Fort Devens Airport, MA – April 21, 1942

Fort Devens Airport, Fort Devens, Massachusetts

April 21, 1942        

      Fort Devens Airport was active at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, during World War II.  It was later named Moore Field after Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Moore, who was killed in Vietnam.  The field closed in 1995.

     At 7:55 p.m., on April 21, 1942, an Army O-52 observation plane (Ser. No. 40-2702) was returning to Fort Devens Airport after a reconnaissance flight when the aircraft crashed in four feet of water at the edge of a pond.  The plane fell from an altitude of 500 feet while making a turn in preparation for landing.   Both the pilot and observer were killed.

      The dead were identified as 1st Lt. Gerald Patrick Kennedy, 26, of Providence, R.I., and 2nd Lt. Robert Wright Booker, 24, of Illiopolia, Ill.  

     Lt. Booker, the pilot,  is buried in Macon County Memorial Park, Section 14, in Harristown, Illinois.  He received his pilot’s wings on October 31, 1941. 

     Lt. Kennedy is buried in St. Francis Cemetery, Section 51, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  

     Later in the evening Lt. Kennedy was scheduled to attend a party in his honor due to his recent promotion to first lieutenant.  As a point of fact, Lt. Booker wasn’t scheduled to be on that flight, but he’d taken the place of another officer.  

     Today there is a hanger named for Lt. Kennedy  at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I. (Formerly Hillsgrove)

     The men were assigned to the 152nd Observation Squadron, and it was reported that these men were the first airplane related fatalities in the history of the 152nd.  The 152nd had been stationed at Hillsgrove Airport in Warwick, R.I. prior to being transferred in the summer of 1941 to  Fort Devens. 


     U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-4-21-23

     Woonsocket Call, “Army Probing Devens Plane Crash In Which 2 Met Death”, April 22, 1942, Pg. 1

     Wikipedia – Fort Devens Airport



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