Off Charlestown, R.I. – October 21, 1945

Off Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 21, 1945


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

     On October 21, 1945, Lt. (Jg.) T. R. Delehunt was piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70915), taking part of a training exercise off Block Island when he noticed grey smoke streaming from one side of his engine.  After declaring an emergency, he set a course for Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Despite the smoke, all instruments were reading normal, until he came within the area of Point Judith.  At that time his oil pressure began dropping, so he was re-directed to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  The oil pressure continued to fall, and as he neared Charlestown Beach the engine suddenly stopped.  Lt. Delehunt was forced to make an emergency landing in the water, coming down about a 1/2 mile from shore.  The aircraft was a total loss, but Delehunt was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy Accident Report, dated October 21, 1945


Block Island Sound – October 11, 1945

Block Island Sound – October 11, 1945


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

     On the night of October 11, 1945, Ensign J. A. Guice, (USN), took off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 79664), for a gunnery training flight approximately 17 miles south of Block Island.  The night was particularly dark and the horizon wasn’t visible, necessitating instrument flight.  At the designated area, Ensign Guice and other aircraft took turns firing rockets at a target-spar that was being towed by boat and illuminated by flares.  While making a run at the target from an altitude of 3,000 feet, Ensign Guice’s aircraft was observed to clear the target and enter a barrel roll to the left and strike the water.  He didn’t get out of the aircraft before it sank.  

     Unfortunately, Ensign Guice was only identified by his first two initials in the navy accident report, and therefor his first and middle name are unknown.  

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report dated October 11, 1945.



Hopkinton, R. I. – July 5, 1945

Hopkinton, Rhode Island – July 5, 1945


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

     On the morning of July 5, 1945, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F-5 Hellcat fighter planes took off from Westerly Air Field in Rhode Island for a “section tactics” training flight.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 71620), was piloted by Ensign William Warren Rehberg, of Decatur, Alabama.  The other F6F, (Bu. No. 53055), was piloted by Lt. (Jg.) Wallace F. McCoy, 23, of Dallas City, Texas. 

     At 12:03 p.m., which conducting aerial maneuvers at 6,300 feet over the Westerly area, Rehberg’s and McCoy’s aircraft were involved in amid-air collision.  Both airplanes were seen to be trailing smoke as they dove toward the ground, and both crashed and burned in the Ashaway section of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, a town the borders Westerly to the north.  Neither pilot survived.

     To see a photograph of Lt. (Jg.) McCoy, go to, Memorial #61030688.


     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated July 5, 1945. 



Westerly, R. I. – September 20, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – September, 20, 1943


U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On September 20, 1943, Ensign Charles Frederick Leiserson, age 21, was piloting an SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10470), on a gunnery training mission when the aircraft crashed and burned in Westerly, R.I.   Also aboard was Ensign Raymond R. Strimel, age 28.  Both men were killed. 

     Ensign Leiserson moved to Washington, D. C. in 1933, and upon graduation from Woodrow Wilson High School, attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduating in 1942.  He worked at Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage, Long Island, and enlisted in the Navy in September, 1942, and earned his pilot’s wings at Corpus Christi, Texas.  He continued his training at Fort Lauderdale, Florida before being sent to Rhode Island.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

     Ensign Strimel was born in Marietta, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University and the University of of Oklahoma.   He’s buried in East Lawn Memorial Park in Reno, Ohio.


     U. S. Navy Accident Report #44-8706, dated September 20, 1943

     The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.), “Ensign Charles F. Leiserson Killed In Rhode Island Crash”, September 21, 1943, pg. A-8  

Off Charlestown, R.I. – July 13, 1944

Off Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 13, 1944


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

     On the night of July 13, 1944, a flight of U.S. Navy F6F Hellcats were practicing night field landings at the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Field.  The night was relatively dark with no moon, and low cloud overcast obstructed the horizon line.  The aircraft were flying a in wide circle pattern at an altitude of only 200 feet.

     At approximately 11:45 p.m., two observers at the signal platform thought they heard an aircraft engine cutting-out followed by a possible crash into the water.  The control tower was notified, and a roll call of the aircraft was begun.  One of the pilots to acknowledge the roll call was an Ensign who was piloting (Bu. No. 41478).  However, just as he was replacing the microphone he struck the water.  He managed to escape before the plane sank and was rescued shortly afterwards.

     When the roll call was completed, it was discovered that Ensign Gerald V. Brostkaux, piloting F6F-3N, (Bu. No. 42954) was missing.  An oil slick was later found in the water where it was believed his plane went down.   

     Both pilots were assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 102, (VF(N)-102)

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident Report, dated July 13, 1944

Quonset Point NAS – June 17, 1943

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – June 17, 1943


Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 17, 1943, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 29860), with six men aboard, was making an approach to Rhode Island’s Quonset Point Naval Air Station after six hours of flying cross country.  Thirty other aircraft were all in the vicinity attempting to land after being advised by the tower that the airport would be closed shortly due to the bad weather that was closing in.  As the plane was about to touch down it hit an air pocket and slammed onto the tarmac, the wheels causing it to bounce back into the air. It fell again, and this time the landing gear collapsed, sending the aircraft skidding on its belly down the runway.  Fortunately there was no fire and no serious injuries to those aboard.


     U. S. navy Crash Investigation Report #43-7297

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – November 3, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – November 3, 1945


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

     On November 3, 1945, Ensign Henry A. Clark was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78639), from Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station in New York, to Squantum Naval Air Station in Massachusetts.  As he was passing over Narragansett Bay the engine began cutting out resulting in loss of power and altitude.  Ensign Clark made an emergency water landing about 3/4 of a mile southwest of the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  The aircraft sank, but Ensign Clark escaped without injury.  The aircraft was salvaged on November 6. 

