Charlestown, R. I. – April 29, 1946

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 29, 1946


SNJ Trainer Aircraft
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 4:17 p.m. on the afternoon of April 29, 1946, a U. S. Navy SNJ-4 aircraft, (Bu. No. 27284), took off from Mustin Air Field in Philadelphia bound for Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York. 

      The pilot was Lieutenant (Jg.) John Rodgers.  Also aboard was Signalman 2/c Albert E. Theriault, Jr. 

     As the aircraft neared Bennett Field it encountered bad weather. 

     At 6:58 p.m. Rodgers contacted the tower at Bennett Field and requested clearance to the Quonset Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  Clearance was granted.

     As the aircraft was approaching southern Rhode Island it again encountered bad weather and low visibility forcing the pilot to fly on instruments.  As the plane was traveling over the town of Charlestown, R. I., it crashed in a wooded area about one mile east of the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  Both airmen perished in the crash.

     The back story to this accident is this: SM2/c Theriault had been serving aboard the light cruiser Monolulu berthed at Philadelphia.  His 23-year-old wife in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was pregnant with the couple’s first child and about to give birth.  Theriault was granted a 20 day leave to be at her side, which was the reason he was aboard the aircraft.  His funeral was held only a few hours after the birth of their child.   

     To see SM2/c Theriault’s gave, click here: 


     U. S. Navy Accident Report dated April 29, 1946

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Pilot Dies In Crash In Rhode Island”, April 30, 1946, page 9.  

     The Waterbury Democrat, “Child Is Born Before Funeral”, May 4, 1946



Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