Westover Field – February 9, 1943

Westover Field – February 9, 1943


P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 9, 1943, a P-47B fighter plane, (Ser. No. 41-6009), was taking off from Westover Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, when the plane struck a snowbank and went out of control and ran into three men on a snow removal detail.  Two of men were killed instantly, the third was injured.  The pilot of the aircraft was not hurt.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pvt. Jacob Adelsky, 22, of Brooklyn, New York.  He’s buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, N.Y.  To see a photo of Pvt. Adelsky, go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #26119296.

     Pvt. Dewey A. O’Neal, 44, of Blytheville, Arkansas. He’s buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Blytheville.

     The injured man was not identified.

     Source: The Springfield Union, “Two Soldiers Killed, One Injured By Plane Taking Off At Westover Field”, February 10, 1943, page 1. 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA – August 25, 1944

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts – August 25, 1944 

     On August 25, 1944, navy pilot, Lieut. (j.g.) Robert Stayman Willaman, 25, of Chicago, received a medal at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  The exact medal wasn’t specified in the newspaper, but it was mentioned that Willaman had been serving in the South Pacific.  

     Later that same day, Willaman was killed when his plane crashed on Martha’s Vineyard. 

     Lt. Jg. Willaman was survived by his wife Evelyn who he had married on April 10, 1943.  He left for duty in the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot on August 1, 1943.  


Falmouth Enterprise, “Death Follows Decoration”, September 1, 1944

Tidings – Irving Park Lutheran Church , “11 Who Gave Their Lives”, August, 2007, Vol. 34, #8.  

North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #44-67     

Otis Field, MA. – June 15, 1944

Otis Field, Falmouth, Massachusetts – June 15, 1944


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

     On June 15, 1944, a flight of F6F Hellcat aircraft were making practice carrier landings on a mock platform designed to resemble the deck of an aircraft carrier.   One aircraft, (Bu. No. 58124), piloted by an Ensign, made a perfect landing, however the arresting cable broke sending the plane into a ground loop off the platform.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not hurt.    

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report – dated June 15, 1944

Plymouth Bay, MA – March 20, 1945

Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts – March 20, 1945


F4U Corsair National Archives Photo

F4U Corsair
National Archives Photo

     On March 20, 1945, Ensign Richard C. Forisso was piloting an F4U-1D Corsair, (Bu. No. 50513), over Plymouth Bay making practice bomb runs.  At one point while at 4,000 feet, hydraulic fluid and gasoline began spraying from under the instrument panel followed by smoke filling the cockpit. The fluids got all over the pilot’s lower extremities and partially obscured his vision. 

     Ensign Forisso elected to stay with the aircraft and aim it for a safe area of the water away from shore and watercraft.  He cut the engine and made a wheels up water landing, suffering minor cuts and bruises in the process.   He was able to escape before the plane sank to the bottom. 

     Maintenance records showed that the hydraulic lines on this particular aircraft had broken twice previously.  Rough weather put off the recovery of the aircraft for four days.  Once it was recovered, mechanics discovered a 1/2 inch crack in the hydraulic line behind the instrument panel.  This aircraft was later scrapped due to the time it had stayed submerged in salt water.


     U.S. Navy accident brief.     

     Cape Cod Standard Times, “Otis Field Airman Prevents Crash On Plymouth Buildings”, March 21, 1945

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