Frederick Thomas Garside
Remains Returned List - 1991
|SYNOPSIS: Henry Kissinger once predicted that an "unfortunate" by-product of "limited
political engagements" would be personnel who could not be recovered. On March 23,
1961, one of the first group of Americans to fall into that "unfortunate" category were
shot from the sky by Pathet Lao antiaircraft guns. Most Americans at that time did not
even know that the United States had military personnel in Southeast Asia. In fact, most
Americans had not even heard of the name "Laos". The Geneva Agreements had yet to
be signed; air rescue teams had yet to arrive in Southeast Asia.
The C47 aircraft crew consisted of 1Lt. Ralph W. Magee, pilot; 1Lt. Oscar B. Weston,
co-pilot; 2Lt. Glenn Matteson, navigator; SSgt. Alfons A. Bankowski, flight engineer;
SSgt. Frederick T. Garside, assistant flight engineer; SSgt. Leslie V. Sampson, radio
operator; and passengers Maj. Lawrence R. Bailey and WO1 Edgar W. Weitkamp.
This C47 was a specially modified intelligence-gathering SC-47 which took off from
Vientiane for Saigon. The passengers and crew were bound for "R & R" in the "Paris
Maj. Bailey, who always wore a parachute when he flew, jumped from the falling aircraft and was captured by the Pathet Lao. Bailey spent seventeen months as a prisoner in Sam Neua, the Pathet Lao headquarters near the North Vietnamese border, before being repatriated after the signing of the Geneva Agreements on Laos in 1962. The caves at Sam Neua were said to have held scores of American prisoners during and after the war.
The seven men lost on March 23, 1961 were the first of many hundreds of American
personnel shot from the sky only to disappear in the jungles of Laos. Four Lao sources
stated that 7 of the 8 personnel on board died in the crash of the aircraft, and were buried
in the vicinity. Sixteen years later, in February 1977, several Pathet Lao films were
obtained by a friendly foreign government showing an identification card with a photo
Clearly, someone knows what happened to the crew of the C47. Because Laos was not included in the Paris agreements ending American involvement in Southeast Asia, and because no agreement has been reached since regarding Lao-held American POWs, hundreds of Americans remain missing, including the crew of the C47. Many Americans were known to have survived, and hundreds of reports point to their survival today.