Memories . . .
Readers have asked why the mid-Atlantic ditching of Flying Tiger 923 on Sept. 23, 1962, is virtually unknown? Publicity at the time of the crash was very minimal and what there was disappeared very quickly. So little is known about the crash that the story, as a simple matter of “historic fact,” just recently made it to the pages of the online encyclopedia “Wikipedia.” Just about anything in the world makes it to that site! In this case, it only took 50 years.
I am happy to say that this site has given a degree of meaning and recognition to the event. As of Memorial Day 2017, this site has clocked a total of 81,814 views from throughout the world. The site has some 98 posts and 11 special pages, and a total of 109 separate stories.
Why did the ditching get so little attention? Because the Army did not want attention, especially to the small contingent brand new combat paratroopers on board.
The ditching occurred at the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis in September of 1962.The American and Soviet Union leaders were hurling threats of the use of nuclear weapons if either did not get their way. That also happened to be an especially tense period in the “Cold War” with the Soviets building an 850-mile fence between the East and West.
The details are pretty complicated and were highly classified at the time. The Army worked hard at keeping publicity to a minimum, especially about its quietly shipping combat troopers over to Frankfurt on planes usually reserved to transport military families and career military personnel. The surviving combat troops were not provided post medical leaves, except in very rare cases, got “free” uniform and clothing replacement and a small amount of pocket change. The combat troops who did not survive were basically forgotten. There was no official memorial or ceremony commemorating the disaster. None, not anywhere!
Today the Flying Tiger 923 disaster is on the historic map, but it took more than 50 years to get it there. This is due to the interest and loyalty of followers of this blog site as demonstrated by 81,814 views from around the world. While there are no “official” memorials, we can report that in the Republic of Ireland, there is now a small memorial plaque at the Galley Head lighthouse and another small, but beautiful memorial on the Bromore Cliffs near Ballybunion golf course. These were placed by private citizens unrelated to the Army.
To learn more about these private memorials, follow these links:
If you have not yet explored this site, please be sure to do so. All 109 stories are accessible by clicking on the categories posted under the masthead above.