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Pseudonym: Carpenter, Billy

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Definition:
Major Billy B. Campbell, who was described in the Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I and II, as initiating the air training program at JMADD, and as the Chief of Air Operations at JMADD respectively.
Category:
alias
Status:
Documented
Sources:

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: B. Trainers and Trainees

Pages 104-105: ..."In discussing the recruitment business, Billy B. Campbell, who initiated the air training program at JMADD (Retalhuleu Air Base, used for air training at the time of the Bay of Pigs. Also known as Rayo Base or as MADD), stated that as early as May 1960: I was assigned another name (Billy Carpenter) and was asked to go down to Miami and recruit the initial Cubans for the air training effort. Our goal was to recruit pilots, mechanics, or any personnel that we thought were needed in association with setting up the airbase and initiating training. I met a Navy Lt. Commander and we set up in a motel in Coral Gables and interviewed and recruited the first 75 or 76 pilots, engineers, and mechanics...We were told where to go, and people would be fed to us...We almost blew the whole thing the first day of recruiting because the Agency had failed to pay the rent on the motel. The landlady came over to the motel - it wasn't a motel as such, it was little houses in a cluster - and she caught us recruiting some of the initial Cuban pilots. We had to make sure that she was paid so that we could continue our job...The first operation was to train six B-26 crews, and either two or four C-46 crews, and two C-54 crews...and I think our target date on that was October 1 (1960) or somewhere in that area. We met our first target date. Then we were given a new target date in November to train more crews. 13/ Eduardo Ferrer, one of the Cubans who was recruited to be a transport pilot, and the individual who had flown a Cubana airliner out at gunpoint, was one of those whom Billy Campbell interviewed. In telling his story, Ferrer emphasized that Campbell's questions were straightforward and were concerned with Ferrer's qualifications as a pilot. From Campbell, Ferrer and the other Cubans were then passed on for the security, medical, psychological, and psychiatric interviews..."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: C. JMADD: Air Training Base, Retalhuleu, Guatemala

Pages 107-109: "C. JMADD: Air Training Base, Retalhuleu, Guatemala: The initial recruitment efforts for air crews began in August 1960, and by 23 September the air training base, with the full cooperation of the Government of Guatemala, had been established at Retalhuleu...When the base began operations, it was made quite clear to all personnel - Cuban and US - that Major Billy B. Campbell would be fully responsible for air operations at MADD - including both incoming and outgoing flights; and the line of command from Campbell to Headquarters communications at subsequent intervals prior to Campbell's departure in 1961. 16a/ The bulk of this group had come out of Opalocka black; and some like Eddy Ferrer, had been aboard C-54's flown by the OSTIARIES. Major Campbell and others who were associated with these initial air force trainees were very high in their praise of the qualifications of the group. Many of the recruits had been Cuban military or commercial pilots...Campbell emphasized that the pilot instructors for this group were of extremely high caliber. Throughout the course of Project JMATE (REDACTION) at Eglin was subject to constant pressures from all sides, and in the very early days: We had to maintain our aircraft at Eglin, we had to assist in Guatemala, and we had an operation going commercially down in Ft. Lauderdale with (REDACTION) training crews there. We were pretty thin and we needed help. Initially, because the target dates that we had were so early and then they kept changing on us. 17/*...*(REDACTION). The Ft. Lauderdale operation to which Campbell referred was run under cover of (REDACTION). The operation was set up for transitioning ANG and had contract crews from C-54 operations. The program is discussed in some detail in Person's book, Bay of Pigs. 18/..."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume II: Participation in the Conduct of Foreign Policy Current Section: Appendices

11/14/60: Cable from Director to Eglin Air Base: Slugline OPIM EGLI INFO OPIM MADD GUAT: "Request Carpenter and Kekoler prepare depart for MADD ASAP. Load max amount 50 cal commensurate flying safely in Bombay prior departure. WX due EGLI 1700Z. When Carpenter ready depart notify HQs by phone." Releasing Officer: Stanley W. Beerli AC/DPD.

