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Pseudonym: Simpson, Seig

Definition:
Connie Seigrist. According to the Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I, Seig Simpson was an alias used by Connie Seigrist. Seigrist was a training instructor of Cuban pilots in Guatemala.
Category:
alias
Status:
Documented
Discussion:
A FBI memo in June of 1962 stated that Gonzalo Herrera had told the Bureau that he had recently met two CIA employees who he knew from a base in Guatemala, "Simpson" and "Larry." "Simpson" told Herrera that the official investigation to determine the reasons for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the responsible people involved, would be concluded very soon, and that in all likelihood, the CIA was not going to be taking any of the blame. "Simpson" apparently believed that the "CIA would emerge from this matter with more authority than ever." Furthermore, in Deadly Secrets: The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of J.F.K. (1992) by Warren Hinckle and William Turner, mentioned a "Vic" and "Connie" on page 96. The passage read "As the morning wore on, B-26's hurriedly dispatched from Happy Valley began arriving in pairs to fight off the FAR and provide strafing support. Vic and Connie, Americans who Albert Persons believed 'were permanent employees of the Company,' chewed up an approaching Castro column that was trapped on a narrow road flanked by salt marshes, inflicting nearly 900 casualties."
Sources:

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

Pages 50-51: ..."Connie Seigrist, then with the Civil Air Transport, ferried one of the first two C-46's from the Far East to Guatemala. He told the following story of this particular episode: I was living in Taipei, Taiwan, in August 1960. I knew there were preparations being made to send a couple of C-46's to Texas. Naturally, all of us pilots were curious to what was in the wind. I asked by boss and a good friend, VPO Bob Rousselot if I could get in on the operation (we were all employed by Civil Air Transport). Although I didn't know what the operation was at the time, and I doubt that Bob knew. Anyway I was accepted and I was immediately given a refresher flight in B-26 gunnery, flying on a CAF Gunnery Range, just west of Taipei (CAF-Chinese Air Force). W. H. Beale, co-captain; Lt. C. Cartwright, navigator; S. L. Tong, 1st Officer; and myself as co-captain departed TPE 3 September 1960 flying a CAT C-46 to Oakland. S. L. Tong left the crew in Oakland and returned to TPE. We three flew to San Antonio where we were informed by 'Chick,' a nickname, a former (REDACTION) employee (an Agency Company) from TPE, that we were to fly to San Jose, Guatemala. I am not really sure, but I believe we arrived late at night on the 9th, or past 12 midnight which could have been the 10th. From that time I never left the operation. 67/* *In addition to being instructor-pilots for C-46's, Beale and Seigrist were also qualified instructor-pilots for B-26's; Seigrist also was qualified as an instructor-pilot for the PBY. Seigrist was probably the best, and certainly the most active in terms of operational flying, of all the American pilots associated with Project JMARC."

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 40-41: ..."The most accurate story of the air operation mounted by the Agency, however, comes from the principal eye witness to the actual operation against Puerto Barrios, C. W. (Connie) Seigrist, who had initially ferried one of the B-26's to Guatemala from the Agency's operations in the Far East, Seigrist has written: I believe the Guatemalan Colonel who was in charge of our base informed us of the revolt. This was late in the afternoon (of 13 November 60). I offered my services, if needed, in support of President Ydigoras. So did some of the Cubans. We felt what we were working for would all go down the tubes if the revolt was successful and we were exposed. Late at night, our offer was accepted. The Guatemalan Air Force refused to participate. I flew a B-26 with a Cuban pilot-observer named Crespo (he was lost later flying a B-26 at the Bay of Pigs). I strafed and rocketed the airfield at Puerto Barrios to soften the field for the C-46's that were carrying the Cuban troops who were to repulse a revolt...*There is support for Seigrist's comments re the Guatemalan Air Force in the cable traffic. Cables to Washington from both (REDACTION) and the Ambassador indicated that the Air Force officers were unhappy about both using the Cubans and shooting their fellow Guatemalans...Among other details provided by Seigrist was the fact that two B-26's were involved in the Puerto Barrios action, the second being flown by W. H. Beale, who also had flown a B-26 in from the Far East. Seigrist flew a total of four sorties, including one to Puerto Barrios, one in the mountains, and two along the coast..."

