John Rousselot

John Rousselot

John Rousselot was born in Los Angeles, California, on 1st November, 1927. Educated in schools in San Marino and Pasadena, he worked for a while as an insurance agent. This was followed by the post of assistant to public relations director, Pacific Finance Corporation (1954-58) and an employee of the Federal Housing Administration.

A member of the Republican Party and the John Birch Society, Rousselot was elected to the 87th Congress (1961-63). He was relected in 1970 and held the seat for 13 years.

In 1975 Harry Dean claimed he had been an undercover agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1962 he infiltrated the John Birch Society. He later reported that Rousselot and General Edwin Walker had hired two gunman, Eladio del Valle and Loran Hall, to kill President John F. Kennedy. However, Dean was unable to provide any evidence to back up his claim.

After being defeated in 1982 Ronald Reagan appointed him President of the National Council of Savings Institutions (1985-88).

John Rousselot died in Tenet, California on 11th May, 2003.

Harry Dean, an ex-employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, has marble-hard proof that Republican Congressman John Rousselot from California's 26th Congressional District, and former Army General Edwin A. Walker of Dallas, engineered the death of John F. Kennedy. At the time, Rousselot was western director of the John Birch Society and Walker was a member of the right wing organization.

The ex-agent has an avalanche of evidence, including several tape recordings of Rousselot and Walker making threats against President Kennedy's life...

The former agent infiltrated the John Birch Society for several months and gathered first-hand information about the group's activities including plans of certain members to kill the 35th president of the United States.

He said Rousselot and Walker convinced other members of the Birch Society that a "dirty communist" tag should be placed on John Kennedy and that he should be marked for death to save the United States from "falling into Red hands."

Dean said (General Walker also was obsessed with hatred for both John and Robert Kennedy and had a "personal grudge" to settle.

"When Robert Kennedy was attorney general he ordered his aides to imprison Walker in a Federal mental institution at Springfield, Missouri, following Walker's involvement in the racial disorders in 1962 at Oxford,

Mississippi." Dean said.

"In fact, Walker's clothing was torn off him and he was thrown naked into a military airplane and flown to Missouri. Robert Kennedy then leaked stories to the news media that Walker was a mental case," the ex-agent said...

"I attended many meetings of the John Birch Society prior to the assassination in 1963 and I heard details of the Kennedy kill plan being discussed each time we met," Dean said.

"I know that John Rousselot organized the murder plot and with other right-wingers financed it. General Walker ramrodded and trained the hired guns, Dean said.

"I was with a man in September 1963 when he picked up $10,000 from Rousselot. The money was taken to Mexico City to help finance the murder of Mr. Kennedy'. The assassination planning team operated out of Mexico City for several weeks before the president was shot in Dallas," Dean added

Dean said that he has been staying behind the scenes for many years and that his family has lived in constant fear.

"My wife and children have gone through hell. The life of a government undercover agent isn't the glorified one as depicted on television and in the movies.

"Now, however, I have decided to bring out the truth regardless of the price. I can't keep living with this horrible burden on my conscious. It haunts me day and night," the former agent said.

Dean said many persons will ask why he waited so long to reveal the facts about the Kennedy assassination which occurred almost 12 years ago.

"The truth of the matter is. I told my superiors about this plot when I first learned of the details, but they ignored it," Dean added.

The former agent said all the articles printed in recent weeks about the CIA and the Mafia masterminding the Kennedy murder are like the "Mother Goose and Little Red Riding Hood" stories . entertaining, but not factual.

"The news media has been playing right into the hands of the real Kennedy killers by creating a smoke screen which continues to hide them from justice," Dean said...

"If the assassins had attempted to shoot Mr. Kennedy at the Trade Mart, they would either have been killed or captured because the whole area was crawling with federal officers who were heavily armed. Lee Harvey Oswald, working as a federal security agent, had performed his job well," Dean said.

John Rousselot: The Most Successful Bircher

Although the 1960 election was a loss for Richard Nixon against John F. Kennedy, House Republicans made gains in Congress, a rebound from the disastrous 1958 midterm elections. One of the victors was John Rousselot of San Marino, California, director of a successful public relations firm. Rousselot quickly became regarded as one of the most conservative members of Congress and was one of two at the time who were members of the John Birch Society. From educational television to public works, he opposed just about everything John F. Kennedy was for. Although Rousselot had suffered polio in childhood and walked with a limp as a result, it didn’t stop him from playing on the Congressional baseball team. He was a rising star in the conservative movement, but his vigorous defense of the John Birch Society and redistricting cost him reelection in 1962. He subsequently served as the organization’s director of public relations and in 1964 he released a record titled “The Third Color”, in which he argued that the civil rights movement had been thoroughly infiltrated by communists…the line the John Birch Society was pushing at the time. In 1970, Congressman Glen Lipscomb died of cancer and Rousselot ran to fill the vacancy, easily prevailing in the conservative district. Through his friendly and good-natured personality, he was able to gain more influence in Congress and in 1974 he helped his friend, liberal Republican Pete McCloskey of San Mateo, California, win renomination. Rousselot pushed for balanced budgets, deregulation, and reducing the growth of the food stamp program while in Congress.

