Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Col. J.D. Wilmeth Visits Marina

I'd like to thank Robert Feldman for calling attention to the little known fact that on November 19, 1963, Col. J. D. Wilmeth vistied Marina Oswald at the Paine residence. 

Who was Col. Wilmeth and what did he want with Marina a few days before the assassination? 

Feldman's blog is Where’s the Change?

50 Years Since JFK Assassination Retrospective: Colonel J.D. Wilmeth's Pre-JFK Assassination Visit To Paine-Oswald Residence

Coincidentally, just three days before JFK was ambushed on November 22, 1963, Colonel J.D. Wilmeth just happened to visit the house in which the wife of Texas School Book Depository temp worker Lee Oswald lived with Mrs. Ruth Paine, as revealed in Ruth Paine's testimony before the Warren Commission.

During Ruth Paine's March 21, 1964 testimony before Warren Commission Assistant Counsel Albert Jenner Jr., the following exchange took place:

MR. JENNER: Do you recall an incident in which there was a telephone call by Col. J.D. Wilmeth to your home, in which he spoke with Marina?

MRS. PAINE: Yes; I do...I would say this was a week or less before the assassination. He called and asked--he called from Arlington, Tex., which is between Fort Worth and Dallas, and asked if he could come over some time...To talk with Marina, that he had heard she was living at my house...My best judgement is that he actually came then on the 19th of November.

MR. JENNER: All right. And how long did he stay?

MRS. PAINE: Oh, perhaps an hour..."

Col. J.D. Wilmeth
Arlington, Texas
Visited Marina Oswald at Paines on Nov. 19th.

Michael Paine's testimony:

Mr. LIEBELER - Do you know Col. J. D. Wilmeth?
Mr. PAINE - No; I don't know him. A colleague at work lives nearby who shares a well with him and keeps it repaired.
Mr. LIEBELER - Who does?
Mr. PAINE - Clark Benham, another colleague at work, uses the water from Colonel Wilmeth's well and has to keep the well operating so I hear stories about Mr. Wilmeth and he lives with his old, ancient
mother. I haven't met him myself, I don't believe.
Mr. LIEBELER - You mentioned that---did you mention that he called you at your office at one time?
Mr. PAINE - Yes; I think he has, yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Would you tell us the circumstances of that event?
Mr. PAINE - Well, he wanted to see Marina, I think, he wanted to hear, I think he said he wanted to hear the native tongue spoken or spoken by a native. And so he was quite eager to meet both Ruth and Marina
and called me to ask how and when and what not. So, he may have called me more than once on that subject.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you have any idea why he called you at work? In order to contact these women?
Mr. PAINE - It seemed very appropriate. Maybe Clark, Clark, of course, sees him quite frequently, and maybe Clark told him that Marina was living with us. I cannot--I could be clued in. I remember at the time
there was a reason for it. I mean it seemed appropriate, it wasn't out of the blue, but I can't--unless it was that I had been talking about Marina with Clark and then Clark told it to him.
Mr. LIEBELER - You never have met Colonel Wilmeth?
Mr. PAINE - I don't believe so.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Ruth ever tell you that Colonel Wilmeth had come to call on her and Marina?
Mr. PAINE - Yes; that call or one or two calls he made to the lab to me was asking me if I would make it possible for him to meet them and so I told Ruth, and either Ruth called or I told her that he was, he
would like to come on the weekend or something or he would call, I forget, but anyway I was a go-between to help in a polite way to meet Ruth.
Mr. LIEBELER - Did Ruth tell you about the meeting when he came?
Mr. PAINE - She did; yes.
Mr. LIEBELER - Tell us about it.
Mr. PAINE - I think she said she had a good time, I don't remember.
Mr. LIEBELER - Do you remember any of the details of what she said?
Mr. PAINE - I don't remember the details; no.

Ruth Paine testimony:

