Wickford, R.I. – September 12, 1944

Wickford, Rhode Island – September 12, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On September 12, 1944, Ensign John Rodney Stone, was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58171), on a ferry flight away from Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  He was flying in the wing position of another F6F piloted by an Ensign Savage.    

     The weather at the time was poor, with a low cloud ceiling of 2,000 feet.  While passing over rugged terrain north of Quonset Point Ensign Stone reported his engine was cutting out, but then reported that the engine was now running smoothly again.  The flight turned towards Hillsgrove Army Air Filed in Warwick, R.I. to allow Stone to make an emergency landing, but then Stone radioed that his engine had suddenly failed and the he was going to bail out.  Ensign Savage later told investigators that in his estimation, Stone’s aircraft was below 1,000 feet when he jumped. 

     Due to the low altitude, Ensign Stone’s parachute failed to fully open, and he was killed when he hit the ground.  His plane crashed and exploded about a quarter of a mile away.  Due to the massive damage to the engine, investigators were unable to determine what caused the mechanical failure. 


     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report, dated Sept. 12, 1944.   


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