Charlestown, R. I. – September 22, 1944

Ronkonkoma, Long Island, New York – Sept. 22, 1944


F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 22, 1944, Ensign Frank Thomas Romain III, (21), took off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a night training flight.  He was part of a group of aircraft taking part in a mock attack on MacArthur Airport on Long Island, New York.   He was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 29449).  At about 11:00 P.M., while taking part in the mock attack, Ensign Romain was killed when his plane crashed and burned on Johnson Avenue in the village of Ronkonkoma just northwest of the airfield.  The cause was unknown. 

     Ensign Romain was assigned to VF(n)-107.    

Ensign Frank T. Romain III

     Ensign Romain was born June 23, 1923, and was raised in South Huntington, Long Island, roughly fifteen miles from MacArthur Airport.  He graduated South Huntington High School in 1941 and on his 19th birthday he enlisted in the Navy Air Corps.  He was given civilian pilot training in Pennsylvania, and instruction at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and continued training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  He received his pilots wings at Pensacola, Florida, in January of 1944, and was later assigned to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.   He’s buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Bay Shore, Long Island.     

     Some newspaper sources have spelled Ensign Romain’s name with an “e” on the end, but this appears to be inaccurate.  The official navy crash report of this incident, as well as Ensign Romain’s grave marker, spell the name without the “e”.   

To see a photo of Ensign Romain’s grave click here:


     U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated September 22, 1944.  

     The Long Islander, “Frank Romain Commissioned Ensign, Naval Aviator”, January 6, 1944, page 2. 

     Nassau Daily Review – Star, “Navy Pilots Names In Crash On L. I.”, September 26, 1944, page 4. 

     The Long Islander, “Ensign Frank T. Romaine, 3rd Is Killed In Airplane Crash”, September 28, 1944, page 1.

     Suffolk County News, “Navy Flyer Killed When Plane Crashes On Johnson Avenue”, September 29, 1944, page 1. 

     The County Review, “Dies In Crash Over Airport”, October 26, 1944, page 9. 


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