A Memorial Day Tribute and Mystery

Flying Tigers Line Flight 739, a Lockheed L-1049H, was chartered by the United States military. Originating at Travis Air Force Base, California, the Military Transport was scheduled for fueling stops at Honolulu, Wake Island, Guam, Clark AFB and was to terminate in Saigon.

 

The flight arrived at Guam at 11:14 GMT with the only irregularities on the way being minor maintenance on the ignition systems of engines #1 and #3 at Honolulu, a 30 minute delay at Honolulu because of stewardess complaints of inadequate rest facilities aboard, and minor maintenace at Wake Island (discrepancies in the #’s 1 and 3 engine ignition systems). The flight departed Guam at 12:57 GMT for an IFR flight to Clark AFB, Philippine Islands with an ETA of 19:16 GMT.

This plane, a Lockheed Super Constellation, had a flight crew of 11, and 96 U.S. soldiers, including 3 South Vietnam enlisted men.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board’s (CAB) Accident Report, “The plane disappeared 1 1/2 hours after takeoff from Guam enroute to Saigon.” And “the largest air/sea search” of that time “was initiated 5 hours after the plane’s fuel exhaustion time.” “The S/S T.L. Lenzen, a supertanker owned by Standard Oil, was in the vacinity and witnessed a vapor trail go behind a cloud,” and then, (what they thought was according to the depositions of the crew) “a covert operation due to the low flying plane.” The Accident Report continues, that the crew of the S/S T.L. Lenzen had also witnessed “a mid-air explosion at the approximate time & location of N6921C.” The Accident Report concludes, “Due to the lack of any substantiating evidence the Board is unable to state with any degree of certainty the exact fate of N6921C.”

The Department of Defense has “excluded this flight,” from it’s own criteria, which would enable these 107 names being included on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial (The WALL) in Washington, D.C.

