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Diplomatic Courier Alumni


True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others, at whatever cost.

-Arthur Ashe






Seth Foti

August 23, 2000

Plane Crash

Manama, Bahrain

Seth J. Foti, the only American on board Gulf Air Flight 72. The plane crashed into the Persian Gulf and exploded in flames while attempting to land at Bahrain International Airport.  The Airbus A320, carrying 143 passengers and crew, was returning from Cairo when it approached the landing too high and at higher speeds than normal. The pilot carried out an unusual low altitude orbit, well below the instructed height of 2,500 feet, in an attempt to correct his approach. While performing the missed approach, the aircrew did not respond to repeated warnings of the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) – a system designed to alert pilots if their aircraft is in immediate danger of flying into the ground or an obstacle. The aircraft suddenly dropped from an altitude of 1,000 feet and vanished from radar screens. It crashed into the shallow waters of the gulf a little more than a mile from the airport.

The accident investigation concluded the primary cause of the crash was pilot error (including spatial disorientation a condition in which a pilot's perception of direction does not agree with reality. Under these conditions, the pilot may be deprived of an external visual horizon, which is critical to maintaining a correct sense of up and down. In addition, the captain failed to comply with standard operating procedures and the copilot apparently did not draw the captain's attention to the aircraft’s deviations from the standard flight parameters.

 Seth Foti became a Diplomatic Courier in April 1999. He was assigned to Manama where he met his wife Anisha. They were married in May 2000. Seth was 31 years old at the time of his death.


Courier on GF072

Was From Virginia

 Bahrain Pilot, Struggling to Land,

Reported No Distress





Joseph P. Capozzi

May 10, 1963

Plane Crash


Joseph P. Capozzi joined the Diplomatic Courier service in June 1962. 

He was born in Elmira, NY but his home of record was Los Angeles, California.


U.S. Courier Is Lone Survivor of Air Crash In Which 54 Died




Willard M. Fisher

March 29, 1953

Plane Crash

Mkwaja, Tanganyika


Willard Fisher, a 26-year old from Wilmington, Delaware, joined the

 Diplomatic Courier Service on 12 May, 1952. Born on March 23,

1926, he was killed in an airline accident just six days after his 27th birthday.

  The Central African Airways flight from Nairobi - Dar-es-Salaam crashed after a wing failed due to

metal fatigue cracks after the aircraft encountered strong winds.

A wrong type of grease used when fitting press fit bolts to the booms caused corrosion,

weakening the lower starboard boom at the outboard bolt hole.



Richard T. Dunning

June 22, 1951

Plane Crash

 Sanoyea, Liberia


Pan Am's Clipper Great Republic


Pan Am Flight 151




Homer C. White

December 1945

Plane Crash

Lagos, Nigeria


Homer White was from New Albany, Indiana.  Mr. White entered the Courier Service in January, 1945.  Before joining the State Department, he was a Captain in the Army Courier Service and worked for the US Post Office.   Mr. White was married and had four children. 

An air transport command flight with a crew of seventeen, departed Roberts Field, Liberia and disappeared enroute to Ghana.

The families of the missing crew members asked President Truman to intervene in the search for the missing aircraft.  The aircraft was not recovered.

 Mr. White was declared dead one year later.





 James N. Wright

February 22, 1943

Plane Crash

Lisbon, Portugal

James N. Wright was the first Diplomatic Courier to lose his life in an aircraft accident.  "Jimmie" Wright was an active duty U.S. Marine who was assigned as a Diplomatic Courier.   He final mission was to Lisbon, Portugal on the PanAm “Yankee Clipper”.  The flight crashed near the Tagus River in Lisbon,  when a wing hit the water during a turn on landing.  Jimmie drowned in the crash with his pouch chained to his wrist. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Yankee Clipper started Transatlantic mail service.

ASN Accident Report


Inaugural flight of the Yankee Clipper


Honoring Embassy Staff Killed in the Line of Duty

Only our colleagues listed on this page were official US State Department Diplomatic Couriers.

We are aware there are erroneous news reports of Diplomatic Courier's killed in other air accidents. 

Most of the reports are from 1940-1950.  During this time frame Embassy personnel would transport

official correspondence if a professional courier was not available. 

The Diplomatic Courier Alumni would like to acknowledge the sacrifices of the heroic Embassy personnel

who gave their lives performing Courier duties. 

We will ensure they will be remembered for their heroic actions.