Westerly, R. I. – March 9, 1945

Westerly, Rhode Island – March 9, 1945


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On the afternoon of March 9, 1945, a navy SNJ-5, “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 43917), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field for a training flight over southern Rhode Island with two men aboard.  The pilot was Lt. (Jg.) William Edward Stakely.  With him was Lt. (Jg.) Howard Gilmore Boren, Jr., 23.  According to the navy accident report, “The purpose of the flight was to instruct Lt. (Jg.) Boren in recoveries on instruments from stalls, spins, and unusual positions.” 

     As the aircraft was going through a series of aerial maneuvers over the Bradford section of Westerly, Rhode Island, ground observers looked up to see the aircraft spinning violently towards the ground as a “detached portion” of the aircraft could be seen “fluttering” after it.  The aircraft dove into the ground and exploded and neither man was able to bail out.

     The “detached portion” that fell away was found to be the left wing of the aircraft which was recovered in a wooded area about three-quarters of a mile from the crash site. 

      An excerpt from the official U. S. Navy report reads: “A close examination of the left wing showed it to be completely crumpled.  It was curled up and twisted from the leading edge of the wing tip diagonally aft and inboard toward the wing root.” 

     It was believed the wing structure failed due to stresses placed upon it during the routine aerial maneuvers.  The accident was not the fault of the pilot.

     Lt. (Jg.) Boren was a combat veteran and had received the Navy Cross for his actions in battle.  To read the citation or to see a photo of Lt. (Jg.) Boren, click on the link below. 


     As of this posting no further info is known about Lt. (Jg.) Stakely.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 9, 1945 





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