PASSENGERS

PASSENGERS-regular: (Does not include combat paratroopers)

In 1962, the Military Air Transport system was reserved for military officers and their families, including officers from closely allied armed forces. It was also available to non-commissioned officers with at least four years of service. Here are some of the stories of those passengers:

Peter Foley tells the world of terror and survival > Peter Foley was a reporter for the military’s most prestigious newspaper, the Stars and Stripes. His prolific and compassionate writing ability told the world what had happened. If it were up to the Army alone, there would have been nothing reported at all.

Capt. Juan Figueroa-Longo, MD > Lucky for survivors there was a medical doctor among them. Captain Figueroa worked tirelessly while aboard the rescue ship faced with limited supplies and no eye glasses. He directed major decisions including the evacuation of the more severely injured. His wife Carmen survived and has her own story below.

Just trying to do the right thing… > Sgt. Melvin Baney and his wife were at total opposite sides of the argument. Both were trying to do the right thing. He was perhaps very logical, she had a terrible gut feeling that the logic was not right. The decision troubled the children for the past 50 years.

Mother, daughters vanish into raging sea  > (Rachael, Luana and Ullani Hoopii) The story of the Hoopii family was a total horror. All were lost to the sea.

Pain of Loss of Friend Lingers Half a Century!  > (John and Helga Groves) Friendship will easily carry on for a life time. Fifty years driving the couple to the airport, he still remembers his buddy and his pretty German wife. She was so happy to be going home. He was so proud of his new bride. She survived, but he did not.

Carmen Figueroa saved by man named Toby > Alone in the darkness with raging water about to overwhelm her, Carmen encounters a swimmer willing to help. Toby guides her and helps her to the raft where she is pulled in to safety. But there was no Toby aboard Flying Tiger 923. Or was there?

Wife Dies on Over-crowded Life Raft  > (Lt. Col. and Mrs. George Dent) Talk about a sad love story. They rode the crowded life raft for six hours, squeezed in their own spaces just a few feet apart, making it impossible to talk. She made it up the rope ladders to the railing of the Swiss rescue ship, where she died as she fell into the arms of safety.

Green Troops Make “Old Soldier” Proud > (Lt. Col. George Dent) After losing his wife under exceptionally painful circumstances, this retired officer maintains composure to pass on complements for the young paratroopers aboard the Celerina.

Major and Mrs. Richard Elander > They were a good-looking couple, very non-military like. He was an eye surgeon. Theire story is touching.

And get some lipstick for the lady!  > Lois Elander makes an unexpected request from the air craft carrier’s sick bay.

Air Force Major Feared Engine Trouble >(Air Force Major Harry O. Benson was not the only person to look at the aircraft with consternation, but he was the only one to express it publicly. The Super Constellation was showing signs of aging and a need for a cleaning.

Who is in the Photo? > A number of readers responded to this appeal and many are now identified.

17 Airlifted to the Emerald Island > This story is included in the index for regular passengers, combat paratroopers and rescue teams. Read to learn the wide-reaching scope of operations.

The Luck of the Irish! > And there was a lucky one. This officer making his way home to Ireland falls into that categrory.

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These articles add to a better understanding of this and other indexed subjects:

Not your typical airplane crash > If asked, most people say that there is no such thing as a “typical” airplane crash. There are a number of reasons why, however, Flying Tiger Flight 923 stands out as NOT typical at all.

> Going Down with FT923 > This is a list of all passengers and crew, dead, missing and surviving as reported in the New York Times of 24 September 1962.

> CAB Report Available for Free Download > This official report totals only 37 pages. Investigations didn’t go into as much detail as they do today. In any event, it is something and an important document to have.

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> O’CARUSO > About Fred Caruso, the Irish O’Caruso and the developer,  editor and writer and  of this site. This article tells of his roll as a survivor and author of a book centered around the crash and its impact on his life. The book, Born Again Irish, tells how Flying Tiger 923 drove his life into a career of journalism and the adoption of Ireland as home.

 

 

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