Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2014

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Meet the author of book about Cold War plane crash on Mount Charleston

If you go

  • Saturday, July 11
  • Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
  • Noon to 2 p.m.
  • The District
  • 2220 Village Walk Drive

Author signing Kyril D. Plaskon will be signing copies of her book, “Silent Heroes of the Cold War Declassified,” from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at The District.

More than 50 years ago, a U-2 spy plane crashed on Mt. Charleston. After the government finally declassified information about the wreck, Plaskon was able to tell the stories from the recovery crew and the family members of the victims.

Fourteen people died in the crash that day.

Because I had never heard of this, although my husband says he has heard that some of the wreckage is still up there, I decided to Google and see what I could find.

The crash occurred on November 17, 1955.

The following day, a Las Vegas newspaper reporter named Dennis Schieck flew over the wreckage and reported what he saw.

“A complete veil of secrecy was clamped on information on the ground. Reporters who went to the Charleston area last night and this morning were not allowed anywhere except on private property and no one would answer any questions,” Schieck said at the time.

Years later, Steve Ririe, a Las Vegan and avid hiker, decided that the wreckage site should be memorialized. He knew someone must have died there and that many hikers have seen the remains of the plane. He wanted a memorial put in place for others who will view the site. In 1998, he began searching for the real story and working on the memorial with his Boy Scout troop.

What Ririe learned was that the plane was one from Lockheed and may have been destined for what is known as Area 51. The members on board the flight were employees of Lockheed.

You’ll have to get the rest of the story by reading the book.

Because all of this is still new information to me (I have not read much about the Cold War) I can hardly wait to get my copy of the book and delve into the story myself.

From what I have gathered, proceeds from previous book signings have been going toward building a memorial for this crash site. Maybe this one is as well.

I hope that this book signing is well attended. I have been disappointed in the past at the small number of attendees at such events. The reality is, book signings/lectures can be some of the most amazing events a person will ever experience. Because I’m a writer, I have a constant appetite to know why a writer writes. The opportunity to meet an author and hear him talk about his book is invaluable.

And here we have history, close to home, and the free opportunity to learn more about it.

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