How Otis Air Force Base Was Named

     Otis Air Field was named for 2nd Lieutenant Frank Jessie Otis, Jr. who was a flight surgeon with the 101st Observation Squadron of the Massachusetts National Guard.  To see a photo of him click on the link below.

     On January 11, 1937, Lt. Otis and an observer, Sgt. John Gibbons, were flying in a National Guard, Douglas O-46 observation plane, from Boston to Moline, Illinois, when the plane crashed Hennepin, Illinois.  Both men were killed.   The cause of the crash is unknown. 

    Although Lt. Otis perished in 1937, Otis Air Field wasn’t officially named for him until December 14, 1940.   It later became known as Otis Air Force Base.

Falmouth Enterprise, (Ma.)
December 20, 1940

     The forgotten man in this situation is the observer who was flying with Lt. Otis on his cross-country flight.  His name is Sergeant John F. Gibbons, (26), of Natick, Massachusetts.  To see a photo of him click on the link below.

     The article below appeared in The Waterbury Democrat, (Ct.) on January 12, 1937.  

The article below appeared in The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), on January 12, 1937.  

Otis Air Field – September 19, 1945

Otis Air Field – September 19, 1945


SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 19, 1945, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at Otis Field when the Curtiss Helldiver aircraft he was piloting crash-landed during one of the landings.  The aircraft, (Bu. No. 60177), was damaged, but the pilot was not injured. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 19, 1945.   

Otis Air Field, MA. – September 13, 1946

Otis Air Field, Massachusetts – September 13, 1946


TBM-3E Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 13, 1946, a group of several navy TBM Avengers were participating in a practice carrier landing training exercise during which each aircraft was making touch-and-go landings and take offs.  At one point, (Bu. No. 91437), made a perfect approach and landing, but just after take off went into a near vertical climb.  At the top of the climb the aircraft stalled and as it began to fall the pilot bailed out.  The aircraft crashed and exploded.  The pilot’s parachute deployed, but he suffered non-life-threatening injuries upon hitting the ground.  There was nobody else aboard the plane at the time of the accident.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-42.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 13, 1946. 

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

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