Westover Field, MA. – December 27, 1944

Out of Westover Field – Mattituck, Long Island, New York


B-24 Liberator
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On the evening of December 27, 1944, a U. S. Army Air Force B-24J Liberator, (Ser. No. 42-51034), with eleven men aboard took off from Westover Army Air Field in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for a cross-country navigational training flight to eastern Long Island, New York, and back. As the plane crossed Long Island sound it encountered a snowstorm and low lying clouds obscuring visibility.  When the aircraft reached the northern fork of eastern Long Island it began to circle, possibly looking for the Suffolk County Army Air Field. The control tower at the airfield attempted to contact the circling plane but without success.  At about 6:20 P.M. the Liberator crashed and exploded on the farm of J. Dwight Reeves in Mattituck, and all aboard perished. 

     Pilot: Flight Officer Victor F. Belotti, age 20-21.  He’s buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Hackensack, New Jersey.     

     Co-Pilot: Flight Officer William D. Sanders, age 23.  He’s buried in Henry’s Chapel Cemetery, Troup, Texas. 

     Navigator: Flight Officer Clifford J. McElwee, age 23.  He’s buried in Evergreen Memorial Park, Hobart, Indiana.  

     Bombardier: Flight Officer Louis P. Pernala, age 22.  He’s Buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Duluth, Minnesota. 

     Engineer: Cpl. Lawrence L. Tench, age 21.  He’s buried in Glenwood Mausoleum in Clark’s Summit, Pennsylvania. 

     Radio Operator: Cpl. George H. Reis, Jr.  Age and burial information unknown. 

     Gunner: Cpl. Vito D. Ferrano.  Age and burial information unknown. 

     Gunner: Cpl. John H. Benner, age 36.  He’s buried in Birch Hill Cemetery in Burnham, Pennsylvania.  

     Gunner: Cpl. Roger D. Westervelt, age 18.  He’s buried in Hopeland Cemetery in Buda, Illinois. 

     Gunner: Cpl. Joseph Mastorana.  Age and burial information unknown.

     Gunnery Instructor: S/Sgt. Nicholas M. Carusone, age 26.  He’s buried in St. Ann’s Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.


     The Suffolk County News, “11 Die As Army Plane Crashes In Mattituck During Storm; Investigation Now Underway”, December 29, 1944, page 1.

     The Waterbury Democrat, “B-25 Crashes In Long Island Area”, December 28, 1944.  Headline should have said “B-24”, not B-25. 

     Book:”Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents In The Unites States, 1941-1945″, by Anthony J. Mireles, C. 2006. 


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