It is worthy of mention that sharing the Jack B. Ketchum Crew’s story is patriotism and humanity of the highest order. It is the best outlet for expressing appreciation of their forgotten sacrifice and a proven means of connecting with friends and loved ones on a highly spiritual basis. In my opinion, the Jack B. Ketchum Crew’s story is both a national and international treasure that transcends nationality, ethnicity, and political leaning. It is equally meaningful in Taipei and Topeka. There is no element of mankind that is immune, detached, or ostracized from their clear-cut message of a world beyond our own. To acknowledge that message and not share it is a shortfall. Flight of the Forgotten is a living memorial to the Jack B. Ketchum Crew. Share it with those close to you and keep their story alive and relevant.
In my heart, this musical arrangement by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is a Scottish tribute to the Jack B. Ketchum Crew. It’s a privilege to share it with you.
As the Executive Director of the Jack B. Ketchum Crew Memorial, and the author of “Flight of the Forgotten”, I am the voice of 27 deceased American airmen, all victims of an outrageous US Government atrocity. 12 of these men were murdered for simply appearing to be the Jack B. Ketchum Crew. The US Government has never accepted direct responsibility for this atrocity and it continues to classify all supporting information above the top-secret level.
As the voice of these victims, I have been asked to provide an intellectual weigh-in concerning the current events trend involving leaking classified information for the supposed benefit of the public at large. This posting is my assessment of this activity and the resulting disservice to true heroism that it represents. I would preface my remarks by stating that no leak of classified material from any physical source ever transpired in the production of “Flight of the Forgotten.” No oaths were violated, no laws were broken, and the national security of the United States was never compromised.
There is a tremendous distinction between violating an oath, a position, and a trust, for the one dimensional purpose of damaging the US Government’s reputation, and seeking the truth for the higher calling of honoring a forgotten sacrifice.
I regard the trend of publicly leaking classified information as deplorable, disruptive, impotent, and cowardly. There is no heroism present in this action and only a shortage of true heroes would cause such action to be confused with heroism. It should be emphasized that in spite of what transpired with the Jack B. Ketchum Crew, all of them remain intensely patriotic, and they would never support any action that undermines the strength of their nation.
The United States Government is far from flawless, and it needs to be reminded regularly that it is a government of the people. Destructive behavior, such as deliberately leaking classified information however, is neither justifiable nor heroic. It is nothing more than a cowardly grab for personal attention.
The Jack B. Ketchum Crew and passengers were some of the finest men that ever lived. They stood tall in hell and were murdered on their way home at the hands of their own. Heroism is all too often found in cemeteries but rarely among the superficial trend in current events.
Honor the fallen by making the country they died for better. Make their last full measure of devotion mean what it is supposed to mean … a sacred gift to all of us. Honor your country, do your duty, and regardless of media manipulation, never confuse sabotage with loyalty.
This is the original Jack B. Ketchum Crew, including Edward J. Tkacik (front row, second from left). The photo was taken at Forbes Army Air Corps. Base, Topeka, Kansas in late 1944, just prior to deploying to England.
This is the official “Flight of the Forgotten” tribute video. It is an audio/visual living memorial to the Jack B. Ketchum Crew. My sincere thanks to a dear family friend for this labor of love and creative masterpiece on behalf of the crew and their families.
This is a photo of Nose gunner, Ed Tkacik Sr., the only surviving member of the original Jack B. Ketchum Crew. He was replaced by Eldon Gilles just prior to the Ketchum Crew’s combat tour in 1944-45. Ed Tkacik flew a complete combat tour against Nazi Germany with another 44th Bomb Group combat crew. He is a “Flight of the Forgotten” devotee, a comrade and friend of my uncle Buster, and a hero in every sense of the word.
This is N9918N, a 1975 Cessna 180 J Model that I flew routinely as a seaplane pilot based in New Orleans. It was red and white and on pontoon floats in 1977. It is the same airplane that I experienced the encounter with Buster following a lightning strike en-route to Lake Charles, Louisiana, as depicted in “Flight of the Forgotten.”