Atlantic Ocean – July 12, 1965

Atlantic Ocean – July 12, 1965

Approx. 100 miles northeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts


EC-121 Super Constellation U.S. Air Force Photo

EC-121 Super Constellation
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the night of July 12, 1965, an Air Force EC-121H Super Constellation radar aircraft with a crew of 19 aboard, was flying over the Atlantic when a fire in one engine forced the pilot to ditch in the water. 

     The last radio transmission received from the pilot was , “Altitude 200 feet, I am ditching.”   

     The Constellation broke up when it hit the water. 

     The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp and several other ships were in the area on naval exercises, and immediately launched a search and rescue operation.  Of the 19 men aboard, only three were rescued.  Nine bodies were recovered.  The other seven were listed as “missing, presumed dead”.

     Those rescued were :

     1st Lt. Bruce E. Witcher, navigator, of Redding, CA.

     Airman 1c John N. Puopolo, of Roslindale, Mass.

     Airman 2c David A. Surles, of Raleigh, N.C.

     The dead and missing were identified as:

     Capt. Murray J. Brody, pilot, of New York City. 

     2nd Lt. Fred Ambrosio, pilot, of Otis AFB.

     1st Lt. Thomas Fiedler, pilot, of Davenport, Iowa.

     2nd Lt. Ira J. Husik, navigator, of Philadelphia.

     Capt. Edward N. Anaka of Akron, N.Y.

     Capt. Michael R. Barbolla, of the Bronx, N.Y.

     T. Sgt. Gilbert T. Armstrong, flight engineer, of Newport, VT.

     T. Sgt. Eugene J. Schreivogel, of Springfield, Colorado.

     S. Sgt. Raymond M. Washam, of Wilmington, Del.

     S. Sgt. Francis J. Griffin, of Toronto, Canada.

     S. Sgt. John L. Howard, of Sanford, PA.

     Airman 1c George R. West, of Wyoming, Mich.

     Airman 1c Charles K. Sawyer, of Anderson, S.C.

     Airman 2c William E. Howe Jr., of North Augusta, S.C.

     Airman 2c Charles H. Williams, of Worcester, Mass.

     Airman 3c Charles J. Podjaski, of Evergreen Park, Ill.

     The aircraft was assigned to Otis Air Force Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

     There is much more information available relating to this accident.  To find out more, go to  to read numerous articles from the Cape Cod Standard Times about this incident.    


New York Times, “9 Airmen Perish In Plane Ditching”, July 13, 1965

New York Times, “Crash Survivors Describe Ordeal”, July 14, 1965

Chicago Tribune, “Buddies Tell How Airmen Died In Crash”, July 14, 1965, Pg. 2

New York Times, “Coast Guard Halts Search For Airmen In Plane Crash”, July 18, 1965



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