Waldoboro, ME. – March 24, 1944

Waldoboro, Maine – March 24, 1944    

British Corsairs – WWII
U.S. Navy Photo

     On March 24, 1944, two British pilots took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Both pilots were flying American made Corsairs with British markings. While conducting aerial maneuvers over the town of Waldoboro they collided in mid-air and both crashed in the northern portion of the town.  Neither pilot survived.

     One of the pilots was Sub-Lieutenant Garrod Hale Barton, flying aircraft #JT-214.  His plane came down in a wooded area on the farm of Ernest Castner and exploded on impact.  To learn more about Sub -Lt. Barton, click on link below. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/70670027/garrod-hale-barton

     The other pilot was Sub-Lieutenant Donald N. Crysler flying aircraft #JT-186.  His plane came down near the home of Preston Lewis.   To see a photograph of Sub-Lt. Crysler, click on the link below. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/139929681/donald-norman-crysler 


     The Waterbury Democrat, “Investigate Collision”, March 25, 1944, pg. 5.   

     Unknown Newspaper, “Plane Crash Kills Two British Pilots”, unknown date, courtesy of the Waldoboro Historic Society. 

     Maine Military Aircraft Crash Database, from Aviation Archeology In Maine website, http//:mewreckchasers.com


Andover, New Brunswick – January 10, 1957

Andover, New Brunswick, Canada – January 10, 1957   

B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

     The following accident occurred in Canada, but the aircraft was out of Loring Air Force Base in Maine.

     On January 10, 1957, a U. S. Air Force Boeing B-52 bomber, (Ser. No. 55-0082), based at Loring Air Force Base, took off for a training flight with nine men aboard.  The purpose of the flight was to test the pilot’s reflexes while undergoing certain test conditions, which included partially covering the pilot’s eyes while the plane was “put into an unusual position”.  While the test was being conducted, the aircraft, according to an Air Force spokesman, would be placed in either a steep climb, or a steep dive.  The spokesman stated that apparently the aircraft had been “placed in a position beyond its capability”.     

     In either case, the B-52 exploded without warning while over the area of Andover, New Brunswick.  One crewman, 1st Lieutenant Joseph L. Church, of Charlotte, North Carolina, managed to bail out safely and survived.  The other eight men perished in the accident. 

     Pilot: Major Richard Allan Jenkins, (34), of Huron, Ohio.  He was a veteran of WWII and Korea.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/98787485/richard-allan-jenkins 

     Captain William C. Davidson, (39), of Stockton, California. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52120646/william-carlisle-davidson

    Captain John E. McCune, (30), of Hayward, California. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/73985358/john-earl-mccune

     Captain Marquid H. D. Myers, (35) of Tracy, California. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3613669/marquid-h_d-myers

     1st Lieutenant Charles S. Cole, (27), Basin, Wyoming.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29055832/charles-samuel-cole

     1st Lieutenant Anders P. Larson, Jr., (26), of Wichita, Kansas. His body was not located until January 13th.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49244589/anders-peter-larson 

     T/Sergeant Raymond A. Miller, (27), of Racine, Wisconsin. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3068396/ray-albert-miller

     It was reported that this was the fourth B-52 lost by the Air Force on a training flight since February, 1956. 


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “B-52 Crash kills 7 men; 1 Missing and 1 Survives”, January 11, 1957, p. A-4.

     The Nome Nugget, (Alaska), “Death Toll Reaches 8 In Crash Of Superfortress”, January 14, 1957.



Poland, ME. – September 22, 1978

Poland, Maine – September 22, 1978   

U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 22, 1978, a U. S. Navy P-3 Orion, (Bu. No. 152757), left Brunswick NAS, bound for Trenton, Ontario, Canada, to take part in an air show as a display aircraft.  The aircraft was assigned to Patrol Squadron 8. 

     About ten minutes into the flight, the No. 1. engine broke free and struck the port horizontal stabilizer sheering it off.  Witnesses described the event as an “explosion”.  Debris fell over a wide area in the town of Poland, in some cases narrowly missing some private homes.  

     One witness to the accident told a reporter, “When the plane blew up, there was a big mess of debris and pieces flying all different directions.  It was just an incredible big boom and a huge ball of fire, and then there was fire flying around everywhere.”  

     Another witness who was piloting a private plane about fifteen miles away told reporters, “All of a sudden I saw a big flash in the sky.”

     The Navy later reported that over 75 witnesses were eventually interviewed. 

     Initial reports were that the Orion had been involved in a mid-air collision with another aircraft, and some reported seeing parachutes in the air shortly after the explosion, but these reports turned out to be in error.  There were no survivors.

     The cause was later determined to be “whirl mode” of the #1 engine.  “Whirl mode” is a low frequency vibration in the engine mounts that can cause the engine to separate from the air frame.  In this case, the #1 engine separated taking 11 feet of wing with it, which sheared off a portion of the rear stabilizer.   

      The crew were identified as:

     Lt. Cmdr. Francis William Dupont, Jr., 36, a veteran of the Vietnam War.  He’s buried in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Rome, New York. (www.findagrave.com, Memorial #16581045) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/16581045/francis-william-dupont

     Lt. (Jg.) Donald Edward Merz, 27.  He’s buried in St. Teresa Cemetery in Summit, New Jersey.  (www.findagrave.com, Memorial #92979679) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/92979679/donald-edward-merz

     Lt. (Jg.) George D. Nuttelman 

     Lt. (Jg.) Ernest A. Smith

     AW2 James Allen Piepkorn, 21.  He’s buried in McCall Cemetery in McCall, Idaho. (www.findagrave.com, Memorial #58839202.) https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58839202/james-allen-piepkorn

     AWAN Paul G. Schulz, (possibly Schultz), of Santa Rosa, California.

     AD3 Robert Lewis Phillips, Jr., 25.  He’s buried in Sylvania Hills Memorial Park, in Rochester, Penn. (www.findagrave.com, memorial #126103090)  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/126103090/robert-lewis-phillips

     ADC Larry Miller https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/243551578/larry-raymond-miller


     Bangor Daily News, “Missing Plane Debris Found”, April 28, 1978

     Spokane Daily Chronicle, “U.S. Navy Plane Down With 7”, April 27, 1978

     The Eugene Register-Guard, “7 Crewmen Lost In Navy Plane Crash”, April 27, 1978

     Portland Press Herald, “Fiery Crash Of Navy P-3 Takes 8 Lives”, unknown date.

     Portland Press Herald, “Witnesses Saw Huge Fireball In Sky”, unknown date

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Navy Plane Crashes; 4 Bodies Found, 4 In crew Are Missing”, September 23, 1978, page A-3 

     (Lexington, N.C.) The Dispatch, “No Second Plane In Fatal Crash”, September 23, 1978

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Second Plane Sought After Crash In Maine”, September 24, 1978, page B-14

     Westerly Sun, (RI), “Eight Die In Crash Of Navy Plane”, September 24, 1978

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Mid-Air Crash Evidence Sought”, September 25, 1978

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Navy Begins Search For Cause Of Crash”, September 28, 1978

     Lawrence Journal-World, “Navy Fliers Sense Jinx”, September 29, 1978, Pg. 13

     (Utah) The Deseret News, “Navy Fliers Fear Maine Base Jinx”, September 29, 1978

     Westerly Sun, (RI), “Puzzling Crashes Have Navy Pilots Wondering”, September 29, 1978, page 21

     (Penn.) The Gettysburg Times, “The Jinx In Brunswick, Maine”, October 5, 1978, Pg. 24.


     The Bridgton News, Plane Crashes East Of Casco, Kills Eight”, September 28, 1978.  


Caswell, ME. – June 18, 1952

Caswell, Maine – June 18, 1952   

F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 18, 1952, Air Force Captain Paul H. Wilkins was piloting an F-86 Sabre jet (Ser. No. 49-1310) on a routine training flight over northern Maine when the engine lost all power and he was forced to bail out.  The jet reportedly crashed in a “thickly-wooded boggy area” in the town of Caswell, while Capt. Wilkins came down in the neighboring town of Hamlin, near Van Buren Road.  The area was covered with thick fog at the time of the crash.  Wilkins made his way to a nearby home and telephoned Limestone Air Force Base to notify them of the incident.        

     Capt. Wilkins was assigned to the 4711 Defense Wing.  He was a Korean War veteran with 129 combat missions to his credit.  

     Source: Fort Fairfield Review, “Pilot Bails Out Before Jet Crashes At Hamlin”, June 18, 1952

Searsport, ME. – October 20, 1947

Searsport, Maine – October 20, 1947   

P-47N Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On October 20, 1947, Major Kenneth G. Smith, (33), of Boise, Idaho, took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, for a routine training flight.  He was piloting a P-47N Thunderbolt, (Ser. No. 44-89030).

     While ten to twelve thousand feet over the area of the coastal village of Searsport, Major Smith’s aircraft was seen to enter a flat spin and go out of control.  He could have bailed out, but witnesses said he stayed with the plane and watched as he successfully diverted it from crashing into some private homes.  The plane crashed in Mill Brook near Water Street in Searsport, and immediately exploded. 

     The cause of the accident was undetermined. 

     Major Smith was an experienced pilot and WWII veteran.  During the war he achieved Ace status and was credited with downing six enemy planes, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  At the time of his death he was the Commander  of the 37th Fighter Squadron. 

     To see a photo of Major Smith click on the link below. 



     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Ace Rides Plane To death To Avoid Ramming Homes”, October 21, 1947, pg. A-8

     The Nome Nugget, (Alaska), “Sacrifices Self To Save Many Lives”, October 22, 1947. 

     The Daily Alaska Empire, no headline, October 20, 1947, pg. 2.


Atlantic Ocean – November 8, 1961

Atlantic Ocean – November 8, 1961


P2V Neptune
Quonset Air Museum

      At 8 p.m. on the night of  November 7, 1961, a U. S. Navy P2V Neptune bomber with eleven men aboard took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station to take part in anti-submarine exercises with the air craft carrier U.S.S. Lake Champlain 100 miles off the coast of Virginia.  The aircraft carried fourteen hours worth of fuel for the long range flight. 

     At 2:40 a.m. on the morning of the 8th, the Neptune was cleared to return to Brunswick and a short time later all contact with the aircraft was lost.  A search was begun, and hours later, two bodies, two life rafts, and pieces of wreckage were recovered and brought aboard the Lake Champlain.  There were no survivors. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: Lieutenant Commander Phillip S. Callihan, 36, of Memphis, Tenn. 

     Lieutenant (j.g.) Robert J. Miller, 23, of New Hyde Park, New York.

     Lieutenant (j.g.), William G. McLane, 22, of Lake Placid, New York. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22513589/william-gregory-mclane

     Lieutenant (j.g.) Edmund J. McGrath, 24, of Chicago, Ill.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/57827026/edmund-j-mcgrath

     AMH1 Harold G. Kirkman, 27, of Kernersville, North Carolina. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/105317166/harold-glenn-kirkman

     PO 3/C Paul Harden, 23, of Philadelphia, Penn.  

     PO 1/C Gerald J. Dinan, 25, of Zanesville, Ohio. 

     PO 2/C Wayne J. Stevens, 30, of Adairsville, Georgia. 

     Airman Paul E. Lare, 26, of Convoy, Ohio.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/54154519/paul-edward-lare

     Po 3/C John J. Walsh, 22, of Ellsworth, Maine.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52121225/john-j-walsh

     AO 2/C Roy D. Smith, 23, of Crofton, Kentucky.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/91989564/roy-daniel-smith

     The cause of the accident is unknown. 


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “11 Die As Navy Plane Crashes Off Virginia”, November 9, 1961, page A-22. 




Loring Air Force Base, ME. – November 18, 1960

Loring AFB, Maine – November 18, 1960

     On November 18, 1960, a U. S. Air Force KC-135 jet tanker, (Ser. No. 56-3605), was returning to Loring Air Force Base after a six-and-a-half hour refueling mission with a crew of four and 13 passengers aboard.  (The reason for the passengers was not stated.)  As the plane touched down it veered off the left side of the runway and caught fire as it careened 3,000 feet along the ground.  When the plane came to rest all but one man was able to escape.  His body was later recovered from the wreckage.

     The deceased crewman was Captain Homer G. Bonin, 27, of Massachusetts.   https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/191194640/homer-g-bonin 

     Others aboard suffered minor injuries.


     Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “Tanker Plane Crashes, 1 Killed”, November 18, 1960.

     Maine Wreck Chasers website



Loring Air Force Base, ME. – May 9, 1962

Loring AFB,  Maine – May 9, 1962

     In the early morning hours of May 9, 1962, a U. S. Air Force KC-135A jet tanker, (Ser. No. 56-1546), with six men aboard, crashed on takeoff  from Loring Air Force Base.  The plane came down in a wooded area about 1,500 feet north of the end of the runway scattering wreckage for over 300 yards and setting fire to the woods.  There were no survivors. 

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Captain Robert M. Predmesky, 31, of Detroit, Michigan. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/171238406/robert-michael-predmesky

     Co-pilot: Captain James S. Tewart, 30, of Hamilton, Ohio. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147274990/james-steven-tewart 

     Navigator: Captain Ronald L. Cantrell, 29, of Kewanee, Ill. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49163435/ronald-lee-cantrell

     Boom Operator: Staff Sergeant Wallace R. Adams, 27, of Benson, North Carolina. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/106299231/wallace-ray-adams

     Crew Chief: Master Sergeant George T. Edmiston, 33, of Golden Bridge, New York. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/122912248/george-t-edmiston

     Crew Chief: Tec. Sergeant Raymond J. Brugioni, 43, of Granger, Iowa. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14729988/raymond-joseph-brugioni

     Normally there would have been only four crewmen aboard the airplane, but T/Sgt. Brugioni and M/Sgt. Edmiston were aboard this flight to fulfill requirements qualifying them to participate in tactical aerial flights.  

