Globemaster Crash, June 18, 1953 (Tachikawa, Japan)
|According to a report by Major General Victor E. Bertrandias, Deputy Inspector General, Department
of the Air Force, there were a total of 685 personnel, including 149 pilots, killed in transport
accidents in 1951 and 1952. There were 107 cargo-type aircraft destroyed, resulting in a materiel
loss of many millions of dollars.
The first airplane crash with over 100 fatalities involved a
Douglas C-124A Globemaster carrying U.S. military personnel from Japan to Korea on June 18, 1953.
The accident occurred approximately three miles from Tachikawa, Japan. Seven crew members and 122
passengers perished in the accident. There were no survivors.
Research on the information found on this page began after the Korean War Educator was contacted
by Steve Troutman, a nephew of Robert Bushong, one of the crash victims. Until Steve contacted
us, the KWE carried no information about this crash. Our special thanks to Steve for the inquiry
that initiated the research that made the existence of this historical information on the KWE possible.
This page was last updated:
December 23, 2016
This page of the Korean War Educator is dedicated to
Robert Bushong and the other 128 victims of this deadly crash.
They are not forgotten.
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- Pilot: Herbert G. Voruz Jr.
- Aircraft (wing) Number: 51-137A
- Type: C-124A
- Command: FEAF, 315th A Div, 374th TCWg (H)
- Group: 374th TCGp(H), 22nd TCSq (H)
- Base: Tachikawa Air Base, Japan
- Engine Serial Number: F-9130
- Total engine hours: 791.50
- Propeller model: C6345-C402
- Engine Model: Pratt & Whitney 4360-20WA
- Octane rating of fuel: 115/145
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Frank J. Palyn, Sgt. Hq & Serv. Co., 434th ECB
"Corporal Lindsey, my driver, first called my attention to the sound of the airplane, it
was very unusual. We looked to our left and at this instant she seemed to hit an air pocket
because she dropped. After this drop of several hundred feet she went into a left hand
spiral dive. The maximum height of the plane, I would estimate to be approximately 800
to 1200 feet. At first I thought the plane would make a rough belly landing. The
airplane's unusual path of flight seemed to be due to the power being furnished by the right
two engines. They seemed to be pulling the plane around and dragging the left wing behind
at an angle causing the spiral prior to the crash. The plane itself seemed to head towards
the ground at this angle and the left wing, nose approaching the ground first with the tail
at an angle to the right and above. I could not state for certain that the plane hit in
this manner but can be reasonably sure because of the fraction of a second which I lost sight
of it behind the hedge. Immediately upon contact with the ground she seemed to explode
and burn. I told my driver to get to it. We were, I believe, the first security
force personnel to approach the wreck. The fire area seemed to be concentrated in two
spots, the major one covered the central area of the wrecked airplane, and the other was in
the wooded area. One person seemed to be alive near the fire area but before we could
remove him he died. We removed 7 others which took approximately 30 minutes, then what
seemed to be the gas tank blew up. The right engines were going at a very high rate of
speed and making unusual noises. There was no noticeable action from either of the left
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Robert D. Vess, S/Sgt. USAF
"I was driving on route seven coming from Tokyo heading west, the time was about 16:33 or
there about. My wife shouted to me to look at the airplane coming from the south heading
north. As I noticed the aircraft he was heading nose down, then he abruptly pulled it
up as if to gain altitude. There was a loud surge of power heard, then the aircraft stalled
out on its left wing in a flat spin. It made a 160 degree turn and settled to the ground.
There was a flash and then the fire started. I then was approximately 150 yards away so
I pulled over to the side of the road and went to the scene. The Japanese were already
at the aircraft. I walked around to the fuselage and noticed bodies, as a few more GI's
[words not legible] 43rd Engineers and I started pulling the bodies out of the aircraft.
The aircraft was heading south, the opposite direction of when he stalled. The airplane
was in an upright position. Fire and explosions kept us from puling any more bodies out
so the military personnel there kept the Japanese from getting too close to the fire."