In 1979, Rousselot left the John Birch Society as he was mulling a Senate campaign, citing both Robert Welch’s leadership claim that Dwight Eisenhower was a communist and that he didn’t want to be viewed as being beholden to any organization. He ultimately opted not to challenge Democrat Alan Cranston the following year, but he managed to piss off a powerful political actor: Phil Burton. In 1980, Rousselot recruited a strong candidate who came close to defeating Phil’s brother, John, in his San Francisco district. In retaliation, Phil Burton, who played a major role in California redistricting, had Rousselot redistricted into a Democratic Latino district. Although he valiantly tried to hold on to the seat in the 1982 midterms, including having his wife deliver a speech in Spanish, he was defeated. President Reagan subsequently tapped Rousselot to be one of his advisors. He subsequently served as head of the National Council of Savings Institutions. In 1992, Rousselot attempted a comeback, but his connections with convicted fraudster Charles Keating harmed him as he was linked to the industry’s collapse in 1987 and he lost the GOP nomination.

Rousselot died in 2003, and he stands ultimately as the most successful politician who was in the John Birch Society. John Schmitz served less than two full terms in Congress, Edgar Hiestand served ten years in Congress, and Larry McDonald, who served eight years as a Democrat from Georgia, was on KAL 007, an airplane shot down by the Soviets the year he became chair of the society.


John Rousselot, a conservative California Republican who a congressman for 14 years, a regional and national officer of the John Birch Society and a lobbyist who tried to buy Charles Keating's failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, died Sunday. He was 75.

Mr. Rousselot, of Mission Viejo, Calif., died at Irvine Medical Center of congestive heart failure, said his son, Craig. He said his father had suffered a heart attack a year ago.

He first won office in 1960, when he ousted incumbent Democratic Rep. George Kasem in the 25th District. But he was so outspoken in defending the right-wing Birch Society, which he had just joined, that he failed to win re-election. In 1970, he was returned to Washington for six two-year terms in the 26th District, which included his native San Marino, Calif.

The congressman's elective status ended in 1982 after redistricting threw him into a new 30th District that was redrawn to elect a Democrat and Hispanic. Too long out of office and tainted by his association with Keating, Mr. Rousselot failed in a 1992 comeback campaign for the 25th District.

In Congress, Mr. Rousselot became active on the Banking and Currency Committee and later the Economic and Budget and Ways and Means Committees, where he opposed spending and tax increases, proposed cuts in the food stamp program and worked for deregulation of the savings and loan industry. He also advocated U.S. military occupation of Cuba two years before the Cuban Missile Crisis.

First turned out of Congress in 1963, Mr. Rousselot was named regional director of the Birch Society, heading the group in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho from an office in San Marino. He also served as national Birch Society public relations chairman.

But he resigned from the Birch Society in 1979 when he was contemplating running for the Senate--a step he didn't take--"to demonstrate to the citizens of California that I am my own man, controlled by no organization or individual." He also said he had become disillusioned because Birch Society founder Robert Welch had besmirched former President Dwight Eisenhower as a communist agent.

After Mr. Rousselot left Congress for good, he spent 1983 in the Reagan White House as special assistant for business matters and then served as Western states coordinator for President Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign.

From 1985-88, Mr. Rousselot was president of the National Council of Savings Institutions, a Washington-based lobbying group for banks and savings and loans. He worked to enable savings institutions to expand their business beyond mortgage lending.

John Rousselot -- Birch Society's congressman

John H. Rousselot, the conservative California Republican who served in Congress for 14 years, was a regional and national officer of the John Birch Society and a lobbyist who tried to buy Charles H. Keating Jr.'s failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Co., died May 11. He was 75.

Mr. Rousselot of Mission Viejo died at Irvine Medical Center of congestive heart failure, said his son, Craig. He said his father had a heart attack a year ago.

An affable glad-hander and energetic campaigner, Mr. Rousselot was both controversial and colorful as he surfed the changing waves of political power as public relations expert, legislator or lobbyist.

He first gained office in 1960 when he ousted incumbent Democratic Rep. George Kasem in the 25th District. But he was so outspoken in defending the right-wing Birch Society, which he had just joined, that he failed to win re- election.

In 1970, he was returned to Washington for half a dozen two-year terms in the 26th District, which included his native San Marino (Los Angeles County).

The congressman lost in 1982, after redistricting threw him into a new 30th District, which was shaped to elect a Democrat and Hispanic.

Too long out of office and tainted by his association with Keating, Mr. Rousselot failed in a 1992 comeback campaign for the 25th District.

In Congress, he became active on the Banking and Currency Committee, and later the Economic and Budget and Ways and Means committees, where he staunchly opposed spending and tax increases, proposed cuts in the food stamp program and worked for deregulation of the savings and loan industry. He also advocated U.S. military occupation of Cuba two years before the Cuban missile crisis.

As then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and others criticized the Birch Society in the early 1960s, freshman Rep. Rousselot defended the group: "They are calm, firm, dedicated people who are merely trying to inform themselves about communism."

