All of Lee Harvey Oswald’s medical records state he had a 3” scar on the left side of the neck from a childhood mastoid operation. This scar was never documented in the autopsy by the pathologist nor seen by the mortician. Nor is it visible in this photograph of Oswald after his arrest.
In Part 1, I covered the possibility that Lee Oswald strange life was result of being a doppelganger. No person that lived probably had a more conflicting and contradictory past than this man. Records of school and employment often do not concur; witnesses report knowing a Lee Oswald at several different places at the same time; descriptions of Oswald vary from a tall bull-necked young man to a short skinny waif. What is also interesting is that his mother Marguerite also had varying descriptions in appearance, contradictory work records and addresses, which conflict at a regular basis throughout the history of this chronicle.
Also of interest is how the FBI and the Warren Commission dealt with these paradoxes. Mostly, they were all ignored. In same situations it is apparent that a phony record was created to iron out the problems. As stated by Warren Commission attorney Albert Jenner on the work of another attorney working for the Commission, “…our depositions and examination of records disclose that there are details in Mr. Ely's memoranda which will require material alteration and, in some cases, omission". This was in reference to staff attorney John Hart Ely research into Marguerite and Lee’s lives. So they knew there were problems, serious problems, which had to be dealt with. It can be shown that those in charge did alter records and did commit the sin of omission—and hence crimes of fact. What is most amazing is they did this in such a casual way, as if they were discussing rearranging the furniture in the room. Most likely, this is how things are done behind our backs. And why things never change.
The Marine Phase
For a guy who is supposedly a communist, totally opposed to the United States government and way of life, to enter the Marines is quite an oxymoron. No reason is really known why he joined in the first place. His brother Robert was a marine so perhaps that was his inspiration. The common knowledge as propagated by the Warren Report was that Lee Oswald was a commie malcontent, spouting Marxist dogma and studying Russian. He would get training to be a radar operator and eventually be stationed at Atsugi airbase in 1957-58 where the U2 spy planes operated. Though a military base the operation was run by the CIA.
However, this image of Oswald the commie comes from fellow Marines that barely knew him. One who did, Richard Cyr told the FBI that Oswald was just of the guys; never talking of politics or studying foreign languages. Cyr was present when Oswald accidentally shot himself with a .22 (resulting in his first of two court marital trials). He gave the FBI the names of eight other Marines that associated with Oswald of whom none were interviewed by the FBI. This follows a typical pattern of dealing with troublesome witnesses. Sidney Robinson did the same thing as Richard Cyr, giving the FBI the names of 7 marines who bunked with Oswald. Like Cyr’s information they too were ignored. Even the men around Oswald when he accidentally shot himself were never interviewed either.
Medical Records Clash
Lee Oswald’s medical records are another odd episode in his life. As mentioned in Part 1, Oswald is listed as being treated for contracting gonorrhea. As the notation states, “In the line of duty and, not of his own fault.” A rare entry to say the least. This was an offence that gets a soldier booted out of the service. Here, for some unknown reason he is given a pass. It has been speculated that Oswald was on a mission for the ONI when he contracted the disease and that is the reason for getting off the hook. But not of his “own fault”?
Even stranger is that he is given a course of penicillin for tonsillitis. Yet his childhood medical records state he had his tonsils removed at the age of six. Evidence of an imposter? Or perhaps a simple filing error?
Of note in his medical records is the three-inch mastoid scar from the operation he had at the age of five. The mastoids are a series of bones in the skull that an ear infection can spread to. An incision behind the ear down the neck is required. Amazingly, at Oswald’s autopsy, pathologist Dr. Earl Rose did not document the mastoid scar on the neck nor the gunshot wound on the upper left arm. Likewise, mortician Paul Groody while preparing Oswald’s body did not find those scars either. He was in fact called twice by the Secret Service in regards to this issue. Certainly an indication they were unsure of whom they had. As Groody said on the Coast-to-Coast AM radio program to host George Noory, at the last moment, the FBI showed up for one final set of fingerprints. Another indication that the FBI, along with the Secret Service, was unsure of which body they had as they already had multiple sets of prints of Oswald from the Marine files, his arrest in New Orleans in the summer of 1963, and his arrest for the murder of policeman Tippet and President Kennedy. Whatever the results were from 4 sets of fingerprints is unknown. But somebody was nervous about something to take prints off a dead man.
