Quonset Point, R. I. – May 6, 1948

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 6, 1948

     On May 6, 1948, a flight of U. S. Navy Phantom fighter-jets left the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Saipan operating fifty miles off the coast of New England.  All aircraft were part of Fighter Squadron 17, (VF-17), stationed at Quonset Point. 

     Later in the day the aircraft took off from the Saipan and returned to Quonset.  As the aircraft were passing over Narragansett Bay approaching Quonset Point, one of the jets, (Bu. No. 111787), was seen to suddenly turn upside down as its tail section broke away.  The aircraft then dove into the water about 500 feet off the Quonset runway.   The pilot, Commander Ralph A. Fuoss, (33), did not survive. 

     When the tail section to Commander Fuoss’ aircraft broke away, it struck the wing of another jet, Bu. No. 111796.  That aircraft landed safely.        

     Commander Fuoss was a combat veteran of World War II, and had been stationed at Quonset Point since September of 1947.  He’s buried in Logan Valley Cemetery in Bellwood, Penn.  To view a photo of Commander Fuoss click here:  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9911747/ralph-albert-fuoss 


     The Nashua Telegraph, “Jet Plane Pilot Loses Life When Plane Hits Water”, May 7, 1948, page 10. 


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