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

Pages 47-48: "Connie Seigrist one of the few North Americans who would fly a B-26 in action over Playa Giron had some particular objections, not to the B-26 itself, but to the modifications that had been built into some of the aircraft which were acquired during the course of the JMATE operation. Going back to the initial request of 11 August 1960 it was suggested that long-range ferry tanks be installed in the bomb bays of the B-26's, Seigrist pointed out: About six replacement B-26's arrived at TIDE at the same time of evening as we (Price, myself, and 4 Cuban flown B-26's) returned form our strike at the Bay of Pigs. These replacement B-26's had ferry tanks strapped permanently in the bomb bays. In my estimation, they were flying bombs - we never used them. Like the T-33's, it was too late anyway to have used them. 62/*...*The difference between the Agency's initial request for long-range ferry tanks in the B-26's and those noted by Seigrist, was the fact of a permanent installation of the long range tanks; heretofore the tanks had been of the type hung on the bomb shackles and removable."

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 125-126: ..."Connie Seigrist recalled that in addition to the normal problems and stress of training, the political discussions and differences would occasionally become quite heated. Seigrist has written: The biggest and most continual problem concerned the dislike of our Cuban Air Commander...I have forgotten his name (Col. Villafana). He was the Commander throughout. One of the Cubans explained that it was his (the Commander's) background dating back to Cuba. I was sent (flew a C-46) to Mexico City to persuade some AWOL Cubans to return to MADD. Not a single AWOL would return to MADD with me, as they said they would not serve under him. Although, overall I felt then, and now, it was not a serious impact...Seigrist apparently had an unusually good rapport with the Cuban pilot trainees, including those who bugged out at the end and also those who were contemplating a return from Miami to the air bases. 'Simpson' (Seigrist) was the one the Cubans looked to for reassurance should they decide to come back. 42/ In his own words, Seigrist said: The only thing I kept intact was my pseudo of 'Seig Simpson.' I believe the Cubans had high respect for me, and I also believe they knew my name, because they had everyone else pegged immediately. But because of their respect, they were not really interested in exposing me. 43/* *Aside from the fact that he was a top pilot and instructor, that Seigrist flew a B-26 out of MADD in support of the Government of Guatemala at the time of the November 1960 attempted overthrow of Ydigoras Fuentes also added to his favorable reputation among the Cubans. See Volume II of this history, Participation in the Conduct of Foreign Policy."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: B. Day of Grace -- 18 April 1961

Pages 346-347 (footnotes): ..."*According to Eduardo Ferrer (Operacion Puma, p. 208) Gustavo Villodo was Seigrist's right seat companion; and Alberto Perez Sordo rode with Price. **Mr. Seigrist had placed the initial strike at Castro's airfields on D-3, rather than D-2. ***Seigrist indicated that the Cuban Air Force Commander and the Director of Flight Operations (DFO) for the Brigade had prohibited the Cuban pilots from flying any more - except as volunteers - as early as Tuesday, 17 April. He also said that after the mission of 18 April described above, even the Cubans who had volunteered for the mission were threatened by the other pilots who were following the directions of the DFO. Ferrer, however, indicates that it was not until Wednesday, 19 April, after the loss of the American crews that the standdown of the Cubans was ordered by Luis Cosme (Operacion Puma, page 215)." - - - Page 347: "The Mission Summary for the raid which Seigrist led on the afternoon of the 18th, indicated that there were as many as 15-20 tanks and 20 trucks in the convoy coming down the coastal road; and the report stated that each of the six B-26's made several passes inflicting heavy damage to the trucks and to the tanks. The more detailed Mission Summary of 20 April shows that 9,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition, 8 napalm bombs, 50 rockets, and 20 fragmentation bombs (presumably 260 lb. frags) were expended against this convoy. The report in this later Mission Summary was that the target was 'partially destroyed' - partially destroyed were 1-4 tanks and several trucks. 51/..."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: C. Four for a Cause -- 19 April 1961