Mr. Jenner. Do you recall an incident in which there was a telephone call by Col. J. D. Wilmeth to your home, in which he spoke with Marina?
Mrs. Paine. Yes; I do.
Mr. Jenner. Would you tell us about that?
Mrs. Paine. I would say this was a week or less before the assassination. He called and asked--he called from Arlington, Tex., which is between Fort Worth and Dallas, and asked if he could come over some time to ----
Mr. Jenner. Would that be a non toll call?
Mrs. Paine. That was a toll call.
Mr. Jenner. All right.
Mrs. Paine. To talk with Marina, that he had heard she was living at my house, and was interested in speaking with somebody who spoke natively.
Mr. Jenner. Did he speak with you on that occasion?
Mrs. Paine. Yes.
Mr. Jenner. You are recounting, then, your conversation with him, and in turn his conversation with her, as she might have reported it?
Mrs. Paine. Yes.
Mr. Jenner. Have you completed all you wish to say about that incident?
Mrs. Paine. Yes. Are you going to ask me if he came?
Mr. Jenner. I put the question as to what you wished to say. Have you completedyour full recollection of the incident?
Mrs. Paine. That is my recollection of the phone call. He then did come.
Mr. Jenner. And when did he come?
Mrs. Paine. My recollection is that he asked to come--that he worked at Arlington State College on Tuesdays and Thursdays; that he called us on Tuesday and asked to come Thursday, and we said Thursday was not the best time, and he and we agreed upon the following Tuesday.
My best judgment is that he actually came then on the 19th of November.
Mr. Jenner. All right. And how long did he stay?
Mrs. Paine. Oh, perhaps an hour. And I cannot even recall exactly what time, except I think it was right in the middle of when we should have been making dinner.
Mr. Jenner. Did he visit with both you and Marina?
Mrs. Paine. Yes; he did.
Mr. Jenner. And were arrangements made for his return on another occasion?
Mrs. Paine. I cannot recall that we made a specific date, but we certainly planned to get together again.
Mr. Jenner. And was this strictly a social call?
Mrs. Paine. Yes; it was. An interest in the language motivated his coming. He is a teacher of Russian at Arlington State College.
Mr. Jenner. Let's see. Lee Oswald was not home on that occasion.
Mrs. Paine. No; he was not.
Mr. Jenner. I mean he was not in Irving on that occasion.
Mrs. Paine. No; he was not.

Lt. Col JD Wilmeth 
DOB: 10/30/10
West Point, 1934
Duty in Panama as 2nd lt. late 30's.
Military mission to Moscow - 44-45. Military Intelligence
Allied Control Command, Hungary, 1946.
In charge of POW exchange at Odessa - dealt with Russians.
Retired in 1960.
Russian instructor at University of Texas at time of visit to Marina via
Michael Paine's friendship with a co-worker.

[BK Notes: Thanks to Matthew Seeger for digging up this obit]

James D. Wilmeth: Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) - Wednesday, July 23, 1997
Deceased Name: James D. Wilmeth

FORT WORTH - James D. Wilmeth, 86, a retired Army colonel, died Sunday, July 20, 1997, in Fort Worth.

Funeral was at
11 a.m. Tuesday at Greenwood Funeral Home. Burial: Greenwood Memorial Park.
Col. Wilmeth was born
Oct. 30, 1910, in Ballinger. He was a graduate of Fort Worth Central High School, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the University of Texas at Austin. Col. Wilmeth served in World War II in North Africa and in Europe and was also a member of the U.S. Military Mission to Moscow. He also served in Korea and Japan.

He was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation of Germany Medal and the Army of Occupation of Japan Medal.

After his retirement from the military, he was a professor of Russian at the
University of Texas at Arlington for 17 years and established the Russian Language and Soviet Studies program.

After his retirement from UTA, he and his wife traveled extensively throughout the
United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Mr. Wilmeth was a member of Hemphill Presbyterian Church. Survivors: Wife, Frankie K. Wilmeth of Fort Worth; son, James D. Wilmeth Jr. of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and nephews, R. Drew Furgeson and wife, Jody Anderson, of Fort Worth and Jerry Knoll and wife, Dianne, of Oklahoma City, Okla. Greenwood Funeral Home 3100 White Settlement Road, 336-058 

Edition: FINAL AM
Page: 10;11
Copyright (c) 1997 Fort Worth Star-Telegram              

Lt. Col. James D. Wilmeth, "Report on a Visit to Lublin, Poland, 27 February - 28 March 1945," USMMM Subject File, "POWs-Personnel Evacuated Through Odessa," box 22, entry 309, RG 334, NA. TK Nenninger telecon with Brooks E. Kleber (former POW at Oflag 64), 26 July 1995. EX Report No. 576, March 29, 1945, "LtCol. Frederick W. Drury (Oflag 64)," EX Report No. 677, 1 July 1945, "2nd Lt. Richard D. Englehart (Oflag 64)," CPM Branch, WDGS MIS-X, "Interrogations," Subject File, Prisoner of War Information Branch, box 2006, Entry 460A, RG 389, NA. Military Intelligence Service, WDGS, 1 November 1945, "American Prisoners of War in Germany", pp. 35-43 and pp. 93-99, Subject File POW Information Bureau, box 2197, entry 460A, RG 389. MIS-X, WDGS, "Statements of Evacuees from German P/W Camps Reporting Experiences in Russia," 3 April 1945, ETO MIS-X Decimal Correspondence, "383.6-POWs (Allied)", box 9, RG 332. Statement of Colonel F.W. Drury, enclosed with TAG to USMMM, 3 April 1945;