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Volney L. Smith, A/2C, 1954-2 AACE Det. Tower Operator
"Air Force 1137 outbound this station to K-55. Aircraft taxied out and was given ATC
clearance. He copied same and stated there would be about five (5) minutes before he would
be ready for takeoff. When he was ready to go, Tower cleared him for takeoff stating that
GCA would be standing by monitoring his take-off on Dog channel. He said, roger, going
to Dog channel now. From this time on tower did not speak to the aircraft, but monitored
what was said over Dog channel. The aircraft was airborne at 1631. After airborne,
the aircraft went into the clouds and out of sight of the Tower making the left turn out that
his ATC clearance specified. GCA was then talking to the aircraft. Then after telling
position etc., while on the turn he called GCA and said he had feathered one engine and was
going to declare a full emergency. Tower then heard the pilot shouting frantically, "Give
me more power, give me more power." Then GCA called and said they had lost radar contact.
Tower then called approach control to see if they had him on their radar scope. Answer
was negative. Base Operations was advised of all the preceding information. Tower
then called Air Rescue Service at Johnson Air Base and requested that a helicopter be sent to
the area immediately. The helicopter contacted GCA and was vectored to the spot.
The helicopter stated that the aircraft was completely demolished and there appeared to be no
survivors. He also asked that the Chaplains and a identifying crew be sent to the scene.
Tower told Base Operations same and also notified Chaplains at Johnson Air Base. FEAMCOM
Hospital called stating that all their equipment was available asking if they should go to the
scene. Tower advised them to go immediately. Base Operations had been fully notified
and had dispatched craft equipment to the scene."
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Clarence C. Stout, A/2C, 1954-2, [word not legible] Detachment Tower Operator
"AF1137, C-124 outbound this station enroute to K-55 taxied out to the hotspot for Runway
19. The aircraft was given an Air Traffic Control Clearance and advised tower that it
would be approximately five minutes prior to takeoff. when the aircraft was cleared for
takeoff, tower advised the aircraft that GCA would be standing by on "Dog" channel for any assistance.
The aircraft replied "Roger", "I am switching to dog now." The aircraft was airborne at
1631 Item and tower never had radio contact after takeoff, but was monitoring "Dog" channel
(121.5). The aircraft made an immediate left turn after takeoff, which was specified in
his ATC Clearance. At this time, GCA was in two-way contact with the aircraft and was
advising him of position. While making the left turn the aircraft advised GCA that he
had feathered an engine and was returning to Tachikawa. Tower requested GCA to ask the
pilot if he was going to declare a full emergency. GCA did same but the pilot never gave
an answer. Tower then heard the pilot shouting, "Give me more power", "Give me more power."
Tower heard this statement made two times. Base operations was immediately advised of
this information, and approach control was advised, and advised tower to cancel his IFR Clearance.
Then GCA advised they had lost Radar contact with the aircraft. Tower immediately advised
base operations of this and they advised tower to send the crash crew to the suspected scene
of what may be a crash. Tower did same and then called Johnson's Tower via the landline
and requested to know if they could alert a helicopter. Johnson's Tower in-turn advised
Johnson's Air Rescue Service of same, and then Johnson's Air Rescue Service called Tachikawa's
Tower and tower gave all the known information. After the helicopter had departed Johnson
Air Base, he established contact with Tachikawa's GCA on "Dog" channel and GCA vectored the
aircraft to the scene of the suspected crash. The pilot of the helicopter advised he had
the crash in sight and the plane appeared to be completely demolished and no survivors.
The pilot of the helicopter requested tower to send chaplains and an identifying team to the
scene. Tower did same. FEAMCOM Hospital called and advised they had equipment waiting
and tower requested them to send it to the scene of the accident."