Page 355: ..."The record indicates that Herrera departed between 0600Z-0700Z, putting him over the target area about 0930Z-1000Z (0430-0500 Havana/Washington). Between 0845Z and 0900Z four or five B-26's flown by US pilots headed for Cuba, and these were followed at 1045Z by two or three additional US piloted B-26's.* The Americans who piloted the B-26's were Billy J. Goodwin, Dalton H. Livingston, Thomas W. Ray, Riley W. Shamburger, and Joseph L. Shannon of the Alabama Air National Guard; and Doug Price and Connie Seigrist of the Agency's Far East proprietary, CAT...*The question concerning the exact number of US piloted B-26's on 19 April arises from a difference between the Mission Summary Report prepared for the Taylor Committee in April 1961 and Thorsrud's revision of that Mission Summary Report in 1968 when he reviewed Persons's book, Bay of Pigs. The question was whether Doug Price flew as a co-pilot with Connie Seigrist - as indicated in the early summary - or flew a B-26 himself as indicated by the later report. Based on the need for B-26 pilots and the fact that non-pilot personnel - Wade Gray, a navigator, and Leo Baker, a radio operator - were riding the second seats, it is presumed Price - who had flown a B-26 during the attack on the Castro convoy on the 18th - was piloting an aircraft not riding as a co-pilot. 61/ Moreover, it seems probable that if Price had been flying with him on 19 April, Seigrist would have remembered this and so specified in his correspondence with the author."

124-90139-10021:

04/13/62: FBI report from Miami Office: Titled: Anti-Fidel Castro Activities, Internal Security - Cuba: "On April 12, 1962, Gonzalo Herrera y Cabrer, a former Cubana Air Lines captain, who participated as a pilot in the April 17, 1961 invasion attempt against Fidel Castro's regime, furnished the following information: He said that a short time prior to March 19, 1962, while at the Royal Poinciana Motel, Miami Springs, he met two men whom he knew only as 'Simpson' and 'Larry.' He explained that he had first met these two men when 'Simpson' was a pilot instructor and 'Larry' was a maintenance mechanic at the training camp near Retalhuleu, Guatemala, used by the Liberation Air Force, under supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency. Both of these men were closely associated with individuals whom Herrera knew as 'Gar' (phonetic), and 'Saunders,' both known to him, through common knowledge and understanding to be CIA representatives at the camp. 'Gar,' 'Saunders,' 'Simpson,' and 'Larry' were English speaking Americans, and were associated with each other. All were accepted by the Cubans as being CIA representatives. However, none of them ever exhibited any credentials to Herrera, nor did any of them ever furnish their full names. This was the custom among the Americans at the camp, and the Cubans did not question their authority or their official status...Herrera said that he regarded all of these men as friends, and that he maintained contact with 'Gar' and 'Saunders' from time to time, after the failure of the invasion...Mr. Herrera said he had not heard from either 'Simpson' or 'Larry' since the conversation at the Royal Poinciana Motel, and he has not heard from 'Gar' or 'Saunders' concerning this matter. He advised that his contact number for 'Gar' is EXecutive 3-2213, Washington, D.C..."

124-90139-10027:

06/07/62: FBI report from Miami Office: Titled: Gonzalo Herrera Y Cabrer: "On May 22, 1961, Gonzalo Herrera Y Cabrer, born September 27, 1926, Havana, Cuba, who participated as a pilot in the April 17, 1961, invasion attempt of Cuba, advised that for the preceding few days, he had been in contact with two Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel named 'Simpson' and 'Doug,' who served as instructors at a base in Guatemala. 'Simpson' told him that investigation at the Washington level to determine the reasons for the failure of this invasion and the responsible people involved would be concluded in fifteen to twenty days, and that from all appearances CIA was not being charged with any of the blame; in fact, 'Simpson' surmised that CIA would emerge from this matter with more authority than ever. 'Simpson' said that last-minute political influences had caused the nature of the operation to be changed to the point where it was no longer workable. He did not identify those immediately responsible. Herrera commented that although there were certain aspects of the training and the attack itself which he felt could have been improved, he still maintains confidence in CIA, and is of the opinion that politicians must be completely left out of any future operations. On June 1, 1961, Herrera advised that during the preceding few days, he had been in contact with the person who had acted as Chief of Operations for the training camp in Guatemala..."

Official History of the Bay of Pigs Operation, Volume I: Air Operations, March 1960 - April 1961 Current Section: Foreword

Page iv: ..."The writer has been particularly fortunate, too, in the willingness of many of those most directly connected with the air operations - Garfield Thorsrud, Stanley Beerli, George Gaines, Billy Campbell, C. W. 'Connie' Seigrist, and James Cunningham - to share, for the record and for the first time in practically all instances, their recollections with him..."

Contributors:
Gavin McDonald • Jack B. Pfeiffer • Warren Hinckle • William Turner

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