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.

Order Final Flight from Amazon or Powell's World of Books in Oregon

March 2010

British balladeer, Gerry McNeice, wrote the song, "Home," about Leo Mustonen. It is an especially moving account of not only Leo Mustonen's life but the promise our nation has extended to soldiers and their parents to return all lost servicemembers home no matter how long a period of time transpires. I wrote to Gerry to ask him what inspired him. This is his reply.


"My song ‘Home’ was indeed inspired by the Leo Mustonen story. I came across the story whilst actually researching a different story on the internet. I forget the name of the website (I think it was a news site) where I first read of Leo. The part of the story that I think appealed to me the most was the promise of the administration of the day that all servicemen and women would be returned home. The fact that it took over 60 years to return Leo to his family added to the strength of that original statement. That became the ‘hook’ to the song and of course the title ‘Home’ is taken from that."


Gerry was kind enough to send an MP3 of "Home" to me and it can be heard HERE. I also encourage you to visit Gerry's website HERE [currently being updated], his Facebook page HERE or his MySpace page HERE.


Here is a YouTube video of Gerry playing "Home" at the Otley Folk Club on August 19, 2009.

Leo Mustonen was returned to his family by work performed by the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command [JPAC] assisted by rangers with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The mission of JPAC is, "to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all Americans missing as a result of the nation's past conflicts."

Please read more about JPAC's work HERE.

I decided that Leo Mustonen's family needed to know about Gerry's composition so I sent an email to Leo's niece, Leane Ross. When I told Gerry about this he replied:

"Many many thanks for that. I never dreamed that when I wrote the song that Leo Mustonen’s family would ever get to hear it. Thank you so much for facilitating that and I really hope Leane likes it."

People in the UK who know about music have been saying this about Gerry McNeice and his music:

"On Home, the aforementioned Jamie Roberts [one of Gerry McNeice's band mates] provides some atmospheric trombone playing, which blends perfectly with Jude Rees oboe, bringing a beautifully nostalgic feel to an exceptionally good song."

The rest of the review is HERE.

"The highlight of that evening [The CD launch from which the YouTube Video comes] is also the highlight of the CD [prominently featured in the CD]. Gerry’s song ‘Home’ is a moving tribute to a Minnesota airman whose remains were recovered 60 years after he was lost during WW2. The poignancy of the song is emphasized through Jamie Robert’s inspired trombone playing and Gerry’s sympathetic vocal delivery.

     Joe Grint – Tykes Magazine

Great praise for a great song. At least, that's what I think.

Many people ask me about the significance of my book, Final Flight. My discovery on Mendel Glacier in 2007, all the research I've done... I think what it boils down to eventually are the many connections made between the families of the AT-7 crew with, not only myself, but all the people who have been touched by their story.

As Bill Davis, a navigation cadet at Mather Field in the same class as John Melvin Mortenson, Glenn Munn, and Leo Mustonen would say, "73" and "88." If you know Morse Code - well; you'll know what that means.



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