On March 16, 1962, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 (FTLF 739) was on a secret mission sanctioned by President Kennedy, to fly to Vietnam. This secret Vietnam reconnaissance mission went missing and no trace of the plane or its passengers have ever been found. Onboard were 93 United States Army soldiers and 11 civilian crewmembers.
Very little is known about what happened to FTLF 739, its crew or passengers, and due to the circumstances surrounding this mission, the names of those lost have not yet been added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
However, today many families and loved ones of these heroes still fight to have their loved ones recognized for their contributions to American freedom and history by urging people to write to their Senators and help pass Senate Bill 2571.
Senate Bill 2571 is presently up for vote with the Energy and Natural Resources committee and if signed would add the names of the crew of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 to the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington DC.
Presently, the only monument that bears the names of these almost forgotten American heroes was erected by Wreaths Across America founder Morrill Worcester, in Columbia Falls, Maine, where the 60th anniversary commemoration event was held.
“When I first heard the story about this mission, I was shocked to learn that nothing has been done for these families,” said Worcester. “I said that day that we would do something to make sure these people are honored and remembered, and to hopefully give some closure to these families.”
The inscription on the monument reads: “Missing in action; Presumed dead. Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 went missing on March 16, 1962, with 93 U.S. Army soldiers on board. These men and their flight crew perished in what would become one of the biggest aviation mysteries out of the Vietnam War era. The names of those who gave their lives and who remain missing are inscribed here so that they will be said aloud and their memory will live on.”
Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.) introduced Senate Bill 2571 which was supported by Senators Blackburn (Tenn.), Stabenow (Mich.), and Shaheen (N.H.). This bill, which is presently sitting in the committee for Energy and Natural Resources, seeks to have these long-forgotten heroes added to the list of names on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at thousands of U.S. veterans’ cemeteries. For more information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.