Elephant Mountain, ME. – January 24, 1963

Elephant Mountain, Maine – January 24, 1963


B-52 Stratofortress
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 24, 1963, an Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber, (Ser, No. 53-0406), left Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for what was to be a low-altitude training flight over northern Maine to practice techniques in evading enemy radar.  Shortly before 3:00 p.m. the aircraft encountered turbulence during which the aircraft’s rear stabilizer suffered a structural failure which sent the plane into the side of Elephant Mountain in Piscataquis County.  Of the nine men aboard, two survived.

     The crewmen aboard were identified as follows:

     Crew Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Dante E. Bulli, (40), Survived.

     Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. Simpson, Jr., (42).  He’s buried in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida.  He was a veteran of WWII and Korea.   

     Major Robert J. Morrison, (36).  He’s buried in Maple grove Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas. He was a veteran of WWII and Korea. To see a photo of him, see www.findagrave.com.

     Major Robert J. Hill, Jr., (37).  He’s buried in Osborne Memorial Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri.  To see a photo of him go to www.findagrave.com.

     Major William Walter Gabriel, (45).  He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

     Major Herbert L. Hanson, (42).  He’s buried in Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota. 

     Captain Charles Gerson Leuchter, (32).  He’s buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California.

     Captain Gerald J. Adler – Survived.

     Technical Sergeant Michael Francis O’Keefe, (26).  He’s buried in Long Island National Cemetery in East Farmingdale, New York.     

     The crash site where this accident occurred has been preserved and is regularly visited by hikers.  Photos of the site can be found elsewhere on the Internet. 


     Springfield Union, “B-52 Missing In Maine; 9 Men Aboard”, January 25, 1963, page 1.

     Springfield Union, “2 rescued, 2 dead, 5 Still Missing On B52 Lost In Maine”, January 26, 1963, page 1.


     The Piscataquis Observer, “2 Survive, 7 Die In Bomber Crash At Elephant Mt.”, January 31, 1963, page 1

     The Piscataquis Observer, “B52 Ride Honors Crash”, January 28, 1998, page 11



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