     The aircraft was attached to the 42nd Air Refueling Squadron at Loring AFB.  


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), Jet Tanker Plane Crashes, Killing 6″, May 9, 1962, pg. B-6

Oak Mountain, ME. – November 15, 1941

Oak Mountain, Hancock Co. Maine. 

Douglas B-18
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On the night of November 15, 1941, a U. S. Army B-18A bomber, (Ser. No. 37-521), with a crew of four aboard, left Langley Field in Virginia, bound for Bangor Air Field in Maine.   As they entered the New England area they encountered thick clouds and heavy fog conditions.  The aircraft missed Bangor, and crashed into the side of Oak Mountain, located in a rural part of Hancock County, about 40 miles from Bangor. 

      Three hunters witnessed the crash from a distance.  They later reported seeing the aircraft’s wing lights as it circled briefly and then saw the plane impact the mountain and explode.  The men made an attempt to reach the crash site but were unsuccessful due to darkness and the remoteness of the area. 

     The wreckage was seen the following day by the crew of a Coast Guard plane taking part in the search.   The B-18 had crashed in an extremely hard to reach area and authorities didn’t reach the site until November 17th.  They didn’t find any survivors. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: Lieutenant Payton W. Beckham, of Houston, Texas. 

     2nd Lieutenant Wyman O. Thompson, 21, of Underwood, North Dakota. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21814620/wyman-o-thompson

     Corporal Jacob L. Parsons, 23, of Holbrook, Penn.

     Private Lee Rothermel, 20, of Valley View, Penn. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/115379304/lee-ernest-rothermel

     The men were assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron.


     The Ypsilanti Daily Press, (Ypslanti, Michigan), “Hunt Wreckage”, November 17, 1941.   


Presque Isle, ME. – December 11, 1958

Presque Isle, Maine – December 11, 1958


F-89 Scorpion
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On December 11, 1958, a U. S. Air Force F-89H Scorpion jet (Ser. No. 54-374), was on a routine flight when it crashed and exploded on a farm in Presque Isle while approaching Presque Isle Air Force Base.  Both crewmen aboard perished in the crash. 

     The pilot was identified as 1st. Lieutenant David St. Clair, 24, of East Cleveland, Ohio.

     The radar observer was identified as 1st Lieutenant Roger D. Sundahl, 24, of Dallas, Texas.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/99655094/roger-dean-sundahl

     Both men has been assigned to the 75th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Presque Isle Air Force Base. 


     Evening Star, (Washington D.C.), “Jet Explodes Killing 2 Flyers”, December 12, 1958, pg. A-11. 

     East Cleveland Leader, (Ohio), “Jet Pilot Dies In Plane Crash”, December 18, 1958

     Aviation Safety Network

Loring Air Force Base, ME. – December 22, 1958

Loring AFB, Maine – December 22, 1958


RB-47E Stratojet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 22, 1958, a U. S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet left McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, bound for Loring Air Force Base in Maine.  The flight was uneventful until the plane landed at Loring.  Upon touchdown the landing gear collapsed and the plane skidded to a stop on its belly.  Although the aircraft was seriously damaged, the four man crew walked away without injury.  


     The Nome Nugget, (Alaska), “B-47 Jet Crashes At Maine Base”, December 24, 1958, pg. 3

Limestone, ME. – July 29, 1958

Limestone, Maine – July 29, 1958   

B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 28, 1958, a B-52D Stratofortress, (Ser. No. 55-0093), with nine men aboard, crashed about three miles south of Loring Air Force Base while on a training flight.  According to a newspaper account of the incident, the aircraft had approached the air base from the south for “a low level run across the base”.  After completing the run, it turned and made a second pass.  After the second pass the aircraft began to gain altitude.  This had been witnessed by the newspaper editor of the Fairfield Review, who later told investigators that as the plane was climbing he heard the sound of an explosion. 

     The plane came down in a field on Noyes Road in Limestone, about a quarter-mile from a grange hall.  One of those aboard, Major Moody E. Denton managed to escape the aircraft and parachute safely.  The other eight men aboard perished.   

     The men were identified as:

     Major Milo Claude Johnson, (36), of Leavenworth, Kansas.   He’s buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3658094/milo-claude-johnson

     Major Kirkwood G. Myers, (35) of Roanoke, Va.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49263393/kirkwood-coulter-myers

     Lt. Lane L. Kittle, (24) of Oaklawn, Ill.

     1st Lt. Leonard M. Corsaro, (24), of Niagara Falls, N. Y.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49171027/leonard-michael-corsaro

     Sgt. Oran C. Reily, (32), of Corpus Christi, Texas. 

     1st Lt. Robert E. Testerman, (25) of Aubrey, Texas. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/19006756/robert-e-testerman

     1st Lt. Leslie N. Martin, Jr. (27), of Montgomery, Alabama. 

     2nd Lt. James F. Thompson, (23), of Hardy, Maine.  He’s buried in Sunrise Cemetery in Wahoo, Nebraska. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49558721/james-everett-thompson


     Fort Fairfield Review, no headline, photo of air craft – July 30, 1958, page 1. 

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #48396



     togetherweserved.com https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=ShadowBoxProfile&type=PersonAircraftExt&ID=63603


Bangor, ME. – May 29, 1948

Bangor, Maine – May 29, 1948


P-47N Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 29, 1948, Lt. Col. Dana E. Noel was piloting a P-47N fighter plane, (Ser. No. 44-89373), approaching Dow Air Force Base in Bangor when his aircraft suddenly experienced engine trouble.  Knowing he couldn’t make the runway, Colonel Noel aimed the plane towards an open field on a farm to make an emergency landing.  The plane crash landed but there was no fire.  Colonel Noel received serious injuries from which he later recovered.  

     Colonel Noel was the commanding officer of the 14th Airborne Group.  


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Airdrome Group Chief Badly Hurt In Crash”. Mau 30, 1948.  


Presque Isle, ME. – May 12, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – May 12, 1944 


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

      On May 12, 1944, an AT-6C trainer aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-33064), with two men aboard took off from the Presque Isle Army Air Field for a local training flight.  For reasons never determined, the plane crashed at high speed six miles south of the airfield and both men, 1st Lt. Dennis S. Smyth, (24), and 1st Lt. Thomas R. Sheehy, (21), were killed. 

     It is unclear which man was flying the plane at the time of the accident.  

     To see a photo of 1st. Lt. Smyth click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/191969977/dennis-s-smyth 

     Click here to learn more information about Lt. Sheehy https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/130123343/thomas-russell-sheehy 


     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006. 


Bangor, ME. – September 17, 1944

Bangor, Maine – September 17, 1944


A-26 Invader – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of September 17, 1944, a flight of three Douglas A-26 aircraft took off from Down Air Field in Bangor for a ferry flight to the European Theatre of Operations.  Just after take off, one of the aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-39247), suffered engine trouble and crashed in a wooded area about 3.5 miles from the air field. 

     Killed in the crash were:

     Pilot: 1st Lt. Jack W. Williams

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. Albert L. Keener  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/77166738/albert-l-keener


     Book: “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006.


Fort Mountain, ME. – June 20, 1944

Fort Mountain, Maine – June 20, 1944

C-54 Skymaster
U. S. Air Force Photo.

     On June 20, 1944, a military C-54A, (Ser. No. 41-37277), with a civilian crew, took off from Newfoundland to transport one military passenger and a load of cargo to Washington, D. C.   At 4 A.M. on the morning of the 20th, while flying in thick low-lying clouds, the aircraft crashed into Fort Mountain, about 100 feet from the summit.  Fort Mountain is located in Baxter State Park about 30 miles northwest of the town of Millinocket. 

     When the crew failed to radio in at required checkpoint times, and failed to answer control tower transmissions from Presque Isle and Bangor airfields, it was declared missing.   

     A search was begun, and the aircraft wreckage was located from the air on June 23, but due to the extreme remoteness of the location, it took four more days before a ground crew could reach the site.  The search party was forced to hack its way through heavy brush and undergrowth covering the mountain.  Upon reaching the site they found wreckage strewn over a wide area, and no survivors.

     Those who perished were:       

     Pilot: Roger R. Inman

     Co-Pilot: Disbrow N. Gill, 32, of Florida. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68096518/disbrow-newell-gill

     Navigator: David E. Reynolds

     Engineer: Nordi Byrd

     Radio Operator: Eugene B. Summers, (21-22) of Kansas. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33270068/eugene-b-summers

     Crewman: Samuel B. Berman

     Passenger: Sgt. Elbert R. Barnes, 23, of Escatawpa, Mississippi.  Sgt. Barnes was a radio mechanic in the Air Crops.  He was born and raised in Escatawpa, and graduated from Moss Point High School.  He attended Graceland College in Mona, Iowa, for two years, and belonged to the Latter Day Saints Church.  He’d been stationed in Newfoundland.  He was survived by his parents, four brothers, and four sisters.  His name is on a WWII honor plaque in the Moss Point High School, a gift of the class of 1944.   



     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006. 



     Waterbury Democrat, (CT.), “Lost Plane Is Located”, June 24, 1944

     The Chronicle-Star, (Pascagoula, MS.), “Elbert Barnes Of Escatawpa Killed In Plane Crash”, July 7, 1944, page 1.  

     Detroit Evening Times, “Plane Rescuers Scale Mountain”, July 27, 1944, page C-15

     Pascagoula Chronicle – Star And Moss Point Advertiser, “Former Students of Moss Point High School To Be Listed On Honor Plaque”, August 19, 1944, page 6. 


Presque Isle, ME. – March 11, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – March 11, 1944


B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 11, 1944, a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, (Ser. No. 42-97208), with ten crewmen aboard, was taxiing into position in preparation for takeoff when its brakes failed and it crashed into the number 3 hangar at Presque Isle Air Field.  The aircraft was bound for overseas duty at the time. 

      Co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Thomas Walker Gage, 24, of Stockport, Ohio, suffered fatal injuries in the accident.  He’s buried in Stockport Cemetery in Stockport, Ohio.  To see a photo of Lt. Gage click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9392261/thomas-walker-gage   

     The bombardier and navigator were seriously injured, while the rest of the crew received non-life threatening injuries.  


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “One Killed, 9 Injured As Bomber Hits Hangar”, March 13, 1944, page B-6     



Castle Hill, ME. – July 2, 1943

Castle Hill, Maine – July 2, 1943


B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 2, 1943, a B-26C twin-engine bomber aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-35181), with five men aboard, took off from Presque Isle Field bound for overseas duty.  Three miles from the airfield the starboard engine developed a problem and the pilot was forced to shut it down.  With only one engine, the pilot was unable to sufficiently  climb to maintain a safe altitude as the aircraft passed over increasingly rising terrain.  About six miles later the aircraft crashed into a wooded area and exploded killing three crewmen and seriously injuring two others. 

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Walter M. Cothran.  

     (Co-Pilot) 1st Lt. Walter H. Peoples, of Wilmington, Delaware. 

     (Flight Engineer) Corporal Albert L. Williams of New Mexico.  


     Book, “Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The United States, 1941-1945”, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006

     The Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.) “Three Army Fliers Killed In Wreck”, July 4, 1943, page 3. 


Pownal, ME. – October 3, 1943

Pownal, Maine – October 3, 1943 

     On the morning of October 3, 1943, two British Corsairs, (JT-190 & JT-198), belonging to the 1837 Squadron, took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station for a tactical training flight.  While over the town of Pownal they collided in mid-air.  One pilot was killed instantly, the other managed to bail out, but later died of his injuries.  Both aircraft came down within one hundred feet of each other in a swamp near the Pownal State School.  The debris field was spread over a large area.    

     The pilots were identified as Lieutenant David J. F. Watson, (24), and Lieutenant Commander Alfred J. Sewell, (30).  Both are buried in the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Cemetery in Kittery, Maine. 

     To see photos of their graves click below. 




     The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two British Pilots Killed As Planes Collide In Mid Air”, October 4, 1943

    The Waterbury Democrat, “British Flyers Killed in N. E. ” October 4, 1943

     Aviation Archeology In Mane website http://mewreckchasers.com/

Auburn, ME. – September 21, 1946

Auburn, Maine – September 21, 1946   

Lockheed P-80 “Shooting Star”
U. S. Air Force Photo

     On September 21, 1946, an Army Air Forces – Civil Air Patrol airshow was taking place at the Lewiston-Auburn Airport.  One of the aircraft participating in the show was a Lockheed P-80A, (Ser. No. 44-85228), piloted by an Air Force captain from California.  The aircraft had the name “Minimum Goose” painted on it. 

     As the pilot was circling over the area, the aircraft developed engine trouble, and the pilot was forced to make a crash landing in an open field about a mile north of the airport.  The accident took place out of sight of the 5,000 spectators at the airport. 

     State police responded to guard the scene. 

     The pilot was not injured.    


     The Evening Star, (Washington, D. C.), “Pilot Escapes Injury In Crash Of Jet Plane”, September 22, 1946.  

Augusta, ME. – July 25, 1942

     Augusta, Maine – July 25, 1942


P-38 Lightning
U.S. Air Force photo

     On July 25, 1942, a U. S. Army P-38 fighter, (Ser. No. 41-7647), was making a landing approach to the Augusta State Airport when the pilot overshot the runway and crash landed in a sand pit beyond and the plane caught fire.  The aircraft was loaded with gasoline and ammunition and the pilot was trapped inside.  Ignoring any danger to themselves, eight enlisted men of the Military Police from Camp Keyes ran to the plane and managed to rescue the pilot.  These men were later identified and received medals for their heroism.    

     The rescuers were identified as follows:

     Private George W. O’Connell of New York City.

     Sergeant Joseph E. Cote of Cranston, R. I. 