Independent Newspaper

Adams Homer D. Private Ukon Wv; Armes James R. Sargent 1/C L.C. Mondsee Austria; Atkins Billy J. Private Black Mountain Nc; Baggett Robert H. Spec. 4/C Burlington Nc; Baks Or Bako Robert J. Sargent Elbridge Ny; Barnes Donald A. Master Sargent Granite City Il; Baxley Thomas W. Private 1/C Thomasville Ga; Bayse Richard S. Special 5/C Prince George Va; Biernacke Henry F. Master Sargent Colorado Springs Co; Bliss George W. Sargent 1/C L.c. Fort Jay Ny; Bowen James D. Private Indianapolis In; Breema Joseph F. Private Danville Va; Burns John J. Sargent 1/C San Luis Obispo Ca; Callahan John H. Sargent Hazelton Pa; Canon Larry D. Private Chino Ca; Caseldine William F. Master Sargent Dover Tn; Cox Edward Donald P. Spec. 5/C Amarillo Tx; Croft Lucius D. Sargent Augusta Ga; Curry Harold L. Master Sargent Mangum Ok; Dickey Douglas P. Spec. 5/C Alexandria La; Dixon Ernest T. Sargent Jesup Ga; Edwards James A., Private Hanceville Al; Fox Lawrence A. Spec. 4/C Canestoga Ny; Gallipeau Howard R. Jr. Master Sargent Alderwood Manor Wa; Gananca Clarence F. Jr. Sargent Renasalner Ny; Geiser John L. Sargent 1/C Granite Md; Glassman Robert R. M/ Sargent 1/C San Jose Ca; Glynn Walter Sargent Tacoma Wa; Greenleaf Roy E. Spec. 5/C Bloomfield Nm; Griffith Charles W. Private 1/C Cincinnati Oh; Grissom Sidney Lee Sargent 1/C Newburgh Mo; Haaf Douglas A. Spec. 4/C N. Syracuse Ny; Hatt Melvin L. Sargent 1/C Ft. Huachuca City Az; Henderson Donald W. Private Mt. Auburn Il; Henderson Robert N. Private Sfo Ca; Hester Lindsay K. Sargant 1/C Ft. Monroe Va; Hopkins Timothy F. Special 5/C Spokane Wa; Hoy Clinton M. Sargent Sierra Vista Az; Hunter Samuel L. Private 1/C Claflin Ks; Jarvis William R. Master Sargent Glendale Ky; Jennings John Charles Private Newell Wv; Johnston James W. Sargent Clarksville Tn; Jones John H.h. Private Columbus Ga; Jones John J. Sargent Ogden Ut, Kanisky John Sargent Haren Holland; Karibo John Altman Sargent Bellefontaine Oh; Kinnison Guy W. Spec. 5/C Kaneohe,Oahu Hi; Kissee Charles E. Spec. 4/C Stockton Ca; Lattie Jack E. Sargent Grovetown Ga; Leddy Adams S. Spec. 6/C Guam; Lehmkuhl Warren M. Sargent Columbus Ga; Mcclure Franklin D. M/ Spec. 4/C Dallas Ga; Mcentee Stanley W. Private Detroit Mi; Medwid Steven Sargent Alexandria Va; Mick Billy W. Sargent Sierra Vista Az; Morrison Tom B. Sargent Plattsmouth Ne; Myers Raymond E. Sargent 1/C Warren Az; Nichols Nicholas Jr. Sargent Seaside Ca; Oliver Roger L. Spec. 4/C Victory Wi ; Packard Jack C. Private Lodi Wi; Pardonnet Charles W. Spec. 4/C Colorado Springs Co; Pelkey Frank E. Sargent Farmington Me; Perkins Lawrence R. Private Chicago Il; Powell James A. Sargent 1/C Ft. Worth Tx ; Reinhardt Walter A. Sargent 1/C Hammond In; Rice Hubert L. Sargent 1/C Waynesville Mo ; Riggins Delbert L. Master Sargent Boise Id; Roberts Edison L. Warrant Officer Tacoma Wa ; Robinson Eddie F. Spec. 5/C Benton Ak; Roderick Leslie R. Jr. Spec. 6/C Houston Mo; Rogers Samuel Jr. Spec. 4/C Pine Bluff Ak; Saade/Salada Leslie M. Staff Sargent Erie Pa ; Saenz Edmond Sargent 1/C Lakeview Terrace Ca; Sager George E. Spec. 4/C Bergton Va ; Sargent Donald A. M/ Spec. 4/C Ossipee Nh; Sheard Andrew A. Iii Private Radner Pa ; Simola Efisio Jr. Sargent San Antonio Tx; Slocum George M. Spec. Westfield Ny ; Smith Elmer L. Spec. 5/C Louisiana Mo; Sorenson James C. Sargent Spanaway Wa ; Talbot Fred W. Spec. 4/C Salamanca Ny; Taylor James H. Spec. 4/C Olive Branch Mi; Thamy Peter Master Sargent Vallejo Ca; Thomas John A. Master Sargent Ridgeway Oh ; Thompson Clarence E. Spec. 4/C Big Spring Tx; Tranum Jack E. Master Sargent Augusta Ga ; Twitty James E. Staff Sargent Brooklyn Ny; Walcott Wallace L. Spec. 1/C Tacoma Wa ; *Walker Ross C. Sargent 1/C Pickens Sc; Wedge Leonard J. Spec. 4/C Millnocket Me ; Wendell John C. Sargent 1/C San Antonio Tx; Williams Albert F. Sargent 1/C Tacoma Wa ; Wong James Spec. 5/C Lahaina, Maui Hi

Above are the names of the troops that were on the plane, with the soldiers from Ohio in boldface. These men have been denied their rightful place of honor on the wall.

This website was set up by the daughter of George Michael Nau, a US Navy and Civilian Flight Engineer, who was one of the 107 that disappeared.

There are two men whose names are not in the list above.

Two soldiers who weren’t able to make that flight. 

One of those soldiers was Lorainite Dan Asensio.

Due to problems with their passports, he and another soldier were held up and were unable to accompany their fellow soldiers when they departed Travis Air Force Base.

All aboard this plane are not officially listed as Killed In Action, Missing In Action or Prisoners Of War by the Department of Defense.

Letter from Sherrod Brown

 

I won’t claim to know why the government is denying these men their rightful place on the Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., but I do want to point out two facts:  The plane disappeared on March 16, 1962. According to another website, the first U.S. troops entered Vietnam in March 1965.

