Block Island Sound – September 4, 1951

Block Island Sound – September 4, 1951


P2V Neptune U.S. Air Force Photo

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 4, 1951, a navy P2v-3 Neptune, (Bu. No. 122978) took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station with seven men aboard to take part in an exercise with a submarine in the waters between Block Island and Montauk Point, Long Island, N.Y.  

     According to one eyewitness account, “The plane showed evidence of being in distress.  Then it suddenly plunged, struck the water and exploded.” 


      The plane was assigned to Patrol Squadron 5, (VP-5) tasked with locating submarines using sophisticated electronics.

     The plane crashed about 30 miles east of Montauk Point. (71-42W, 40-30N) 

     The cause of the accident was not determined.  All seven men aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     Lt. Cmdr. Jerome J. Rossillion, 32, Jacksonville NAS.

     Lt. Herschell B. Thorpe, 30, Jacksonville, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Technician Charles G. Chapman, 21, Malden, Mass. 

     Chief Aviation Machinist Charles L. Cook, 32, Yukon, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Operator Ralph R. Maxfield, 29, Jacksonville, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Operator Frank M. Roeder Jr., 21, St. Louis, Mo.

     Aviation Ordinance Man Kenneth G. Peterson, 26, Jacksonville, Fla.   

     According to naval authorities, the plane had been at Quonset for two weeks, and had left about an hour before the accident.

     Source: Pawtucket Times, “Quonset Plane Crashes, 7 Die” September 5, 1951, Pg. 1

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