     Private Edward A. Singer of Boston, Mass. 

     Sergeant Charles J. Hoffman of Bridgeport, Conn.

     Sergeant Alfred H. Paddison of Worcester, Mass.

     Corporal Alfred H. Squires of Westfield, Mas.

     Sergeant Francis J. Curran of Jamaica Plain, Mass. 

     Private Joseph De Napoli of West Hartford, Conn. 

     Sergeants Hoffman and Paddison were severely burned during the rescue. 


     The Waterbury Evening Democrat, “Military Police Will Be Honored” September 17, 1942


South Portland, ME. – July 11, 1944

South Portland, Maine – July 11, 1944   

A-26 Invader – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 11, 1944, a U. S. Army A-26 Invader, (Ser. No. 43-22253), left Barksdale Field in Louisiana, for a cross-country training flight to Bradly Filed in Connecticut, and then on to Portland, Maine.  The plane carried a crew of two: the pilot, 2nd Lt. Philip I. Russell, (24), of South Portland, Maine, and the flight engineer, Staff Sergeant Wallace Mifflin, (22), of Seattle, Washington.  The flight was uneventful until it reached Portland where it encountered heavy low-lying fog.  In the process of attempting to land, the aircraft crashed into a government operated trailer park used to house those working at the South Portland Shipyard.  The A-26 exploded and broke apart on impact setting numerous trailers ablaze. 

     In one instance it was reported that one of the plane’s engines tore through a trailer barely missing a mother and her child sitting inside.   Miraculously they escaped uninjured.  

     The accident killed 17 people as well as the crew of the aircraft, and 20 others were injured.  To this day this incident remains  Maine’s worst military aviation accident.

     In 2009 a memorial to this tragedy was erected at the crash site. https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/93284/Memorial-Crash-Douglas-A-26-Invader.htm  

     Lt. Russell is buried in Forest City Cemetery in South Portland, Maine.  To see more information, and a photo of Lt. Russell, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/140838162/philip-irvin-russell 

     Staff Sergeant Mifflin is buried in Highland Cemetery in Colville, Washington.  To see more information and a photo of his grave, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/40611427/wallace-mifflin 

     Both Lt. Russell and S/Sgt. Mifflin were assigned to the 331 Base Unit at Barksdale Army Air Base.    

     For more information about this accident, as well as a photo of the fire, click here: https://www.centralmaine.com/2019/07/11/maines-deadliest-aviation-disaster-remains-unexplained-75-years-later/

     Other sources:

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “16 Dead Identified In Trailer Camp Crash”, July 13, 1944, page A-4 


Lewiston, ME. – May 9, 1945

Lewiston, Maine – May 9, 1945 


TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

On May 9, 1945, a U. S. Navy TBF-1C Avenger, (Bu. No. 47675), taxied into a ditch after a night landing which caused buckling of the fuselage.  The pilot was not injured.  

Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated May 9, 1945. 

Presque Isle, ME. – September 7, 1944

Presque Isle, Maine – September 7, 1944


C-54 Skymaster
U. S. Air Force Photo.

     On the morning of September 7, 1944, a U. S. Army Douglas C-54A, (Ser. No. 42-72211), crashed shortly after take off from the Presque Isle Army Air Base.  The plane made a normal take off and was seen to rise 1,000 feet into the air before turning to the left.   As it did so, it suddenly fell to the ground and exploded on impact.  The aircraft came down about a mile from the air field on the property of Walter Carmichael, a Presque Isle potato farmer.    

     All three crewmen aboard perished.  They were identified as:   

     Pilot: Major George H. Shafer, (37-38). He’s buried in Sunset Memorial Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico.   

     Co-pilot: Captain Knute Nordahl

     Engineer: Master Sergeant Thomas W. Marshall, (23).  He’s buried in Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney, Texas.    

     The purpose of the flight was for training.  


     The Nashua Telegraph, “Several Believed Dead As Plane crashes In Maine”, September 7, 1944, page 10.


     Aviation Safety Network



Deer Mountain, ME. – July 11, 1944

Deer Mountain, Maine – July 11, 1944


B-17G “Flying Fortress”
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 11, 1944, a B-17 “Flying Fortress”, (Ser. No. 43-83023), with ten crewmen aboard left Kearney Army Air Field in Nebraska for a cross-country flight to Dow Army Air Field in Bangor, Maine.  The purpose of the flight was to land in Maine before proceeding overseas for combat duty.   

     As the aircraft came into the New England area in encountered bad weather, with low visibility, and low cloud cover.  The last radio transmission from the plane was received by the control tower at Grenier Army Air Field in Manchester, New Hampshire at 11:55 a.m.  At some point afterwards the plane crashed into Deer Mountain in the unincorporated area of North Oxford, Maine. 

     When the aircraft failed to arrive at Dow a search was instituted, and when searchers reached the crash site they found all ten crewmen deceased. 

     The crew were identified as:

     Pilot: 2nd Lt. John T. Cast, (27) of Springfield, Ohio.  He’s buried at St. Bernard Cemetery in Springfield, OH.  He was survived by his wife and five month old son.      

     Co-pilot: 2nd Lt. John W. Drake, (21) from Port Arthur, Texas. He buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Groves, Texas.

     Navigator: 2nd Lt. William H. Hudgems of Flagstaff, Arizona. 

     Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Robert S. Talley, (26) of San Angelo, Texas.  he’s buried in Fairview Cemetery in Pampa, Texas.  He was survived by his wife. 

     Engineer: Staff Sgt. Wayne D. McCavran, of Seymour, Iowa.

    Radio Operator: Sgt. Cecil Leon Murphy, (21) of Falls City, Nebraska.  He’s buried in Falls City Cemetery, Falls City, Neb. 

    Gunner: Cpl. John H. Jones, Jr., of Buffalo, New York.  He was survived by his wife.   

    Gunner: Sgt. Clarence Marvin Waln, (22), of Ten Sleep, Wyoming.  He’s buried in Ten Sleep Cemetery.  He would have been 22 on July 30th. 

    Gunner: Sgt. Gerald V. Biddle, (23) of East Orange, New Jersey.  He’s buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.  he was survived by his wife. 

     To see a photo of Sgt. Biddle, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10196746/gerald-v.-biddle

     Armor Gunner: Sgt. James A. Benson, (21), of Clark, South Dakota.  He’s buried in Clark Center Cemetery, Clark, S.D.


     The Nashua Telegram, “Army Squads Search Woods For Wreckage Of Fortress”, July 14, 1944



Wells, ME. – August 5, 1948

Wells, Maine – August 5, 1948


P-51 Mustang – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 5, 1948, a flight of four F-51 Mustang fighter planes took off from Grenier Field in Manchester, New Hampshire, for a formation training flight.  All were part of the 82nd Fighter Group stationed at Grenier.

     While passing over Wells, Maine, one of the aircraft fell out of formation and crashed in a wooded area near Berwick Road.  The pilot, First Lieutenant Charles J. Murry, (26), was killed.   

     The cause of the accident wasn’t stated in the press. 

     Lieutenant Murry had served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater during WWII and flew 73 combat missions. He was survived by his wife and 1-year-old son.  He’s buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Saint Mary’s, Kansas. 

     To view a photo of his grave click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/148033267/charles-joseph-murry     

     The F-51 Mustang was formerly known as the P-51.  The designation was changed in 1947. 


     The Nashua Telegraph, “Lt. Murry Dies As Fighter Plane Goes Into Dive”, August 6, 1948, page 1. 


Lagrange, Me. – August 3, 1951

Lagrange, Maine – August 3, 1951


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On August 3, 1951, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island in a F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 82020), bound for the Squantum Naval Air Station in Massachusetts, and then on to Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine.  While over Mane he radioed the control tower at Dow and advised he was having difficulty orienting himself.  Twenty-three minutes later his aircraft developed engine trouble and clipped some tree tops on a large hill which tore away section of the left wing.  The pilot managed gain altitude and bailed out at an altitude of only 400 feet and survived.  The aircraft went down and exploded in a thickly wooded are in the town of Lagrange, about one mile east of the town of Bradford.   

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated August 3, 1951.

Hamlin, ME. – June 18, 1952

Hamlin, Maine – June 18, 1952   

U.S.A.F. F-86 Fighter Jet

     On the morning of June 18, 1952, Capt. Paul H. Wilkins, of the 4711th Air Defense Wing stationed at Presque Isle, Maine, was piloting an F-86 Sabre fighter jet near the Canadian border when the engine failed, forcing him to eject.  The aircraft went down in a thickly wooded area in Hamlin.  Meanwhile, Capt. Wilkins landed safely and was transported to a hospital in Presque Isle.     

     Source: Fort Fairfield Review, “Pilot Bails Out Before Jet Crashes At Hamlin”, June 18, 1952, page 1

Near Stacyville, ME. – March 10, 1952

Near Stacyville, Maine – March 10, 1952


F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 10, 1952, Captain George C. Thomas, (31), of Hummelstown, Penn., was on a training mission piloting an F-86 Sabre fighter jet, (Ser. No. 49-1148),  near Stacyville, Maine, when the aircraft crashed in a remote wooded area.   The area was covered with heavy snow, and it was difficult for ground crews to reach the scene.  Several hours after the crash two men parachuted from a search plane and found Captain Thomas’ body.   The aircraft was completely destroyed.     

     Captain Thomas was assigned to the 74th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. 


      Sanford Tribune and Advocate, (no headline), March 18, 1952, page 19. 

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #59451

Denmark, ME. – July 7, 1956

Denmark, Maine – July 7, 1956


T-33 Trainer Jet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On July 7, 1956, a U. S. Air Force Lockheed T-33 trainer jet left Youngstown, Ohio, bound for Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine. While passing over eastern Maine, the lone pilot, Captain Gordon L. Draheim, (35), noted that the aircraft was getting low on fuel, and radioed for directions to the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  After receiving directions, the pilot acknowledged and was not heard from again.  While en route to Brunswick  the aircraft crashed half way up the southern slope of Pleasant Mountain in the town of Denmark.  There was a thunderstorm in progress at the time of the crash.   Searchers discovered the wreckage strewn over a large area. 

     Captain Draheim is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Marion, North Dakota.  His grave can be seen at www.findagrave.com, Memorial #103458674.    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/103458674/gordon-l-draheim

     Source: The Bridgton News, (Me.), “Jet Plane Crashes On Pleasant Mt. killing Pilot”, July 12, 1956, page 1

Loring Air Force Base – November 22, 1958

Loring Air Force Base – November 22, 1958


RB-47E Stratojet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 22, 1958, a U. S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet, (Ser. No. 51-2199), crashed and burned during takeoff from Loring Air Force Base, killing all four crewmen aboard.  The aircraft was assigned to the 321st Bomb Wing stationed at McCory AFB in Florida.  The aircraft and its crew had been at Loring for a few days as part of a training exercise.   

     As the B-47 appeared to be making a normal takeoff, but when it reached an altitude of about 40-50 feet it was seen to veer to the right and go down in a swamp area about 1,000 feet off the end of the runway and explode on impact. 

     The crew was identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Robert L. Shaffer, (37)

     (Co-Pilot) 1st Lt. Melvin H. Shira

     (Navigator) Captain Bernard McDermott, Jr. (34)

     (Crew Chief) T/Sgt. Samuel A. Harwell          


     Fort Fairfield Review, (Me.), “4 Died In This Loring B-47 Explosion Sat.”, November 25, 1958, page 1.  (Three photos with article.)

     Aviation Safety Network

Caribou, ME. – June 26, 1943

Caribou, Maine – June 26, 1943


B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     Shortly after 8:00 a.m. on the morning of June 26, 1943, an army B-26 bomber, (Ser. No. 41-31645), was en-route to cross the Atlantic  for overseas duty with a crew of five aboard.   

     Meanwhile, four adults and a 10-year-old boy were working in an open field on the farm of Carl Rasmussen in Caribou loading rocks on two horse-drawn wagons.  

     The B-26 came out of the sky and crashed right were the civilians were working, killing four of the five of them, as well as all members of the aircraft crew.  The momentum of the aircraft carried it onward into an adjoining field and the debris field stretched all the way to a wooded area.  

     The four civilians killed on the ground were identified as Alfred Winter, 37,  and his 9-year-old son, Alfred, Jr., Miss Ann Theriault, (25), and Miss Elouise M. Newton, (18).   Freeman Hitchcock, who was also working in the field suffered serious injuries.  

     The servicemen were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st. Lt. Bertrand N. Robertson, (28) of Greenville Junction, Maine.  He’s buried in Greenridge Cemetery in Caribou, Me. 

     (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Herbert F. Myers, 22, of South Portland, Maine.  To see a photo of Lt. Meyers, click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/62097192/herbert-f-meyers

     (Navigator) 1st Lt. Edwin M Hankinson, (25 – 26) of Morrice, Michigan.  He was survived by his wife whom he’d married eight days earlier on June 18, 1943.  He’s buried in Roselawn Cemetery in Perry, Michigan.  To see a photo of him click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36429945/edwin-morgan-hankinson

      S/Sgt. William H. Jochim, (20), of Louisville, Nebraska.  He’s buried in Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Louisville, Nebraska.  To see a photo of him click here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/64401819/william-h-jochim

     T/Sgt. John M. Kuser, of New York City.  He’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.  


     Fort Fairfield Review, (Me.), “Nine-Death Bomber Crash Sat. Was Third Airplane Accident In Green Ridge Section In Ten-Month Period”, June 30, 1943, page 1.  

