Martha’s Vineyard – October 9, 1943

Martha’s Vineyard – October 9, 1943


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On October 9, 1943, an navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27178), crashed while landing in a strong cross wind at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Field and flipped over onto its back.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and the two-man crew suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-9008, dated October 9, 1943.

Off Martha’s Vineyard – September 27, 1943

Off Martha’s Vineyard – September 27, 1943


Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of September 27, 1943, Ensign Thomas James Schmidt, (age 21 or 22), was piloting an SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 28658), taking part in a gunnery practice flight off Martha’s Vineyard.  After making his fourth firing run at fixed water targets, he leveled off and made an emergency water landing.  The aircraft sank within thirty seconds taking Ensign Schmidt with it.  The gunner, ARM3c E. A. Hollomon, was able to escape, and was rescued by a Coast Guard Cutter and taken to Newport Naval Hospital in Rhode Island for treatment. 

     It was later determined that the synchronizing unit regulating the .50 caliber machine gun in the nose of the aircraft had malfunctioned, and that the propeller had been damaged to the point that the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in the water.    

     Both men were assigned to VC-32.

     To see a photo of Ensign Schmidt, click on link below.

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report, #44-8818, dated September 27, 1943    


Martha’s Vineyard, MA – February 7, 1945

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – February 7, 1945


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On February 7, 1945, a navy pilot took off from Martha’s Vineyard Auxiliary Naval Air Station in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70333), for a routine training flight.  About 45 minutes later, the pilot reported that he had engine trouble and was given clearance to return to the naval station.  By the time the pilot returned to the field, a coating of snow and ice covered the runways.  The plane touched down and began to skid.  It then proceeded to crash through a stone wall and was wrecked.  The pilot was injured because the shear pin on his harness broke loose, but the extend of his injuries were not specified.     

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report, dated February 7, 1945

Off Aquinnah, MA – February 17, 1945

Off Aquinnah, Massachusetts – February 17, 1945


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     Aquinnah is a town on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  Until 1997 it was known as Gay Head. 

     At about 7:35 p.m., on the evening of February 17, 1945, navy pilot Chester Anderson, (Rank not given), was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72301), off Aquinnah, Massachusetts, on a night bombing practice training flight.  Anderson and other aircraft in the flight were practicing on a half-submerged wreck off the coast.  Anderson had contacted another aircraft taking part in the exercise just prior to making his “bomb run”.  A short time later he failed to answer his radio.  Nobody had witnessed what happened, but it was presumed he crashed into the water. 

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report, dated February 17, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – May 1, 1958

Atlantic Ocean – May 1, 1958


Douglas AD-4N Skyraider
Naval History And Heritage Command

    On May 1, 1958, U.S. Navy Lieutenant(jg.) Willaim C. Cox, 25, of Wickford, Rhode Island, was piloting a Douglas AD-5 Skyraider on a training flight off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  At 11:30 a.m. he reported that he had an emergency and was bailing out from an altitude of 2,000 feet.  No position was given. 

     Two witnesses reported seeing the plane go down in Vineyard Sound about 8 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, about half way between Noman’s Land and Cuttyhunk Islands, but did not see a parachute.  A search was instituted, but neither Lt. Cox or his aircraft were recovered.     


     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Navy Plane, Body Found Off Vineyard”, July 10, 1958.   This headline refers to a WWII navy Hellcat that was found in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard with the pilot’s remains still inside.  The last part of the article mentions Lieutenant (jg.) Cox’s accident.   The two incidents were not related.

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