If Kennedy read the group's "blue book," Mr. Rousselot told the Los Angeles Times in 1961, he'd know that "one of the main purposes of each chapter is to keep its members and guests who attend fully informed as to the nature, purpose and intent of the communist conspiracy in this country."

First turned out of Congress in 1963, Mr. Rousselot was named regional director of the Birch Society -- heading the group in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho from an office in San Marino. He also served as national Birch Society public relations chairman.

But he resigned from the Birch Society on April 17, 1979, when he was contemplating running for the U.S. Senate (he didn't), "to demonstrate to the citizens of California that I am my own man, controlled by no organization or individual."

He also said that he had become disillusioned because Birch Society founder Robert Welch had besmirched President Dwight Eisenhower as a communist agent and Winston Churchill as a traitor.


Although Principia College was born out of The Principia, founded by Mary Kimball Morgan in 1898, the name Principia was not adopted until the year 1898. [4] As Morgan's school grew, the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, approved The Principia's reference as a Christian Science school. [4] Emerging from the Principia Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools founded between 1898 and 1906, Principia College was established with a purpose of "serving the Cause of Christian Science through appropriate channels open to it as an educational institution." [5] [6] The college, however, has no official affiliation with the Christian Science Church and Christian Science is not taught as a subject, but its principles form the basis of community life at Principia. [7] The first Upper School class graduated in 1906 and it is from this class that a junior college was established, whose first alumni graduated in 1917. Principia College has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1923. [8]

Following this time period, architect Bernard Maybeck was commissioned to design a new college campus in Elsah, Illinois and by 1931 ground was broken on what would become Maybeck's largest commission. [9] [10]

In 1934, Principia College graduated its first class as a full four-year institution and in 1935 the college was officially moved to its present-day location in Elsah. On April 19, 1993, about 300 acres (120 ha) of the campus was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior. The year 1998 marked centennial celebrations by the school. The Principia College campus was once considered as the site for the United States Air Force Academy though ultimately the Air Force chose a location in Colorado Springs, Colorado, instead.

Principia College offers twenty-seven majors in the liberal arts and sciences. The college does not currently offer a graduate program. The most popular majors include mass communication, biology, sociology, anthropology, studio and fine art, and business administration. [11] [12]

Principia offers various Study Abroad & Field Programs, International Student Programs, Conferences, and International Student Experiences. [13] [14]

In their 2019 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Principia #83 (up from #139 in 2014) among all National Liberal Arts Colleges, and #5 in the category of "Best Value Schools". As of 2019, Principia College's annual tuition costs were $29,470, with additional costs of $11,610 for room and board (99% of freshmen lived on campus in 2018-19). In 2017, the school had an acceptance rate above 90%. [15]

Housing and student life facilities Edit

There are ten student dormitories on campus: Anderson Hall, Rackham Court, Howard House, Sylvester House, Buck House, Brooks House, Ferguson House, Joe McNabb, Lowrey House, and Clara McNabb. The first six mentioned were designed by former University of California, Berkeley professor and AIA Gold Medal winner Bernard Maybeck in 1935, as was the campus' chapel. [16] Maybeck attempted to use different architectural styles and building techniques for each of these dormitories and for the chapel. In an effort to ensure success with his designs and materials, he experimented with them through the creation of a small building known affectionately by Principians as the "Mistake House." [ citation needed ] In celebration of the 2018 Illinois Bicentennial, the Principia College Campus was selected as one of the Illinois 200 Great Places [17] by the American Institute of Architects Illinois component (AIA Illinois).

Principia College has a diverse student composition and amount of organizations given its size. 20% of its students are international and represent thirty countries on six of the world's seven continents. [18] [ failed verification ] The college has forty student clubs and organizations, among these the Euphrates and Leadership institutes. [18] [19] The Public Affairs Conference at the college is one of oldest student-led conferences in America and has been held annually since 1939. [20] The Principia College Speaker Series is a group of past, present, and future events that has featured United States President Barack Obama, American statesmen and retired four-star general Colin Powell, former United States president George H.W. Bush, former United States president Jimmy Carter, American author and poet Maya Angelou, David McCullough, Elie Wiesel, American actor and director Robert Duvall, Val Kilmer, Coretta Scott King, and Margaret Thatcher among others. [21] In addition to the Public Affairs Conference Principia College holds an International Perspectives Conference with a focus on global issues such as human rights in Africa. [22]

Technology Edit

Of the technological programs present at Principia College, most prevalent and distinguished is its study in solar energy. The college has competed in solar car world events since 1995 and finished second in the North American Solar Challenge of 2008 and seventh in the World Solar Challenge of 2009. [23]

Athletics Edit

Principia College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). The Principia Panther is the official mascot of Principia College and has been since its change from the Indian in 1984. [4] There are sixteen varsity athletic teams at Principia College of which men's sports are baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and rugby and women's sports include basketball, cross country, beach volleyball, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball. [18]

In 1983, the women's tennis team won the NCAA Division III national championship. [4]

In 2013, the men's rugby team won the first ever Open Division USA Rugby 7s Collegiate National Championship, beating the University of Wisconsin-Stout 27-12 in the championship match. [24]

In Memory

John Rousselot, the conservative Republican and John Birch Society official who represented the San Marino area in Congress for 14 years, died Saturday at Irvine Medical Center. He was 75 and had been in failing health since suffering a heart attack in July, said Robin Edwards, his daughter.

