L. Fletcher Prouty
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|L. Fletcher Prouty|
|Birth name||Leroy Fletcher Prouty|
January 24, 1917|
|Died||June 5, 2001
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1941–1964|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Legion of Merit
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Leroy Fletcher Prouty (January 24, 1917 – June 5, 2001) served as Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President John F. Kennedy. A former colonel in the United States Air Force, he retired from military service to become a bank executive, and subsequently became a critic of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the covert activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) about which he had considerable inside knowledge. Prouty was the inspiration for the character "Mr. X" in Oliver Stone's movie JFK.
Prouty was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Prouty was a graduate of Massachusetts State College in 1941 with a bachelor's degree. He later graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School of Banking in 1968.
World War II
He began his military career with the 4th Armored Division in Pine Camp, New York. He transferred to the United States Army Air Forces in 1942 earning his Pilot's wings in November. He arrived in British West Africa in February 1943 as a pilot with Air Transport Command.
In the summer of 1943 he was the personal pilot of General Omar Bradley, General John C. H. Lee and General C. R. Smith (Founder and President – American Airlines), among others. He flew the U.S. Geological Survey Team in Saudi Arabia, October 1943, to confirm oil discoveries in preparation for the Cairo Conference. He was assigned to special duties at the Cairo Conference and the Tehran Conference November–December 1943. He flew Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese delegation (T. V. Soong's delegates) to Tehran.
An important mission he was involved in was the evacuation of the British commandos made famous by the novel Guns of Navarone involved in the Battle of Leros from Leros to Palestine. In 1945 he transferred to Southwest Pacific and flew in New Guinea, Leyte and was on Okinawa at the end of war. He landed near Tokyo at the time of their surrender with the first three planes carrying General Douglas MacArthur's bodyguard troops. He flew out with American POWs.
Between 1946–49 he was assigned by the U.S. Army to Yale University, where he also taught, to begin the first USAF ROTC program. From 1950–52 he transferred to Colorado Springs to establish Air Defense Command. From 1952–54 he was assigned to Korean War duties in Japan where he served as Military Manager for Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) during the US Occupation.
From 1955–1964 he was assigned to U.S. Air Force Headquarters where he directed the creation of an Air Force worldwide system for "Military Support of the Clandestine Operations of the CIA", as required by a new National Security Council Directive, 5412 of March, 1954. As a result of a CIA Commendation for this work he was awarded the Legion of Merit by the US Air Force, and was promoted to Colonel being assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
With the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency by Secretary McNamara and the abolishment of the OSO, he was transferred to the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to create a similar, worldwide office and was the Chief of Special Operations, with the Joint Staff all during 1962–1963. He received orders to travel as the Military Escort officer for a group of VIPs who were being flown to the South Pole, November 10–28, 1963, to activate a nuclear power plant for heat, light and sea water desalination at the United States Navy Base at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.
He was a Senior Director of Public Affairs for Amtrak during the 1970s, and a director of the National Railroad Foundation and Museum. Prouty authored books including The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World and JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy and numerous articles on railroads including the entries on Railroad Engineering and Foreign Railroad Technology for McGraw-Hill's encyclopedias.
Prouty served as a technical adviser to Oliver Stone's movie JFK and was the inspiration for the mysterious "X" who is based on him as well, played by Donald Sutherland, who assists Jim Garrison in the movie.
As a critic of the CIA, Prouty pointed out its influence in global matters, outside the realm of U.S. congressional and government oversight. His works detail the formation and development of the CIA, the origins of the Cold War, the U-2 incident, the Vietnam War, and the John F. Kennedy assassination. Prouty has written that he believes Kennedy's assassination was a coup d'etat, and that there is a secret, global "power elite," which operates covertly to protect its interests—and in doing so has frequently subverted democracy around the world.
Prouty asserted that World War II could easily have been concluded with neither the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nor the invasion of Japan whose obviation was the ostensible justification for those bombings.