     Unknown newspaper, “Nine Killed When Plane Hits Field”, June 26, 1943

     Imperial Valley Press, (Calif.), Army Plane Crashes, Kills Five Fliers, Four Workers”, June 27, 1943




Garfield Plantation, ME. – December 23, 1975

Garfield Plantation, Maine – December 23, 1975


U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 23, 1975, a U.S. Air Force  FB-111-A fighter jet, (Ser. No. 68-0290), left Plattsburg Air Force Base in New York, for a long-range training flight which would bring it over the State of Maine.  At about 10:30 a.m., while over Maine, the aircraft developed engine trouble and the two-man crew was forced to eject.  The jet crashed and exploded on Garfield Plantation, located about five miles west of the town of Ashland.  The two crewmen, identified as Captain Robert J. Pavelko, and Captain Michael R. Springer, landed safely and were rescued by helicopter about two hours later.  

     The aircraft was reported to be assigned tot he 529th Bomb Squadron at Plattsburg.


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Two Safe In Air Crash”, December 24, 1975, page B5

     Aviation Safety Network, Wikibase #152915

Mapleton, ME. – July 3, 1943

Mapleton, Maine – July 3, 1943


B-26G Bomber
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At about 5 p.m. on July 3, 1943, a U. S. Army B-26C bomber aircraft, (Ser. # 41-35181), took off from the Presque Isle, Maine, Air Base, for a routine training flight when it lost an engine shortly after take off and went down and exploded in a wooded area of Mapleton, about five miles west of the airfield.    

     There were five men aboard at the time, three of whom perished. 

     The dead were identified as:

     The pilot: 1st Lt. Walter M. Cochran of Wilmington, Del.

     The co-pilot: 1st Lt. Walter H. Peoples of Wilmington, Del.

     Flight Engineer: Corporal Albert O. Williams of Central, New Mexico.  

     The injured survivors were identified as:

     Corporal Richard P. Hamilton of Pasadena, Cal.

     1st Lt. Norman F. Smith, of Sandena, Cal.

     Both were brought to Presque Isle Air Base Hospital. 


     Evening Star, (Wash. D.C.), “Three Army Fliers Die In Maine Plane Crash”, July 4, 1943m, page C-7 

     Aviation Safety Network








Brunswick, ME. – March 24, 1945

Brunswick, Maine – March 24, 1945


Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On March 24, 1945, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 48884), was returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a 4.5 hour operational flight.  As the aircraft was coming in to land it ran out of fuel and crashed on approach.   Two of the six men aboard were injured, and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.   


     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 24, 1945.


Sanford, ME. – July 24, 1944

Sanford, Maine – July 24, 1944


F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of July 24, 1944, an Ensign was sitting in the cockpit of an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42459), preparing to take part in a scheduled night training flight.  After making several unsuccessful attempts to start the engine, the Plane Captain gave the Ensign a visual signal understood by the pilot and himself to mean “switches off”.   Unfortunately the Ensign failed to see the signal, and looked up just after it had been given, but this was unknown to the Plane Captain who stepped forward and believing the switches were off, began to pull the propeller through.  The engine suddenly fired and the propeller broke the plane captain’s right arm. 


     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 24, 1944.

Sanford, ME. – July 25, 1944

Sandford, Maine – July 25, 1944


F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 25, 1944, several aircraft were taking part in a “carrier landing practice” exercise at the Sanford Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  One aircraft was a F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42759).  As the pilot made his landing on a simulated aircraft carrier deck platform the arresting wire broke causing the plane to swing violently to the right and skid for about 40 feet.  The aircraft required a major overhaul, but the pilot was not injured.  


     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 25, 1944

Brunswick, ME. – March 10, 1943

Brunswick, Maine – March 10, 1943 


U.S. Navy PV-1 Ventura
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 10, 1943, a U. S. Navy PV-3 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 33949), ground-looped upon landing at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  The aircraft required a major overhaul but the crew was not injured. 


     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6197, dated March 10, 1943.    

Brunswick, ME. – July 7, 1943

Brunswick, Maine – July 7, 1943


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On July 7, 1943, a U. S. Navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft , (Bu. No. 27614), was landing at the Brunswick Naval Air Station in a strong 90-degree cross-wind.  As the pilot attempted to use alternate brakes to prevent a ground loop the aircraft nosed over.  The pilot and instructor aboard suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft required a major overhaul.        


     U. S. Navy accident report #44-7567, dated July 7, 1943.

Brunswick, ME. – April 2, 1944

Brunswick, Maine – April 2, 1944


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On April 2, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28262), was returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a training flight.  The pilot was making a normal landing approach, but was unable to establish radio contact with the control tower, and unknown to the pilot was the fact that one of the landing gear wheels had failed to come down.  When the aircraft touched down it went off the runway and nosed over.  The aircraft was heavily damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-44.


     U. S. Navy accident report #44-12844, dated April 2, 1944.

Sanford, ME. – May 16, 1944

Sanford, Maine – May 16, 1944 


TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 16, 1944, a TBM-1C, (Bu. No. 17085), made a normal landing on Runway 14 at the Sanford Maine Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  As the aircraft was rolling down the runway the left landing gear collapsed.  The aircraft skidded to a stop and the three-man crew was not hurt. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-14211, dated May 16, 1944.


Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944

Brunswick, ME. – January 28, 1944


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On January 28, 1944, a flight of three Douglas SBD Dauntless aircraft were returning to the Brunswick Naval Air Station after a formation training flight.  As the aircraft approached the field at an altitude of 1,800 feet in a “V” formation, one of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 28727), left the formation and went into a spin from which it did not recover.  The aircraft crashed and burned killing the pilot, Ensign James A. Andrew, Jr., and the gunner, Seaman 1/c Harry Hoerr. 

     The men were assigned to VS-31.


     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11278, dated January 28, 1944.  

Brunswick, ME. – July 19, 1946

Brunswick, Maine – July 19, 1946 


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On July 19, 1946, a flight of F6F-5 Hellcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a training flight to Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine.  Upon reaching Brunswick, the aircraft began to land.  One Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72606), was making a normal landing when the aircraft was caught in a downdraft and forced into an unpaved area 30 feet short of the runway.  Upon touchdown, the left landing gear was torn away.   The aircraft then bounced up and became airborne as the pilot applied throttle.  He was notified by the tower at Brunswick that a portion of the landing gear was missing, and was advised to return to Quonset Point.  Upon his return to Quonset, he made a wheels up landing on the grassy strip alongside the runway.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-82.   


     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 19, 1946


Brunswick, ME. – August 4, 1945

Brunswick, Maine – August 4, 1945 


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

    On August 4, 1945, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 94055), was taxiing into position in preparation for take off at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.  Unbeknownst to the pilot, some workers were in the process of digging a trench along the side of the taxi way, however no signalman had been stationed on the tarmac to give warning.  As the airplane approached, one of the workers suddenly ran into its path waving his arms for the pilot to stop.  The pilot was forced to hit the brakes hard enough to cause the aircraft to nose over causing damage to the propeller and the engine.  There were no injuries.   


     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 4, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – October 6, 1980

Atlantic Ocean – October 6, 1980


U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the night of October 6, 1980, two U.S. Air Force FB-111A fighter jets, each with a crew of two aboard, left Plattsburgh Air Force Base in upstate New York for a routine training mission over Maine and the Atlantic Ocean.  One aircraft was flying about twelve minutes ahead of the other. 

     At 10:12 p.m., while both aircraft were over the ocean about 18 miles off the coast of Jonesport, Maine, the second FB-111 suddenly disappeared from radar.  A search and rescue mission was instituted for the missing jet. 

     About 3 1/2 hours later, a Coast Guard vessel recovered a helmet and seat cushion floating in the water, but there were no signs of the crew.  Some small partial debris of the aircraft were recovered later also floating on the surface.   The search for the missing crew was called off two days later.

     The deceased crewmen were identified as:

     The pilot, Major Thomas M. Mullen, 35.  Major Mullen died just 11 days short of his 36th birthday.   

     The Navigator, Captain Gary A. Davis, 32. 

     Both men were assigned to the 380th Bomb Wing at Plattsburgh AFB.

     The FB-111 was a strategic bomber, and it was initially reported that the aircraft involved in this accident was unarmed, but it was later reported that it was carrying a “training missile” which was equipped with an explosive warhead.  On September 4, 1981, the missile was recovered by navy divers.      


     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Unarmed Bomber Crashes Off Maine”, October 7, 1980, page 16

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Crew Of Downed Plane Presumed Dead”, October 8, 1980, page 33

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Navy Divers Find Missing Missile, Resubmerge It For Safety Concerns”, September 6, 1981, page A-7

Sebago Lake, ME. – May 16, 1944

Sebago Lake, Maine – May 16, 1944


British Corsairs – WWII
U.S. Navy Photo

     Shortly before noon on May 16, 1944, a flight of British Navy D4V Corsairs, was on a low level formation training flight over Sebago Lake.  (Some sources state there were six panes in the flight, while others state there were only four.) The purpose of the flight was to give the pilots experience flying low over water.  

     Among those taking part in the exercise was Sub-Lieutenant Vaughn Reginald Gill, piloting aircraft number JT-132, and Sub-Lieutenant Raymond Laurence Knott, age 19, piloting JT-160.  Both men were assigned to 732 Squadron based at nearby Brunswick Naval Air Station.    

     As the formation was passing over the water, one aircraft suddenly dropped and struck the lake sending up a large plume of water that was struck by the second, causing it too to crash.  Both aircraft, one containing Sub-Lieutenant Gill, and the other, Sub-Lieutenant Knott, immediately sank in over 300 feet of water and disappeared.  Despite a search conducted immediately afterward, neither the airplanes or the pilots were found. 

     The aircraft were later discovered and photographed in the 1990s.  The courts have decided that these aircraft are not to be disturbed as they are considered war graves.


     Portland Evening Express, “Two British Planes Crash In Sebago Lake”, May 16, 1944, page 1.

     Maine Aviation Historical Society Newsletter, Dirigo Flyer, June, 1998. 

     Pacific Wrecks website:  https://www.pacficwrecks.com/aircraft/f4u/jt160.html

     Book: “Finding The Fallen: Outstanding Aircrew Mysteries From The First World War to Desert Storm, by Andy Saunders, Grub Street Publishing, London, 2011.   

Mt. Abraham, ME. – November 14, 1967

Mount Abraham, Maine – November 14, 1967

     On the morning of November 14, 1967, two U.S. Air Force F-101 fighter jets took off from Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts, bound for Loring Air Force Base in Maine, and from there, on to Goosebay, Labrador.   Both aircraft were assigned to the 6oth Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis.  This was to be a long distance training flight.

     All was uneventful with the flight until the aircraft encountered snowy weather over Maine which reduced visibility.  As the jets were passing over the town of Kingfield they were involved in a mid-air collision.  One jet, (Ser. No. 57-376), suffered severe damage and the crew was forced to eject.  The pilot, Captain Dean H. Glazier, 32, parachuted safely onto a farm about a quarter-mile west of West Kingfield Road.  The radar officer, Major Lawrence Uchmanowicz, 38, landed in a tree about three-quarters of a mile from Captain Glazer.  He was assisted by hunters who’d seem him come down.  Both men were transported to the Dow Air Force Base hospital for treatment.  Meanwhile, their F-101 had continued on and crashed into the side of Mt. Abraham, five hundred feet from the top.  Wreckage was strewn over a large area.  The crash site is located about six miles from Kingfield.     

     The other F-101, (Ser. No. 57-378), was able to make it safely to Dow AFB on its own despite a large hole in the wing.  The pilot, 1st Lt. James Craig, and the radar officer, Captain Vincent Robben, were not injured.


     Bangor Daily News, “Two Parachute As F101s Collide Over Kingfield”, November 15, 1967 

Kezar Falls, ME. – November 5, 1966

Kezar Falls, Maine – November 5, 1966


F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 5, 1966, Captain Edward S. Mansfield, 29, of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was piloting an F-84 Thunderjet, (Ser. No. 51-9466), over the New Hampshire-Maine state line when the aircraft developed engine trouble and he was forced to bail out at 10,000 feet.  Capt. Mansfield landed safely in the village of Kezar Falls, which is located in the southern portion of the town of Porter, Maine.  Once on the ground he made his way to a nearby farm house.   

     The F-84 came down in a nearby wooded area, and nobody on the ground was injured. 

     It was reported that this was the second time Capt. Mansfield had been saved by a parachute.  He was forced to bail out of another F-84 in Spain in 1962. 


     Boston Sunday Advertiser, “Ejection Seat Saves Pilot Second Time”, November 6, 1966    

Atlantic Ocean – December 10, 1965

Atlantic Ocean – December 11, 1965


P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 11, 1965, a U.S. Navy P2V Neptune patrol plane with a crew of six aboard was flying about 25 miles off the coast of Maine when an unspecified in-flight emergency occurred.  A navy spokesman later told reporters that the pilot barely had time to radio a distress call before the aircraft went down in the frigid water.   Search and rescue aircraft and boats were immediately dispatched to the area and recovered all six men, however, the co-pilot, Lt. (Jg.) Donald S. Lavigne, 26, of Albany, N.Y., had succumbed to exposure before he could be rescued.  The five survivors were all transported to the Brunswick Maine Naval Air Station and were reported to be in good condition.    

     The other members of the crew were identified as:

     Pilot: Lt. Robert C. Muller of Lombard, Ill.

     Aviation Tec 1/c Emanuel A. Croasmun, 33, of Cleveland, Ohio.

     Aviation Machinist Mate 2/c Paul L. Force, 28, of Paterson, N.J.

     Aviation Machinist Mate 3/c Pasquale Pape, 21, of Rome, N.Y.  

     Ordinance Man 1/c Larry R. Clark, 23, of Brunswick, Maine.


