwan resulted in an email stating that on 01 Oct. 1958 the PBY-5 was shot down by a MIG-17 above Matsu island.

Oct. 2000
A book, titled “Taiwan’s Treasured Times Reporting Heritage of the 20th Century” published in Oct 2000 by the National Library of Taiwan states the mishap as a result of a shoot down.

09 April 2001 
An inquiry by Margaret Baird Petree also to the MND, Taiwan resulted in a reply from Chien- Jen Chen from TECRO, Washington, DC that the plane was shot down between the Matzu Islands and Pai-Chuan Islands by a Chinese Communist MIG-17 jet fighter.

Nov. 2006
After many inquires to TECRO, Washington, DC by the US Dept. of Defense, POW/MIA office DPMO) requesting written reports of the shoot-down, a reply from MND Taiwan via TECRO stated that no evidence could be found that the plane had been shot down .

2 August 2000
Dept. of Defense POW/MIA office reopened the files of the 4 missing Americans on the Blue Goose at the request of Margaret Baird Petree and Sue Baird Walden, sisters of PFC Claude L. Baird.

May 2002
A copy of World News Roundup WTOP (CBS) from Taipei dated 16 Oct 1958 found in the National Archives was sent to PFC Baird’s sisters by DPMO. The report stated that the missing amphibious plane”Blue Swan” and it’s passengers including four American soldiers were in the Communist hands. The Shanghai announcer was heard to introduce a Col. NU Yeng identified as a former Deputy Commander of the 69th Div. On Matsu and one of the three Chinese military passengers who was aboard the Blue Swan when it vanished.

Dec 2006
DPMO meet with the PRC and presents the Blue Goose case to the PRC for any information that might be available on the passengers of the Blue Goose.
NB: in 1999 and 2001, the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA ran a request for information in Taiwan newspapers, in the hope that they are read on the communist mainland, it read:
REWARD: Matsu Defense Command Advisory Team (MDCAT)
Blue Goose (Pby- 5A B-1402airplane) flying to Taipei from Matsu on
01OCT58. Four U.S. military POW/MIA's:
Major Robert C. Bloom (US Army, not in picture), Captain Wayne Pitcher (Signal Corps., US Army, 2nd. from R. 2nd. row);
PFC Claude L. Baird (US Army, back row between the two sailors in front; Radioman Dwight H. Turner (US Navy, 1st sailor from left).
Airplane was rumored to have been seen at port side in Shanghai (1958), per Brig. Gen. L.S. Bork, Chief, MAAG 1958. $500.000 in gold was offered by communist China for anyone hijacking a plane to the mainland from Taiwan. Chairman Lloyd V. Evans II, of the 823 Badge of Honor Association USA, is offering a US$ 1,000,000. reward [1999] for Information leading to closure on this matter [Increased to 2 million in June 2001]. 
Ad ran in Taipei Evening News, hopefully it was read on the communist mainland and specifically in Shanghai.



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3 comments:

Matt Stone said...

I don't know whether this is helpful, but this page includes some clickable scans of newspaper articles about the incident (scroll to the bottom):
https://etvma.org/veterans/claud-leon-baird-12461/

Anonymous said...

Michael Turton. Thank you so much for posting this story on your blog site. What started as an Amer-asian investigation , I hit upon Sue Baird Waldon's story about her missing brother (Pfc. Claude Leon Baird) story. She left her and sister Margaret Baird Petree's email and phone contact numbers. Their story is so perplexing, fascinating and horribly saddening, I was just drawn to attempt to dig up more information about it. It is profoundly sad, that our US and the ROC Govt's do not come out, and off their podium of secrecy and tell the families of these men what REALLY happened, that would be the least they could do. It has been 60 years ! The days of just 'writing this whole situation off as a loss', does not cut it. It would be really sweet, if they would provide us with the audio of the radio message, that the Mainland transmitted 2 weeks after this PBY-5A went missing, and a American radio-operator in Taipei picked up, but was told to turn off as it was forbidden at that time. That would be the golden fleece of a Eureka moment. Please note, that I found and have contacted Maj. Robert C. Bloom's son, (named after his father),alive and well in Wisconsin, and I found and am in communication with the late Br. Gen. Lester (Larry) Skene Bork's daughter, Sally Lasseter in Columbus, Ga. It was Br.Gen. L.S. Bork who was the MAAG Cmdr. in Taipei in '58, and he maintained to his death, that that PBY and the men on board were kidnapped/hijacked to the Mainland. Also, would you correct the error in your statement: The flight left Matsu @ 1800 hours, not 0600 hours. Lastly would like to thank the assistance of Margaret B. Petree and her sister Sue B. Waldon and Kent Mathieu, web master of TaipeiAirStation. Thanks.(FatherGoose)

Anonymous said...

http://www.uspa24.com/bericht-2270/wreckage-found-from-plane-that-vanished-off-china-in-1958.html