However, the medical record inconsistencies don’t get an easier to parse. On September 16, 1958 Oswald’s unit leaves Atsugi for work in Ping Tung, Taiwan aboard the USS Skagit. A Marine Corps unit record is called a diary. The event is recorded in the unit diary and Oswald is on that ship—he is mentioned by name. Meanwhile his medical records state during this period he was receiving medical treatment at the base hospital in Atsugi from the time the Skagit leaves throughout much of September of 1958. He was ailing from urethritis to hemorrhoids. It’s hard to comprehend that there are two Oswald’s in the same unit at the same time and place.
The chief counsel for the HSCS Robert Blakey had a dilemma to resolve with this odd issue as well. He contacted Secretary of Defense Harold Brown who wrote back that Oswald didn’t leave with his unit on 9/16 but instead stayed in Atsugi as part of a MAG II rear echelon unit. A pity that his unit diary never mentions a word of this. Maybe that is true and was left out of the unit diary for reasons of security. He could also have been flown back to the hospital for treatment of the reoccurring urethritis; it would have created a lot of flying back and forth. His records state that he was treated five times in September and twice in October.
Robert Blakey easily resolved the issue. He lied. As he wrote in the final report:
“Accordingly, based upon a direct examination of Oswald’s unit diaries, as well as his own-military records, it does not appear that he spent any time in Taiwan.”
One last thing—in his personal effects discovered by the Dallas Police were numerous pictures of the military installations in Taiwan. Lee H. Oswald was there.
One Lee in Japan, One Lee in New Orleans
Even more controversial (as if this can get even more so) is the account of Palmer McBride who from 1957-58 was employed as a delivery boy for the Pfisterere Dental Lab. McBride recalls working with a Lee Harvey Oswald during this time and getting to know him quite well, paling around with him. This is during the same time that Oswald is stationed in Japan in the Marines. The Warren Report fixed this situation by moving the date up a year to 1956 and never calling McBride to testify. In giving his account to the FBI, McBride says the Oswald he knew was very much a Marxist complete with the literature and speaking the dogma. The same type of Oswald that is reported to be in the Marines acting this same way at the time, only not reported by his closest friends and bunk mates there.
Nevertheless, McBride is not the only person to have seen and known this version of Oswald. McBride was a member of the NOAAA, the New Orleans Amateur Astronomy Association. It was common practice to have meetings in a member’s home and on one occasion this happened at the residence of Walter Gehrke in early, 1958. It was a memorable meeting for those there, as the night Lee Oswald showed up with McBride at one point, he launched into his communist diatribe and touted the success of the Soviet space efforts annoying many there and especially Walter Gehrke’s father who was ready to toss Oswald out of his house. He was never invited back.
Walter Gehrke did state at the time FBI officials that he thought this meeting took place in 1956, but was unsure of the date. He offered them the minutes of the meeting but the FBI never followed up on the records. Nevertheless, Palmer McBride stands by the date of 1957-58 for the events of working with Oswald and being with him at the NOAAA meeting.
As we can see, Lee Oswald’s records are still in divergence with his movements and the recollections of people that interacted with him. As far as his Marine Corps records go, the idea there are two men of the same name, in the same unit at the same time, is too outlandish to be believable. There is too much potential for a screw-up and too much work to keep them both separate. Of course one Lee in the Marines and another Lee in New Orleans is far-out too but never the less, is backed up by witnesses testimony.
I would think an intelligence operation would not want their double to be so high profile. I would keep my guy in the shadows and make sure he used an alias for any involvement with the public. This guy is all over the place, leaving witnesses in his wake, and most importantly, a paper trail. Of course in the end, this issue is never probed by any official investigation so it all becomes a big wash. The process is politicized and the lawyers are always there to direct everything to its predetermined conclusion anyhow. Notice how they always begin with a conclusion before they start? The Warren Commission to the 9-11 Commission operated under the same model. As an old lawyer friend once told me, always know the answer before you ask the question. Here, they drew up six major areas of inquiry and Lee Oswald was four of the six.
Lee Oswald as doppelganger may be the most volatile element of the Kennedy assassination and why the government has fought so long and hard in revealing even the most minor of facts to this day.
COMING IN PART 3: Oswald Strangeness From Russia and back again. Strange days lead up to the lead up to the big event.
Sources: Newman, John, Oswald and the CIA; Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; McKnight, Gerald, Breach of Trust; Warren Commission Report