     New London Day, “One Dies As Navy Patrol Plane crashes”, December 11, 1965

     New York Times, “Co-pilot Dies, 5 Survive As Navy Plane Crashes”, December 11, 1965


Limestone, ME. – January 4, 1965

Limestone, Maine – January 4, 1965

     On January 4, 1965, a U.S. Air Force four-engine KC-135 aerial refueling tanker, (Ser. No. 61-0265), crashed during taking off from Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.  The airplane came down about three miles off the end of the runway and exploded.  All four crewmen aboard were killed instantly.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Captain Kenneth D. Gomes, 33, of Honolulu, Hawaii. 

     Co-pilot: Captain Mathew J. Ramisch, 34, of Kensington, Maryland.

     Navigator: 1st Lieutenant John F. McCarron III, 23, of Wellesly, Massachusetts.

     Boom Operator: Staff Sergeant James Tardie, 33, of Crouseville, Maine.

      At the time of this accident, the only other Loring KC-135 accident occurred in 1962.


     Unknown Newspaper, “AF Tanker Crashes, killing Four”, January 5, 1965 



Elephant Mountain, ME. – January 24, 1963

Elephant Mountain, Maine – January 24, 1963


B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 24, 1963, an Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber, (Ser, No. 53-0406), left Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for what was to be a low-altitude training flight over northern Maine to practice techniques in evading enemy radar.  Shortly before 3:00 p.m. the aircraft encountered turbulence during which the aircraft’s rear stabilizer suffered a structural failure which sent the plane into the side of Elephant Mountain in Piscataquis County.  Of the nine men aboard, two survived.

     The crewmen aboard were identified as follows:

     Crew Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Dante E. Bulli, (40), Survived.

     Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. Simpson, Jr., (42).  He’s buried in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida.  He was a veteran of WWII and Korea.   

     Major Robert J. Morrison, (36).  He’s buried in Maple grove Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas. He was a veteran of WWII and Korea. To see a photo of him, see www.findagrave.com.

     Major Robert J. Hill, Jr., (37).  He’s buried in Osborne Memorial Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri.  To see a photo of him go to www.findagrave.com.

     Major William Walter Gabriel, (45).  He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

     Major Herbert L. Hanson, (42).  He’s buried in Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota. 

     Captain Charles Gerson Leuchter, (32).  He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

     Captain Gerald J. Adler – Survived.

     Technical Sergeant Michael Francis O’Keefe, (26).  He’s buried in Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, New York.     

     The crash site where this accident occurred has been preserved and is regularly visited by hikers.  Photos of the site can be found elsewhere on the Internet. 


     Springfield Union, “B-52 Missing In Maine; 9 Men Aboard”, January 25, 1963, page 1.

     Springfield Union, “2 rescued, 2 dead, 5 Still Missing On B52 Lost In Maine”, January 26, 1963, page 1.


     The Piscataquis Observer, “2 Survive, 7 Die In Bomber Crash At Elephant Mt.”, January 31, 1963, page 1

     The Piscataquis Observer, “B52 Ride Honors Crash”, January 28, 1998, page 11



Western Maine – November 3, 1959

Western Maine – November 3, 1959

Near Flagstaff Lake    

T-33 Shooting Star - U. S. Air Force Photo

T-33 Shooting Star – U. S. Air Force Photo

On November 3, 1959, two Air Force jets, at T-33 trainer, (51-4499), and a Delta F-102 fighter, (56-1497), were taking part in a radar training mission over western Maine in which the T-33 was to act as an enemy aircraft, and the F-102 was responsible for intercepting it via radar.   At some point near Flagstaff Lake, the F-102 made a mock attack run at the T-33, during which a mid-air collision between the two jets occurred. 

     The F-102 sliced the tail off the T-33 sending it into a downward plunge.  The pilot of the T-33, 2nd Lt. Frederick M. Johnson, 22, managed to eject safely from 30,000 feet.   He dropped to 14,000 feet before deploying his parachute, and came down in a tree.  Because of near total darkness, he had no idea how high the tree was, so he remained there for the night before climbing down at first light and hiking to a logging camp.      

F-102A Delta Dart - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-102A Delta Dart – U.S. Air Force Photo

     The second man aboard the T-33, was 1st Lt. Alfred Williams, 26, of Manchester, Connecticut.  He also ejected safely, but became entangled in his parachute lines and was killed when he landed head-first on the north side of Bigelow Mountain at the 1,500 foot level.   

     The partially opened parachute of the F-102 pilot, 1st Lt. Gary N. Sugar, 24, of Seattle, Washington, was located about fifteen miles from where Lt. Williams was discovered, but his body has never been found. 

     On February 27, 1979, a 54-year-old man from Stratton, Maine, was on an ice fishing trip at Flagstaff Lake when he noticed what appeared to be aircraft landing gear protruding from the muck of the lakebed.  The water level was unusually low at the time which explains why the discovery hadn’t been made earlier.  Navy divers were sent to investigate to see if the aircraft was still intact and if it contained the body of Lt. Sugar.                   

     The F-102 was armed with six Falcon missiles, and 24 rockets. 


     Woonsocket Call, “Airman Okay In Collision; 1 dead, 1 Lost”, November 4, 1959, Pg. 9    

     Woonsocket Call, “2 AF Planes Crash; Find 1 Airman, 2 Lost.” November 5, 1959, Pg. 18

     The Hour, (Norwalk, CT.) “Plane Wreckage Found Near Lake Believed To Be From 1959 Crash”, February 27, 1979, Pg. 26.

     Website – www.ejection-history.org

     Wikipedia – Flagstaff Lake Maine




Presque Isle, ME – November 2, 1942

Presque Isle, Maine – November 2, 1942

Lost WWII Plane Discovered in Quebec 

Updated April 19, 2016


OA-10 Catalina - U.S. Air Force Photo

OA-10 Catalina – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 2, 1942, an Army Air Corps OA-10 Catalina, (#43-3266), left its base in Presque Isle, Maine and landed in the St. Lawrence River at the town of Longue-Pointe-De-Mingan to deliver personnel to a new military airfield in the town.  The water was choppy, and when it was time to leave the pilot had difficulty taking off.  After one failed attempt, he tried again, and as waves buffeted the fuselage the aircraft suddenly capsized. The accident was witnessed by people on shore, and despite the rough water, local fishermen put out in their boats to attempt a rescue.  Four crewmen found clinging to the outside of the wreckage were pulled aboard boats just before the aircraft sank taking five crewmen still trapped inside with it. 

     The wreck lay undisturbed for more than five decades. Then in 2009, a Canadian dive crew working to document ship wrecks in that area located the lost plane and were surprised to see that it was still in one piece and in relatively good condition. The United States government was subsequently notified, and plans were made to recover any human remains which might still be inside.

     The removal took place in 2012, nearly seventy years after the accident.  In addition to human remains, divers found what one source described as “a trove of items that amounts to a time capsule of the war years” which included personal items such as a crewman’s aviator sunglasses, and a log book with the writing still legible. 

     Those lost in the accident included:

     Lt. Col. Harry J. Zimmerman of Bayside, New York.

     Capt. Carney Lee Dowlen of Dallas, Texas. 

     Sgt. Charles O. Richardson of Charlevoix, Michigan.  

     Pvt. Erwin G. Austin, 23, of Monroe, Maine.

     Pvt. Peter J. Cuzins of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

     Those rescued included:

     Capt. John B. Holmberg, of Chicago.

     Tech. Sgt. George C. Peterson, of Welch, Louisiana.

     Cpl. Robert L. Ashley of Riverside, California.

     Pvt. James E. Click of Lexington, Kentucky. 

     A letter written by Private Erwin Austin to his mother only a week before the accident was published in the Bangor Daily News on November 5, 1942. 

     It read in part:

      “For the last two weeks I’ve been on the PBY all the time except fro last Monday.  I have been up a lot, and Saturday we were up all the morning and then again all the afternoon.  I was the engineer in the forenoon and for an hour and a half in the afternoon.  I got tired so “Rich” took over for me. and I strapped myself into bed and went to sleep.  It is a lot of fun and one feels like he is doing his part.

     You might have seen one of these, but I doubt it as I don’t know of any operating down there, also except when landing the pontoons on the wings are retracted to make less drag.

     Yesterday we washed it out, inside and outside, and what a job.  Today it is in the hangar.  “Rich”, the engineer, is asleep on one of the four bunks, and I’m writing this letter on the navigators table.

     There is more room in this than there is in a big trailer, and it is equipped for living just as well.  In short, we can take off and stay up 22 hours before coming down, and all the time have all the conveniences of home.  We have a full load of water and enough food to last the full crew more than a week, and also there is a two plate electric hot spot stove and also a toilet.  So you can imagine how much at home one can be while in one of these.  I guess you can tell by my letters that I like this very much and hope to get one for myself. ”        

     Private Austin was attending the University of Maine when WWII broke out.  He put aside his studies on December 31, 1941, to enlist in the Army Air Corps.  He received his basic training in Jefferson Barracks, Mo., and from there was sent to the Boeing Aeronautical School in Oakland, California, from which he graduated on July 17, 1942. 


Associated Press, “Plane Found By Canadian Divers Believed To Be Maine-Based Catalina Lost In 1942”, August 8, 2009

Postmedia News, “WWII Plane Target Of Huge Recovery Effort In Quebec Waters”, by Randy Boswell, July 10, 2012

Associated Press, “U.S. Recovers Apparent Remains Of WWII Airmen”, July 30, 2012

Providence Journal, “Five Men Missing As Plane Crashes”, November 5, 1942, Pg. 12 

Bangor Daily News, “Monroe Youth Missing In crash Of Army Plane”, November 5, 1942, Page 1

Bangor Daily News, “5 Army Men Lost When Flying Boat Capsizes Off Main Coast”, November 5, 1942, Page 1.


Newry, ME – June 27, 1960

Newry, ME – June 27, 1960

     On June 27, 1960, a U.S. Air Force KC-97 Tanker was refueling a B-47 bomber when an explosion occurred.  The tanker crashed on Jonathan Smith Mountain and all aboard were killed. 

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. William F. Burgess, 26, of Indian Lake, N.Y.

     (C0-pilot) 1st Lt. Lewis F. Turner, 25, of Spokane, Washington.

     (Navigator) 2nd Lt. Raymond S. Kisonas, 26, of Waterbury, Connecticut.

     (Flight Engineer) Master Sgt. Harold E. Young, 40, of Selma, Alabama.

     (Boom Operator)  T/Sgt. Robert P. Costello, 30, of Greenfield, Ill.     

     Some parachutes were reportedly seen.    

     The plane was based at the Plattsburgh AFB in New York, and was assigned to the 380th Bombardment Squadron.  


New York Times, “Five Die In Air Crash”, June 28, 1960

New York Times, “Crash Victims Found”, June 29, 1960


Lewiston AP, Maine – Nov. 16, 1937

Lewiston Air Port, Maine – November 16, 1937

On November 16, 1937, a BT-9A (36-122) military plane from Boston crashed at Lewiston Air Port.

Source: Lawrence Webster – Aviation Historian

Perham, Maine – Sept. 22, 1942

Perham, Maine – September 22, 1942


B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber - U.S. Air Force Photo

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 22, 1942, a flight of B-25 Mitchel bombers left Presque Isle Army Air Field bound for overseas duty.  Shortly after take off the planes were recalled to the base due to poor weather/visibility conditions.  One of the planes, (41-13049), crashed in a wooded area about six miles west of Perham Village, Maine, and exploded.  Local residents stated the blast was heard for miles around, and the site was marked by a large crater. 

      The tail section was discovered about a quarter of a mile away, which would seem to indicate a structural failure with the aircraft.   Two Nazi sympathizers were later arrested for tampering with an aircraft at Presque Isle leading to speculation that the B-25 had gone down due to sabotage.

     The B-25 was attached to the 310th Bomb Group, 379th Bomb Squadron, then based in Greenville, South Carolina.   

     All seven crew members were killed. 

     The dead were identified as:

Pilot: 2lt. John F. Watson  Entered service from New York, (O-790435) Burial location unknown. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/149733656/john-f-watson

Co-Pilot: 2lt. John W. Rieves Jr. , 22.  He’s buried in Asbury Cemetery, McKenney, Virginia. For a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #138056088. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/138056088/john-william-rives

S/Sgt. John S. Delano  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49226891/john-s-delano

S/Sgt. James A. Kviz, 26. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/149734166/james-anton-kviz

S/Sgt. Eugene J. Crozier He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49173051/eugene-joseph-crozier

S/Sgt. Frederick W. Rowbottom, 23.  He’s buried in Calvary Cemetery in Virginia, Minnesota.  For a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #123323580.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/123323580/frederick-w-rowbottom

S/Sgt. Richard K. Riddle, 27.  He’s buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware, Ohio.  For a photo of his grave go to www.findagrave.com  memorial#47394120. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/47394120/richard-kellogg-riddle

     Later in the day another B-25 (41-13098) belonging to the 379th Bomb Squadron took off from Presque Isle also bound for overseas duty, but it crashed shortly after take off in the neighboring town of Fort Fairfield, Maine.  For more information, see Fort Fairfield, ME – September 22, 1942  under “Maine Military Aviation Accidents” on this website.  


New York Times, “Plane Falls On Wooded Hill”, Sept 23, 1942

57th Bomb Wing Association website http://57thbombwing.com/379thSquadronHistory.php 





Atlantic Ocean – March 15, 1973

Atlantic Ocean – March 15, 1973    

P3-A Orion
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 15, 1973, a U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion with five men aboard left Brunswick Naval Air Station for a routine training flight over the Atlantic Ocean.  While on the flight, the aircraft crashed into the sea about 40 miles south of the air station due to an unknown cause.  Coast Guard and Navy aircraft sent to search for the missing plane reported debris floating on the surface, but no sign of survivors. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Patrol Squadron 10, (VP-10), based at Brunswick.  

     There is a bronze plaque honoring the memory of the crew at the Brunswick Naval Museum at the former Brunswick Naval Air station.