Three years difference, between when the Lockheed was supposed to land, and the ‘official’ entrance of U.S. troops into this conflict.

What was the proposed mission of these men? Had they actually completed their journey, could there have been a difference in the outcome of the war?

We’ll never know, but I do think that the government should rethink their position on recognizing these soldiers.

On this Memorial Day, 2008, please take a moment to say a prayer of ‘Thanks’ for all the soldiers who have fought for our Country.

Say a prayer for all of our soldiers deployed throughout the world, to keep them out of harm’s way, so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have.

And if you’re lucky enough to come face-to-face with one of our Country’s finest, take a second and thank them personally, for their dedication and effort.

We ALL truly appreciate it.

(A huge ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Asensio for the information above, and for his commitment to our country. And a special thanks to Scott Bakalar for the suggestion of following up on this story.)

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23 thoughts on “A Memorial Day Tribute and Mystery

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. My own grandfather was Adam S. Leddy, who died on this flight. I do recall that my grandmother told me the actual purpose for the flight, but I can’t bring it to mind at the moment.

    My mother is looking for information regarding her father’s death. If you could post any information at all about the newspaper the clip above belongs to or any of your sources, my family would greatly appreciate it.

    Sincerely,
    Giselle A.

  2. Thanks so very much for your article. I was 4 years old when my father’s only known blood relative went missing.(Burns John J. Sargent 1/C San Luis Obispo Ca) My father recently passed away and I found among his things many newspaper articles about this tragedy. I have so many questions about what happened and I found some of this information answered some questions, yet brought up others. I read that there is a website for the families of those that were lost. If you have that information I would so appreciate having it. Thanks so much.

  3. My uncle, Clinton M. Hoy, was on this flight. My father was stationed on Okinowa and was expecting to see his brother when the plane was refueling. He had friends who told him they would let him know when the plane arrived for refueling. They told him they were tracking it when an unidentified aircraft appeared on radarscreen and did not respond to inquiries. All “eyes” were then put on this aircraft, which subsequently disappeared off the radar, but when they went to go back to the flying tiger, it was gone off radar as well. My father swore to his death there was something suspicious about the flight and its disappearance, and kept many articles on it. I would love to contact the other families and hear their stories. Please let me know the website…

  4. My husband, Sgt John A Karibo was on this plane and for years his daughter, Kimberly, and I have looked for answers to his disappearance. Kimberly was 20 months old when Johnny’s plane went missing. When POWs were released from Viet Nam and arrived back home we searched through the faces thinking perhaps he would be among the returnees. His mission in Viet Nam was to be a teacher. He taught chemical, biological and radiological warfare. We have never given up hope that someday we will have an answer to his disappearance. Visit Catherine Nau’s website: geocities.com/nau6/contents.html

  5. My Uncle Adam Leddy was on this plane. Thank you for this post. This left a big gap in my grandparent’s hearts and in our families lives. These individuals should be honored.

  6. My uncle was on this plane
    Still after almost 50 years we still have no real clear answers. I just hope that this was not all in vain and that each of our families will have answers one day. I had never had a chance to meet my uncle but I do know that he gave his all in everything he did. My uncles story will always be passed down in our family and my thoughts and prayers will be with all of the rest of the families which have endured what we have also. Don’t ever give up your search and one day we all will have answers.

  7. Karan,

    I’d sent out a request back in May, after another blog picked up this story because the owner lost a relative in this ‘accident’, too. I got no reply back. I’ve been meaning to contact others, and your post was the motivation I needed to get it done. Please watch this blog, or drop me a note in a few weeks and I’ll let you know what’s happened.

  8. Just left a message for Senator George Voinovich:

    Senator,

    I’m hoping you could look into this, because as time passes, more and more family members that are affected by this are contacting me about an article I wrote in May 2008. It has to do with a chartered military plane that crashed enroute to Vietnam in March of 1962.

    Actual answers to what happened will probably never be known/revealed. What most of the folks that have contacted me are looking for is recognition by Department of Defense, and ultimately, inclusion on the Vietnam War Memorial.

