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, memorial numbers 115784815, and 130206171

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


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