Rousselot's association with the then-San Marino-based John Birch Society, which eventually alienated even most conservatives by accusing hallowed figures like Dwight Eisenhower and Winston Churchill of being in league with Communists, contributed to his re-election defeat in 1962 after one term in Congress. From 1963 to 1967, Rousselot worked as a paid spokesperson for the John Birch Society. He resigned from the organization in 1979 when he launched a short-lived campaign for the U.S. Senate. He represented much of the West San Gabriel Valley as a congressman from 1970 until 1982, when redistricting destroyed the conservative majority that had consistently re-elected him.

Despite his far-right politics, Rousselot was well-liked by colleagues on both side of the aisle in an era in which partisan politics still maintained a veneer of civility, said Pete McCloskey, a congressional colleague and close friend from their days at South Pasadena/San Marino High School in the early 1940s.

McCloskey, a Republican whose relatively liberal beliefs meant his political stances were frequently at odds with those of his classmate, credits Rousselot with putting aside their differences and single-handedly saving his career during the 1974 elections.

When Gerald Ford threatened to pull out of an important appearance on McCloskey's behalf unless he shared the podium with a conservative Republican, Rousselot, who had just flown to Washington from the West Coast, immediately got on another plane and headed back to San Jose.

"He got off the plane at Dulles, got on another plane an hour later and flew back,' McCloskey recalled. "Nobody in the world would do that. But he did it for an old friend with whom he disagreed politically.'

The John Birch Society found a fitting home on Mission Street in notoriously conservative San Marino and a fitting spokesman in Rousselot.

"Most people in San Marino really thought pretty much the same way Rousselot did,' said Paul Crowley, a high school classmate who is president of the San Marino Historical Society and a former city councilman. "He was a little more to the right of everybody. But if he had been a wild-eyed liberal, he wouldn't have been that popular.'

Rousselot grew up in San Marino, graduating from high school in 1945 with a class that included McCloskey and future Pasadena Star-News editor and columnist Charles Cherniss.

Rousselot loved sports, but a childhood bout with polio had left him disabled, and he had to content himself with being a team manager rather than an active participant, classmates recalled. "He was a sports nut, but he couldn't play,' Crowley said. "He carried equipment bags around for guys, but he had trouble even doing that.'

Rousselot graduated from Principia College in Illinois and worked in the insurance business before he was elected to his first term in Congress in 1960 at the age of 33.

He is survived by his first wife, Marilyn Spencer second wife, Vyonne Rousselot a son, Craig Rousselot of Irvine two daughters, Robin Edwards of Lake Forest and Wendy Sirugo of San Dimas and five grandchildren.

Ex-Congressman Seeks Comeback in 25th District : Politics: John H. Rousselot, once a John Birch Society official, has established a residence in Lancaster to seek the GOP nomination to the U. S. House.

John H. Rousselot, the former California congressman who once was an official of the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, said Friday that he hopes to make a political comeback by running for Congress in northern Los Angeles County.

Since he lost a 1982 congressional reelection bid, Rousselot has worked as a Washington lobbyist and assistant to former President Ronald Reagan.

Rousselot said he rented a home in Lancaster last week and is obtaining political advice from veteran Republican strategist Stu Spencer in preparation for a run in the 25th Congressional District.

Rousselot faces several other conservative Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the vast district, which covers the northern half of Los Angeles County. Among them are former Los Angeles County Assessor John Lynch, Santa Clarita City Councilman Howard (Buck) McKeon and Assemblyman Phillip Wyman (R-Tehachapi).

Rousselot, 64, was public relations director and West Coast governor for the John Birch Society before resigning in 1979 while gearing up to run against U. S. Sen. Alan Cranston--a move that a Birch spokesman criticized as political opportunism designed to make Rousselot look more moderate.

Rousselot said he quit after the organization’s founder, Robert Welch, charged that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower had been a Communist agent and that Winston Churchill was a traitor to England.

One GOP political consultant said Rousselot has two major political liabilities: low name recognition among voters due to his long absence from local politics and his links to the scandal-ridden savings and loan industry.

First elected to Congress in 1960, Rousselot served seven terms before losing in 1982 to Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D-Monterey Park) in a heavily Democratic district stretching from Bell Gardens to Azusa. Rousselot opted to run in that district after his district was carved up in the 1982 congressional reapportionment.

In 1983, Rousselot joined the Reagan White House as a special assistant for business matters. He served as Western states campaign coordinator during Reagan’s successful 1984 reelection drive.

From 1985 to 1988, Rousselot was president of the National Council of Savings Institutions, a Washington-based lobbying group for banks and savings and loans.

In 1989, he headed an investors group that tried to buy troubled Lincoln Savings & Loan from Charles Keating. Keating was convicted in Los Angeles in December of securities fraud stemming from the sale of junk bonds through Lincoln branches.

