Windsor Locks, CT. – March 11, 1957

Windsor Locks, CT. – March 11, 1957


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

      At 4;45 p.m. on the afternoon of March 11, 1957, two T-33 trainer aircraft took off from Westover Air Force Base to participate in a radar-search training mission.  The two T-33s were to act as “targets” for an F-86 Sabre jet.  After take off the T-33 pilots had been briefed to climb to an altitude of 40,ooo feet.

     One of the T-33s, (Ser. No. 56-1600), was occupied by 1st Lieutenant Harold D. Gibson, (20), and 2nd Lieutenant John W. Chandler, (24), both assigned to the 337th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Westover. 

     While participating in the exercise over the Hartford, Connecticut, area, Gibson and Chandler’s T-33 disappeared, and a search was instituted.  The wreckage of the aircraft was later located in a wooded are about 2.5 miles from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks,  Both had been killed instantly.

     Lt. Gibson is buried in Parkhill Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia.

     Lt. Chandler is buried in Portland Cemetery in Portland, Maine.


     Springfield Union, “Westover Jet Is Missing”, March 12, 1957, page 1

     Book: 60/33th Fighter Interceptor Squadron – Westover Memories, 1953-1960, by Stan Lukasiewicz, Trafford Publishers, C. 2005.       


Granby, MA. – January 23, 1956

Granby, Massachusetts – January 23, 1956

Updated June 14, 2018


F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 2:25 p.m. on the afternoon of January 23, 1956, an F-86D Sabre jet took off from Runway 05 at Westover Air Force Base for what was to be a routine training mission.  However, just after take-off, the jet crashed in the neighboring town of Granby.  It came down in an open pasture on the east side of Taylor Street not far from where it intersects with Brook and Carver Streets.  The aircraft created a four-foot deep crater where it struck the ground and exploded. 

     The pilot, 2nd Lt. John D. Ritchie, 20, of Lowell, Massachusetts, was killed instantly.  He’d been assigned to the 337th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Westover AFB.    


     Springfield Union, “Pilot Dies In Granby Crash”, January 24, 1956, page 1

     Springfield Union, “Lowell Pilot Crash Victim”, January 25, 1956

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