Wingdale, N.Y. – November 3, 1945

Wingdale, New York – November 3, 1945


North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     The flight of this aircraft originated at the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Charlestown, Rhode Island, but ended in upstate New York. 

     On November 2, 1945, a U. S. Navy  SNJ-4 “Texan” trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27381), left Charlestown, Rhode Island, on a cross country training flight to Chincoteague, Virginia, where it arrived safely. 

     The aircraft carried two men.  The pilot was Ensign James Frederick Wagner, 25, of Titusville, Penn.  The other man was Ensign Shannon R. Caulk, 21, of Columbia, Tenn.  Both were assigned to Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 26, (CASU-27), at Charlestown.        

     On the morning of November 3, the men took off from Virginia bound for Groton, Connecticut.  The aircraft’s expected time of arrival at Groton was to be 11:31 a.m.

     While passing over the upstate New York area not far from the Connecticut boarder, the men encountered foggy weather and a cloud ceiling of 1,000 feet.  At approximately 11:15 a.m. the aircraft crashed into East Mountain, an 1,800 foot tall hill in the village of Wingdale, New York.  The impact took place along a rocky ledge about 100 feet from the summit.  There was no explosion, but wreckage was scattered along the mountain side.  Both Ensign Wagner and Ensign Caulk were killed instantly.

     A man living nearby heard the accident and upon investigation found the crash site and notified authorities.       

     For more information click on the links below.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 3, 1945

     Poughkeepsie Journal, “Two Ensigns Killed In crash Of Navy Plane”, November 5, 1945, page 1.

     Poughkeepsie Journal, “Wrecked Ship And Bodies Found On East Mountain”, November 4, 1945



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