Rousselot’s attempted purchase of Lincoln fell through after federal regulators seized the S & L in April, 1989, saying its assets were dissipated and it was being run in a financially unsound manner. It was the largest thrift collapse in U. S. history.

Rousselot agreed that his opponents may try to attack him for his S & L ties but said he is “not defensive . . . at all” about them.

“I did nothing illegal, improper or unwarranted during the time I was president” of the savings industry association, he said.

Since 1989, Rousselot has been a Washington lobbyist, representing Bank of America, a California trucking firm, a company that processes Medi-Cal bills, the state of Nevada and other clients.

Paul Clarke, a GOP political consultant who has run campaigns in the San Fernando Valley, said that although he views Rousselot as “the ultimate straight-shooter,” his S&L background is bound to become a campaign issue.

“Someone artful in campaign mail will say, ‘Well, he had dealings with Lincoln and you know what happened to its president,’ ” Clarke said. “They’ll make the innuendo. Somebody will bring it up, fair or not.”

He also said Rousselot, although he is a well-known political figure and has represented a large part of the 25th District in the past, probably has low name identification among local voters as a result of living in the Washington area for so many years.

Rousselot said he was repeatedly urged to run by Vice President Dan Quayle and local Republican and Democratic leaders.

He said he will emphasize his congressional experience, his support for a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget and for continued production of the B-2 bomber, which is assembled at a Northrop Corp. plant in Palmdale.

Bob Rousselot Collection

This collection contains ephemera, booklets, images, clippings, and personal correspondence that were created and/or collected by Robert E. Rousselot during his career with CAT. The Bob Rousselot Collection is housed in two boxes of varying sizes totaling 1.8 linear ft.

The collection arrived in fair condition and was initially processed with only a container list as description. Due to a change of the content management system, further description proved to be necessary.

Box 1, Folder 1 contains CAT calendars, travel brochures for Bangkok, Taiwan, and Hong Kong Rousselot’s business cards, a booklet titled Claire Lee Chennault. An Appreciation. Delivered in Chinese at a Memorial Service Held at the International House, Taipei by George K. C. Yeh, obituary Unveiling Ceremony of Memorial Statue of Lt. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault by Her Excellency Madame Chian Kai-Shek , invitation to the memorial ceremony and a Taiwan Gold and Country Club membership directory.

Folder 2 contains images depicting the CCAA Aircraft Dispatchers Ground School and their graduation class of 1963 during the ceremonies the Weihsien rescue mission Vice President-AGM, Tsingtao Airport Tower stranded CAT pilots the Stewardess Exchange Program Rousselot at the controls of a C-46 Rousselot with the Nelson Rockefeller family James McGovern Luichow Base Joseph Rosbert in-flight wedding head office staff Haichow Survey Flight Grand Hotel in Taipei Gen. Claire L. Chennault DC-6 flight crew Dave Hickler Col. Hsiao and Col. H. Y. Lai CAT staff CAT milestone: 24,000 miles of continuous flying Cheelo University Cattle Airlift Bob and Ann Rousselot Bell Model 47 helicopter the 5th Annual CAT Traffic and Sales Conference and negatives of the Operations personnel’s party in honor of Capt. R. E. Rousselot, VPO by Richard Hsieh.

Folder 3 contains an investigation report regarding a typhoon hitting CAT’s Tainan, Taiwan Weather Station, including a note from Rousselot to former Dean of UT Dallas Libraries, Dr. Larry Sall.

Folder 4 contains personal correspondence between Rousselot and his parents Lelia and Thomas Rousselot, and other individuals, as well as Lelia Rousselot to Felix Smith. Topics are family matters, the China and Hong Kong uprising, the status of CNAC and CAT airline in China. Some letters have Rousselot’s notes about the content a narrative “The Ballad of Earthquake McGoon,” and ephemera.

Folder 5 contains clippings about CAT, Gen. Claire L. Chennault, and Bob Rousselot, as well as a picture depicting Rousselot, Planke, CAT Director of Public Relations, and members of the Wally Buford family.

Folder 6 contains a note describing an image. Image is missing.

Folder 7 contains articles, newsletters, and excerpts about Whiting Willauer, George Doole, James McGovern, and Wallace Buford.

Folder 8 and 9 contain clippings about CAT’s 15th anniversary, the 1st anniversary of Mandarin Jet service, Rousselot, and other world events.

Folder 10 contains a note to Jim Kelly.

Folder 11 contains images, articles, clippings, correspondence, an obituary, and narrative about Bill Yarbrough’s death.

Folder 12 contains an obituary about Rousselot.

Box 2, Folder 1 contains an issue of Collier’s magazine including an article “World’s Most Shot-at Air Line” by John Denson and Charlotte Knight telling the story of CAT.

Folder 2 contains two images: One, 1RER-2-2-PB1, depicts participants of a Christmas party commemorating Gen. Chennault’s last trip to Taiwan in 1948. The back of the image identifies people and location. The other, 1RER-2-2-PB2, is a sketch by Henry Jonbioux from 1951, depicting James McGovern’s likeness holding his belly and having wings attached to his back implicating McGovern being in heaven.

