a blog by Peter Stekel

FINAL FLIGHT is the story of four aviators lost in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on November 18, 1942

Read more about FINAL FLIGHT here.


July 2010

Final Flight is still on track for a September 1st release. I have booked several author events where I will be discussing how I became involved with the Final Flight story. For more information on these events click HERE.

More advance praise for Final Flight.

"Since the first report from climbers in 2005, few mysteries have grabbed us like that of the 1942 Mendel Glacier crash and the fate of the crew on board. Among the wildest places on earth, the remote and isolated Sierra Nevada hold secrets from the past that only now are being discovered."

Karen F. Taylor-Goodrich, Superintendent, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

The Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command [JPAC] in the news HERE. "90 years after his death, remains of World War I soldier found," published at

For several years, Tony Krizan, a columnist with the Sierra Star in Oakhurst, CA, has been searching for wreckage of a missing P-40 [think: Flying Tigers] which went down with four others on October 24, 1941 over the Sierra Nevada. He and two companions will be hiking in to the Mt. Brewer area in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks this summer. Stay tuned for updates on whether he finds anything. Read his latest column about the search HERE.

On February 23, 1942, a B-17E Flying Fortress bomber crashed in one of the most remote and wild places on Earth: the primitive Agaimbo swamp located on the island of Papua New Guinea. Read about the amazing story of the "Swamp Ghost" HERE.

Some more interesting history


Audie Murphy is the most decorated American soldier from World War II. Among his 33 awards was the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was also decorated for bravery by the governments of France and Belgium, and was credited with killing over 240 German soldiers and wounding and capturing many more.

Upon returning to the United States at the end of the war, Murphy also starred in a movie about his service. After that he acted in other movies before being killed in an airplane crash in 1971. He was 47 years old. Murphy was married to actress Wanda Hendrix from February 8, 1949 to April 14, 1950 and to Pamela Archer from April 23, 1951 until his death.

Pamela Archer Murphy died at her home in the Los Angeles area on April 8, 2010. For 35 years she worked as a patient liaison at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration hospital. Any soldier who came into the hospital got the same special treatment from her, making sure each got to see the specialist they needed. The soldiers remember her well and say she never called a veteran by his first name. It was always "Mister." Respect came with the job.

"Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy," said veteran Stephen Sherman. "Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor's office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn't matter to Mrs. Murphy. "Only her boys mattered. She was our angel."

After her husband died, Pamela Murphy started as a clerk at the nearby VA to support herself. Soon, word spread throughout the VA that the nice woman with the clipboard was Audie Murphy's widow. Men with tears in their eyes walked up to her and gave her a hug. What probably began as a show of respect for her hero husband quickly became a note of thanks and respect for Mrs. Murphy.

She was once asked to be the focus of a Veteran's Day column for the Los Angeles Times, giving her credit for all the work she had done. "Honor them, not me," she said, pointing to a group of veterans down the hallway. "They're the ones who deserve it."

The vets disagreed. Mrs. Murphy deserved the accolades, they said. Incredibly, in 2002, Mrs. Murphy's job was going to be eliminated in budget cuts. She was considered "excess staff."

"I don't think helping cut down on veterans' complaints and showing them the respect they deserve, should be considered excess staff," she told the Times. Neither did the veterans. They held a rally for her outside the VA gates. Pretty soon, word came down from the top of the VA. Pam Murphy was no longer considered "excess staff."

Pamela Murphy remained working full time at the VA until 2007 when she was 87. During one of her last visits to the VA after retiring, she asked Becky James, coordinator of the VA's Veterans History Project, if there was something she could do for homeless vets. Pam Murphy was 90 when she died last week. What a lady.

Condensed from the Los Angeles Times obituary by Dennis McCarthy, April 15, 2010

Pamela Archer Murphy



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