     Those aboard the aircraft were identified as:

     Lt. Cmdr. John E. Boyer of Lewistown, Penn. 

     Lt. Grover R. Caloway, age 28, of McGhee, Ark.  

     Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Jeremiah K. Sullivan, Jr., of York, Penn.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/132360463/jeremiah-k-sullivan

     Machinist 1st Class Wayne C. Clendonning, of Vanceboro, Maine. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/181152004/wayne-c-clendenning

     AW2 Reginald Lee Walker, of Bristol, Ind.   To see a photo of AW2 Reginald Walker go to www.findagrave.com, memorial# 147983699. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147983699/reginald-lee-walker


     Providence Journal, “5 Are Believed dead In Crash Of Navy Plane”, March 16, 1973, page 22.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Navy Hunts 5 Lost In Sea Crash”, March 16, 1973, page 8.

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Navy Ends Search”, March 18, 1973, page B-7


Rockland, ME – April 28, 1944

Rockland, Maine – April 28, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On April 28, 1944, Ensign Kenneth C. McKay, age 22, was killed while piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42238), on a gunnery training flight over Rockland, Maine.  The crash occurred about 300 yards north of the Naval Auxiliary Air Field. 

     Source: U.S. navy Accident Report

Off Cape Porpoise, ME. – May 4, 1944

Off Cape Porpoise, Maine – May 4, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

On May 4, 1944, Ensign William Donald Larson was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41489), on a glide-bombing training flight off the coast of Cape Porpoise, Maine.  While flying in the #2 position in a column following the flight leader, Ensign Larson entered into his first dive-run from an altitude of 6,000 feet. While making his dive, he was killed when his aircraft plunged into the water an disappeared.  Approximately twenty minutes later an oil slick and some pieces of flotsam were seen on the surface of the water in the area where his plane went in.  

     Ensign Larson was assigned to VF-44.

     To see a picture of Ensign Larson, go to www.findagrave.com, memorial #75446469. 


     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-13810   

Brunswick Naval Air Station – April 14, 1952

Brunswick Naval Air Station – April 14, 1952

Brunswick, Maine


P2V Neptune U.S. Air Force Photo

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 14, 1952, a U.S. Navy, twin-engine, P2V Neptune, (Bu. No. 124255), took off from Brunswick Naval Air Station with a crew of ten men aboard.  Shortly after take off one engine failed, and the pilot made an attempt to return to the base.  Heavy fog shrouded the area, and the aircraft missed its first approach and circled around for a second try.  As the pilot was making his second approach the other engine began running erratically and the Neptune crashed into some trees near the end of the runway.   Five men in the tail section were killed when it ripped away during the crash.  The seriously injured co-pilot was trapped in his seat as the plane caught fire, and was rescued by the pilot, who received burns to his arms and face.  Three others escaped. 

     The dead were identified as:

     AO1 Walter N. Polen, Jr., 26, of Alden, New York.  He’s buried in Lancaster Rural Cemetery in Lancaster, Penn.  (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #20695271.)

     ALC Sherman L. Moore, Jr., 36, of Oakland, California.  He’s buried in Santa Rose Odd Fellows Cemetery in Santa Rosa, California.  (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #75725570.)

     AL3 Oscar Krampf, 25, of New York.  He’s buried in Greenwich Cemetery in Greenwich, New York.  He died 12 days shy of his 26th birthday.  (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #50634823.)

     AOAN George W. Thompson, Jr., 26, of Stevenson, Alabama.  He’s buried in Price Cemetery in Hollywood, Alabama. (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #24417218.)

     AO3 Robert L. Schafer of Berlin Center, Ohio.  (No further info.)

     The co-pilot, Lt. Jg. Frederick C. Sachse, Jr., 39, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, died of his injuries eleven days later on April 25, 1952.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial#91460650.)        

     Those who survived were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lt. Jg. Thomas N. Pole of Hackettstown, New Jersey.

     (Navigator) Lt. Jg. Edward G. Buck of Miskogee, Oklahoma.

     ADC Raymond R. Fussell of Auburn, Maine, and Pineapple, Alabama.

     AT3 Jacob G. Karl of New Brunswick, New Jersey.  

     The Brunswick Naval Air Station was in operation from 1943 to 1946, and from 1951 to 2010.


     New York Times, “5 In Navy Plane Die In Crash In Maine”, April 15, 1952

     (Utah) The Deseret News, “Navy Pilot Hero Of Plane Crash At Maine Base”, April 15, 1952


     VPNAVY – VP-11 Mishaps Summary Page, www.vpnavy.com

     Wikipedia – Brunswick Naval Air Station

Kench Mountain, ME – April 11, 1961

Kench Mountain, Maine – April 11, 1961

 Dedham, Maine    

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Fighters U.S. Air Force Photo

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Fighters
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 10, 1961, two F-101B Voodoo fighter jets took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, on an intercept mission to identify an unknown aircraft which had appeared on radar.  After completing the intercept, both aircraft set a course back to Dow.  By this time it was after midnight, and the jets flew in a driving rain with zero visibility.  At about 1:00 a.m., one of the F-101’s, (#57-0401), crashed into the top of Kench Mountain, a hill just south of Bald Mountain, in the town of Dedham.  Both the pilot and radar observer were killed. 

     The crew was identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Vernal W. Johnson, 27, of Bangor, Maine.  He was survived by his wife Deanna and two sons.  He’s buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

     (Radar Observer) 1st Lt. Edward C. Masaitis, Jr., 27, of Brewer, Maine.  He was survived by his wife Barbra Ann, and his son and daughter.   He’s buried in St. Teresa Cemetery in Summit, New Jersey.  

     Both men were assigned to the 75th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow AFB.


     Bangor Daily News, “Air Force Jet Smacked Into A Dedham Hill On A Dark And Rainy Night”, January 1, 1997

     www.findagrave.com, memorial numbers 115784815, and 130206171

     Maine Aviation Historical Society, Dirigo Flyer, “Kench Mountain F-101B Crash Hike”, Vol. IV, No. 7, July, 1996. 


Dow Air Force Base – September 20, 1955

Dow Air Force Base – September 20, 1955

Bangor, Maine 

     On September 20, 1955, a U.S. Air Force KD-97 tanker-refueling aircraft crash landed and burst into flames at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine.  Five of the twelve crewmen aboard were injured, but none critically.  All escaped the burning aircraft, the smoke from which was seen for miles.  Two base firemen were also injured fighting the blaze, but not seriously.    

     The aircraft was assigned to the 341st Air refueling Squadron, part of the 4060th Air Refueling Wing stationed at Dow. 

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, “Aerial Tanker Crashes, burns At Dow Base”, September 21, 1955.  

Dow Air Force Base – September 9, 1960

Dow Air Force Base – September 9, 1960

Bangor, Maine 

     On Friday, September 9, 1960, six  U.S. Air Force F-100 Super Sabres, all belonging to the famous Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic flight team, left Pease Air Force Base in Newington, New Hampshire, for Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine, to take part in the Downeast Air Fair being held that weekend.  When the jets arrived they made two passes in formation around the field before peeling off to land one at a time.  As one of the F-100s came down on the runway, its landing gear suddenly collapsed.  The aircraft skidded on its belly across the runway, then across a taxi way, before coming to rest in a ditch.  There was no fire, and the pilot was not hurt.     

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, Thunderbird In Dow Base Crash”, September 10, 1960

Dow Air Force Base – May 26, 1949

Dow Air Force Base – May 26, 1949

Bangor, Maine


F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 26, 1949, an Air Force F-84B Thunderjet, (#45-59537), was returning to Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, due to an onboard fire.  The plane crash landed in a wooded area next to the field, smashing its way through 100 feet of brush and small trees before erupting in flame.  The pilot managed to escape unharmed. 

     The pilot was identified by the press as being 2nd Lt. Albert H. Bull, 22, of Verbank, New York, assigned to the 49th Fighter Squadron at Dow AFB.   

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, “Dow Air Base Pilot Survives Jet Crash”, May 27, 1949    

4.5 Miles West of Amherst, ME – April 22, 1948

4.5 miles West Of Amherst, ME – April 22, 1948 



F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 1:55 p.m. on April 22, 1948, a USAF P-84B Thunderjet, (#45-59580), piloted by 1st Lt. Herbert F. Hawes, Jr., 27, departed from Dow Air Force Base for what was to be a local transition flight.  At some point during the high altitude flight, Lt. Hawes was blown off course.  The reason, according to the Air Force investigation report, may have been due to strong high-altitude winds, for the report stated in part: “Winds aloft for the general area, at altitudes the mission was flown, were reported as being from a westerly direction and varying from 39 to 62 miles per hour.”   

     At approximately 2:45 p.m., Lt. Hawes contacted Dow tower and requested a homer bearing.  He was advised to switch to “F” channel for further instructions. 

     At 3:00 p.m., he was given a heading of 273 degrees.  Eight minutes later he asked the tower for a recheck as he was still uncertain of his position, and advised he was beginning to run low on fuel.  Successive headings were given at three to five minute intervals.

     At 3:20 p.m., Lt. Hawes reported his altitude to be 26,000 feet with 60 gallons of fuel remaining, and asked Dow tower how far he was from the base.  Dow tower replied that by their estimate he was fifty miles out. 

     At 3:36 p.m. Lt. Hawes advised that he was still unable to orient himself to his location.  At that time he was given a course correction to 276 degrees. 

    Ten minutes later Lt. Hawes had descended to 16,000 feet and found himself over Deblois airstrip in Deblois, Maine, with 25 gallons of fuel remaining.   At about that time Hawes was in contact with a captain who was piloting another P-84 in the vicinity. Hawes asked him for advice, and the captain advised to “throttle back to idling fuel pressure and establish a glide of 170 mph.”

     Lt. Hawes also contacted Dow tower and asked for instructions, and was advised to attempt to make it back to Dow AFB, which is about 40 miles distant from Deblois. 

    Another captain piloting a P-84 in the area contacted Hawes and advised him to attempt to land at Deblois, but Lt. Hawes elected to head for Dow AFB instead. 

     At 3:58 p.m., while still about 19 miles east of Dow AFB, Lt. Hawes reported he was now out of fuel and was going down.  Instead of bailing out, he elected to remain with the aircraft and aimed towards a small open field amidst hilly and wooded terrain.  With no engine with which to guide the aircraft, he crashed about one mile short of the field and was killed.    

     The crash was witnessed by the P-84 pilot who had advised Lt. Hawes to attempt an emergency  landing at Deblois airstrip. 

     The “P” in the P-84 aircraft designation stood for “pursuit”.  The designation was later changed to “F” as in F-84, which stands for “fighter”.  The P-84 and the F-84, were essentially the same aircraft.    

     At the time of this accident Lt. Hawes was assigned to the 14th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Squadron, then based at Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine.  This was the first fatal accident for the 49th FS since its activation on December 21, 1946. 

     Lt. Hawes is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery at West Point.


     Report Of Special Investigation Of Aircraft Accident Involving P-84B, No. 45-59580. 

     The Hangman’s News, (The Official Publication Of The 49th Fighter Squadron Association), “From Props To Jets Part 4 – 1 Apr. 1948 To 30 June 1948”, by Paul Scoskie, September 2008, Vol. 6, Issue 3.    

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #41509101.          



Atlantic Ocean, ME – February 2, 1943

Atlantic Ocean, Maine – February 2, 1943


WWII Civil Air Patrol Insignia

WWII Civil Air Patrol Insignia

     On the morning of February 2, 1943, a Civil Air Patrol airplane with two men aboard took off from Trenton, Maine, for a routine patrol flight off the Maine coast.  Shortly after 9:00 a.m. the aircraft developed engine trouble and the pilot was forced to ditch in the sea about 45 miles off Brunswick.  

     The pilot, 1st Lt. William B. Hites, 30, of Jamestown, New York, and the flight officer/observer, 1st Lt. Welles L. Bishop, 34, of Meriden, Connecticut, were able to escape from the plane before it sank.  Another aircraft radioed their position to a shore control station, but rough seas made rescue operations difficult.  Although both men wore life-vests and waterproof coveralls, they perished before help could reach them.    

     Both men were survived by their wives.

     Update July 15, 2016

     In 1970, twenty-seven years after the crash, Lt. Welles L. Bishop was posthumously honored by the town of Meridian and the Connecticut Civil Air Patrol during ceremonies marking the 29th anniversary of the establishment of the national Civil Air Patrol, (Dec. 1, 1941).  


     Bangor Daily News, “2 CAP Officers Killed On Duty Off Maine Coast”, February 3, 1943

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Fliers Killed Off Maine Coast”, February 3, 1943

     The Morning Record, “Meridian Pilot Lost In War To Be Honored”, November 13, 1970.

Pond Island, ME – July 25, 1924

Pond Island, Maine – July 25, 1924

     On the morning of July 25, 1924, a storm over Lakehurst, New Jersey, broke a navy observation balloon free of its mooring at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station setting it adrift on its own without a crew.   The balloon was carried on an easterly course across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.  By the afternoon it was sighted near Isle au Haut off the Maine coast with 1,500 feet of cable still hanging beneath it.  By this time the balloon was beginning to settle, and was even brought lower to the water when the cable began to drag across the waves. 

     The navy had dispatched two ships, the destroyer Putnam, and the tugboat Wandank, to chase and capture the runaway blimp if possible, but before they could do so, the balloon came down and crashed into a tree on the eastern side of Pond Island.  (Pond Island is a small island at the mouth of the Kennebec River.)   

     By the time the Wandank reached the scene the balloon was badly damaged and torn, however the basket and instruments was still in good condition.   

     In all, the runaway balloon had traveled 450 miles on its own.   