Prouty was hired by the Church of Scientology as a consultant in the 1980s. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, claimed to have sustained combat injuries during his military service in World War II and that he healed himself through measures that would become Dianetics. Although Hubbard's military record does not show that he was wounded in combat, Church officials have stated that those records were incomplete and may have been falsified. According to Lawrence Wright's exposé in the The New Yorker, spokesman for the Church of Scientology, Tommy Davis, told him that Prouty said that Hubbard was an intelligence agent whose military discharge papers were "sheep dipped," meaning two sets of government records were created documenting Hubbard's service.
According to Prouty, people within the intelligence and military communities of the United States government conspired to assassinate Kennedy. He maintained that their actions were a coup d'état to stop the President from taking control of the CIA after the Bay of Pigs. Prouty stated that the assassination was orchestrated by Edward Lansdale ("Gen. Y" in Oliver Stone's JFK) and that Landsdale appeared in photographs of the "three tramps".
In 1975, Prouty appeared with Richard Sprague at a news conference in New York to present what they believed was photographic evidence of a conspiracy. According to Prouty, the movement of Kennedy after a bullet struck his head was consistent with a shot from the grassy knoll. He also suggested that the actions of a man with an umbrella, the "Umbrella Man", were suspicious.
Anti-Semitic Organization Controversy
Prouty was a featured speaker at the 1990 convention of the Liberty Lobby. Prouty was also named to the advisory board for the Lobby's Populist Action Committee. Prouty also sold the reprint rights for The Secret Team of the Noontide Press, the publishing arm for the Institute for Historical Review, a holocaust denial organization.
Prouty denied having known of the racist and anti-semitic associations of the Lobby, noted that he also spoke at a ceremony at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and assured Oliver Stone "... that he was neither a racist nor an anti-Semite... but merely a writer in need of a platform." In a response to an article about Prouty in Esquire, which he labeled a "character assassination", Stone lamented Prouty's association with the Liberty Lobby but questioned its relevance to Prouty's reliability as a source. In an obituary in The Guardian, Michael Carlson wrote that "[a]lthough Prouty himself never espoused such [anti-semitic] beliefs, the connection enabled critics to dismiss his later writings."
- Carlson, Michael (June 21, 2001). "L Fletcher Prouty: US officer obsessed by the conspiracy theory of President Kennedy's assassination". The Guardian. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
- "JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy". Publisher's Weekly. August 31, 1992.
- "L. Fletcher Prouty." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Biography in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.
- Arlington National Cemetery website
- James W. Douglass (2008). JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-57075-755-6.
- Toplin, Robert Brent (1 January 1996). "JFK". History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-252-06536-1.
- L. Fletcher Prouty, The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, Skyhorse Publishing (2009), p. 23.
- Wright, Lawrence (February 14, 2011). "The Apostate; Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert (June 24, 1990). "The Making of L. Ron Hubbard: Creating the Mystique." Los Angeles Times, p. A38:1
- "The Church Of Scientology, Fact-Checked". http://www.npr.org. NPR. February 8, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- "2 Claim Conspiracy Proof in JFK's Death". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. September 4, 1975. p. 3. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Anson, Robert Sam (November 1991). "The Shooting of JFK". Esquire.
- Berlet, Chip (November 22, 1993). "RIGHT WOOS LEFT: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures To Progressives, And Why They Must Be Rejected". Political Research Associates. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Stone, Oliver (December 1991). "Esquire Letter: Stone Shoots Back". Esquire.
- Arlington Cemetery's Biography
- The Secret Team by L. Fletcher Prouty
- "The Guns of Dallas" by L. Fletcher Prouty
- "L. Fletcher Prouty: Fearless Truth Teller, or Crackpot?", a critical view of Prouty by John McAdams
- The JFK 100: The mystery man, "X"
- "L. Fletcher Prouty". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 12, 2013.