Being there . . . . side by side with Colonel Bill Jordan who provides readers an unusual,
sententious, and, yes, a riveting story of recovering the remains of a World War II flight crew
from one of world’s most inaccessible locations. And, fortunate us, the explicator served in the
joint Casualty Resolution Center from 1987 through 1989 leading the first recovery and forensic
identification of US service personnel remains in Southeast Asia after the end of the Vietnam
War. Here, we tag along as Bill weaves together two sacred American stories, one about the ill-
fated five-man crew of Flight 862, and the other about the anguishing dedication of a recovery
team, decades later, to bring them home . . .
“Child, either come home carrying your shield . . . or on it”.
Attributed to Plutarch, one of author William H. Jordan’s
more useable, impressionable lead-in quotations – – A
Spartan mother’s parting advice to her warrior son. See
Chapter Three, page 19.
INSPIRING, AROUSING, ENRICHING STORY OF TRAGIC LOSS, WRENCHING RECOVERY,
AND PAINFUL IDENTIFICATION OF FIVE BRAVE AMERICAN WWII AVIATORS
Reviewed and Highly, Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
From Day One of all her wars, America made it clear: the nation will always owe those who
served militarily to protect her and her people would be owed an additional obligation: to
never forget about them and to never leave them behind, whatever their fate. The nation
promised to ensure, one way or another, that they are brought back to their loved ones. The
commitment, nay, vow, has been taught via numerous creeds and mottos, including the Army
trooper ethos and the Ranger creed. Writes Honorable Mac Thornberry, Former Chair, US
House Armed Services Committee, “An individual service member makes this promise to his
brothers and sisters in arms. And it is a promise made to each of them by the country they
serve, whether the situation calls for a rescue operation or for freeing POWs. The promise
extends beyond the life of the individual service member – – to recover and return remains
should a life be given in service.”
Bill Jordan’s perfectly narrated story of bringing five American airmen home is really a
spellbinding page-turner. Us eager-for-unusual WWII story buffs won’t be able to put this
“COLD SUN – – The Search for World War II Airmen Lost in a Tibetan Glacier”, by William H.
Jordan, Foreword by Mac Thornberry. Texas A & M University Press, College Station, Military
History Series: 2023, 392 pages, 7¼” x 10¼”, hardcover; $47. Visit, www.tamupress.com.
In January 1944, a US Army Air Corps transport, on route to its home base in India, crashed
into a snowfield in Tibet. Because of the remote location and fierce winter weather, the aircraft
was covered by heavy snowfalls. The snowfield glaciated, completely hiding the aircraft until its
accidental discovery by a Tibetan hunter in 1993. A nearby Chinese army garrison launched an
immediate reconnaissance into the crash site and brought out remnants of the airplane and
remains of the crew. They then notified the American Embassy in Beijing. Then – Colonel
Jordan, commander of the US Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, was assigned to
investigate the crash site and to recover, identify, and repatriate the remains of the fallen US
servicemen. What a journey we are privy to! We meet and join the five guys who are fated,
sadly, to die. We are present as Bill moves us between the mission of the aircraft, and that
horrible fate, “through the prism of America’s history of identifying and recovering them for
their families, the efforts over the years, and technological leaps needed to finally accomplish
their mission, regardless of how heart-breaking and grim. In short, “Cold Sun” pivots us from
our regular WWII reading to a grateful appreciation most of us know nothing, absolutely
nothing, about. When we finally close the covers in front of the fireplace, turn the lights off and
pull the blankets further up, or sit by a window to watch the rain or snow, we’ll . . . . allow a
tear or two well up.