Several more days of intensive effort were spent trying to develop a statement of charges against Naylor-Foote which would simply open the case to proper inquiry, rather than attempting to prove it within the statement. One of the handicaps confronting me was the fact that much of what happened looked in retrospect so ridiculous that straightforward recounting of it might cause an investigator to suspect that I was making the whole thing up.
This was especially so with some of Naylor-Foote's behavior after the crash and capture. So bizarre and irrational were some of his actions that an investigator looking at or listening to my relating of them could easily and even somewhat reasonably assume that I was at least exaggerating, and possibly making some of it up because I hated the fellow and was trying to wreak vengeance, or else was trying to shift the blame for the crash onto him when it may well have been my own fault. It was already evident from my talk with Ferranto just before leaving the prison camp, that Naylor-Foote would himself insist that was the case. [Investigative documents released some 30 years later would reveal that some of the investigators and analysts involved clearly assumed that to be at least partially the case.]
The fact was as of that time, in Tokyo, I really had no vengeful feeling toward Naylor-Foote. His psychopathic condition had been recognized long before. There was included in the formal statement when finally completed, description of several of Naylor-Foote's actions while in captivity. That was not done to intensify charges against him with regard to the mission but, as it was expressed in the statement, "to give investigators an insight into the mental processes" of the man. Also, there was duty to draw attention to the possibility that he had caused damage to myself and others after our capture, as well as having caused failure of the rescue mission.*
[* Further complicating my efforts to get a court of inquiry into my charges against both Naylor-Foote and Ulatoski, was the fact that British officials were demanding information from Naylor-Foote and also Felix Ferranto about the death during the foolish escape attempt of their man, Adams-Acton.]
There were, on the other hand, some vengeful feelings towards Ulatoski. His representation of himself as a captain (he was then still a 1st Lieutenant), with a splash of personal award and campaign ribbons indicating considerable combat experience, had caused me to regard everything he had to say aboard the Rochester before the mission more highly than it would otherwise have been considered. Thus, the representation of "his man" Naylor-Foote as a much-experienced, behind-enemy-lines, warrior, thoroughly acquainted with the people, places and situation in which we would operate, had caused me to disregard several aspects of Naylor-Foote's behavior before the mission which would otherwise have told me he was very much the manner of glory-seeking faker he turned out to be.
On top of that, I had learned from Naylor-Foote since then that the two had not known each other at all until about a month prior to the mission, and had spent but a few days together then. After that, Ulatoski had been absent from the island, on leave in Japan, until only the day before he appeared on the Rochester to present that proposal. Thus he really knew nothing about any of the preliminary events involving Ettinger except what Naylor-Foote had told him. And the detailed proposal for a rescue operation which he started to present and said he had planned was actually a script prepared for him by Naylor-Foote. He did a fine job of ad-libbing on his own, of course, after I cut off presentation the entire proposal* because of impracticalities evident in its very beginning.
[* Had I listened to the entire proposal he intended to present, the whole idea would probably have been rejected. For it would probably have included mention of Naylor-Foote's entirely fictitious story of having made a previous attempt to rescue Ettinger with a helicopter from the Wisconsin.]
Even so, any vengeful feelings on my part towards Ulatoski in no way conflicted with the duty to make the Army aware of his misdeeds. His misrepresentations had contributed to the debacle perhaps as much as Naylor-Foote's deliberate lies. Indeed, but for Ulatoski's emphasis on Naylor-Foote's purported (and entirely false) qualifications, the latter's lie to me about Ettinger's condition would either have been ignored or might not even have been made. Naylor-Foote could be gotten rid of by the Army for several other reasons. Ulatoski deserved every bit as much to be brought to account. That would happen only if my charges against him were properly investigated as well. The fact that this was not done leaves the vengeful feelings towards him with me yet today.
There was a beginning effort by someone of Army to investigate my charges against Ulatoski. Among the documents released some 30 years later is one dated 18 Nov, 1953 identified as "report of interrogation of Captain Joseph R. ULATOSKI," sent to the G-2 section of Army Forces Far East, from Department of Army G-2, in Washington, DC. It was in response to a communication from the Far East Command dated 26 September 1953, and refers to "Questions for Capt. Ulatoski" (which were not included among the released documents).
Nor is the document itself actually a report of interrogation. It is instead a compilation of "statements" by Ulatoski, obviously in reference to a list of questions someone had presented to him, pertaining to the failed rescue operation and my specific charge that he had misrepresented his rank when he came aboard the Rochester for conference about the rescue mission. His quite lengthy response to the first several questions was described by himself as "hearsay both from Lt Naylorfoote (sic, Ulatoski's spelling of his former colleague's name) and Naval personnel."
