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.
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.
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.)