COLUMBIA FALLS — Tiger Flight 739 is still considered one of the biggest mysteries from the Vietnam war.
Tiger Flight 739 mysteriously went missing about 60 years ago.
On Saturday, families who lost their loved ones received the closure they have been waiting for.
Family members from Texas, Florida, Michigan and more made their way to Columbia Falls to see the unveiling of Tiger Flight 739’s new monument.
It is the first time the deaths have been recognized publicly with a ceremony.
“For the longest time, we didn’t feel like anybody did care,” said John Biernacki, son of a flight member on 739.
Flying Tiger Flight 739 disappeared over the pacific ocean in 1962, and family members said they had long wanted the names of their loved ones on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.
“We have to remind ourselves every day that freedom is not free it’s very precious and we need to be mindful and take care of it every day,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.
The names were never etched in stone in Washington, D.C., but the monument in Maine will stand forever.
“To touch my dad’s name up there on that, that’s a dream come true,” said Biernacki.
The soldiers and flight crew were coming home from a U.S. secret mission on May 16, 1962, when the passengers and plane went missing.
“Throughout my whole life, it’s just been a whole in my heart,” said Biernacki.
The ceremony included speeches, names of the fallen, and music.
Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization, the executive director and her husband made the decision to put the ceremony together after hearing some testimonies.
She said it’s what they do to honor the fallen and teach the next generation of Americans about its soldiers, history and freedom. Ninety-six people lost their lives that day, including 11 flight crew members, three Vietnam soldiers, and 93 U.S Rangers.