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Clay Shaw Military Records - John Kowalski - 26-10-2020

Does anyone know where I can obtain a copy of Clay Shaw's military records?

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Peter Lemkin - 26-10-2020

Ask experts on Garrison if he obtained any. One can file a FOIA for someone's military records, but unless you are next of kin, you will get very little indeed. Add to that he was CIA, and expect almost nothing IMHO. There are likely to be bits and pieces, rather than his actual military records in places such as:  and others like that. Here and there they may refer to his  military years. From my own experience trying to get military records for spooks, you do not get much and much of what exists on paper has been fabricated as part of their 'legend'. It is not an easy shot you are trying to make. I wish you luck, but have my doubts on how successful you will be. You are going to have to be very clever and not go at them directly, but indirectly in bits and pieces in books, govt docs of intel agencies, perhaps some of his own papers [his family donated, but military records are NOT listed]. Good luck, you will need it. I doubt any of his living relatives would help you out, but on the small chance you can find one who would, that would make a world of difference, but the false entries [made AT THE TIME] will still be there and you are going to have to be clever enough to tease them out. Of course, some information will be true. I did this with Plumlee and I could write an entire book on how that went and how the docs were not internally consistant in impossible ways. I did that more recently with a superspook who was secret protection for the Manhattan Project and also may have done some interrogations of some of the biggest Nazis the USA secretly interogated. Again, not being a family member, most was denied to me and what I got was not internally consistant with other facts I knew about the man. You are about to enter the 'twilight zone' if you get much of anything. Not impossible, but not at all easy and unlikely the good stuff will be given out at all...but they sometimes slip if you are clever and can spot the contradictions. Most of those, if not all, he served with would now be dead. If I were you, I'd look for snippets in their books and writings and intel files if they mentioned him. It will be a giant jigsaw puzzle and you'll never get all the pieces.

Shaw served as an officer in the United States Army during World War II. He served as secretary to the General Staff and later served in Europe. He was decorated by three nations: the United States with the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star, by France with the Croix de Guerre and named Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merite, and by Belgium named Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Belgium. Shaw was honorably discharged from the United States Army as a major in 1946.[4] [you might try some of the other countries that honored him and see if they have files the CIA has not already removed] 

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RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - John Kowalski - 27-10-2020


Thanks for the info.

Obtaining his records, given his background is going to be challenging. There was a fire at the military records center in 1973 and many personnel files were destroyed. And of course if Shaw's records did survive they will no doubt be heavily redacted, if they release them at all.

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Peter Lemkin - 28-10-2020

A lot of researchers do not believe in the 1973 fire [although that is the official explanation given for 'denying' many requests]. Not all military by any means were involved in intelligence - even military intelligence operations....but some were and many CIA and other three letter agencies hid people inside the military, although they were really totally 'intel'. My point was that other than next of kin certain types of records just can't be had. Some others can be, but you'll have to do your homework and know his DOB and place, date and place of death; which service he was in and sometimes even the unit designation. One thing you can do is there is a searchable database of all those serviceman buried in military cemetaries. They sometimes have a little information about the persons service activities. Tosh and I were hit with the '73 fire line too. Neither Tosh nor I really believed it. I've never seen any local newspaper stories about this fire. Feel Lucky. I've been trying to get some German intelligence files. By German law they are NEVER EVER delassified - not ever!!! to 'mortals' and certainly not to researchers. If you don't have a 'friend' in the intelligence service, you'll never see a single the way, one can fairly easily find online the correct form for ordering the military record of a serviceman. If I remember correctly, they need to be sent to different locations depending on the dates of service. The form is not long and seems straight forward....but the games begin immediately. First, I was told no such person ever existed in the military. I then sent proof and they reluctantly sent me about 100 pages....but nonsensical stuff...NOTHING of where he was nor what he was doing. 100 pages of his height, weight, service number, blah, blah, blah. Good luck. It is different if a direct family member files. For legal trails [like Garrison's] the do produce the papers. For us mortals, they rarely do.

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Magda Hassan - 03-11-2020

If they have been used in any court case they will be in the case files and should be public domain as such unless sealed by the judge. But is this the case with Shaw?

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - John Kowalski - 16-11-2020


Been told that Shaw's lawyer Wegmann may have had a copy and his papers are at NARA.

