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Stars and Stripes ( I think -  it may have been a different paper), put it this way:

sept10-1956-thumbUSAF Bomber Tracking Typhoon Emma Vanishes With 16 Aboard

From The News Services

TOKYO, Sept. 10 - A U.S. Air Force bomber, with 16 crewmen aboard, disappeared over the Sea of Japan today while tracking a typhoon that left a 1,0000-mile-long trail of death and devastation in its wake.

A huge air-sea search was set into motion after the big RB-50, carrying six officers and 10 enlisted airmen, failed to return to its Yokota base, near Tokyo, from a weather reconnaissance flight.

THE BOMBER was last heard from in a radio message reporting its position as 200 miles northwest of Niigata off the west coast of Honshu, Japan's main island.

Far East Air Force Headquarters in Tokyo later announced that the plane was officially listed missing one hour after the time it's [sic] fuel supply would have run out in flight.

At the time it vanished, the plane was collecting directional and wind velocity data on Typhoon Emma.

Typhoon Emma was blamed for 50 deaths and multimillion dollar property losses in Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines.

Winds in the center were down to 90 miles an hour when U.S. Air Force weather planes pinpointed it 200 miles northwest of southern Honshu, Japan. The winds had been 156 miles an hour over Okinawa Saturday and 115 miles an hour over Kyushu, Japan's southernmost home island yesterday.

TWENTY-NINE persons were reported killed in Japan, one in South Korea and three on Okinawa. Okinawa fatalities included a military policeman and two Ryukyu Islanders. Six drowned in the Philippines in weekend floods on the typhoon's edge.

Last Wednesday 11 U.S. Marines who had gone swimming off a north Okinawa beach were drowned in an undertow laid to the typhoon.

The U.S. Army said Emma was "the worst Typhoon disaster of the last decade" on Okinawa, site of numerous American bases, where it lasted 36 hours. Forty-three Okinawans and 15 Americans were injured, 9 of the Americans severely. Damage was estimated in the millions of dollars.

A preliminary report said 1,701 houses, 2,230 miscellaneous buildings, and 84 public buildings were destroyed and other buildings damaged.


Personally, as a child, I was proud of a father who could fly into a typhoon. I did not apply my imagination to his experience, and resisted the imaginations of others. His mother, my grandmother, lay beside me on a bed in Prescott and in tears shared the hope that he had  crashed and was being held prisoner by the Chinese. I felt at the time that it was the wrong thing to be imposing on a child. My mother had no noticeable doubts, because he had kissed her during a service of prayer for the missing men; and even before the plane was declared missing had had a prescience while ironing and had found herself saying out loud "But what am I to do with the children?"

But the truth is important; and whatever the truth might be, the story which we were given and which I grew up with, which I shared in various classrooms as we moved around, which shaped who I am and formed a stable point in a changing world, was not true.


[Originally blog-published February 24, 2013]