Reader memories stirred by website stories

Reader comments suggest the value of this effort:
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Barbara Murray,
Hi there! I am Barbara Murray, daughter of John Murray. What an amazing story! And you know my dad and mom never really explained what happened. It was just considered that he was merely doing his job. I was only 5 when he died and would love to know more about the whole situation. My kids have read this about their granddad and are flabbergasted! My mail is
 I hope to hear from you.
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Mary A. Gibson,
My family and I were scheduled to leave McGuire AFB in Sept 23, 1962; destination Frankfort, Germany. My husband was a Marine to be attached to the U.S Consulate in Frankfort. Our scheduled flight was on Flying Tiger 923 but my husband cancelled it and we took a later flight on American Airlines 707. Fate must have intervened on our behalf.
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S. Robert Campbell,
I was posted to the Bonaventure three years after the Flying Tiger accident. Men I worked with were onboard at the time of the rescue efforts and told many anecdotal stories concerning the ship’s role in the rescue/recovery efforts. One point about the story on this site – Bonaventure did not have Air Force pilots on board. Canada had a Fleet Air Arm in those days and the pilots on Bonnie were Naval Officers, the air crewmen were RCN ratings
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Ragnar Domstad,
I am the photographer of the N6923C. As Peter Frey mentioned, I don´t claim any copyright, but I ask to be mentioned as photographer. It is a strange feeling to know that “our” Super Connie ditched a year later. After fueling at Shannon, Ireland, we continued but had to land at Gander as the whole Eastern seaboard was closed due to fog. Reader memories stirred by website storiesSomewhat delayed, we arrived at Idlewild. As our study tour was a success, I was asked to arrange some more tours the following years, and in June 1962 we had another Super Connie chartered and a year later also.

When I first heard of the Flying Tiger Line, it was in a small notice in a newspaper. It said that Flying Tiger had passengers from the US to Europe in the beginning of the summer and vice versa at the end of the summer. They offered cheap charter flights from Europe in the beginning of the summer and back at the end of the summer to fill otherwise empty planes.
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Paul Feldman,
I was 5 years old flying from McGuire to Paris in 1962 on this very plane. My father was a sergeant being transferred to Chalmount AFB. I remember several things.

1. We stopped in New Foundland and then made another stop in the Azores.

2. I remember seeing the exhaust flaming all night, I had a window seat.

3. When we were approaching Paris, the left #2 engine was shut down. I distinctly remember me and my brothers saying something to my father, to assure us, which was not true he said the pilot always shuts down engines when landing.

4. I remember my father telling us the plane crashed on its next trip.

Luckily, when we returned to McGuire in 1966 we were on a Pan Am 707.

Just thought I would share this.
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Raymond Lewis,
Please verify (if I’m right) that the Canadian war ship H.M.C.S. Bonaventure and it’s 4 (four) Destroyer Escorts attended this tragedy. Some of the persons involved in this mishap were taken to the H.M.C.S. Bonaventure’s sickbay. The ships milk cooler was emptied and used as a morgue.

The Canadian ships then proceeded to Shannon Ireland. I was serving on the H.M.C.S. Bonaventure when this mishap occurred. Please if you can, verify this happening I would be so grateful to show my grandchildren the perils of the Atlantic.
Thank you
Raymond Lewis
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Pierre Reymond, crew-member of the Swiss freighter Celerina
Thanks for this excellent text. In my report on the Celerina,  I wrote some comments about Captain John Murray:

…. I attend to the aircraft’s Pilot who has a head wound. Soon he asks me if he can see our captain. I give him some rudimentary care and after he has rested a little, I go up with him on the bridge. No words are needed. The handshake of the two Captains is an emotional instant that reveals a lot about the thoughts of both men.

…. Personally, I made friends with John Murray, the pilot of the Super-Constellation, who was 44 years old then. Together we discussed the difficult decisions he had to make when the accident happened. Particularly, he had to choose whether to ditch “with” the waves or “against” them. Landing “with” a wave is generally preferable on one hand, but in that case the wind carries the plane with less airspeed and the aircraft may “fall” too roughly. The pilot finally chose the last solution intuitively and he worked with the wind as far as possible until the impact. “And if you had to do this over again?”, I asked. He said he would try to land as close as possible to a ship, provided one could ascertain its position.
 This conversation has remained in my memory, even though communication between air and sea and rescue methods have made a lot of progress nowadays.

Remember the state of the sea at the time of the ditching!
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Kenneth D Stellon
Just went to lunch with Frank Ruffalo who was a army paratrooper who survived this crash. He was relating his experience and mentioned Fred Caruso. What a fascinating and horrifying story! Frank is from Chicago. Our wives were best friends in grade school. They reconnected at a recent reunion. Although from the same neighborhood, Frank and I did not really know each other, but I remember others talking about his ordeal. He does not use the internet, but I plan to tell him about this web site. He did have a copy of the Saturday Evening Post story about the crash. It does make you realize the incredible sacrifices young people make as members of our armed forces. Thank you for this site.*     *     *     *     *

James L. Clark,
After more than 50 years since flying as a navigator with FTL my memories of flying on two of the four A/C that were lost in 1962 came flooding back, all spurred by hearing Carol recount her experiences at last year’s FTLPA convention.
 During 1962 I had over 160 hours in FT-923 and FT-913 over Mid and North Pacific routes. The loss of 913 was also the night of the loss of a good friend, Karl Rader, with whom I had spent time with hunting and fishing in Cold Bay during our stay overs.
 In 1964 I changed careers, obtained my pilot’s license and have since flown over 8,000 hours in the left seat.
 The six years flying for the Marine Corps and FTL provided me a great background within which to continue to use flying to further my business career. More importantly I had the pleasure of meeting and flying with my childhood hero’s of the original Flying Tigers, like Dick Rossi, Gil Bright, Ed Rector and Bob Neale.
 Safe journeys to you.

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About Fred Caruso

Survivor of the crash of Flying Tiger 923. at night, at sea, 500 miles off the west coast of Ireland, with 28 deaths and 48 survivors, September 23, 1962.
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2 Responses to Reader memories stirred by website stories

  1. Patricia Leonard says:

    Absolutely fascinating. Thanks, Fred.

  2. sam vasquez says:

    kenneth d stellon,can you call frank ruffalo and tell frank to call sam vasquez 623 7760205,we were in the same co.a 12eng. in germany.

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