ARMY GENERAL AT PENTAGON SHOT DEAD
IN HIS OFFICE - THREE BULLETS TO THE CHEST
"OFFICIAL VERSION" HE WAS "DEPRESSED" AND
"COMMITTED SUICIDE" - NO EXPLANATION FOR
LACK OF FINGERPRINTS ON "SMALL CALIBER"
HANDGUN - WALL OF SILENCE AROUND STRANGE
DEATH OF GEN. FRANCIS BRINK - DID HE DIE
BECAUSE "TOP BRASS" FEARED HE'D REVEAL
HIGH-LEVEL CORRUPTION TO NEWS MEDIA OR
A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE?
His military background was impeccable. Cornell graduate. Highly-decorated combat veteran.
There was no reason for Brig. Gen. Francis Brink to kill himself.
That he died, sitting at his desk in the Pentagon, three bullets fired into his chest, didn't faze the top brass or their public relations "spinmeisters" one bit.
The Army general, they claimed, had "committed suicide" because he was "depressed." Yeah, that's the ticket. Brink fired "three times" into his lungs and heart just to make sure he'd done the job right.
And if you believe that, we have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you - real cheap.
MURDER IN THE MILITARY "SUICIDE" COVER-UPS
HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME
That this shocking incident took place 57 years ago, on June 24, 1952, shows how "murder in the military," disguised as "suicide," has been around a long time. (See related stories box, below).
Very little has been published about Gen. Brink's bizarre death. Few Vietnam veterans realize the Brink BOQ, target of a Viet Cong bombing on Christmas Eve 1964 - the Bob Hope USO troupe was running late and failed to be in downtown Saigon on schedule - was named after the "suicided" flag officer.
We are indebted to retired Army M/SGT Ray Bows (author of VIETNAM MILITARY LORE), who way back when, dug out the real facts in this case.
For example, he revealed that Ruth Jones of Marathon, New York said in 1988:
"Francis Brink was one of our hometown boys who made good. He and his wife used to keep
in touch with some of the folks here in Marathon. When back on visits, he would sit at the dining room table and talk for hours with my dad, Lew E. Harvey, when we lived on our farm in Texas Valley.
"On his last visit from Indochina, I overheard Francis Brink tell my father that as far as the
situation in Vietnam was concerned, his opinions were unpopular, he knew too much, and felt that his life might even be in danger because of that knowledge."
According to Bows, Gen. Brink confided to Lew Harvey that "the French were siphoning off weapons and equipment that the United States had specified for use in Indochina, which the French were diverting to Algeria, and other countries, in anticipation of those counties rising up against them, as the Viet Minh had done in Vietnam."
THE "COVER-STORY" CAN'T HOLD WATER
It doesn't take much to "doctor" a senior officer's medical file, especially if a cover-up is engineered by people way above his pay-grade.
For example, to lull the then-tame media to sleep back then, it was stated that Gen. Brink killed himself because he was suffering from diabetes and arteriosclerosis. "Case closed. Let's move right along, here."
First of all, if indeed that was the truth, if everyone in the same condition were to kill themselves, there'd be bodies lying about everywhere.
The "ill health" as excuse for "suicide" angle has been played many times, but if Brink's reported ailments were genuine, why was it the general kept his "serious condition" from his wife and family?
Brink didn't give any indication to them he was about to kill himself. He certainly didn't leave any note behind, not even a forged one. The general called his daughter Leilani a short time before his death to say he planned on seeing her and her husband soon.
It was never disclosed if the general's fingerprints were even on the alleged suicide weapon, a .38 pistol.
Also, no records exist of Gen. Brink's death in the Arlington County, Va. Coroner's Office. Bows said all records of the shooting were turned over to the Defense Department. "Francis Brink's personal and medical records, as well as the coroner's report, were destroyed in a fire" at the Military Records Center in St. Louis. Mo. in 1973.
THE FAMILY TRIES AND FAILS TO FIND THE TRUTH
The Army master sergeant dug up some more interesting facts in interviewing the general's daughter.
"To the best of my knowledge, my father never owned a personal firearm or a pistol," Leilani said. She confirmed the family was told Brink had shot himself "through the mouth," when that was in direct contrast to the "official" version. Could it be, days after the shooting, the Army still didn't have their story straight? One would think by then, everybody would be "on the same page."
"I went down to Washington to Uncle Francis's funeral with my father," Ruth Brink told Bows. "No one in Washington wanted to talk about what had happened."
"The general's death was surrounded by a certain amount of mystery," said Charles G. Brink, a cousin. "Some members of the family attempted to find out more, but were not able to."
QUESTIONS THAT DEMAND ANSWERS
No one dared ask out loud why a general officer would kill himself by firing a low caliber weapon "three times" into his chest, when one single round from a .45 automatic placed against the soft palate, would have done the job much more efficiently.
"Gen. Brink was an ethical, no nonsense military man," Bows wrote in his book. "He was fully aware of the difference between lawful and unlawful orders . . .he was adamant in bringing illegal drug and weapons dealings to the attention of Congress and/or the White House."
We can only guess how deep American involvement would have been in a place called Vietnam if Gen. Brink had lived and "spilled the beans" on what he'd discovered as first MAAG commander.
His successor in that post, Gen. Thomas J.H. Trapnell, promoted the idea of an increased American presence over there. The rest is history.
If stealing and selling American weapons to even their enemies (the Viet Minh) as well as sending drug-laden U.S. built C-47 transport planes throughout Asia to line the pockets of high French officers was taking place, it is not inconceivable there were those in the Pentagon who did not want to offend an important ally like France.
It is entirely possible that if Gen. Brink leaked what he knew to Drew Pearson or some other "muck-raking" columnist and commentator at the time, the long bloodbath for America in Vietnam might have been averted.
That is only conjecture. But the odd circumstances of Gen. Brink's demise indicate considerable effort was made to conceal what really happened. The question remains: why?