Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958

Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958 

Limestone, Maine

     On November 25, 1958, a U. S. Air Force KC-135 stratojet tanker crashed and burned on approach to Loring Air Force Base.  Two crewmen, Captain Herman J. Dosenbach, and T/Sgt. Charles A. Holsclaw, managed to escape the flaming wreck with non-life threatening injuries.  The other five members of the crew perished.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain John P. Eifolla, 41.

     (C0-pilot) Major John B. Brown, 39, of San Benito, Texas.

     Captain Bernard Morgan, 40, of Hope, Kansas.  He was survived by his wife Maxine and four children.

     1st Lt. Donald R. Gladdings, 29, of Shreveport, La. He was survived by his wife Patricia, and a daughter.

     (Boom Operator) T/Sgt. Ronald L. Champion, 26.  He was survived by his wife Joan, and a son.   

     The KC-135 happened to crash 100 yards from the wreck of a B-47 bomber that had crashed three days earlier on November 22.  The men guarding the wreck dove for cover as the plane approached.

     All four men aboard the B-47 had been killed in the crash.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “5 Die At Maine Base In Air Tanker Crash”, November 26, 1958  

     Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, “Jet Tanker Crash Kills Five Airmen”, November 26, 1958

      

        

Fort Fairfield, ME – September 22, 1942

Fort Fairfield, Maine – September 22, 1942

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber - U.S. Air Force Photo

B-25C Twin-Engine Bomber – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 22, 1942, A flight of eight B-25 bomber aircraft were enroute to Gander, Newfoundland, when they stopped at Presque Isle Airfield to refuel.  After refueling, the aircraft assembled for take off to resume the flight.  While refueling, the weather had deteriorated and the aircraft would now be flying on IFR rules.  One of the B-25s, (Ser. No. 41-13098), piloted by 1st Lt. Ralph L. Drogula, was the second of the eight aircraft to take off.  Seven miles northeast of the airfield the left wing suddenly collapsed and the plane went down in the neighboring town of Fort Fairfield, off Fort Fairfield, Road.  All seven crewmen aboard were killed.  

     Civilian witnesses stated they saw the aircraft burst into flames while still in the air. 

      The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Ralph L. Drogula, 26.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Newspaper accounts list Lt. Drogula as a Second Lieutenant, but an internet photo of his grave indicates he was a First Lieutenant.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49175499/ralph-lee-drogula

     (C0-pilot) 2nd Lt. James O. Crokcer 

     S/Sgt. William H. Finch, 35. Buried in Fairview Cemetery, Fairview, Michigan. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118827837/william-h-finch

     S/Sgt. Billy John Hill, 22. Buried in Nocona Cemetery, Nocona, Texas. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/63223944/billy-john-hill

     S/Sgt. George E. Simmons, 22.  Buried in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, Du Bois, Penn. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58284089/george-edgar-simmons

     S/Sgt. Lawrence A. Robinson, 26.  Buried in Pine grove cemetery, Marlborough, N.H. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22359063/lawrence-alfred-robinson

     S/Sgt. Joseph Martino https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/149734573/joseph-martino

     There was another B-25C that left Presque Isle earlier in the day which crashed in the town of Perham, Maine, just a few miles north-west of Fort Fairfield.  (The tail number of that plane was 41-13049.)   In that crash, the tail section was reportedly found 1/4 mile from the wreck site possibly indicating a structural failure.  (See Perham. ME – September 22, 1942 under Maine Aviation Accidents on this website for more information.)  

      Both aircraft were part of the 379th Bomb Squadron, 310th Bomb Group, then based in Greenville, South Carolina.    

     Sources:

     New York Times, “14 Army Men Lost In Two Maine Crashes”

     57th Bomb Wing Association http://57thbombwing.com/379thSquadronHistory.php

     www.findagrave.com

 

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