Howard Roy Gallipeau Jr.
May 16, 2014
Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 was a Super Constellation
prop liner chartered by the United States military that disappeared on
15 March 1962 over the Western Pacific Ocean.
The aircraft was transporting 93 Army men and 3 South Vietnamese from Travis Air Force Base, California to Saigon, Vietnam.
After refueling at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the Super Constellation was en route to Clark Air Base in the Philippines when it disappeared.
All 107 aboard were declared missing and presumed dead.
The airliner's disappearance prompted one of the largest air and sea searches in the history of the Pacific. Aircraft and surface ships from four branches of the US military searched more than 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) during the course of eight days. A civilian tanker observed what appeared to be an in-flight explosion believed to be the missing Super Constellation, though no trace of wreckage or debris was ever recovered. The Civil Aeronautics Board determined that, based on the tanker's observations, Flight 739 probably exploded in-flight, though an exact cause could not be determined without examining the remnants of the aircraft.
The aircraft was a 5-year-old Lockheed L-1049H Super
Constellation with a total of 17,224 airframe hours.
It carried 11 American civilian crew members and 96 military passengers.
The flight was operated by the Flying Tiger Line as Military Air Transport Service (MATS) Charter flight 739.
The Super Constellation carried 93 jungle-trained Army
Rangers en route to South Vietnam.
Their orders were to relieve soldiers in Saigon who had been training Vietnamese troops to fight Viet-Cong guerrillas.
Also on board were three members of the Vietnamese military.
The flight crew consisted of eleven civilians based out of California, including four women.
The pilot was Captain Gregory P. Thomas.
The flight originated from Travis Air Force Base, California, and was destined for Saigon. There were four planned refueling stops: Honolulu, Hawaii; Wake Island; Guam; and Clark Air Base, Philippines. The flight arrived at Guam at 11:14 GMT after being delayed for minor maintenance on engines numbers 1 and 3 at Honolulu, and later at Wake Island. The aircraft departed from Guam at 12:57 GMT with an estimated time of arrival at the Philippines at 19:16 GMT. The Super Constellation carried nine hours of fuel for the 1,600 miles (2,600 km), 8-hour flight.
Eighty minutes after departure, at 14:22 GMT, the pilot radioed a routine message and gave his position as being 280 miles west of Guam. At 15:39 the Guam radio operator attempted to contact the flight for a position report but was unable to establish contact.
The aircraft was not seen or heard from again.
Mansfield's US Ranger Howard Roy Gallipeau, Jr. was one of the servicemen lost on Flight 739.
Due to the fact the plane crashed not upon land or
within 2 miles of the continent, the Department of Defense does not recognize
these military personnel as casualties of the Vietnam War and their names
are not memorialized on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC.
Howard Roy Gallipeau Jr. 96 Chilson Ave., Mansfield,