Remembering the 61rst Anniversary of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 on Valentine's Day
TRAVIS AFB, California
February 9, 2023
61 years ago on March 16, 1962, Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 (FTLF 739) and its California-based flight crew, departed from Travis Air Force Base on a secret mission sanctioned by President Kennedy, to fly to Vietnam. This secret Vietnam reconnaissance mission went missing with no trace of the plane or its passengers ever found. Onboard were 93 United States Army soldiers and 11 civilian crewmembers.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 9am to 3pm, Wreaths Across America will be diverting its Mobile Education Exhibit (MEE) national tour to Travis Air Force Base. The MEE travels the country bringing the local community, veterans, active-duty military, and their families together through interactive exhibits, short films, and shared stories. The exhibit serves as a mobile museum, educating visitors about the service and sacrifice of our nation's heroes as well as serving as an official 'welcome home' station for our nation's Vietnam Veterans.
Very little is known about what happened to FTLF 739 and its crew and passengers, and due to the circumstance 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 our freedom and our shared history.
Presently, the only monument that bears the names of these almost forgotten American heroes was erected by a private citizen, Wreaths Across America founder Morrill Worcester, on his balsam tip land in Columbia Falls, ME.
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.
Presently, this private memorial is the only recognition that the heroes of FTLF 739 have ever received for their shared sacrifice to our nation. However, that can change. Senator Gary Peters (MI) introduced Senate Bill 2571 which is supported by Senators Blackburn (TN), Stabenow (MI), and Shaheen (NH). 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.