Very little known about what happened to Flying Tiger Line Flight 739, a military mission plane that went missing on March 16, 1962, with 93 US Army Soldiers on board and 11 crew members (including CA natives SP4 Charles Edward Kissee from Stockton, SGT Nicholas Nichols Jr. From Seaside, SFC Edmond Saenz of Lakeview Terrace, SFC John Joseph Burns from San Luis Obispo, Pvt Larry Dean Canon from Chino, MSGT Robert R. Glassman of San Jose, PVT Robert Henderson of San Francisco, Navigator Grady Reese Burt Jr. from Baldwin Park, 2nd Officer Bobbie Jean Gazzaway from Fillmore, Navigator William T Kennedy of Braintree, Flight Engineer Clayton E McClellan from San Mateo, Flight Engineer, George Michael Nau of Pacoima, Stewardess Christel Diana Reiter from San Mateo, Senior Flight Attendant Barbara Jean Wamsley from Santa Barbara, 1RST Officer Robert J Wish of Hidden Hills, Stewardess Patricia Wassum and Stewardess Hildegarde Muller).
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 15th, the families of those lost will gather in Columbia falls, ME to meet each other for the first time and share in 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.
View Facebook Live Groundbreaking: facebook.com/watch/live/?v=201297657982321&ref=search
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. To learn more about the WAA Remembrance Tree Program visit https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/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. Watch the Video: What is a remembrance wreath? youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=5_-EW6a_VAs
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 wreathsacrossamerica.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 at noon on Saturday, December 18, 2021, as part of National Wreaths across America Day.
Click here to find a local participating cemetery near you to support go to and type in your town and/or state.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.