There was implicit proof in one of Ulatoski's statements of his deliberate misrepresentation to myself of "his man" Naylor-Foote's qualifications to go with me on the mission. He had told me during the conference aboard Rochester that "his man" knew the area "like the back of his hand," from having been in there many times. In response to question #6 of the list he'd been given, he wrote: "It is my opinion that Lt Naylorfoote was not familiar with the Darby area since he had been with Task Force Kirkland only one month."
With regard to a question evidently in regard to my charge that he had presented himself aboard Rochester as a captain, instead of his actual rank as of that time, Ulatoski wrote: "I never misrepresented my rank. See attached photostats which prove that the Navy was well aware of my rank. A check of Navy logs may also show my rank, due to the fact that 1 went aboard many Naval vessels and had to state who I was and my rank."
The photostats referred to were of letters from two Naval officers addressing him as "First Lieutenant" and of his US Army service card for that period, showing his 1st Lt (Which card should by regulation have been destroyed when he got a new one upon promotion to captain.) There is no indication in the documents made available, that check was ever made with any Navy ship's logs. His arrival aboard Rochester via helicopter would not have resulted in anyone asking to see his identification card. Captain's bars on the shoulders of a ribbon-bedecked tunic were the basis of my assumption as to his rank and estimate of his experience and reliability.
Those written responses by Ulatoski to questions regarding which someone was directed to interrogate him, appear to have been the full extent of Army's investigation of him. A civilian employee of Army G-2 in Washington, DC, included some of those responses in a lengthy study titled "The Naylor-Foote Case." And having done so, she closed off that chapter of the study in manner as well suited here: "With this, we let Ulatoski rest."
[* "Vengeance is Mine!" sayeth the Lord; I seem somewhere to have heard. Once removed from circumstance where he might cause me further harm, Naylor-Foote's mental state seems punishment enough in itself; especially as it apparently drove him to drunkenness and eventual suicide. In Ulatoski's case, however, I still wish the Lord would share with me at least a little; perhaps just to allow me to confront the "smoke-stacker" in public exposure of his fakery and its consequence. And if he should react in a manner to otherwise justify punching him full in the face, I'm confident the Lord would allow that circumstance was in some measure mitigating.]
On Sept 13, 1953, a 15-page (single-spaced) statement was signed and sworn to by me, in the presence of Army Capt Harold S. Hess, at Tokyo Army Hospital Annex, Tokyo, Japan. It was labeled in advance "SECRET Security Information." I was therefore not allowed to retain a copy for myself. Nor Would I have a chance to read it again until some 30 years later.
"I guess it could be worse," I said jokingly to Lt Decker, as we chuckled over the fact that I couldn't keep a copy of what I had myself written. "If they'd let Naylor-Foote do it, he'd probably give it that new 'Super-Dooper-Secret' classification I've heard about."
"And just what does that entail Chief?", the 1ieutenant asked.
"Well, I'm not entirely certain, lieutenant. Since I heard about it while sittin' out the last half of the war in that resort nearby to the Yalu, it could be just another one of those crazy ideas the commies tried to put back into our brains after washing everything else out. But as I got it, its quite a bit more restricted in distribution than secret or even top secret, 'cause you have to shoot yourself in the head as soon as you even think about it to make sure you don't tell it to anyone else."
"I think you'd better 'hit the beach' for a day or so Chief," Lt Decker then suggested. "We have the phone number where you're staying, in case we need you in a hurry. You might call in each morning, and any time else you want for any message. It'll probably take a few days before anyone decides just what they want to do about it. But when this stuff hits the fan, something is definitely going to happen."
So "hit the beach"* I did. Bill Hobbs had provided some casual clothes. They fit a bit loosely but were less conspicuous than the incomplete uniform which had been acquired. We had a couple more evenings together until he left on another flight. His car was then "mine," though I found little reason to use it. A full week would pass before there was a message from Decker to report back to him at the hospital.
[* Navy expression for going ashore on liberty or leave of absence from a ship, extended in usage to doing so from any duty station.]
Not that there was nothing happening during that time in response to my formal charges. That stuff "hit the fan" at once, and was gummy enough to stick on the blades (figuratively speaking) for a while. And there were evidently some differences of opinion as to what should be done about it.
Indeed, there was a great deal of immediate reaction, most of which I would have no substantive knowledge of until declassification of some of the information thirty years later. I suspected at the time, and am virtually certain now, that Lt Decker wanted me to be elsewhere during that period to keep any "friends" of Naylor-Foote in Army G-2, or anxious defenders of his or the Army's "honor," from at once counter attacking this "trouble-making" Navy Chief Petty Officer.
It was a most welcome and beneficial respite. My multiple hosts at CAT Airlines were the most understanding group one could possibly imagine. Undoubtedly this was because they were men of kindred spirit. If I wanted company, it was available. If I wanted solitude, that was too. And some of each, at different times, was wanted and in a sense needed.
