A Failed Rescue
(A letter from Allan Hagelthorn to Ed Evanhoe)

    Ed:   Back in August 1999, you responded to my request on how to proceed to obtain information relative to the capture of Captain Charles R. Spath, an F-86 pilot of the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron stationed at K14. Some of the leads you provided enabled me to move forward in my efforts. This message is to advise success in learning enough facts to enable the USAF to recognize Chuck Spath's courageous and unselfish action in warning the H-19 that was attempting to rescue him. His warning, "This is Peter Willie 4, you can chalk me off for saying this, but get the hell out of here; it's a trap" saved Captain Gail Poulton, his crew and helicopter from being captured. Poulton documented this event in his book, Adventures Of A Cold War Patriot, but we were unable to verify that it was actually Spath who had been captured until recently.   Ed, in your book, Dark Moon, you wrote about the futile rescue attempt of Lt. Ettinger by the Navy helicopter piloted by CPO Duane Thorin. It was your thought that this activity could be associated with the same North Korean intelligence agents who later attempted the same ruse using Chuck Spath as the bait in their efforts to capture an Air Rescue H-19. It developed that you are completely right. The Big Boy activities were involved with both. We recently discovered that a Russian book, Russia (USSR) In Local Wars And Regional Conflicts In The Second Half Of the 20th Century, detailed the involvement of Lt. Colonel A. Glukhov and Lt. Colonel L. Smirnov as intelligence advisors to the North Korean Intelligence organization. These two were stationed in the Wonson area and orchestrated the ruse that led to the capture of CPO Duane Thorin and his helicopter--which, incidentally, is still on exhibit in an aviation museum in Russia. The efforts by Glukhov and Smirnov resulted in their being awared the military medals: the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner. When I pointed out the similarity of the two rescue missions (including Russian involvement) to the DPOA in Washington and cited the information you provided in your book, Ed, another review of the "secret" files was made. It was discovered that Spath had been identified in some documents not yet declassified as being the downed pilot we were attempting to rescue. With this confirmation, the Awards and Decorations Section at Randolph AFB will now review my recommendations for the posthumous presentation of either the Air Force Cross or the Congressional Medal of Honor for Spath's noble sacrifice in saving those attempting to rescue him. It's been a long road in reaching potential success and it has been with the help of patriots like you. Another invaluable service was offered by a gentleman, Stephen L."Cookie" Sewell, a former Army linguist who has been studying Russian involvement in the Korean War for the past 10 years. It was he who advised me about the part played by the Russian advisors in the Ettinger/Thorin incident described in the book published in Moscow in 2000. Captain Charles R. Spath was thought to have been detained as a POW in North Korea or Russia as one of the many who have not been repatriated. Thanks ever so much for your help. Allan Hagelthorn