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  • Writer's picturegregrparker

Adventures in Cold War Military Dentistry & the Associated Paperwork: a Subplot in the Ongoing B

Part One: The "missing" tooth On February the 8th of this year, Sandy Larsen, a recent convert to the theory set out in the book, Harvey & Lee: How the CIA framed Oswald (John Armstrong, 2003), started a thread at the Education Forum titled "INDISPUTABLE Evidence for Harvey & Lee -- Oswald was missing a FRONT TOOTH, but his exhumed body was not! NEW EVIDENCE FOUND."

The overall theory states that at the age of 12 or 13, an Eastern European refugee and his mother were trained as doubles for the historical Lee Harvey Oswald and his mother, with the intent that the history of the two youngsters would be merged - as would that of their mothers, and that eventually Harvey (the refugee) would take over as Lee and be sent to the Soviet Union as a false defector. Online adherents of this theory are organized and cult-like in their behaviors. The spiritual head of this cult is shielded and defended by his online warriors who speak of "Harvey" (the theoretical double) as a real historical figure, and have even divided photos of Lee Oswald into two distinct sets - one set each for the two.

The MO of this group is to change subjects when challenged on points of fact, while also attacking the challenger, trolling for a response and then complaining to administrators if a reply in-kind is made. Administrators and their moderators, as a rule of thumb, can't be bothered conducting any sort of investigation and can be relied upon to suspend or ban the targeted person. Any challenges this person continues to make on other forums or blogs can then safely be ignored, or "interpreted" in such a way as to render them refutable in at least a semi-coherent fashion.

Which brings us to where we are now: Sandy Larsen's latest Opus.

Larsen starts by reiterating an old stand-by - that Lee Oswald had a tooth knocked out at Beauregard High School in New Orleans and quotes the sole witness for this, Oswald's friend at Beauregard, Ed Voebel.

Mr. JENNER. But you do remember that you attempted to help him when he was struck in the mouth on that occasion; is that right?

Mr. VOEBEL. Yes; I think he even lost a tooth from that. I think he was cut on the lip, and a tooth was knocked out.

Larsen then states:

Now, it sounds as if Voebel wasn't certain Oswald got his lip cut and lost a tooth. But that probably was not the case. After all, he explained later how some of the other boys took Oswald into the boys restroom and patched him up. Does that sound like he wasn't sure Oswald had gotten his lip cut? Ed Voebel used the phrase "I think" numerous times in his testimony, even in cases where he surely would have known. Like when he said,

"I think I just went on home and everybody went their way" after an altercation that occurred the day prior. Was he really not sure he went home? And that the other boys went their way?

Here's a sampling of Voebel's use of the phrase:

  • " Yes. Well, I think one of them was in the same grade as Lee."

  • "The fight, I think started on the school ground"

  • "I think John was a little smaller, a little shorter than Lee."

  • "Well, I think Oswald was getting the best of John"

  • "but I think I just went on home and everybody went their way"

  • "and Oswald I think, was a little in front of me"

  • "I think that was what brought it all about. I think this was sort of a revenge thing on the part of the Neumeyer boys"

  • "I think he even lost a tooth from that. I think he was cut on the lip, and a tooth was knocked out"

  • "I don't think he was that good"

  • "I don't think he was a great pool player"

  • "I think I met her one time"

  • "I think the legal age here is 18"

  • "I think in a way I understood him better than most of the other kids"

  • "I think they have gotten worse"

  • "I think we were in the same grade, I think we were."

.... and on and on. Ed Voebel said “I think” or “think” nearly a hundred times during his testimony. It seems to have been a part of the way he talked.But be that as it may, there is more evidence of a lost tooth.

This entire defense of Ed Voebel however, is a Red Herring because Voebel was interviewed by the media and by the FBI numerous times prior to his Warren Commission testimony and never once mentioned a tooth being knocked out - only that a tooth went through his lip, for example in this Nov 25, 1963 FBI report

And it is this original story that receives the only corroboration from other witnesses, not the story he testified to regarding what he "thought" happened.

From the Warren Commission testimony of Mrs. Bennierita Smith:

Mr. LIEBELER. Will you tell us what you know about that?

Mrs. SMITH. One fight really impressed me, I guess because there was this boy--he wasn't going to Beauregard, this boy he had the fight with, and he was a little guy. I think his name was Robin Riley. He hit Lee, and his tooth came through his lip.

And from the FBI report on the interview with another student, Dimitri Bouzon:

Voebel was not at all a reliable witness. He claimed for example during his testimony that Oswald had been hit by an "older" student who "looked like a tremendous football player". This however, was pure fantasy. As Mrs. Smith said, he was a shorter student named Robin Riley (with the name confirmed by Bouzon). Luckily there are some details that can be found on Riley due to the fact that, as noted by Mrs. Smith, he had a brief Hollywood acting career. His bio shows he was slightly younger, rather than older than Oswald.

Larsen's only other witness is really one against his theory; Oswald's aunt, Lillian Murret. It is no surprise though, that he tries to hammer her testimony in.

