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.

     Lieutenant (j.g.) Edmund J. McGrath, 24, of Chicago, Ill.

     AMH1 Harold G. Kirkman, 27, of Kernersville, North Carolina.

     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.

     Po 3/C John J. Walsh, 22, of Ellsworth, Maine.

     AO 2/C Roy D. Smith, 23, of Crofton, Kentucky.

     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.



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

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, 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, 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, Memorial #50634823.)

     AOAN George W. Thompson, Jr., 26, of Stevenson, Alabama.  He’s buried in Price Cemetery in Hollywood, Alabama. (See, 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, 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,

     Wikipedia – Brunswick Naval Air Station

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