Richard Secord

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This article is about the United States Air Force officer. For the politician, see Richard Secord (politician).
Richard V. Secord
Richard V Secord.jpg
Personal details
Born (1932-07-06) July 6, 1932 (age 82)
LaRue, Ohio, United States
Military service
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1955 - 1983
Commands 603rd Special Operations Squadron
Battles/wars Battle of Lima Site 85

Major General Richard Vernon Secord, Retired (born July 6, 1932), is a United States Air Force officer convicted for his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal.[1] He was exonerated after a 1990 Supreme Court case found the statute used to be illegal.

In 2002, retired General Secord was named CEO and Chairman of the Board at Computerized Thermal Imaging.[2][3] He has since retired and now serves as president of the Air Commando Association, a Florida based charity.

Background and education[edit]

Secord graduated from West Point in 1955 and was then commissioned in the USAF, completing pilot training in August 1956.[4] Secord later obtained an MSc in international affairs from the George Washington University (1972) as well as graduating from the Air Command and Staff College (1966) and Naval War College (June 1972).[4]

Military career[edit]

Secord served as a flight instructor from 1956 to 1959 at Laredo Air Force Base,[4] and from 1959 to 1961 as an instructor and operations officer at Tinker Air Force Base.[4] In August 1961 he joined what would become the 1st Air Commando Wing, remaining there until 1965. As part of the 1st Air Commando Wing, Secord flew over 200 combat missions in Vietnam (March 1962 to January 1963, flying AT-28s), and was assigned to the Iranian air force as an adviser (January to July 1963, January to May 1964, January to March 1965).[4]

After graduating from the Air Command and Staff College in 1966, Secord returned to Vietnam as an air operations officer, before being transferred to Thailand's Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in August 1966, acting as an air adviser until August 1968.[4] During this time Secord was involved in the Secret War in Laos, with responsibilities including security for Lima Site 85, an airstrip in Laos which came under attack in March 1968 in the Battle of Lima Site 85.[5]

Having flown 285 combat missions in Southeast Asia,[6] Secord served at Eglin Air Force Base from September 1968 to November 1969, as assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force, Tactical Air Command, and then as commander of the 603rd Special Operations Squadron until entering the Naval War College in 1971.[4]

Graduating from the Naval War College in June 1972, Secord moved to Washington, D.C., serving in various capacities in the United States Department of Defense. After an initial assignment as desk officer for Laos, Thailand and Vietnam under the assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, he assumed the position of executive assistant to the director of the Defense Security Assistance Agency in July 1973.[4] Secord was the USAF Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Iran from September 1975 to July 1978.[4][6] In this capacity he managed all USAF military assistance programs in Iran as well as some US Navy and Army programs, and acted as chief adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Air Force.[4] During this time he oversaw Project Dark Gene and Project Ibex.

Returning to the United States in July 1978, Secord served several roles in Washington, D.C. Headquarters of the U.S. Air Force - first as director of military assistance and sales, then (from January 1979) as director of international programs. At this time Secord was the ranking US Air Force officer for Operation Eagle Claw, the April 1980 attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis.[6] Secord was deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (with responsibility for Near East, Africa and South Asia affairs), from April 1981 to May 1983.[6][4] Secord resigned in 1983 after allegations of improper dealings with former CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson.[6]

In 1983 Secord was involved in Operation Tipped Kettle, being the transfer of PLO weapons seized by Israel in Lebanon to the Contras.[7]

Retirement[edit]

In retirement Secord went into business with Albert Hakim, becoming President of Stanford Technology Trading Group Intl., also known as the "Enterprise", a company involved with arms sales to Iran during the Reagan presidency. The final report of Iran/Contra Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh concluded that Secord had received at least $2m from his involvement in these activities, and had lied to Congress about it.[6]

Iran-Contra[edit]

Secord filed a libel case[8] against Leslie Cockburn, Andrew Cockburn, Morgan Entrekin, Atlantic Monthly Press, and Little, Brown and Company, Inc. for publishing a book in 1987 entitled Out of Control: The Story of the Reagan Administration's Secret War in Nicaragua, the Illegal Pipeline, and the Contra Drug Connection. The court ordered summary judgment on behalf of the defendant.

Trial[edit]

On March 16, 1988, Secord was indicted on six felony charges.

On May 11, 1989, Secord received a second indictment on nine counts of impeding and obstructing the Congressional Committees Investigating The Iran-Contra Affair. Secord was scheduled to stand trial on 12 charges.

On November 8, 1989, Richard Secord pled guilty to one felony count of false statements to Congress, and on January 24, 1990 he was sentenced to two years probation.

In 1992 the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia issued a writ of coram nobis which expunged the conviction on the grounds that the US Supreme Court had earlier found the underlying indictment to be illegal and without effect ab initio, i.e., from the beginning.[citation needed] The Justice Dept. did not oppose the matter. Thus the entire Iran-Contra imbroglio ended for Secord.

Awards and decorations[edit]

His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Republic of Thailand Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant and Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit Cheonsu Medal.

Books[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  2. ^ "Computerized Thermal Imagining, Inc. Management". 
  3. ^ "Computerized Thermal Imaging Inc - COIB Annual Report (10-K) Signature". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k af.mil, MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD V. SECORD
  5. ^ Secord, Maj Gen Richard (year tbd). "Chapter 6: Disaster at Site 85". Honored and Betrayed (chapter transcription at Air Commando Association webpage). Retrieved 2012-10-11. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Lawrence Walsh, Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Chapter 9: United States v. Richard V. Secord
  7. ^ Amir Oren, Haaretz, 26 November 2010, The truth about Israel, Iran and 1980s U.S. arms deals
  8. ^ "Decision, Richard V. Secord v. Leslie Cockburn, et al.; Civil Action No. 88-0727-GHR". United States District Court, District of Columbia. August 27, 1990. 

See also[edit]

  • Air America (airline)
  • Air America (film)
  • Stanford Technology Trading Group International
  • Testimony of Richard V. Secord : joint hearings before the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, One hundredth Congress, first session, May 5 through May 8, 1987. by Richard V Secord; United States. Congress. House. Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran.; United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition (OCLC: 16472614)
  • Refusal of Richard V. Secord to testify : report. by United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. (OCLC: 15490148)
  • United States of America v. John M. Poindexter, Oliver L. North, Richard V. Secord, and Albert Hakim defendants : indictment. by John M Poindexter; United States. District Court (District of Columbia) (OCLC:17746648)
  • Testimony of Richard V. Secord : joint hearings before the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, One Hundredth Congress, first session. by United States. Congress. House. Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran.; United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. (OCLC:35660350)

External links[edit]