John Rousselot - History

CAT/Air America Oral History Interviews

These CAT/Air America Oral History Interviews are part of

The Oral History Project at the Vietnam Center and Archive

Texas Tech University

The following pages contain interview transcripts and audio recordings. In some instances there is one file but not the other.

Vang Bee (RLAF) Vang Bee served in the Royal Laos Air Force as a T-28 pilot. Interview conducted by Roger Warner.

Frank Bonansinga (USN, Air America) Frank Bonansinga entered service as a Midshipman Naval Aviator in 1949. While in the Navy, Frank flew various propeller aircraft and was checked out in a jet before leaving in 1955. After leaving the Navy, Frank went to work with Raytheon where he flew as a test pilot for ten years and was elected into The Society for Experimental and Test Pilots for his work there. Frank left Raytheon in 1965 and served with Air America as a fixed wing pilot. He flew a number of aircraft and missions over Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos from 1965 to 1973. Later he flew in Latin America.

Marius Burke (USMC, Air America) Marius Burke served as a helicopter pilot with the United States Marine Corps from 1958-1963. He then joined Air America and served as a helicopter pilot in Southeast Asia until 1975. Marius was present during the last hours and participated in the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975. The first draft of the transcript of this interview is still being reviewed. Check back soon to view it online.

Robert Caron Robert Caron discusses his experiences as a rotory- and fixed-wing pilot in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Caron also relates his experiences as a helicopter pilot with Air America in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, including his role in the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975.

Tony Durizzi (Air America) (CAT) (SAT) Tony Durizzi flew with Air America, CAT, and SAT from 1960 to 1968. He served in Vientiane from 1960 to 1965 as a Captain on C-46, C-123, Caribou, and T-28. His missions included supply airdrops and other support missions. He then served in Tachikawa, Japan, from 1965-1968, as a Captain of a DC-6, C-46, and DC-4 and later served in Naha, Okinawa as Captain of a P2V-7 (Skyhook). OH0171

Nikki Fillipi (USA, Air America) Nikki Fillipi joined the US Army in 1955 and served in military intelligence. He later attended Army helicopter flight training and served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam in 1965. While in Vietnam, he participated in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and also served in the Mekong Delta supporting ARVN operations. Nikki resigned from the Army in 1966 and joined Air America. He served with Air America in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam from 1967 to 1975 and participated in the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975. This interview covers various aspects of these experiences to include his US Army service, Air America SAR operations, and his service with Air America in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. This interview is ongoing. Please check back to see when the transcript is available.

Larry Fraser (USMC, Air America, Arizona Helicopters, Bird Air, ) Larry Fraser served as a pilot in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. He served with HMM 362 in Chu Lai. After leaving the USMC in 1967, Mr. Fraser served with Air America in Udorn Thailand from 1968 to 1973. He later flew for Arizona Helicopters, and Bird Air.

Norman Gardner (USA, CIA) Norm Gardner served with the 5th Special Forces Group near Nha Trang, Republic of Vietnam, from 1965 to 1966. He then went to work for the Central Intelligence Agency and served in Laos.

Leigh Coleman Hotujec (Air America, USAID, DAO/SA-JANAF) Leigh Coleman went to Southeast Asia with her family in 1962. Ben Coleman, Leigh’s father, served as an Air America pilot in Thailand, Taiwan, and Laos. Leigh served as an English teacher with USAID and later worked with the Defense Attaches Office. (This interview is still in progress).

Bill Lair (CIA) Bill Lair served with the Central Intelligence Agency in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam from 1951 to 1980. He established the Paru (The Thai Paramilitary Police Unit) and Paru Jungle Training Facility. The Paru later served as a model for the War in Laos and Paru members served as the primary trainers for the Hmong and other Laotian forces. The interview covers Bill Lair's early life growing up in Texas as well as his experiences as a mortar platoon member in the 3rd Armored Division during WWII. Most of the interview covers events and activities in Southeast Asia. OH0200

James MacFarlane (Air America) (Bird and Son) (CASI) Jim MacFarlane joined the Connecticut Army National Guard in 1958 where he received fixed-wing and rotary wing training. In 1962 he was hired by Air America to fly the DeHavilland DHC-2 (Beaver) in Thailand and Laos. He served with Air America until October 1962 and was then hired by Bird and Son to fly several aircraft to include the Dornier DO-28 (Skyservant). He flew in Thailand and Laos with Bird and Son from 1963 to 1965 and then worked for Continental Air Services, Incorporated, in Vietnam for most of 1966. After leaving CASI in 1966, Jim returned to the US and flew commercial aircraft where his duties included flying men and material to and from Vietnam. OH0208

Ted Mauldin Ted Mauldin served in Vietnam and Laos as a pilot with Air America from 1966 to 1974.