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Peter Lemkin - 17-11-2020

(03-11-2020, 05:28 AM)Magda Hassan Wrote: If they have been used in any court case they will be in the case files and should be public domain as such unless sealed by the judge. But is this the case with Shaw?

The only court case was Garrison's and his papers are available [but not easy to get all of them....and a few were disappeared or are 'held']. Somewhere on the internet for a while it was possible to download most of them. Barbour may have put them up and may still have them in some electronic form. If the included much on his military life, I don't know. Shaw has never been a major research interest of mine, but I remember hearing his assignments at the end of the War were interrogating some top Axis captives and working along with those who set up Gladio in which his ITM played a role - if my memory serves me...but ALMOST NONE of that would be available in government docs you will doesn't work like that.

You likely should look at Mellen, Joan. A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History. Washington DC: Potomac Books, 2007 for any hints on Shaw. Joan is a a very good researchers and knew Garrison personally. One of Garrison's lower level researchers is still around and lives in the L.A. area. I have his contact, but he is a strange guy and not likely to help out much. Sadly, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation of JFK researchers have died or are old and not active much. A few still push on and others have taken their material and run with it. There is a lot out there, but finding it is another thing. Things at NARA are MUCH more difficult to get than they once were if on 'sensitive' topics. NARA has a website where you can search by a persons name...don't expect it to pull up even 5% of what they have on a person, though. Some of it is readable online. Much of it you must go to NARA or hire someone who is a researcher there to get things for you for a fee. FOIA lawsuits now are not very productive if the materials weren't previously provided someone else.

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - John Kowalski - 17-11-2020


Contacted Joan Mellon from her website she did not respond. Do you have her personal email address? My best option is the Garrison papers at NARA. If I can't find them there, then I doubt I will find them anywhere else.

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Peter Lemkin - 19-11-2020

(17-11-2020, 05:30 PM)John Kowalski Wrote: Peter:

Contacted Joan Mellon from her website she did not respond. Do you have her personal email address? My best option is the Garrison papers at NARA. If I can't find them there, then I doubt I will find them anywhere else.

They do exist in other places and NARA has embedded in it CIA and other intel people who make certain papers disappear or so they can not be found by mortals without security clearances. That said, you might get something there. I have Joan's personal email, but she doesn't like me giving it out lightly - sorry. Ask Barbour. Another idea is to look [don't think there is any way to search] if someone spoke about where Garrison or Shaw papers are on Black Op Radio. Jim DiEugenio might also have some idea. There are pieces in many more places than you suspect, for example just one:

RE: Clay Shaw Military Records - Peter Lemkin - 19-11-2020

Clay Lavergne Shaw was born on March 17, 1913, in Kentwood, Louisiana, a small town near the Mississippi border, to Glaris and Alice Shaw. An only child, Shaw moved with his parents to New Orleans when he was five. He attended public schools, including Warren Easton High School, from which he graduated in 1928. His career goal was to be a writer, but in order to make a living, he went to work as manager for the local office of Western Union.

In 1935, Shaw was transferred by Western Union to New York City, where he took courses at Columbia University, and became district manager of Western Union's mid-city area, overseeing approximately forty branch offices. He left Western Union to pursue a career as a freelance public relations and advertising writer, and subsequently accepted a position with the prestigious Lee-Keedick Lecture Bureau.

With the onset of World War II, Shaw enlisted in the US Army and was assigned to the Medical Corps as a private. He trained at the Medical Administration Officers' Candidate School in Abilene, Kansas, received his commission as a second lieutenant, and was shipped off to England.

After a stint as Administrative Officer with the 127th General Hospital Unit, he was transferred to the Supply Corps and made aide de camp to General Charles Thrasher, Commanding Officer of the United States Forces in the southern half of England. He was soon promoted to be Thrasher's Deputy Chief, and continued on with Thrasher when the general took command of forces in northern France and Belgium. According to Shaw, his unit was responsible for stockpiling supplies for the Normandy invasion. He would later credit his organizational skills to the time he spent coordinating supplies for three armies at that time.

At the time of his discharge in 1946, Shaw had reached the rank of major and received decorations from three nations. In Belgium he was named Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Belgium; from France he was the recipient of the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merite and the Croix de Guerre; from the United States he received the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit.