Barnstable, MA. – June 23, 1945

Barnstable, Massachusetts – June 23, 1945 

(And Truro, Mass. )


Early U.S. Navy Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of June 23, 1945, a flight of six navy SBW Helldiver aircraft were in a “tail-chase” formation 3,000 feet over the town of Truro, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.  One aircraft, (Bu. No. 60112), was flying in the third position, and Bu. No. 60142 was following it in the fourth position about 400 feet behind.  When the formation entered a climbing turn, the third aircraft unexpectedly flipped over onto its back and began to fall.  The pilot of the fourth aircraft tried to avoid a collision but was unsuccessful.   

     The right wing of the fourth aircraft was sheared off about six feet from the tip. The pilot attempted to maintain control but was unable to, so he climbed to 4,000 feet and gave the order to his gunner to bail out.  Both men reported having trouble getting clear of the cockpit before jumping.  The aircraft crashed in Barnstable Harbor.  The pilot and his gunner also came down in the water and were rescued by fishermen.   Both suffered non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Meanwhile, the pilot of the other aircraft found his controls frozen after the collision and ordered his gunner, ARM3c Kenneth E. Kubik, (19), to bail out.  The pilot later reported that he too had difficulty leaving the aircraft, but he landed safely with non-life-threatening injuries.  ARM3c Kubik was unable to leave the aircraft and was killed when it crashed and exploded one mile northeast of Truro. 

     ARM3c Kubik was from Caldwell, Kansas, and assigned to VT-74.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report  dated June 23, 1945   

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