Memorial plague

The CAT/Air America Memorial Plaque

History of Aviation Collection

Treasures @ UT Dallas

Special Collections Department

Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 6 PM
Second Saturday of the month:
9 AM - 1 PM or by appointment

For More Information contact us at:
Phone: 972-883-2570
Email: [email protected]
Eugene McDermott Library,
Special Collections
800 West Campbell Road,
Richardson, TX 75083-0643

Eulogy For Air America and CAT Employees

Memorial and Archive Dedication Ceremony, May 30th, 1987, McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas

It was with some hesitation that I accepted the task of delivering the eulogy for 241 people because many of them were not known to me personally. Their death or disappearance had occurred over a period of three decades and they represented six different cultural backgrounds. In addition, another decade has slipped by since the door closed on the events which bring us together here today. In such circumstances, I wondered how should one begin.

There is a common thread which connects each name on the honor roll being dedicated. At the time each person died or was declared missing in action they were employed by an aviation complex best known collectively as "Air America" or CAT. That common thread has continued and connects the past to the present. Many past employees here today are members of the Air America Club, which initiated this memorial effort, the CAT Association or both. With the assistance of the McDermott Library and the University of Texas we members of the two organizations, along with the families, friends and relatives of these being honored are ensuring that this common thread shall serve as a connection to the future.

We have undertaken to do this so that none of those who died or disappeared shall be forgotten. That not one of them, in the words of Sir Walter Scott, shall go "unwept, unhonored and unsung." The cause of freedom for which they gave so much shall be continued in their names.

"To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven." The time to honor those who died or disappeared is now, today at this dedication ceremony.

  • We honor them for the courage of their convictions supporting foreign wars where democracy and freedom of the individual were being challenged;
  • We honor them for the devotion to duty required working side by side with citizens of countries who were fighting a losing battle to keep their lands free, often under substandard conditions and in hostile situations;
  • We honor them for the humanity they displayed in supporting the efforts to provide food and evacuation for people whose lives were threatened;
  • We honor them for the bravery required to carry troops and ammunition to and from military action sites;
  • We honor them for serving the cause of freedom as civilians during which their death or disappearance occurred with the same finality as their uniformed comrades;
  • We honor them for their loyalty to their countries and to the company for which they worked;
  • Finally, we honor them because they may not otherwise be honored publicly by the United States Government and the Central Intelligence Agency which were their ultimate employer and for whom they made the supreme sacrifice serving the cause of freedom.
Freedom has always been a most sought after goal by those under the yoke of domination. Many misguided people spoke out against and will continue to speak out against the type of activity for which our fellow employees gave their lives. Our actions here today will ensure that each name serves as an inspiration to future generations who believe as they did. Each name stands as a tribute to the cause of freedom.

To be well thought of after death is perhaps the highest form of praise. To ensure the success of this eulogy, I ask each of you to participate in a minute of silence to remember and honor in your own way the dead or missing whom you knew.

Thank you very much!

Jerry Fink