.... Lt Col J.D. Wilmeth, "Report of 3 POWs at ESCOM," 21 February 1945, USMMM Subject File, "POWs," box 23, entry 309, RG 334. Capt. F.C. Fitchen, "Report of 8 Officers from Oflag 64 at Poltava," March 6, 1945, USMMM Subject File, "POWs," box 22, entry 309, RG 334, NA. Published accounts of
the varied experiences of those liberated from Oflag 64 include Howard Randolph Holder, Escape to Russia (Athens, Georgia: Iberian Publishing Co., 1994), and Clarence R. Meltesen, Roads to Liberation From Oflag 64 (San Francisco: Oflag 64 Press, 1990). Military Intelligence Service, WDGS, 1 November 1945, "American Prisoners of War in Germany", pp. 54-63, Subject File POW Information Bureau, box 2197, entry 460A, RG 389, NA. Lt.Col. James D. Wilmeth, "Report on a Visit to Lublin, Poland, 27 February - 28 March 1945," USMMM Subject File, "POWs-Personnel Evacuated Through Odessa," box 22, entry 309, RG 334, NA. EX Report No. 592, 20 April 1945, "Pfc. Billy H. Prichard (Stalag II-B)," EX Report No. 610, 17 May 1945, "MSgt. John M. McMahan (Stalag II-B)," EX Report No. 611, 17 May 1945, "Cpl. Alfred C. Carroll (Stalag II-B0," EX Report No. 612, 17 May 1945, "Pvt. Gunnar S. Drangsholt (Stalag II-B0," EX Report No. 613, 22 May 1945, "Sgt. Warren O. Allen (Stalag II-B)," CPM Branch, WDGS MIS-X, "Interrogations," Subject File, Prisoner of War Information Branch, box 2006, Entry 460A, RG 389, NA. Bob Ryan, "For You the War is Over," in Jane E. Thierry (ed.), Looking Back at War: National Archives Volunteers Remember World War II (Washington: National Archives, 1995), pp. 119-21.

Association of Graduates West Point, NY September / October 1997

Reports of death of graduates and former cadets received since publication of the last issue of ASSEMBLY.
Name: James D. Wilmeth
Class: 1934
Date of Death: 20 Jul 1997
Place of Death: Ft. Worth, TX

Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War
By R. M. Douglas

p. 411  Note  57….; telegram from Lt.-Col. J.D. Wilmeth, ACC (H) to PW & DP Branch, OMGUS, July 23; 1945; 

Footnote 23: Lt. Col James D. Wilmeth "Report on a Visit to Lublin, Poland 27 Feb-28 March, 1945" USMMM Subject Files, "POWs-Personnel Evacuated Through Odessa," box 22 entry 309, RG334, NA

There are two other footnotes that refer to Lt. Col JD Wilmeth in this document.

From a post in - 13 Oct 1998 by Patterson, Dallas Wilmeth is mentioned several times: There are two other footnotes that refer to Lt. Col JD Wilmeth 

 There is a mention of a J.D. wimeth in a document entitled: 1992-1994 FINDINGS OF THE WWII WORKING GROUP The paper discusses how American POWs came into Soviet military custody at the end of WWII, and describes what happened to these men.

From a post in - 13 Oct 1998 by Dallas Patterson: 

"Although Allied authorities, at SHAEF, the War Office in London, the War Department in Washington, and the military mission in Moscow actively gathered information about these camps, the Soviet Army
apparently had little prior knowledge about the location, numbers, and conditions of the Allied POWs they would overrun. An American officer who served as a liaison with the Soviets in Poland declared frankly,
"...the Russian front had no knowledge of the camps prior to their capture." 23

“One source recounts a report from Lt. Colonel James D. Wilmeth, one of only a few American military personnel the Soviet authorities would allow into Soviet occupied Poland for the purpose of contacting
American POWs for repatriation. He spoke with a number of Americans as they were moving or were moved through Lublin. Wilmeth said, "Red Army front line had been using the battle-cry 'on to England.' Everyone in and behind the Red Army front lines was talking about the war between the U.S.S.R., and England and America....(Sanders et al)." Allegedly, many of the American POWs that fell into the hands of the Soviet authorities were interrogated, and thousands of them were held hostage and never repatriated to the United States or Great Britain. Other stories recount how some few Anglo-American POWs took matters into their own hands and escaped Soviet and German authorities to win their freedom in the Anglo-American occupation zones.”

“Stories of impending Soviet hostilities against the Western Allied forces were also reported by these escapees. Senior Soviet commanders and intelligence officers closely questioned American POWs and German POWs about their opinions of the qualities and effectiveness of the Anglo-American air forces versus the Soviet air forces. They also demonstrated a special concern about the effectiveness of German anti-aircraft defenses versus the Anglo-American air forces.”