Larsen writes

Oswald's Aunt Lillian testified as follows before the Warren Commission:

"Another time they were coming out of school at 3 o'clock, and there were boys in back of him and one of them called his name, and he said, "Lee," and when he turned around, this boy punched him in the mouth and ran, and it ran his tooth through the lip, so she [Marguerite] had to go over to the school and take him to the dentist, and I paid for the dentist bill myself, and that's all I know about that, and he was not supposed to have started any of that at that time."

Now why would Oswald have to see a dentist if he hadn't lost a tooth?

Okay, it's conceivable that the tooth was merely loosened. However, that goes against Ed Voebel's recollection. And besides, there is further evidence that Oswald lost a tooth. Photographic evidence and more.

As can be seen, Larsen includes the possibility it was merely loosened - he could hardly not acknowledge the obvious, but quickly dismisses it on the basis of Voebel's dubious testimony - and a photo taken by Voebel which appears to show one or more missing front teeth - if that small area of the whole class photo is blown up enough. Moreover, we are expected to believe that the photo was taken soon after the alleged damaging punch, when the reality is the timing of the incident is not precisely known.

It is just more flim-flam. Larsen asks incredulously why Oswald would be taken to a dentist if the tooth was not knocked out, when in fact Mrs. Murret answered that question. He was taken for the very reason Mrs. Smith testified to - his tooth went through his lip!

Part Two: The USMC dental records

The dental records represent the "new evidence" from the title of Larsen's post.

Larsen wrote:

When we were last discussing this topic I wondered what Oswald might have done about his missing tooth. David Josephs posted a couple of his dental charts and it occurred to me that Oswald's Marine Corps records might indicate something about a bridge or a denture. So I dug through John Armstrong's collection at Baylor University and numerous files at the Mary Ferrell website to see what I could find.

To my great surprise I did find something! Apparently overlooked till now. In the chart for Oswald's dental exam dated March 27, 1958, is a field where the question is asked, "Prosthetic Required?" The dentist is instructed to "explain briefly" if the answer is yes. And that is precisely what Oswald's dentist did. He wrote "FAILED 5-5-58." In other words, Oswald required a prosthesis because the one he currently had failed on May 5, 1958. (Or maybe that was the date Oswald reported the failure.)

It all looks clear cut, doesn't it? "Prosthesis. If 'yes' explain briefly". Followed by the hand-written note, "FAILED 5.5.58".

But no, it is not quite so simple.

For a fuller understanding, we need to go back to Oswald's initial USMC dental exam. More specifically, section III of that initial paperwork which can be found on page 31 of this Warren Commission Exhibit.

Here we find that on November 1, 1956, Oswald had a cleaning prophylaxis and sealing and was given instructions on maintaining this work.

In Section I of this same form, found on page 30 of the above document, we have the following information: Type of exam: Type 2

Dental classification: 3

So what do those codes mean?

Exam type 2- Oral Examination - routine exam

Dental Classification:

As we can see, Oswald was classification 3. What did it mean in terms of his service? It meant he was unfit for overseas deployment until the dental issues were resolved.

You were placed in class 3 if any of the following applied:

Dental caries, tooth fractures, or defective restorations where the condition extends beyond the dentinoenamel junction and causes definitive symptoms; dental caries with moderate or advanced extension into dentin; and defective restorations not maintained by the patient.

Interim restorations or prostheses that cannot be maintained for a 12-month period.

This includes teeth that have been restored with permanent restorative materials but for which protective coverage is indicated.

Chronic oral infections or other pathologic lesions including: Pulpal or periapical pathology requiring treatment.Lesions requiring biopsy or awaiting biopsy report.Emergency situations requiring therapy to relieve pain, treat trauma, treat acute oral infections, or provide timely follow-up care (e.g., drain or suture removal) until resolved. Temporary mandibular disorders requiring active treatment.


Definition of non-metallic permanent restoration:

includes filled and unfilled resin, glass ionomer cement, and pit and fissure sealants

According to Larsen, the 1956 records belonged to "Harvey" while the 1958 records, seeming to show a prosthethis was required, belonged to Lee.

What it really shows is that the two records belonged to the same person: Lee Oswald. We know this because in 1956, Oswald was made a "class 3" which includes anyone with a restoration or prosthethis which cannot be maintained for 12 months, or has become defective. Recall that Oswald in 1956 was given sealants and instructed on how to maintain them. Clearly, for simplification and space, sealants and prosthetics were lumped in together on the forms and the failure noted in 1958 was for the sealant - not any prosthetic for a tooth that was never knocked out to start with.

What has come to light through this is that Oswald, a "class 3" was unfit for overseas deployment. He was not classified as fit until July 10, 1957.

What's more, this failure would place him back in class 3, making him unfit again for overseas deployment, and this may have impacted the decision to send him home. It would certainly be the reason for the fillings done at that time. The other issue that has come to light is that Section II of the 1956 paperwork is missing. It is not known what type of information this section contained.

Full disclosure: My first attempt at solving the issues highlighted by Mr. Larsen was not entirely accurate. This was due to concentrating on only certain parts of the paperwork. A review of the full extant file, along with some investigation into military dental forms and coding has resulted in this current paper.

#Oswald #HarveyandLee #Militarydental #JFK #JohnArmstrong #gregparker #ROKC

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