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: B. Post-Strike Contretemps

Page 213: "Part III: Initiation of Combat Air Operations: B. Post-Strike Contretemps: "The post-strike philosophy of air operations personnel affiliated with project JMATE was probably best summed up by Col. George Gaines, who said: We had the key to Cuba already in our hand. All that we had to do was to eliminate those few other airplanes and our landing Brigade would have owned Cuba. 45/ Not only would this represent the belief of everyone who was even remotely affiliated with the air operation, it also was the belief of many of those who were closely associated with the JMATE project in capacities other than air operations. The manner of dealing with the few aircraft available to Castro would come to be the pivot about which reputations were made and unmade, tarnished and shined. In the first glow of victory, 'Carpenter, Barnes, and crowd' from JMADD told TIDE to 'Give the boys our congratulations.' 46/*...*The Barnes referred to in this cable was not C. Tracy Barnes, the A/DDP/A, but was the alias used for a military assignee to air operations at Retalhuleu."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume IV: The Taylor Committee Investigation of the Bay of Pigs Current Section: 6. Assessment of the Taylor Committee Investigation

Page 240: ..."4. The failure to resolve the confusion over matters related to air operations such as the appreciation of the capabilities of Castro's T-33s, whether Castro's B-26s were of more concern to the Brigade that the T-33s, whether the T-33s were armed, and whether Castro's FAR had MiG aircraft. The individuals directly responsible for WH/4's air training and air operations - Billy Carpenter, George Germosen, Gar Teegen, and all of the pilots (Cuban and American) - knew exactly what they were up against. That Beerli, Bissell, Hawkins, and even General White confused the situation without contradiction or questions from the committee was inexcusable considering the criticality of air operations to the success or failure of the operation..."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume V: CIA'S Internal Investigation of the Bay of Pigs Current Section: 2. Findings

Page 44: ..."The infantry training program was directed by Lt. Col Frank Egan, USA, and the air training program was run by Major Frank Campbell, USAF. Both of these officers also were responsible to Col. Jack Hawkins, Chief, Paramilitary Staff, WH/4.*...*This was a technical responsibility in the case of Campbell who reported directly to Colonels Gaines or Beerli of DPD."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume II: Participation in the Conduct of Foreign Policy Current Section: E. November Revolt -- Policy Makers vs Pragmatists

Pages 35-36: ..."Requests from the field went to Headquarters for the standby of additional B-26's that might be needed by MADD and for C-54 flights to bring in small arms and ammunition. The Chief of Air operations at JMADD, Major Billy B. Campbell, had been to Headquarters for meetings with DPD and was visiting (REDACTION), Eglin Air Force Base en route back to MADD at the outbreak of the revolt.* At one point it was planned that Campbell and another B-26 pilot would make an emergency flight to MADD with the bomb bays of the B-26's loaded with ammunition and arms. By mid afternoon on 13 November, (REDACTION), Lt. Col. Frank Egan, who would soon (9/10 December 1960) take charge of the TRAV base, and Lt. Col. Quentin V. Earl, who in the absence of Billy Campbell was proceeding to the MADD base as commanding officer, went forward to Headquarters with a GOG request to use JMATE's B-26's and US pilots if they would volunteer to fight for the Ydigoras government.** *(REDACTION). **In an Oral History interview with the author on 15 June 76, Lt. Col. Billy B. Campbell (USAF, Ret.) offered a somewhat different version of the GOG approach to JMADD. Campbell stated that: Alejos had been at the base just prior to my getting back down and had Guat troops and had threatened to take over the base - JMADD - and take over the aircraft and use his own pilots to quell the invasion which was coming up through Puerto Barrios and Honduras. 39c/ Although the cable traffic fails to mention this incursion by Alejos, it is verified by an eyewitness who was present in the communications room at Retalhuleu when Alejos forced himself into the secure area. This witness recalled Headquarters instructions to cooperate with Alejos and also the authorization for Seigrist and Beale to fly strikes against the rebels in Puerto Barrios. 39d/"

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Contributors:
Gavin McDonald

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