Airship ROMA: A Forgotten Tragedy

Time Period
1877 to 1924
Media Type
Military History
Science & Technology
Nancy E. Sheppard

On February 9, Nancy E. Sheppard delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “Airship ROMA: A Forgotten Tragedy.”

In March 1921, Maj. John G. Thornell and his crew were detailed to Italy to procure a new experimental airship for the U.S. Army Air Service. Stationed at Langley Field in Hampton, the ROMA never lived up to expectations despite being heralded as the future of military innovation. Tragically, it crashed on February 21, 1922, in Norfolk, Virginia, claiming the lives of most of the men aboard. Author Nancy E. Sheppard will reveal details and never before published imagery of the forgotten tragedy of one of the last great airships and those who sacrificed for the promise of a new era in aviation.

Nancy E. Sheppard, a writer and historian of her native Hampton Roads, Virginia, is the author of The Airship ROMA Disaster in Hampton Roads.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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