     The Lewiston Daily Sun, “Maine Tree Halt Runaway Balloon”, July 26, 1924      

Charleston, ME – May 16, 1949

Charleston, Maine – May 16, 1949 


F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the morning of May 16, 1949, a flight of four U.S. Air Force F-84 jets was scheduled to take off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, for a routine training mission.  Shortly before take off, the pilot of one aircraft advised the flight leader that the tail pipe temperature gauge on his F-84 wasn’t working.  He was advised to change aircraft, and while he was doing so, the other three F-84’s took off. 

      After being assigned another F-84, (#45-59538A), the pilot took off and was going to rejoin the other three F-84’s, but was advised against doing so, and ordered to fly solo around the Bangor area.  After flying for about an hour, the pilot noticed another flight of three F-84’s from his squadron and according to the air force investigation report, “in accordance with an unwritten squadron SOP. joined the formation.”  

     The pilot moved into the number four position of the three ship formation, however he never radioed the flight leader, and the flight leader didn’t ask for identification.  What followed next was a case of follow the leader, and after the flight went through a series of aerobatic maneuvers, it was noticed that the fourth plane was no longer with them.   The missing aircraft wasn’t immediately reported as the flight leader assumed the fourth plane had run out of fuel and returned to base.  In reality, the missing F-84 had crashed and exploded in the town of Charleston.  The other three F-84’s returned to base without incident.

     Exactly what occurred to the fourth plane is unclear.  The last thing the pilot remembered was beginning a series of rolls, and then waking up on the ground with a civilian doctor administering to his injuries which had evidently been obtained when he bailed out of the aircraft.   

     Investigators discovered that the entire left wing, the right wing outboard panel, empennage, and canopy, were not at the crash site.  These were later found in a heavily wooded swampy area, indicating they may have broken free while the aircraft was in flight or while it was falling.

     Source: Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-5-16-1       

Portland Airport, ME – May 17, 1949

Portland Airport, Maine – May 17, 1949


P-51 Mustang U.S. Air Force Photo

P-51 Mustang
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the afternoon of May 17, 1949, an F-51D Aircraft, (#45-1164A), piloted by a USAF 1st Lieutenant took off from Grenier Air Force Base for a routine training flight.  While at 20,000 feet, his aircraft began to experience engine problems by backfiring and cutting out.  Checking his instruments, all appeared to be reading normal, but the problem persisted, so he declared an emergency and began heading for Portland Airport which was the closest to his position.  Just before turning for his final approach, engine coolant suddenly spewed all over his windshield cutting visibility and causing a further loss of power to the engine.  When he landed on the runway he discovered that the aircraft wasn’t going top stop before reaching the end, so he retracted the landing gear and allowed the P-51 to skid to a stop on its belly.   Although the aircraft was damaged, the pilot was unhurt.

     F-51 was the air force designation given to the P-51 used by the Army Air Force during WWII. 

     Source: Air Force Accident Investigation Report, #49-5-17-2     

Dow Field, ME – June 13, 1947

Dow Field, Maine – June 13, 1947


P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 13, 1947, 1st Lt. James B. Clouse was piloting a P-47 Thunderbolt, (#44-89427) from New York to Dow Field in Bangor when the aircraft’s canopy became covered with oil and dust obscuring his vision.  To further complicate matters, the aircraft’s radio had ceased working.   

     He reached Dow Field just before 9:00 p.m., and circled in an attempt to establish radio contact, but was unsuccessful.  Those in the control tower realized something was wrong, and turned on the lights of runway 22.  The night was dark and there was no moon, further hindering the pilot’s vision.  

     As Lt. Clouse came in to land he realized he’d over shot the runway and went around for a second try.  On his second approach the landing gear struck soft ground at the end of the runway and broke free.  The aircraft’s momentum carried it down the runway on its belly causing major damage to the plane.  Fortunately Lt. Clouse escaped without injury.     


     Source: Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #47-6-13-2 

Bucksport, ME – August 7, 1954

Bucksport, Maine – August 7, 1954


F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On August 7, 1954, a flight of four F-84F aircraft took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, for an instrument practice, and aerial refueling, training mission.  The flight took off at 8:28 a.m. and climbed to 20,000 feet, where the pilots practiced formation flying for about 25 minutes before beginning instrument flight practice.  It was at this time that the pilot of the number 2 aircraft reported to the flight leader, 1st Lt. Richard C. Hafenrichter, that he was unable to get fuel flow from his pylon tanks.  Lt. Hafenrichter directed to the flight to rendezvous with the air-tanker at 10,000 feet for refueling. 

     As the number 2 aircraft was refueling, Lt. Hafenrichter positioned himself off the tanker’s right wing to observe the operation.  As he slowed his aircraft to match the tanker’s speed he noticed a vibration in his aircraft, (#51-1464A).  The vibration would cease as he increased his throttle, but then come back when he reduced power.  At this time he turned command of the flight over to another pilot and turned his F-84 towards Dow AFB. 

     As he approached Dow at 10,000 feet, he began a wide circle around the base in preparation of making a flame out landing on runway 33, but as he eased back the throttle the vibration returned, and then began to increase.  He tried to reduce the vibration by increasing the throttle, but discovered that this no longer worked.  The F-84 then began to shake violently and the engine RPM suddenly dropped to zero. 

     Lt. Hafenrichter ejected safely, and the aircraft crashed and burned in a wooded area of Bucksport, about 8.5 miles from the base. 

    Source: Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #54-8-7-3


5 mi. east of Howe Brook, ME – May 24, 1942

 5 miles east of Howe Brook, Maine – May 24, 1942

     On Sunday, May 24, 1942, a U.S. Army C-40D aircraft, (Ser. No. 42-22249) crashed  5 miles east of Howe Brook, Maine while on a transport mission from Bolling Field in Washington, D.C., to Montreal, Canada, to Presque Isle, Maine.   The plane dove in at a steep angle, (Estimated by investigators to be 75 degrees.) with such force that debris was thrown up to 1,000 feet ahead of the impact. 

     Due to the total destruction of the aircraft, investigators were unable to determine the cause of the accident, but noted that weather “was undoubtedly a strong causal factor”.  

     All aboard the aircraft were killed instantly.  They were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Clarence A. Wright  He’s buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/3059564/clarence-allen-wright

     (Flight Engineer) S/Sgt. Frederick J. Taylor  (10th Ferrying Command.)  He’s buried in  Chester Rural Cemetery, Chester, Penn. 


     Lt. Col. Louis H. Gimbel  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22787359/louis-stanley-gimbel

     Capt. John D. Franciscus  He’s buried in Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum in St. Louis, Mo.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49551001/john-dennis-franciscus

     Capt. Gilbert M. Herbach  He was from New York.   https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/143469628/gilbert-m-herbach

     2nd Lt. Earl R. Wilkenson.  He’s buried in St. Joseph Cemetery, Batavia, New York. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/75139854/earl-r-wilkinson


     U. S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-5-24-13


     Evening Star, (Wash. D.C.), “Arlington Pilot, Five Others Die In Army Plane Crash In Maine”, May 25, 1942, page A-2


New Brusnwick, Canada – October 4, 1989

Updated July 5, 2020

New Brunswick, Canada – October 4, 1989

     At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 4, 1989, a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Strato-Tanker based at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, was returning to base after a six hour refueling operation over Canada when the aircraft suddenly exploded in a massive fireball.  Debris was scattered over a wide area, but the main portion of the plane came down about two miles northwest of Perth-Andover, just to the east of the U.S./Canadian Boarder.  All four crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lt. Col. Wiliam H. Northcutt, 42, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

     (Co-Pilot) Captain Robert D. Weinman, 27, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

     (Navigator)  2nd Lt. Albert H. Taft, 25, of Urbana, New York.

     (Boom Operator) Airman 1st Class Jack D. Cupp, 24, of Athens, Tenn.        

     Investigators determined that the reason for the explosion was an overheated fuel pump which reached 1,435 degrees Fahrenheit, but  they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause.


     Bangor Daily News, “Loring Tanker Explodes In Air”, October 5, 1989, pg. 1

     Fort Fairfield Review, “KC-135A Crash Blamed On Refueling Pump”, February 28, 1990, page 1.

Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958

Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958 

Limestone, Maine

     On November 25, 1958, a U. S. Air Force KC-135 stratojet tanker crashed and burned on approach to Loring Air Force Base.  Two crewmen, Captain Herman J. Dosenbach, and T/Sgt. Charles A. Holsclaw, managed to escape the flaming wreck with non-life threatening injuries.  The other five members of the crew perished.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain John P. Eifolla, 41.

     (C0-pilot) Major John B. Brown, 39, of San Benito, Texas.

     Captain Bernard Morgan, 40, of Hope, Kansas.  He was survived by his wife Maxine and four children.

     1st Lt. Donald R. Gladdings, 29, of Shreveport, La. He was survived by his wife Patricia, and a daughter.

     (Boom Operator) T/Sgt. Ronald L. Champion, 26.  He was survived by his wife Joan, and a son.   

     The KC-135 happened to crash 100 yards from the wreck of a B-47 bomber that had crashed three days earlier on November 22.  The men guarding the wreck dove for cover as the plane approached.

     All four men aboard the B-47 had been killed in the crash.


     New York Times, “5 Die At Maine Base In Air Tanker Crash”, November 26, 1958  

     Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, “Jet Tanker Crash Kills Five Airmen”, November 26, 1958



Fort Fairfield, ME – September 22, 1942

Fort Fairfield, Maine – September 22, 1942

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber - U.S. Air Force Photo

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 22, 1942, A flight of eight B-25 bomber aircraft were enroute to Gander, Newfoundland, when they stopped at Presque Isle Airfield to refuel.  After refueling, the aircraft assembled for take off to resume the flight.  While refueling, the weather had deteriorated and the aircraft would now be flying on IFR rules.  One of the B-25s, (Ser. No. 41-13098), piloted by 1st Lt. Ralph L. Drogula, was the second of the eight aircraft to take off.  Seven miles northeast of the airfield the left wing suddenly collapsed and the plane went down in the neighboring town of Fort Fairfield, off Fort Fairfield, Road.  All seven crewmen aboard were killed.  

     Civilian witnesses stated they saw the aircraft burst into flames while still in the air. 

      The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Ralph L. Drogula, 26.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Newspaper accounts list Lt. Drogula as a Second Lieutenant, but an internet photo of his grave indicates he was a First Lieutenant.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49175499/ralph-lee-drogula

     (C0-pilot) 2nd Lt. James Q. Crocker, 22.  He’s buried in San Marcos Cemetery, San Marcos, Texas.    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/104939796/jimmie-q-crocker

     S/Sgt. William H. Finch, 35. Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Fairview, Michigan. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118827837/william-h-finch

     S/Sgt. Billy John Hill, 22. Buried in Nocona Cemetery, Nocona, Texas. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63223944/billy-john-hill

     S/Sgt. George E. Simmons, 22.  Buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Du Bois, Penn. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58284089/george-edgar-simmons

     S/Sgt. Lawrence A. Robinson, 26.  Buried in Pine grove cemetery, Marlborough, N.H. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22359063/lawrence-alfred-robinson

     S/Sgt. Joseph Martino https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/149734573/joseph-martino

     There was another B-25C that left Presque Isle earlier in the day which crashed in the town of Perham, Maine, just a few miles north-west of Fort Fairfield.  (The tail number of that plane was 41-13049.)   In that crash, the tail section was reportedly found 1/4 mile from the wreck site possibly indicating a structural failure.  (See Perham. ME – September 22, 1942 under Maine Aviation Accidents on this website for more information.)  

      Both aircraft were part of the 379th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group, then based in Greenville, South Carolina.    


     New York Times, “14 Army Men Lost In Two Maine Crashes”

     57th Bomb Wing Association http://57thbombwing.com/379thSquadronHistory.php



Portland Airport, ME – August 30, 1941

Portland Airport, Maine – August 30, 1941

     At 1:45 p.m., on August 30, 1941, a U.S. Army  O-52 observation plane (Ser. No. 40-2705), was making a landing at Portland Airport, on the north-south runway.  Just as the plane was about to touch down, a civilian plane crossed its path from the east-west runway and a collision between the two occurred. 

     The O-52 was wrecked, but the pilot and his passenger escaped with minor injuries.  The two civilians aboard the other aircraft were uninjured.

     The O-52 was assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron.

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident dated September 18, 1941.

Near Springfield, ME – November 15, 1941

Near Springfield, Maine – November 15, 1941

     According to the Army Air Corps investigation report on this accident, the aircraft involved crashed about ten miles south of Springfield, Maine.  Other sources put the location closer to Lee, Maine.      

Douglas B-18 National Archives Photo

Douglas B-18
National Archives Photo

     At 4:45 p.m., on November 15, 1941, two Douglas B-18A bomber aircraft, left Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, bound for Bangor Air Base in Maine.  The two planes were not cleared as one flight, but as two individual flights.

     The first B-18, (Ser. No. 37-521) was piloted by 2nd Lt. Peyton W. Beckham, and the other by a pilot identified only as Lt. Offers.  The two men had agreed to stay in sight of each other during the trip, and had further agreed that in the event they had to fly above any overcast in the vicinity of Bangor that that Lt. Beckham would wait until Lt. Offers landed first.  This was due to the weather forecast for Bangor stating there was cloud cover over the area.

     At a point about half way between Concord and Augusta, both aircraft climbed to 5,500 feet to get above the 3,500 foot overcast.  When they reached Bangor shortly after 6:00 p.m., Lt. Offers made his descent first as per their agreement. The overcast ceiling at Bangor at this time was 1,400 feet, and dropping, and darkness was coming on.    

     At 6:32 p.m., after some garbled radio dialogue with the Bangor control tower due to interference with the radio signals from a Canadian source, Lt. Beckham advised he would try to make it to Portland, Maine, as his aircraft wasn’t equipped for instrument flying. 

     By 6:46 the overcast had dropped to 400 feet.

