Tennessee families want answers on why plane vanished 60 years ago

Push to get Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 names on memorial
Sgt. James Johnston
Posted at 3:31 PM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 18:14:41-04

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A plane on a top-secret mission vanished, and families want their sacrifice remembered 60 years later.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1962. Melanie Files said, "Did a humongous search, found nothing."

Flying Tiger Line
Flying Tiger Line

Melanie's dad, Sgt. James Johnston, was one of the missing. The mission was sanctioned by President Kennedy leading into the Vietnam War.

Files said, "When you take that many Army Rangers, chemical warfare experts, that ought to tell you something."

No bodies were found according to Files. "It was a little scary because nobody knew what was going on, nobody knew anything at that point in time except there was a plane with all these people that just went poof," Files said.

There's an influx of conspiracies, but not a lot of answers. Files said, "Everything’s been redacted, I’m surprised they didn’t run out of magic marker."

93 soldiers and 11 civilian crew members were on board. Families are fighting for their names to be listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.

With the help of non-profit Wreaths Across America, Senate Bill 2571 was introduced years ago, but nothing happened.

"These people have been forgotten, my father gave up his life at 44, he was a military man, we were a military family, he gave up the most important thing, he gave up his life for his country,” Files said, “Just tell us what happened."

A second Tennessean, Sgt. William Caseldine of Dover was also on the flight.