“In other words, major elements of the Soviet armies believed they were preparing to continue onwards and across the North German Plain to the English Channel. In fact, Anglo-American POWs were in effect held as hostages pending the forcible repatriation of all Soviet citizens present in Allied nations and occupation zones. These indications of hostile intent by the Soviet Union against their Allies were evident in February 1945, and they were a major contribution to the incitement of the Cold War.”

“Stalin was suspicious of the Allies, particularly Churchill, Great Britain, and the Truman Administration. With the Red Army poised and the troops indoctrinated for an invasion of Western Europe, why did Stalin not follow through with such a plan? The answer to that question must always be debated and remain debatable. Nevertheless, if Stalin believed the Soviet economy and manpower deficiencies prohibited the invasion in May to September 1945, why did he consider it feasible in January to May 1945? Perhaps there was no single factor that was persuasive to Stalin. Perhaps it was the combination of a number of factors that persuaded him to rebuild the Soviet economy before embarking on such a conquest of Western Europe.”

“What could some of those factors have been? Knowledge of Soviet weaknesses in food, logistics (including the destroyed road and rail networks), and manpower. Intelligence about the atomic bomb developments from spies in the Manhattan Project persuaded Stalin to adopt a wait and see posture pending proof of the weapon's performance. The destruction wrought by the conventional Anglo-American air forces upon the Axis cities, industries, and military targets came to be more and more respected as Soviet forces and Soviet intelligence occupied and evaluated the Axis ruins. The Soviet capture and confiscation of the American B-29 Superfortress bombers and crews in the Far East territories demonstrated an American strategic bombardment capability towards critical Soviet targets. Anglo-American jet fighter squadrons were becoming operational. The British election replaced Churchill with Atlee, and the British Chiefs of Staff demonstrated a resolve to meet a Soviet invasion with an Anglo-American counter-invasion. Finally, the Anglo-American forces began a demobilization, but this demobilization was poised to reverse its direction if Stalin failed to demobilize as well.”

“Once Stalin began his demobilization, the opportunity for the invasion of Western Europe was lost. The Anglo-American forces were entirelycapable of using their unprecedented land, air, and sea mobility to
successfully conduct mobile defensive and offensive operations while using air interdiction against the Soviet land and sea transport and communications. From Stalin's point of view, the Anglo-Americans could
successfully mobilize and reinforce their armies faster than he could re mobilize the Red Army to invade Western Europe. So, Stalin waited. He waited to build Soviet nuclear weapons, Soviet ballistic missiles, Soviet air forces equipped with jets, and Soviet armies equipped with superior tanks. He waited to see the superior Bolshevist economy equip the Red Army with weapons superior to those of the Anglo-American 'imperialists.' He waited in vain.”

“Perhaps the newspaper story has revealed only a small part of the story, a deception or a real plan designed to forestall the imminent Soviet invasion of Western Europe in 1945-46? Perhaps Stalin considered the sacrifice of millions more of the Soviet populace to famine and other privation as a worthwhile opportunity to Bolshevize Western Europe and exploit their resources and economies for the rebuilding of the Soviet State. After all, the Red Army and Soviet people made the sacrifice to win the Great Patriotic War for Europe,
so the Soviet people were entitled to the compensation from Western Europe (Stalin could have said). Perhaps Stalin relented when a firm Anglo-American resolve and intent to counter-invade a war weakened
Soviet State became known.”

“Whatever the reality of Stalin's intentions and decisions may have been, however,the Soviet armies in Poland and Germany seemed to have some reason to believe they would be in combat against the
Anglo-Americans, just as soon as the Hitlerites were defeated. The Anglo-American intelligence services were informed of this fact by Lt. Colonel Wilmeth and many others. If you were the British Chiefs of
Staff and you wanted to divert the Soviet armies away from the British Army in Germany, wouldn't you plan a diversionary campaign against the enemy's vulnerable flanks with your numerically weaker but
technologically stronger and more mobile forces? Wouldn't you seek to bring about the disaffection of the Muslim populations in the Soviet Union and divert Soviet armies to the southern Soviet republics and away from Western Europe and Great Britain itself? Wouldn't you seek to protect your Iranian and Iraqui oil field supplies against a Soviet refusal to withdraw from the wartime occupation of Iran?”

“These are of course rhetorical questions. This newsgroup can doubtlessly debate these questions into eternity. They are, however, intended only as some of the many such possible explanations for the
reported facts of an impending Soviet invasion of Western Europe. In other words, the newspaper story about a British plan for a post-WWII conflict with the Soviet Union is very likely only a small part of a
much larger puzzle. Attempting to deduce a British motivation and intent from that small piece of the puzzle is probably a futile and exceedingly deceptive exercise. Until more of the necessarily larger story of the Cold War is revealed, it would be wise for all of us to reserve our conclusions and judgements of this piece of that history.”

Dallas Patterson

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