Epilogue to mother’s scrap book by Gordon Thornsberry


On Sunday, September 23, my mother cooked lunch for a large group of relatives. After lunch, the men were watching a football game when a news bulletin came across the television. A plane crashed in the North Atlantic ocean carrying 76 soldiers, dependents and crew. A comment jokingly was said, “Sure hope Gordon wasn’t on that plane,” and went back to watching the ball game.

At 8:00AM the following morning, my mother received the following telegram. My father had already gone to work.


I am sure that everyone on the plane had parents to receive the same telegram. This had to be a time of complete helplessness for our families. On September 24, the following article was published in our local newspaper:


 On September 25, 1962, at 2:00PM, my parents received the following telegram:


On September 27, 1962, I sent a telegram to my parents from the Celerina letting them know I survived the crash and was not injured. It was very brief. I simply said:



The image of the telegram intended for this posting was regrettably misplaced in the world of the internet, but I still have the original at home.

The picture (below) is of me on the left; Douglas Werner of Muncey, Indiana (middle); and, Richard Trawick on the right from Birmingham, Alabama. If we look bewildered, that is because we were bewildered. We received a medal. For what? I don’t remember but it had something to do with the crash:


Some of the survivors and I have become life-long friends. Thomas Koltak, Douglas Werner, and Richard Trawick, have been in touch on a regular basis. Because of this website, Paul Steward and I have reconnected and have had dinner together.

I am going to finish this up by introducing my family. Sue, my wife of 48 ½ years taught school for 3 years before coming to work in our business. We lost our first son, Richard, in a car wreck in July of 1973. Our daughter, Tonia and our son-in-law, Gerald, are proud parents of Josie, our granddaughter. Tommy, our son, is married to Rabab and they have a son, Jackson, our grandson; and, Maggie, our granddaughter. We are expecting our next grandchild in August.

Are not the grandchildren the best?

Gordon Thornsberry

[Editor’s Note: Gordon was the first survivor to contact me personally and face-to-face at my office in Denver after nearly 45 years. He was a great inspiration to me for getting this project rolling, and, in fact, he got me started with five names and phone numbers of survivors. I was able to contact them all.]

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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1 Response to Epilogue to mother’s scrap book by Gordon Thornsberry

  1. Patricia Leonard says:

    Loved this post!

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