      Source: National Archives, TD451103RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Westerly, R.I. – August 2, 1945

Westerly, Rhode Island – August 2, 1945


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

     On the morning of August 2, 1945, Ensign Walter G. Davies was cleared for takeoff from Runway 32 at the Westerly Auxiliary Naval Air Station.   Just after becoming airborne the engine of his F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78413), lost all power and the airplane came back down on the runway.  The plane touched down near the end of the runway.  Ensign Davies applied full brakes but was unable to prevent the plane from going off the end of the runway and over an eight-foot embankment where it flipped over in trees and scrub brush pinning Davies inside.   There was no fire, and Ensign Davies was rescued a short time later with no serious injuries.  The aircraft was a total loss. The cause of the crash was blamed on faulty engine magnetos.     

     Source: National Archives, AAR W6-45, TD450802RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – March 31, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – March 31, 1945


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

     On March 31, 1945, Ensign Setomer took off from the Westerly Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Westerly, Rhode Island, for a training flight in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70345).  After two hours of flight time he noticed a drop in oil pressure and made a deferred emergency landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.   There his plane was inspected and serviced, with four gallons of oil added.  Ensign Setomer then took off headed for Westerly, but after one minute of flight time the engine began to sputter and then froze.  Ensign Setomer made an emergency water landing in Narragansett Bay about one mile south of Quonset Point.  He successfully inflated his life raft before the plane sank, and was rescued a few minutes later by a crash boat.    

     Source: National Archives AAR 338; TD450331RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

Charlestown, R.I. – February 15, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 15, 1945 


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

     On February 15, 1945, Ensign James T. Wylie, piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42970), was making practice landings and take-offs on Runway 22 at the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island.  (The air station was located on the shore of a large body of water known as Ninigret Pond.)  After his fourth landing he took off again, and when he was about 3/4 of a mile off the end of the runway at an altitude of 200 feet, the aircraft’s engine began to sputter, and then stopped.  Ensign Wylie made a successful emergency landing in the water and was able to inflate a rescue raft before the plane sank.  He was rescued by a crash boat about 20 minutes later.


 National Archives TD450215RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

East Providence, R.I. – January 12, 1943

East Providence, Rhode Island – January 12, 1943

Updated December 29, 2015


U.S. Navy SBD auntless National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy SBD auntless
National Archives Photo

     At 3:00 p.m. on January 12, 1943, two U.S. Navy SBD-4 Dauntless aircraft were returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a patrol/photographic  flight when they encountered snow squalls over the Providence metropolitan area and were forced to make emergency landings. 

     One aircraft (Bu. No. 06925) attempted to land in a field near St. Mary’s Seminary on Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence, and in the process collided with a tree and flipped over.  The pilot, Ensign John Robert Jasper, 22, of St. Louis, Missouri, was killed, and his companion, Photographer 3C, Ollen Amay Stevens, 26, of  Detroit, Michigan, was seriously injured.

     St. Mary’s Seminary is today known as St. Mary’s Bay View Academy located at 3070 Pawtucket Avenue.  

    The second aircraft made a hard landing in another field about a quarter of a mile away.  The pilot, Ensign William E. McCarthy, 23, of Mansfield, Mass., and his companion, Seaman Apprentice Edward Goumond, 20, of Johnston, R.I., were slightly injured.      

     Ensign Jasper had just celebrated his 22nd birthday twelve days earlier on December 30th.   His body was brought to Quonset Naval Air Station In North Kingstown, Rhode Island in preparation for burial. He’s buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Afton, Missouri.  To see a picture of his grave go to and see Memorial # 47782542. 


     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records, #43-17

     Larry Webster, R. I. Aviation Archaeologist & Historian

     Newport Daily News, “Navy Pilot Killed In Crash Upstate”, January 13, 1943, page 12


Hopkinton, R.I. – December 13, 1945

Hopkinton, Rhode Island – December 13, 1945

SB2C Helldiver U.S. Navy Photo

SB2C Helldiver

U.S. Navy Photo

     On December 13, 1945, an SB2C-4E Helldiver (Bu. No. 83080) took off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a gunnery training flight.  While making a tight turn in the air at 1,400 feet, the plane suddenly spun in and crashed in woodland off Panciera Road in the town of Hopkinton, Rhode Island.  (The area of the crash is approximately eight miles from the airfield.) 

     Both crewmen aboard were killed instantly.  They were:

     (Pilot) Ensign Kenneth Walter Barnes, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio.  He’s buried in St. Joseph’s New Cemetery in Cincinnati. He was survived by his wife Dorothy.

    Aviation Ordnanceman 3cl Charles Otmar Henninger, 28, of Sumner, Iowa. He’s buried at St. Peter’s Evan. Cemetery in Bremer Co. Iowa.  He was survived by his wife Geneva.  For more information about the life of Charles Henninger see the website “Bremer County Veterans Affairs” at


     (book) BuNos! Dispostion of World War II USN, USMC, And USCG Aircraft Listed By Bureau Numbers, by Douglas E. Campbell, copyright 2012.

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records: 45-118, and 45-119. Charles Otmar Henninger, Memorial # 27384806 – Kenneth Walter Barnes, Memorial # 129069814

     Bremer County Veterans Affairs website – see above.

     U.S. Navy Crash Brief, 6-45 

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