John McRainey (USA) (Air America) (AMR) John McRainey served with the United States Army from 1954 to 1957. After earning his private pilots license, John went to work for Air America and served in South Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia. He later worked for American Airlines and as a pilot for a private contractor in Latin America. OH0182

Sandra McRainey (Air America) Sandra McRainey lived in Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos when her husband, John McRainey, and their children. This interview talks about their life together and focuses on the experiences of family members of Air America personnel who lived overseas during the Wars in Southeast Asia. OH0181

Judy Porter (Air America, USAID) Judy Porter served in Southeast Asia with her husband Jack Porter. While in Thailand and Laos, Judy engaged in a number of photographic projects involving USAF, USAID, and Air America activities. This interview is complete and is being transcribed. Check back periodically to see the transcript online. Click on Judy's name above to view her other online collections.

Joseph Rosbert Joe Rosbert served with the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force, also known as the "Flying Tigers," and with Civil Air Transpoirt (CAT).

Felix Smith Felix Smith served with the American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force, also known as the "Flying Tigers," and with Civil Air Transpoirt (CAT).

Les Strouse (USAF, Air America) Les Strouse served with the United States Air Force until 1964 and worked for Air America in Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1975. This interview is complete and a transcript is available. We conducted this interview over the internet using instant messenger. There is no audio recording, only a transcript.

MacAlan Thompson Mac Thompson served with International Voluntary Services (IVS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Laos from 1966 to 1975.

Ben Van Etten (USA) Ben Van Etten served with the United States Army in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966. After returning to the US and working at Fort Wolters as a helicopter instructor pilot, he went to work for Air America in 1968. He served in Thailand and Laos from 1968 until 1972 flying the H-34.

The Vietnam Center and Archive Oral History Project is interviewing anyone who worked or lived in Southeast Asia in connection with Civil Air Transport and Air America. We would like to interview employees as well as their family members. If you would like to participate in this project, please contact the webmaster at

Ronald Reagan “Most Terrifying Words – ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” Quote or No Quote?

So many short statements, quotes, and even off-hand phrases and jokes become engraved in stone as wisdom when they’re uttered by someone whom a large part of society already considers a hero or sage. Even the most facile and simple utterances become maxims when they happen to have come out of the mouths of Gandhi, Churchill, Lincoln, Einstein, and Mark Twain. I think this cultural habit is already extreme, problematic, and sometimes dangerous, as I’ve explained in many of these Quote or No Quote shows. But this societal tendency seems to be getting worse and more intense with the expansion of the internet and social media. One day I fully expect the most mundane of statements, “I need to tie my shoes” to be attributed to Einstein, and then quoted as scientific wisdom to guide us through this millennium and help us slow down climate change.

Such is the case with this statement made by President Ronald Reagan at that press conference in 1986. Reagan summarized his long-held suspicions about the effectiveness and morality of the role of government in people’s lives by saying, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

This Reaganism certainly sums up his views on government (even though, as I’ll show later, the formulation of this quote and sentiment is hugely problematic). And the quote re-appears whenever politicians (in the United States, anyway) propose new or expanded government economic or social programs. We’re seeing it being employed now in reaction to the Biden administration’s infrastructure funding proposals. Reagan-worshipping pundits and media outlets trot this out at such times, investing it with gravity and inherent truth as if it came from the Bible or the US Constitution.

Government and government programs make things worse, they argue, and hurt people. You’re right to cower in fear whenever the government “comes to the rescue,” they assert with all the confidence that comes from being backed up by Reagan. But where does this statement come from?

Like so many famous “quotes,” it was not coined by the person who gets the credit for it — in this case, Ronald Reagan. Researchers here at the Buzzkill Institute, as well as heavy-weight quote experts such as Josh Shapiro at the Yale Book of Quotations, and Garson O’Toole (the pen-name of former Johns Hopkins computer scientist Dr. Gregory Sullivan at, and author of “Hemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations,” which is on the Buzzkill Bookshelf in the blog post for this episode) have studied this extensively.

And they’ve reached the conclusion that it appeared in the mid- to late-1970s as a bit of folksy wisdom sprouting from places like Reader’s Digest and humorist columns in newspapers.

It may have started as a “joke” running around the military or large organizations in the 1960s, that went like this: “the sentence ‘we are here from headquarters to help you’ usually means that your division or part of the organization is about to be given the axe.”

It first started to appear in print in 1973, in a “Crop Production Conference Report” written by the Crop Quality Council, an American farming organization. According to this Council, the crop marketplace was performing very well in the early 1970s, but that “the long arm of government intervention” was making the future analysis of crop prices uncertain. That prompted the report’s writer to state,

I would like to tell an appropriate story. The three most unbelieved statements in the world are:

1) The check is in the mail

2) Of course, I’ll love you in the morning like I do tonight, and

3) I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.

It seems clear from the tone of this “witticism” that the phrase had been around at least a little while.

Senator Edmund Muskie, Democrat from Maine, was reported to have said to a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago in early 1976,

The three most common lies are, “I put your check in the mail yesterday,” “I gave at the office” and “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you.”

Source: Sunday News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), 1 February 1976.

U.S. Representative John Rousselot, Republican from Southern California, said the same thing in May, calling these promises “the three greatest fabrications of all time.” (Source: Arcadia Tribune, 6 May 1976)

Conservative commentator and columnist, George F. Will, said essentially the same thing in July 1976. (Source: Frederick [MD] News, 19 July 1976)

The same basic idea was uttered during testimony before the U.S. Senate when they were considering “Extension of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act” in 1977. (Source: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Child and Human Development of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, First Session … April 6 and 7, 1977.)

