GENERAL HARRY H. VAUGHAN - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/29/1945 - HFSID 43192
GENERAL HARRY H. VAUGHAN
Harry H. Vaughan signed this war-dated letter, typed in 1945 on White House stationery, about the court martial and dismissal of an Army Air Force lieutenant after a fatal flying accident. Accompanied by a handwritten letter by Vaughan about this case and a memorandum explaining the case.
Typed letter signed "Harry" as a colonel in the Field Artillery Reserve and Military Aide to the President in blue ink. 1 page, 6¼x9¼, on White house stationery. May 29, 1945. Addressed to Major Joseph Major, Commanding Officer of the prisoner of war camp at Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming. In full: "Dear Joe: The attached copy of a report from the Assistant Secretary, General Staff, in regard to Lieut. Boruski is self-explanatory. It shows the present attitude of the War Department and I doubt if anything can be done about it at this time. Sincerely,". Lightly toned, soiled and creased. Signature is lightly smeared in places but is legible. Random ink stains. Discolored along right edge (does not touch signature). Ink transference on verso. Staple holes and paper clip impression in top left corner. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. Accompanied by: 1) Autograph letter signed "Harry". 1 page, 5x8. In full: "Joe: Suggest that you make applica tion [sic] for Lieteun- [sic] to inactive status How can you tell that the C.O. would disapprove it?". Lightly toned and creased. Paper clip impression and rust stains in top left corner, which touch handwriting but not signature. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. 2) Unsigned typed memorandum from Lieutenant Colonel B. W. Davenport, Assistant Secretary to the General Staff. 1 page, 8x10½, thin paper. May 25, 1945. In full: "MEMORANDUM FOR COLONEL VAUGHAN: You will remember asking me for information about Lieutenant Ernest F. Boruski, the subject of the attached correspondence [not included], who has been tried by general court-martial for manslaughter and for a violation of flying regulations. The record of trial shows that he was found guilty on both charges and sentenced to dismissal, total forfeiture of pay and allowances and six months' confinement. The Chief of the Air Staff reviewed the case and commented in part, '...This case presents an example of serious,willful violation of flying regu-lations resulting in the death of a soldier... The death of the enlisted man and the destruction of the Army aircraft, how-ever, were the direct and tragic results of his violation... a very short time before the crash occurred, Lieutenant Boruski had been punished by his commanding general under Article of War 104 for a less serious, but nevertheless deliberate, violation of flying regulations...' The Board of Review considered the record of trial legally sufficient to support the findings and concurred in the Air Forces' recommendation that the sentence be confirmed and executed but that the forfeiture and confinement be remitted. The Secretary of War concurred in the Board's recommendation and the case is now awaiting final action of the confirming au-thority." Lightly toned and creased. Light tears in all edges. Staple holes and pin holes in top left corner. Folded twice and unfolded. Otherwise in fine condition. ERNEST F. BORUSKI, a lieutenant in the Army Air Force, was dismissed from service with a dishonorable discharge on July 23, 1945 for a Sept. 23, 1944 flying accident, which resulted in the death of a passenger. The Judge Advocate General changed this to an administrative honorable discharge on Aug. 28, 1951. In 1957, the United States Court of Claims awarded Boruski $19,059 in back pay for this period between 1945 and 1951. We've been able to find documents showing that Boruski pursued this case to at least 1974, at one point even filing a complaint to be reinstated to active duty with the rank of brigadier general and be awarded over half a million dollars in back pay. HARRY H. VAUGHAN (1893-1981) was a personal friend of Harry S. Truman since 1917, serving with him in World War I and in the Field Artillery Officers Reserve Corps. Treasurer for Senator Truman's 1940 reelection campaign committee, he became secretary to Senator Truman in 1941 and a liaison officer for the Truman Committee in 1944. General Vaughan was Military Aide to Truman when he was Vice President and President (1945-1953). Considered to be greatest embarrassment to the Truman administration, Vaughan was investigated by the Hoey Committee for what was referred to as the Five Percenters - men who were paid 5 percent of government contracts secured through their influence with officials. Vaughan was never charged with a crime.
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