There actually were two kinds of solitude, and both of them beneficial. One of these, of course, was to be physically alone. Norm's room was the main place for that. His radio was already tuned to a station which broadcast mostly music. In addition to some from prior times, this introduced me to the best of the songs which had come along during my absence. There was a limit, however, to the amount of that kind of solitude which would remain beneficial right then. The time had come to begin giving some thought to what the circumstances might be back home. But it was necessary to avoid dwelling upon it. Too much time alone in Norm's room could lead to that sort of thinking.
But then, if solitude was still the desire it was available elsewhere even sometimes in a crowd. A train ride down the coast to Yokosuka provided an ever-changing scene along the way. The occupation having months ago ended, the Japanese passengers no longer paid particular attention to an American; even one in slightly oversize clothes.
The anonimity provided by the casual civilian attire which Bill had provided enabled the enjoyment of solitude most anywhere away from CAT's apartment and clubhouse complex. There was a popular night club of sorts nearby, where an instrumental band of young Japanese provided a wide range of American music. Usually quite crowded, it was easy to stop in for a while to listen to the music and watch the crowd, yet be bothered by no one.
For yet another manner of solitude amongst people there was the bar at the Union Club. Thinly populated in the afternoon, if one appeared something of a "loner," and in casual and even somewhat ill-fitting attire, that drew no particular attention. The bartender was as pleased to serve coffee with free refills, as any other beverages. It was possible there also to join in idle conversation with him or some other of the few patrons, yet still retain anonimity.
It was possible, that is, until a female acquaintance of Bill Hobb's chanced to be among the scattering of mid-afternoon patrons at the Union Club bar. Mention by the bartender that he didn't recognize me as having been at the Club until recently, was passed off and further questions precluded by simply saying I'd been away for a couple of years on an assignment. My participation in idling talk with the bartender and a couple of male patrons was limited mostly to just listening. So also seemed to be that of two ladies sitting nearby, except that they now and again said a few words to one another. Then suddenly one of them pointed a finger at me and said:
"I know who you are, now! I just figured it out! You're Bill Hobbs' friend that just came back from Korea! In fact she added after a moment, "I'd bet that's one of his shirts you're wearing!"
"The pants, too," I said. "how come you recognize Bill's shirt, and not his pants?"
She smiled at the implication, and moved at bit closer to say, "We heard about you a few nights ago at the CAT Club from Bill. We heard a lot about you from Bill, in fact. The reason I knew that's his shirt is because he told us about giving you some of his clothes to wear because you didn't have any ......
There followed, for a while then, pleasant conversation with the two ladies. No prying questions or even much mention of what I'd just returned from. Probably one of the things they'd heard about me from Bill was that 1 was not eager to do a lot of talking about that. They talked instead mostly of the effect my return had upon Bill Hobbs.
"It's just the greatest thing for him," one of them said, "you coming back right now. He needed something like this right now, to help him get over losing Norm ......"
Very shortly conversation with the ladies was interrupted, politely enough, by a slightly built young fellow a couple of stools away. After verifying that I was just returned from POW camp in Korea, he identified himself as a reporter from "Stars and Stripes" and said he would very much like to talk with me.
"It's nothing at all personal," I said. "But I've no wish to talk with you at all in your professional capacity."
"You must be Navy or Marine...." he proferred.
"Navy," I said.
"Will you tell me something, off the record, then," he asked. "Why do all of you Navy and Marine guys refuse to talk to reporters?"
"I'll answer that one on the record," I replied, "if you'll give me your word to report it verbatim and make sure it's printed that way."
"You've got it!" he said, raising his hand as though taking an oath as he did so. He was ready at once with pencil and pad and wrote it down as I said:
"The enemy was smart enough to bring copies of your newspaper to the holding area where we were kept, awaiting repatriation. After seeing the kind of tripe that was being printed, based on interviews with some of the first returnees, we most of us decided we wanted no part of it. So we agreed that none of us would talk to reporters until we were all the way back to the States."
"That's it?" he asked.
"That's it," I replied. "And on that you can quote me."
He moved closer to let me check that what he had noted was exactly what I'd said. He wrote down my name, extended his hand and said, "Thank you, Chief. I'm taking this to them right now. It's the best damn' report I've heard out of Korea. And I expect the bastards won't print it."
I expected he was right about that, and so far as I know it wasn't printed. But there had been cleared from at least that one reporter's mind, the rumor which had begun to circulate that we of Navy and Marine Corps had been ordered not to talk to the press.
Continue (Part 3)
The Toyko Disconnection
Table of Contents
©2002, 2003 by Lynn Waterman; used by permission of the author, Duane Thorin.