    Any insight that you can provide, any efforts that you make will be greatly appreciated.

    Here is the story: http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=138

    Thank you for your time,

    Mark Teleha

    I had also emailed Congressman John Boehner and conservative talkshow host Sean Hannity months ago. I got nothing back.

    I’m still trying.

  9. My father, Melvin L. Hatt was on that flight. The Army forces were Army Rangers, Special Ops. He left behind a wife and 2 small daughters whose lives were forever changed. Change of Casualty status seems impossible to change so that they may be included on th Wall in D.C. These soldiers are also denied in their state and county memorials.

  10. My father, SFC Albert F. Williams, was on that flight March 16, 1962. I was 4 years old at the time. Anyone with memories (good OR bad) of him I would love to hear from. Acouple years ago there was a memorial site set up by Mr. Nau’s daughter with a passenger list, my father’s name was highlighted, and I managed to get in touch with a fellow soldier at Ft. Lewis who knew him. Thank you

  11. My brother, Guy Wicks Kinnison was on this flight. Today is Memorial Day 2010. I wish that all these brave soldiers could be added to the Vietnam Memmorial. They should not be forgotten! The State of Hawaii has honored my brother at their veteran’s Memorial in Honolulu. However, all of these soldiers should be a part of the National Vietnam Memorial.

  12. Happy Father’s Day. This is the second blog I have found today in regard to flight 739. No one to call today so I guess this will do. Will always wonder what if.. Son of Leonard Wedge. Will

  13. My husband Jack E. Lattie was on that fateful plane also. He left behind a son and a daughter. I have read somewhere that 50 years after the fact (2012) we may get or be entitled to some information as to what really happened to that plane and our loved-ones. (Will this really happened and how?) I have tried to find out why we can’t have their names on the Vietnam Wall and the only reason they can come up with is “they did not die on Vietnam soil.” To me, this is not a very good reason. I want to see their names on that wall.
    Also, my husband’s name should show him as being from Colorado – not Ga.
    My email address is: fpt1303k@aol.com

  14. Almost 4 years ago I wrote this, and a year later, it was reposted here by someone who was a little closer to the incident. A comment was just posted to that site (you should really see all the comments that have been written there by searching family members) concerning the guidelines for placing names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. I thought it needed to be relayed here, as well.

    I’ve been researching this incident for many years now and have contacted some of you in the past. Let me clarify the ‘rules’ governing Additions to the VN Memorial Wall. While somewhat complex, they are broken down into three (3) general scenarios: 1. Anyone who dies – regardless of cause – on foreign soil within South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. This also includes boundaries that stretch a few miles out into the South China Sea that are designated war-zone. Note the word ‘few’. 2. Deaths that occur outside of the war-zone area, but are attributable to events that occurred there. These are usually individuals evacuted out due to wounds, illnesses, accidents, etc – and subsequently died shortly thereafter. 3. Individuals that died while “going to, or returning from” a specific war-related MISSION. This change was made primarily for Pilots/Crew who crashed after a NVN bombing raid in Thailand…which is outside of the war-zone boundaries established. Based on various documents, no argument can be made that this crash occurred within the few miles of SVN…no flotsam was ever found. However, a theoretical argument could be made that these soldiers were ‘going to’ SVN on a specific war-related mission (as opposed to being new replacements). The CAB report done does reference that they were Communications Specialists – a group being sent there for a critical purpose of the war. The problem is that of all of the Personnel Files obtained (about 35 so far) – ALL have been excised of any training received prior to this crash. Without those records, I cannot determine in what communications genre they were trained in, what Army or MACV Unit they were to be assigned to once there, or the specific reason/mission they were to perform. If anyone has any knowledge or documentation as to where their relative was stationed at for training – or what they were trained in, please email me at bruceswander@hotmail.com for further research

  15. My brother-in-law was on this flight. My husband has been trying to get these names on the wall. We have been told the wall is only for the ones that pass in country. There is a second area for the ones that pass after they left. I think this flight need it’s own place in the same area with the wall and the ones that passed after. They were a part of this conflict (war). The question will always be, where did it go down? So sad

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