And it appeared the next year during a hearing on “Economic problems of the Elderly in Mississippi” in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Source: Rearing before the Subcommittee on Retirement Income and Employment of the Select Committee on Aging, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, second session, Jackson, Miss., February 20, 1978.)

It had clearly become a well-worn observation in political and government circles by the time Reagan said it when discussing government support to farmers during the 1986 press conference I mentioned at the beginning. And it appeared throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, especially when right wing commentators referred to Reagan’s political ideology. Controversial writer (and friend of the show — not!), Dinesh D’Souza, quoted it in his 1997 book, “Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader.”

And, as I said in the show’s opening, it has re-appeared in 2021 during the debates over the Biden administration’s plan to drastically increase funding to meet America’s infrastructure needs. That’s why we’re hearing it again lately.

Ordinarily in these Quote or No Quote shows. I would leave it there — explain the history of the quote and show that, once again, it wasn’t the work of the most famous person who uttered it. But I want to take this discussion a little further and talk about the meaning and utility of this sentiment — “the most terrifying words are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

It was, and is, a moronic and childish thing to say and believe. That’s right, I’m saying that Reagan was being moronic and childish when he said it with a grin, that George Will (who, with his PhD, should know better) was moronic and childish when he wrote it in a column, and that the politicians and commentators who are employing it now are being moronic and childish.

Let’s take “moronic” and “childish” one by one.

It’s “moronic” because even 10 seconds of actual thought makes you realize that being “from the government” could mean being “from the fire department,” “from Child Protective Services,” (in the American context) “from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency” in times of natural disaster, and so many more. It meant the First Responders who saved hundreds during the attacks on September 11th and often gave their lives trying to save more.

Are we to be terrified when an Emergency Medical Technician uses the jaws of life to extract us from a wrecked automobile that’s crushing us? And, perhaps most appropriately, given Reagan’s worship of the military, are we supposed to have been terrified when American armed forces helped stop a genocidal maniac like Hitler?

And this doesn’t even include the seemingly endless government corporate bailouts, economic incentives and giveaways to companies to put offices and factories in certain areas, land grants to private institutions, and the ludicrously generous tax breaks given to large corporations and rich individuals in the United States. These are exactly the kinds of “terrifying” government help that Reagan championed during his administration, and that created some of the largest deficits and biggest federal debt levels in our history.

Of course, there have been lots of times when governments, including the U.S. government, have done terrible (indeed inexcusable) things — allowing slavery and child labor to exist and thrive, helping to wipe out Native Americans, and so many more.

But to lump all government (and by extension, societal) attempts at improving people’s lives as terrifying oppression is not only historically inaccurate, but politically dangerous. Countries and societies have always employed mutual aid in order to survive. It has worked in various ways, and not worked in other ways, but to abandon the idea is to give in to anarchy. And that’s moronic thinking.

It’s “childish” because, as I’ve implied, it’s an overly-simplistic way of looking at the world, how it operates, and how we might try to make it operate better. As we keep saying on this show, the supposed wisdom contained in one-liners from famous and iconic people almost always overlook (and sometimes steamroll) the complexities of social, political, and historical realities. If you have a one-line answer for everything (which Reagan almost always did), you’re using school-yard “it’s all one way or the other” (nah-nah-na-nah-na) rhetoric to address serious, grown-up, and complicated problems.

I opened this show by talking about how some reactions to President’s Biden’s infrastructure plans are employing this mantra these days. I’ve ended it by arguing that this mantra is moronic and childish. But I can’t resist leaving you with one more thought.

If the American experience of the past few years has taught us anything, it should have been that shallow, stupid, and reactionary approaches to the country’s problems only end up hurting us more, and putting us in deeper and deeper holes. As Americans, we should be asking ourselves, “do we really want moronic and childish people like Margorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz representing us in the United States Congress?”

Because it’ll be terrifying if we get any more of these types of politicians. Finally, we should also realize that it’s our responsibility as voters to make sure this trend towards the terrifying stops.

Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations

This reader-friendly volume contains more than 12,000 famous quotations, arranged alphabetically by author. It is unique in its focus on American quotations and its inclusion of items not only from literary and historical sources but also from popular culture, sports, computers, science, politics, law, and the social sciences. Anonymously authored items appear in sections devoted to folk songs, advertising slogans, television catchphrases, proverbs, and others.

For each quotation, a source and first date of use is cited. In many cases, new research for this book has uncovered an earlier date or a different author than had previously been understood. (It was Beatrice Kaufman, not Sophie Tucker, who exclaimed, “I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich. Rich is better!” William Tecumseh Sherman wasn’t the originator of “War is hell!” It was Napoleon.) Numerous entries are enhanced with annotations to clarify meaning or context for the reader. These interesting annotations, along with extensive cross-references that identify related quotations and a large keyword index, will satisfy both the reader who seeks specific information and the curious browser who appreciates an amble through entertaining pages.

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