Off Block Island, R. I. – June 7, 1943

Off Block Island, Rhode Island – June 7, 1943


U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of June 7, 1943, a flight of F4F Wildcat aircraft took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a formation training flight.  The flight headed southward towards Block Island, which is three miles off the coast of Rhode Island.  At about 5 p.m., the flight leader led the formation into the edge of a cloud formation.  As the aircraft entered the clouds, the Wildcat being piloted by Ensign James Wilson Davis was observed by his wingman to suddenly roll over violently and go into a steep dive.  The wingman followed downward, but pulled out of the dive at about 300 feet.  Ensign Davis’s aircraft crashed into the sea and disappeared about a half-mile east of Block Island. 

     The navy serial number of Ensign Davis’s Wildcat was 12208.        

     The members of the flight were assigned to VF-16. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report, no. 43-7180, dated June 7, 1943.  

Point Judith, R. I. – December 15, 1944

Point Judith, Rhode Island – December 15, 1944


F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On the night of December 15, 1944, a flight of U. S. Navy F4U Corsairs took off from the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine for a cross-country flight to Groton, Connecticut.  All of the aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 10, (VF-10).  

     At about 3:00 a.m., the flight was passing over the water about a half-mile south of Point Judith, Rhode Island,  at an altitude of 600 feet, staying just below a layer of haze.  The flight was split into two sections.  Members of the first section included Ensign Herman Arthur Rodgers, piloting aircraft #57673, and Ensign William P. Brede, Jr., piloting aircraft #57514. 

     Suddenly Ensign Rodgers’, and Ensign Brede’s aircraft were observed by members of the second section to abruptly drop out of formation and plunge into the water and explode on impact.  Neither pilot had radioed any trouble with his aircraft, or given a distress signal.

     The aircraft and the pilot’s bodies were never recovered, and the cause of the accident is unknown.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated December 15, 1944.    

Block Island Sound – April 1, 1944

Block Island Sound – April 1, 1944

     On the night of June 24, 1944, the body of navy Lieutenant Edward Roy Sladek, 22, was found by the Coast Guard at Shagwong Point, in the town of Montauk, (Long Island) New York.  He had been missing since April 1st, when the aircraft he was aboard went down in the water off Block Island, R.I. 

     According to one news report, Sladek was one of “five or six” men aboard that aircraft when it crashed.    The unidentified plane was out of Quonset Point Naval Air Station in R.I.


     The East Hampton Star, “Navy Flyer Found”, June 29, 1944, Pg.4 

     Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificate

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