Charlestown, R.I. – August 9, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 9, 1948


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 9, 1948, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94782), was taking off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station when the engine lost power just after the plane had become airborne and the wheels had been retracted.  The aircraft came back down on the runway crushing its fully loaded belly tank which exploded and enveloped the aircraft in flames.  The aircraft skidded for 1,500 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was able to extricate himself, but the aircraft was consumed by fire. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10A, (VF-10A).


     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 9, 1948         

Block Island Sound- November 18, 1947

Block Island Sound – November 18, 1947

Updated July 16, 2019


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 18, 1947, a group of seven F8F Bearcat fighter aircraft from the Charlestown Auxiliary Naval Air Field were involved in a flight-tactics training exercise over Block Island Sound when two of the aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision.   

     One of the aircraft was Bu. No. 95087, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Minuard F. Jennings, 32, and the other, Bu. No. 95193, was piloted by Lieutenant Commander Marshal J. Lyttle, 26.   Both aircraft went down in the sea and neither pilot survived.

     Both men were assigned to VF-10A at Charlestown NAAF.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 18, 1947, memorial # 185144296 & 13842978    

Charlestown, R. I. – September 4, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1947


F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 4, 1947, Lieutenant Alfred George Elpern, (26), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95208), for a night tactical training mission.   About 36 minutes into the flight the cockpit lighting system of his aircraft failed, and he was given clearance to return to base.  His first two attempts to land were aborted.   While making his third attempt, his aircraft was observed to go into a spin while at an altitude of 300 feet.  The airplane crashed and exploded on the field instantly killing Lieutenant Elpern.

     At the time of the crash, the horizon was partially obscured by haze.

     The cause of the crash could not be determined.

     Lieutenant Elpern was assigned to VF-10A.

     Lieutenant Elpern is buried in Paradise Cemetery in Shannondale, Penn.


     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 4, 1947 Memorial #31314556

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