     At about 7:20 p.m. Lt. Beckham’s aircraft was seen approaching Springfield, Maine.  Ten minutes later it passed over the Carry Farm about ten miles south of Springfield, where three hunters later said it passed over their camp at a very low altitude heading southwest, and shortly afterwards they heard it crash. 

     According to the hunters, the weather in the area was very bad, with poor visibility due to fog and rain.    

     The plane had crashed in a remote and thickly wooded area surrounded by bog and swampland.  Investigators concluded that the left wing caught in the tree tops near the bottom of a hill, dragging the aircraft down and causing it to swing to the left for 10 to 15 yards before it began to cartwheel up the hill for 200 yards.  It was at this point the plane broke apart and caught fire.  Debris was scattered in all directions for 200 to 300 yards. 

     All four crewmen aboard the plane were killed.  They were identified as:

     (Pilot) 2nd Lt. Peyton W. Beckham   

     (Co-Pilot) 2nd Lt. Wyman O. Thompson, 21.  He’s buried in Underwood Cemetery in Underwood, North Dakota.  To see photo of Lt. Thompson, and one of his gravesite, go to www.findagrave.com, and see Memorial #21814620.

     (Engineer) Corporal Jacob L. Parson, 30.  He’s buried in Rosemont Cemetery in Rogersville, Penn.

     (Radioman) Pfc. Lee E. Rothermel, 20.  He’s buried in Trinity Lutheran cemetery in Valley View, Penn.   

     One of the cockpit instruments that was recovered at the scene was the plane’s airspeed indicator, which was stuck at 195.

     The men were assigned to the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group.

     This crash is said to be the first fatal military aviation accident to occur in the State of Maine.  To see photos of the crash site as it appears today, see www.mewreckchasers.com.   

    Twenty-two days after this accident, the United States was drawn into World War II. 


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #41-11-15-6




Bangor Air Base, ME – December 30, 1941

Bangor Air Base, Maine – December 30, 1941


U.S. Army A-29 Attack Bomber - U.S. Air Force Photo

U.S. Army A-29 Attack Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On December 30, 1941, an A-29 bomber aircraft, (Ser. No. 41-23302) crashed and burned on take off from Bangor Air Base.  The seven man crew escaped, but the pilot and copilot were injured.   

     The crew were identified as:

     (Pilot) 2nd Lt. James J. Hayes

     (Copilot) 1st Lt. Jonathan H. Knox

     (Engineer) Pfc. Richard A. Turner

     (Radio Operator) Cpl. James L. Wilson

     Pfc. Homer W. Read

     Pfc. George F. Nichols

     Pvt. Walter E. Taylor

     The men were assigned to the 65th Bomb Squadron (H)

     Source: U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-12-30-1

Bangor Air Base, ME – December 19, 1941

Bangor Air Base – Bangor, Maine – December 19, 1941


B-17A  Ser. No. 37-369 U.S. Air Force Photo

B-17A Ser. No. 37-369
U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 10:30 a.m., on December 19, 1941, a Boeing B-17A (Y1B-17A) (Ser. No. 37-369) crashed and burned on take off from Bangor Air Base.  All nine crewmen aboard escaped, however three were seriously injured.

     Crew members were identified in the aircraft accident investigation report as:

     (Pilot) Major Carl T. Goldenberg

     (Co-pilot) 2nd Lt. D. W. Johnson

     2nd Lt. D. S. Winslow

     (Photographer) (Rank Unknown) J. C. Robinson

     (Engineer) T/Sgt. John W. Freeman

     (Radio Operator)  S/Sgt. T. L. Young

     S/Sgt. L. H. Waltman

     Cpl. L. P. Lawfer

     Pfc. P. S. Keever

     Only first initials were used to identify the crew in the accident investigation report with the exception of the pilot and engineer.

     This New England military aircraft accident is some-what historically significant due to the fact that the aircraft was one-of-a-kind.   

    The fuel system for this aircraft had been changed (Upgraded) the previous day by a Master Sergeant who’d been sent to Bangor specifically to do the job.  The reason for such an unusual measure was because this B-17 was a testing prototype fitted with superchargers on the engines, and the Army Air Corps, had much time, money, and resources devoted to this project. 

     At the time of this crash, the Air Corps was in the process of developing a modern four-engine, high-altitude bomber.  This B-17 (37-369) was the fourteenth produced by Boeing, but the only one designated an “A” variant, and the first to be equipped with turbo-superchargers, which were considered necessary for the aircraft to operate at higher altitudes with greater speed.      

      The accident investigation committee tasked with finding the cause of the accident made the following two conclusions which are transcribed here.   

      1)  “A change of the fuel system for this aircraft had been completed the day previous to the accident by M/Sgt. ———– sent to Bangor Air Base by rail from Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, specifically for the purpose of making the change from hydro power to a direct drive fuel pump.  A thorough test of the new installation was made previous to the take off and no indication of malfunctioning was revealed.  Also, upon examination of the number four engine fuel pump after recovery, the same was found true.  The fuel pump drive on all other engines was melted beyond recovery.  It is the opinion of the committee that in no way was the fuel system change a contributing factor to the accident”   

     2) “It is the opinion of the committee that the pilot reduced the power on the right hand side to overcome the yaw to the left, and that the number three and number four engines failed upon reapplication of the power to those engines.  It is believed that the failure was only momentary due to choking, but sufficient to cause a violent yaw to the right; also that this engine failure was sufficient to make it impossible for the pilot to pull up the right wing.”


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-12-19-1

Atlantic Ocean – March 23, 1951

Atlantic Ocean -March 23, 1951

     In the early morning hours of March 22, 1951, a U.S. Air Force C-124 transport (49-0244) left Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana bound for Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine.  The aircraft arrived safely at 12:30 p.m. the same day.  After refueling, the plane left for Mildenhall, Royal Air Force Base in England. 

     At 1:00 a.m. on March 23, the pilot reported a fire on board in the cargo area, and ditched the plane in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 800 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland.  The aircraft landed intact, and all 52 servicemen aboard managed to get out safely wearing life jackets.  The men were able to climb into life rafts equipped with survival provisions and emergency radios.

     A U.S. Air Force B-29 was sent from England to search for survivors and found the men alive floating in the life rafts.  The aircraft circled the area waiting for other rescue craft,  but was forced to leave due to being low on fuel before any additional help arrived.  Apparently no other aircraft had been sent to relieve the B-29.

     It was hours later before the first ship arrived in the area on March 25th, but the only thing found were some charred crates and a partially deflated life raft.  All 52 men had simply vanished and were never seen again.  Speculation as to their fate focused on the Soviets.  At the time, the United States and the Soviet Union were immersed in what was called “The Cold War” , a nuclear game of cat-and-mouse with each side vying for superiority.  It was noted that many of the men aboard were involved with the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which would indicate they may have possessed valuable intelligence information.    

     A massive air-and-sea search was conducted over the next several days, but nothing more was found.  As stated, the men were wearing life jackets, but no bodies were ever recovered.

     Those aboard the C-124 aircraft were: (In alphabetical order.)

     SSG Glenn E. Adler

     Capt. Phillip B. Adrean

     Sgt. George W. Ambrose

     Cpl. Sterling L. Ambrose

     SSG Robert D. Amsden

     2Lt. Karl R. Armstrong Jr.

     Major Robert Bell

     S/Sgt. Bartin C. Bemis

     Pvt. Dwight A. Berenberg

     Sgt. Robert R. Bristow

     Sgt. Joseph D. Broussard

     Cpl. Arthur F. Chute

     Capt. Emmette E. Collins

     Capt. John E. Counsell

     Cpl. Jack R. Crow

     Brig. Gen. Paul T. Cullen

     Capt. Francis N. Davis

     Capt. Mark O. Dubach

     Capt. Dudek Miezslaw

     S/Sgt. Gene D. Dughman

     1Lt. Jack R. Fife

     2Lt. William E. Fisher Jr.

     Col. Kenneth N. Gray

     T/Sgt. Charles E. Green

     S/Sgt. Thomas E. Green

     Lt. Col. James I. Hopkins

     S/Sgt. Homer Jones Jr.

     Capt. Robert F. Kampert

     Capt. Thomas R. Kelly

     Capt. Carl N. Krawiec

     2Lt. Max D. Lee

     S/Sgt. Nicolo A. Lengua

     Samuel P. Lutjeans

     2lt. Howard P. Mathers

     Sgt. Ronald D. McGee

     Lt. Col. Edwin A. McKoy

     Sgt. Frank A. Meckler

     Capt. Walter T. Paterson

     Capt. Calvin Porter

     Lawrence E. Rafferty (rank unknown.)

     M/Sgt. Everett D. Scarbrough

     Major Gordon H. Stoddard

     Cpl. Clarence G. Swisher

     Cpl. Bobby G. Thomas

     M/Sgt. Taylor H. Vangilder 

     Capt. Roger S. Vincent 

     Capt. Walter A. Wagner Jr.

     M/Sgt. H. C. Williamson

     Raymond L. Witkowski (rank unknown.)

     Capt. Edwon D. Zabawa 

     Capt. Frank B. Zalac

     Capt. John C. Zweygarti


     Article by Don Wagner, “Last Flight Of The Missing Airmen, March 1951”, Walker Aviation Museum, Roswell, New Mexico  (Don is the son of Captain Walter A. Wagner Jr.)

     Air Force Times, “Plane’s 1951 Disappearance Still A Mystery”, by John Andrew Prime











Atlantic Ocean – February 26, 1965

Atlantic Ocean – February 26, 1965

About 700 miles east of Bangor, Maine, and 220 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland

B-47 Stratojet during refueling operations. U.S. Air Force Photo

B-47 Stratojet during refueling operations.

U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 26, 1965, a flight of three B-47 bomber aircraft, and one KC-135 tanker plane, were en-route from Torrejon Air Force Base in Madrid, Spain, to Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.   The planes were returning to the U.S. after a three week deployment overseas.  

     The B-47s were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group assigned at Pease, and the tanker was part of the 71st Air Refueling Squadron at Dow Air Force Base, but all were under the command of the 8th Air Force.    

     As the formation was about 800 miles from the coast of Maine, the tanker began refueling operations.  After refueling one of the B-47s, a second moved into place.  At 9:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, a mid-air collision took place between the tanker and the second B-47 resulting in a massive fire ball.  Both aircraft went down in flames and into the icy water. 

RB-47E Stratojet U.S. Air Force Photo

RB-47E Stratojet

U.S. Air Force Photo

     No parachutes were seen by crew of the other aircraft, and even though the planes carried life jackets and rubber rafts, Air Force officials doubted any survivors could last long in the frigid water and cold temperatures.

     Between both planes, eight servicemen were lost.

     The crew of the B-47 consisted of:

     (Pilot) Capt. James B. Reddig, 27, of Webster, N.Y.

     (Co-pilot) Capt. Milton S. Stone, 32, Normal, Ill.

     (Navigator) Capt. Frank Velasquez, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

     (Instructor Pilot) Major Charles E. Michigan, 34, of Medford, Mass.

     The crew of the KC-135 consisted of:

     (Pilot) Capt. Nolan W. Payn, 32, of Lampassas, Texas.

     (Co-pilot) Capt. Robert G. Lowe, 29, of Arlington, VA.

     (Navigator) Lt. Milburn D. Taylor, 22, of Carbondale, Ill.

     Mstr. Sgt. Carey A. Addison Jr., 32, of Louisiana. 

Source: New York Times, “8 Crewmen Lost In Fueling Crash”, February 27, 1965


Blue Hills Bay – February 13, 1943

Blue Hills Bay – February 13, 1943

Surrey, Maine

     Little information is available about this accident as press reports were vague.

     On February 13, 1943, a two-man Navy plane crashed into Blue Hills Bay while on a training flight.  The type of plane was not identified.

     The pilot, Lieutenant John Shelley, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, was rescued by townsmen from Surrey, who braved the icy waters in a small boat to get to the downed airman.  

     An unidentified radioman was lost in the crash.  Lt. Shelley stated that both he and the radioman had managed to climb onto a wing of the partially submerged aircraft and the radioman attempted to swim the mile or so to shore.  The water was cold, with floating ice and strong currents. 


     Providence Journal, “4 Lost, 2 Rescued In Plane Mishaps”, February 14, 1943, Pg. 5    

     (The headline does not match the story because two crashes were included in the same article.  The other accident occurred in Rhode Island.)

     Bangor Daily News, “Navy Man feared Lost After Crash In Blue Hill Bay”, February 15, 1943 

Portland, ME – June 26, 1949

Portland, Maine – June 26, 1949

Updated March 16, 2016


C-47 Aircraft – U.S. Air Force Photo

      On the morning of June 26, 1949, a Maine National Guard C-47A, (Ser. No. 4292076), took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, to transport 22 members of the of the 195th Army Band (Maine National Guard) to Portland, Maine, for an authorized drill.  Besides the members of the band, the plane carried a pilot and co-pilot, for a total complement of 24 men.

     Upon reaching Portland Airport, the pilot attempted to land on runway 10 and over shot it.  After touching down, the pilot attempted to control the aircraft, but due to its weight and momentum found it impossible to do so.  At the time it touched down, the plane was loaded with 3,700 pounds of fuel, 4,800 pounds of passenger weight, and an estimated 500 pounds of band equipment, bringing the total of 9,000 pounds over and above the static weight of the aircraft. 

     The plane left the end of the runway and crossed 100 feet of open ground before plunging into the Fore River.  Despite the large amount of fuel aboard, there was no fire, and the aircraft didn’t flood or sink.  However, the plane was a complete loss, and all 24 men aboard were transported to area hospitals with varying degrees of injury.  


     U.S. Air Force Accident Report, #49-6-26-4 

     The Penobscot Times, (Maine), “Duplessis Describes Crash of C-47



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