A civilian airliner, cut off from home by the outbreak of World War II, makes a dash for freedom…
December 7, 1941. The Pacific Clipper, Queen of Pan American Airways fleet of flying boats is 6 days out of San Francisco, bound for Auckland, New Zealand. Captain Robert Ford receives a coded message: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor…Implement War Plan A…Proceed to Auckland, NZ…Maintain radio silence…Wait for instructions…Your aircraft is a strategic resource-it must not fall into enemy hands under any circumstances
Pan American Airways bases all across the Pacific were captured. Returning to the US west coast by the Pacific Clipper did not seem possible. A week of waiting, then another coded message:
DEC 14, 1941: Do not return to Hawaii. Do not return to US west coast…Strip aircraft of all markings and identification…proceed west…maintain radio silence…deliver aircraft to Marine Terminal, LaGuardia, NY. Good luck.