Very little is known about what happened to Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, a military mission plane that went missing March 16, 1962, while traveling from Travis Air Force Base, California, to Saigon, Vietnam, with 93 U.S. Army Soldiers and 11 crewmembers on board.
The manifest included Virginia natives Specialist Richard Bayse, from Prince George; Private Joseph Broome from Danville; Sgt. 1st Class Lindsey Kirby Hester, from Fort Monroe; Sgt. Steven Medwid from Alexandria; Specialist George E. Sager, from Bergton; and Sgt. 1st Class James Armes.
Due to the complexities surrounding the mission, the names of all those who have been lost have not yet been added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. However, on May 15, the families of those lost will gather in Columbia Falls, Maine to share the moment that a monument to these brave men and women is unveiled.
The land where this monument has been erected was donated by Wreaths Across America Founder Morrill Worcester and is located on the balsam tip - land where brush is harvested each year to make veterans’ remembrance wreaths to be placed on the headstones of our nation's heroes. Last summer (during the pandemic), WAA held a quiet groundbreaking ceremony for the new monument.
In addition to the monument unveiling, All Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 families will be invited to take part in the Wreaths Across America Remembrance tree program.
As part of this program, a replica dog tag will be hung on individual trees that are used to make remembrance wreaths for Wreaths Across America Day.
This simple gesture becomes a living tribute "from the fallen to the fallen" in remembrance of their service and sacrifice: as every three years, the trees where the tags are hung, will be tipped to make veterans’ wreaths to be placed on headstones by volunteers on Wreaths Across America Day, (December 18th, 2021 this year.) Leading up to the monument unveiling you’ll be able to hear interviews with family members on Wreaths Across America Internet Radio.
Wreaths Across America is the non-profit organization best known for placing wreaths on veteran’s headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. However, in 2020, the organization placed more than 1.7 million sponsored veterans’ wreaths at 2,557 participating locations nationwide.
You can sponsor a veteran’s wreath anytime for $15 at www.wreathacrossamerica.org. Each sponsorship goes toward a live, balsam wreath that will be placed on the headstone of an American hero as we endeavor to honor all veterans laid to rest as part of National Wreaths across America Day.