New Website Documents Military Response to Jonestown

by Preston Jones

Photo courtesy Clarence Cooper. Used by permission of Preston Jones/John Brown University

A new website has been launched to provide information about the U.S. military’s response to the Jonestown tragedy of the Peoples Temple agricultural mission in Guyana in November 1978. Unique to the Military Response ​to Jonestown website are interviews with military personnel involved in the response, as well as statements and original photographs which they have provided. It also includes government documents which have been released under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as articles and studies collected from military, government and academic resources.

Among the interviews conducted so far:

  • David Netterville, a member of Air Force special forces based in Panama in November 1978, was one of the first three U.S. military members to set foot in Jonestown after the tragedy;
  • Clarence Cooper, serving with the US Army and retiring as a Lt. Colonel, was deployed to Jonestown anticipating engaging in a search and rescue operation. Upon arriving, he learned there was no one to rescue;
  • As an UH-1 Huey helicopter pilot, Bob Price participated in the collection of the more than 900 bodies found at Jonestown.

Anyone involved in any capacity with the military/government response to the Jonestown tragedy is invited to share his or her memories and other information. Discussions may be recorded remotely using Zoom or in person at John Brown University in Arkansas. Email Preston Jones at or call at (479) 238-8688.

Originally posted on December 20th, 2019.

Last modified on January 9th, 2020.
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