It is unclear whether Doole was a staff employee or worked under a personal service agreement. Officially, the CIA says there is no record of him working for them. Doole died of cancer in He was a lifelong bachelor, and there was no obituary, flowers or funeral. Ironically, although Grundy was married and had outside interests, he too requested no funeral; both Grundy and Doole died in virtual anonymity. Great effort was made to make the Air America appear as a private enterprise for plausible deniability, but all work was for the U.
Treasury received the profit. It should be noted that the flurry of reports concerning the diplomatic meetings and decisions dealing with Civil Air Transport and CAT Inc. The presentation here is a minuscule rendition of the actual history and persons reading the references may arrive at different conclusions. The intent herein is to provide a basic understanding of a year period when progressive elaboration was a daily occurrence. Willauer was a Princeton University and Harvard law school graduate. Chennault and Willauer did well in the late s hauling furs, tin, food and practically anything else people needed to be moved from one place to another.
Flying was treacherous and with the absence of navigation aids difficult at best. The pilots, World War Two veterans, were experienced, spunky and brave.
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Once the Nationalists were finished moving to Formosa, CAT no longer had a job and was nearly insolvent. Chennault pleaded with the State Department to purchase the airline using the argument that the company had the assets and expertise to contain China from expanding along the Pacific Rim. The CIA wanted to use the air transportation assets for their intelligence-gathering operations in China and urged the U. The argument fell on deaf ears.
The State Department didn't want clear ownership of a Chinese company. So, the CIA devised a plan for indirect ownership and suggested a U. The State Department agreed and incorporated the slightly misspelled Airdale, Inc. The subsidiary was named CAT Inc. Chinese investors held sixty percent. CAT Inc. The pilots, mechanics and staff personnel moved to CAT Inc.
Civil Air Transport became the flag carrier of the Republic of China hauling people and freight all over Southeast Asia.
The U. It was decided to allow the company to act as if it was a private enterprise and bid on government contracts. At that point, the project became an ongoing operation, but no one considered the plight of the employees.
The government never revealed the real owner to the employees. But now the companies had an inside track for government bids, and the ruse worked for financial funding, thus providing an avenue for the government to conduct clandestine and covert operations where political pressure prevented overt military activity. The ruse also stymied congressional oversight. Later, the customer base broadened and included the French Republic, U.
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It was a grand scheme for the government, but along with increased activity came increased hazards to the employees, many of who thought they were working for a private enterprise. America was not prepared for the Korean War. Logistic support was severely needed, and an opportunity arose for CAT Inc.
The requirement was extensive, more than 28 aircraft and or more people.
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The operation was short-lived, but CAT performed admirably under difficult circumstances. Although civilians, the pilots took all the risks of the military members of the Combat Cargo operation, including the possibility of making the ultimate sacrifice. The CAT on the Airlift had done a good job. A C was designed with a hook that would snag a line between two poles.
The person on the ground would have a harness attached to the line, and he would be snatched as the aircraft flew by at a slow speed. Two CIA agents would then drag the seized person into the plane.
But the mission was compromised and a trap laid for the unsuspecting pilots. The aircraft was shot down and the pilots killed in the crash. No one knew their whereabouts until they were released and showed up in friendly territory two decades later. At about the same time the French Republic was embroiled in their conflict with the Viet Minh in what was then called French Indochina.
Ho Chi Minh had worked with Allied Forces against Japan and indicated President Roosevelt told him he would be granted control of Vietnam for his services. Ho had communist connections and vowed to take Vietnam by force. The French Republic asked the United States for military air cargo support, but Eisenhower was reluctant to use American pilots in a conflict unpopular both in France and America.
The job was given to CAT Inc. The plane was faster than the C, had more powerful engines and could carry a heavier load. The rear door allowed quick egress of parachuted supplies and thus shortened the time on the target. The aircraft were dressed in French colors to hide their identity. The missions were not void of hazards, and several crewmembers were wounded. The crash killed both pilots. They were well liked, and their deaths cast a pall over the CAT community.
McGovern was good-naturedly nicknamed Earthquake McGoon for his appearance by his peers. This was a devastating blow to morale, and the U. Partial remains were recovered several years after the war in Laos ended. On February 24, , James McGovern was posthumously awarded along with Buford and six other surviving pilots the Legion of Honor with the rank of knight chevalier by the President of France Jacques Chirac for their actions in supplying Dien Bien Phu during the day siege. The solution again was using CAT Inc.
In , Pope was ordered to Clark AFB in the Philippines where he was assigned to fly a B painted black with the markings obscured.
Air America [WorldCat Identities]
Others included CAT Inc. Pope was shot down on a bombing run and captured.
An Indonesian military court tried and convicted him and he was sentenced to death. Airdale Inc. And because calling both CAT Inc. Some major airlines grumbled, but in the name of CAT Inc. It was the same company but with a different name. Asiatic Aeronautical Company Ltd.