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What Was Double-Chek Corporation?

Read the full story at the above link.

Newspapers in 1961, shortly after the failed Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba, were full of reports of four pilots from Alabama's Air National Guard, who had been killed in two B-26's. Recruited by the CIA in view of her experience of these devices, the men were Thomas Willard Ray, Leo Francis Baker, Riley W. Shamburger, Wade C. Gray--all from Birmingham --part of the hundred members of Brigade 2506 who died. A family history of Shamburger appears at
Riley W. Shamburger, Jr., the oldest of the four fliers, was born in Birmingham on November 17, 1924. He married Marion Jane Graves, his childhood sweetheart. They had dated for twelve years before their marriage, through grammar school and Woodlawn High. After Pearl Harbor, Shamburger quit high school to join the Air Force. (When the war ended he returned and got his diploma.) A combat pilot in World War II and Korea, Shamburger was a big breezy extrovert who loved to fly.

He was a 209-pounder, six feet tall, with 15,000 hours in the air and eighteen years of flying experience by 1961. A test pilot at Hayes, he was also a major in the Alabama Air National Guard, and was its operations officer at the Birmingham airfield. He was also a good friend ofGeneral [George Reid] Doster [commander of the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Birmingham Municipal Airport in Alabama]. Shamburger did well; he owned a substantial home in East Lake.

The Shamburgers were part of a beer-and-barbecue, happy-go-lucky crowd of Air Guardsmen and their wives who frequently socialized together. Aside from flying, Riley liked nothing better than to sit in front of the TV set with a case of beer, eating his favorite food, "parched" (roasted) peanuts. And he liked to barbecue pork chops.

Early in 1961 Riley told his wife: "I'm going to be away at school for three months." He did not say where he was going, but about once a week he returned to Birmingham. He and Doster would fly in together.

Sometimes they would bring news of other Birmingham acquaintances -- such as Colonel Joe Shannon -- who were part of the mysterious operation. Once, when Riley returned for a visit, he told how the boys had rigged up a beer joint in Central America named after their favorite bar in Birmingham. Over the makeshift saloon a pair of red panties flew in the breeze as a cocktail flag.

Shortly before the invasion, Marion sent Riley a present -- a whole cigar box full of parched peanuts.

This, then, is the background of Riley and of how he came to be in Happy Valley on Wednesday, April 19, 1961. On that day four Alabama Pilots volunteered to fly B-26s over the beaches to relieve the exhausted Cuban pilots.

What happened has already been described: Shortly before they took off, the four CIA fliers were told they would receive air support from the carrier-based Navy jets. (The word had been flashed to Happy Valley by Richard Bissell after the President authorized the unmarked Navy jets to fly for one hour at dawn.) Because of the mix-up over time zones, the B-26s got to the Bay of Pigs after the Navy jets had already gone.

Exactly how the two planes were shot down is a subject of varying accounts, but most versions agree that Shamburger and Gray crashed at sea and that Ray and Baker crashed inland.
Part of what happened was told by James Storie, written by Allan T. Duffin, in "Above and Beyond--Mission: Cuba. Status: Top secret," Air & Space Magazine, May 01, 2011. He said that the major recruiter for the mission was Gen. Doster and that the personnel interviewed were from the Hayes Aircraft Corporation in Birmingham, or else active Guardsmen.
We used first names only. I was given a picture of a woman and two kids to go in my billfoldI had no idea who they werealong with other documents that would create a fake identity.
At first we were given just a few vague details about our mission. At each step, a candidate remained only if he continued to sign more secrecy documents. I became pretty sure that we were dealing with the CIA, but this was never acknowledged. We were told how we would be paid and that we could tell no onenot a soulor we would be prosecuted for revealing classified information.

Finally I learned the truth, and why the Guard needed aircraft technicians: We would be training Cuban exiles to fly B-26s for an invasion of Cuba, with the goal of triggering a revolution to overthrow communist dictator Fidel Castro. Since Castro had B-26s in his air force, the theory went, the Cuban population would think that their own military was revolting against Castro and would join the uprising.

After a week of briefings and paperwork, we reported to Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola, Florida. We left Eglin at midnight in a Douglas C-54 with blacked-out windows, flying 50 feet above the water for a very long time. We still did not know where we were going.

The next morning we landed on a dusty airstrip. This was our base. There was nothing there except the runway. It turned out to be Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. I was told that the ground troops for the invasion were being trained in Guatemala while we trained B-26 crews here....
The pilots and crew volunteers were people I had worked with at Hayes Aircraft, except for Joe Shannon. In earlier days I had flown with two of them: Riley Shamburger and Pete Ray, whom I considered a friend.

On April 19, we launched six B-26s, four of them piloted by U.S. crews. Wade Gray was flying with Shamburger and was the first American to go down, in the water. The B-26 piloted by Pete Ray and Leo Baker was the second, going down on land. Both airmen survived but were shot by Castro's soldiers. Only Shannon returned in one piece. The Cuban exiles were unable to sustain the beachhead at the Bay of Pigs and surrendered to Castro's forces....
We returned to Florida in much the same manner we arrived, on a C-54. But the transport's windows weren't blacked out and it flew at a much higher altitude. We were reminded that the operation and our involvement in it were still top secret. We were to use the cover stories originally given us and had the name of a person with the Air Guard to contact in case we thought we were being watched or noticed something unusual. Otherwise, we were told to keep quiet and go on with our regular routines.
Widows of four of the pilots killed reported they were receiving bi-weekly checks from a corporation calledDouble-Chek, headed by a man named Alex E. Carlson. Two years later it was revealed that the pilots had been in the Central Intelligence Agency, and that anti-Castro donors had set up a trust fund for volunteers who participated in the attempted coup to get rid of Castro.

[B][B]When we review a map of the area around Miami Springs, it is impossible not to notice that, just as Curtiss Parkway bisects the Miami Springs Country Club, which is situated directly north, almost abutting, the Miami International Airport, a short distance to the west of the country club is a divided boulevard designated north and south Melrose Drive--leading us to wonder whether that name may have been derived from Paul Helliwell's law partner at Helliwell, Melrose and DeWolfe--Mary Jane Melrose. The two partners are mentioned in numerous books about the CIA's real estate activities in Florida:
  • Masters of Paradise by Alan A. Block;
  • Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys by Peter Evans;
  • In Banks We Trust by Penny Lernoux;
  • Married to the Mouse by Richard E. Fogelsong; and
  • American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan by Peter Dale Scott.

The Double-Chek Corporation would be accused of being the paymaster for the the assassination of President Kennedy by a man who long used the alias of William Torbitt to cover his true identity. In the next post, his identity will be examined.
[B][B]Posted by Linda Minor at [URL=""]1:36 PM [/B][/B]

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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