Memorial Sign for Airship ROMA

On February 21, 1922, the U.S. Army Air Service airship, ROMA, crashed in Norfolk, Virginia, killing 34 of the 45 men on board. This was the single deadliest disaster of a U.S. hydrogen airship. 

However, due to the embarrassment to the government for their failure to transport helium needed for that flight and their own knowledge of the faults of the airship, the story of ROMA was forgotten in history and the stories of the brave men who flew on board her and sacrificed their lives in the line of duty buried along with them.

In January 2016, I had the distinct honor of detailing their story in the first ever book length piece, The Airship ROMA Disaster in Hampton Roads (The History Press, 2016). However, telling their story isn't enough. 

The only memorial for these men is left in disrepair; locked behind a gate on private property. This is not the honor these heroes deserve. 

It is my goal to not only tell their story, but to also erect a proper historic marker in their honor. I am asking for help to raise the funds needed to place a Historical Highway Marker near either Langley Air Force Base in Newport News, VA or near the crash site in Norfolk, VA. The current cost of a sign through the Virginia Department of Historical Resources is $1,630. I am asking to raise $2,000 to cover any extra costs or fees to ensure that this sign is placed.

Please help me honor these forgotten heroes and give them the eternal honor and dignity that their sacrifices deserve, but we never accorded them.


  • Margaret Staley 
    • $664 
    • 42 mos
  • Jim Gabriel 
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Jan Schubert 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Tracy Staley 
    • $200 
    • 43 mos
  • Judie Louden 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all


Nancy Sheppard 
Hampton, VA
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