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Allan J. Smith, [words not legible], AACS Detachment, GCA Operator
"At approximately 16251, Tachikawa Tower advised Ground Controlled Approach that aircraft
1137 was preparing to take the runway for a south take-off-was going to make a left turn following
take-off and climb on a north bound course. Tower also requested that Ground Controlled
Approach monitor the take-off, and that the aircraft would contact Ground Controlled Approach
on frequency 121.5 megacycles. On the warm-up spot aircraft 1137 called Ground Controlled
Approach on 121.5 megacycles. The two way contact was very satisfactory. At 16311,
the aircraft 1137 called Ground Controlled Approach on 121.5 megacycles stating that he was
"on the roll". When 2 miles south of the field, the aircraft 1137 started making his left
hand turn to a northbound heading. At a point 3 miles southeast of the field, with the
left turn nearly completed, the pilot called GCA on 121.5 megacycles. GCA answered the
pilot with a report of his ATC clearance, that GCA was standing by. The pilot replied
that he had just feathered one engine and was returning to Tachikawa, (following this transmission,
the pilot was heard asking for more power.) The pilot was asked if he requested a GCA
Approach. The pilot answered, "that is affirmative GCA." (again the pilot was heard
asking for more power.) GCA asked the pilot his present altitude, and the pilot answered
that he was at 1200 feet. GCA asked the pilot if he could maintain his altitude, the pilot
answered Roger. (at this time the pilot was heard yelling "Give me power, give me power")
GCA informed Tokyo Radar Control, that they were working an emergency returning to Tachikawa
and for them to hold the aircraft they had over Atsugi until we had the emergency on the ground.
Tachikawa tower requested that GCA ask the pilot of 1137 if he was declaring an emergency.
At this time, approximately 16311, the aircraft 1137 was exactly 3 miles, directly east of the
field on 2 northbound heading. GCA attempted to contact 1137 to find out if the pilot
was declaring an emergency, (the pilot did not answer.) GCA attempted to get radio contact
3 or 4 more times, but with no results. At a point 3 1/2 miles northeast of the field
GCA lost radar contact with 1137. This was at 15351. GCA notified Tachikawa tower
and Tokyo Radar Control of all pertinent information. Radar contact was lost with 1137
at 15351, 3 1/4 miles northeast of the field, [number not legible] degrees from the station.
The relieving crew of GCA was well briefed on all of the details and I, the undersigned, signed
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Robert P. DeHond, M/Sgt. 1954-2 AACS Detachment GCA Team Chief
"I, M/Sgt. Robert P. DeHond, AF 6910913, was scheduled for duty at 1630 hours 18 June 1953.
Myself and team were enroute to unit at approximately 1625 hours, but was held up crossing the
runway as we didn't secure a light from tower. Arrived at the GCA Unit at 1635 hours.
Was briefed on the last contact of C-124 numbered 1137. Last position was 70 degrees from
Tachikawa three (3) radar miles. Was advised a helicopter from Johnson was leaving and
wanted to be vectored to last known location of AF 1137. Secured radar and radio contact
just east of the T.W. Homer and he vectored to a spot three miles 70 degrees from Tachikawa.
As he was approaching this area tower gave me some coordination (FC 55). Relayed to helicopter
and pilot advised he had wreckage in sight and was landing. Two minutes later pilot reported
plane completely washed out no survivors. Asked pilot if he desired any further assistance.
Pilot wanted a steer to Johnson AB but there was a three hundred overcast and he did not want
to get in the soup so he followed the road back. Unit was in perfect shape good radar.
Communication line up and tilt."
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Clarence D. Davis, 1/Sgt., GCA Ten
"Aircraft 1137 contacted GCA on 121-5 for radio check prior to take-off. We had already
been notified through tower that he would be taking off south and would turn north bound immediately
after take-off. We were monitoring normal GCA track out. Aircraft 1137 called when
he was approximately 2 1/2 miles southeast and advised he was feathering an engine and was returning
to Tachikawa Air Base to land. He was asked his altitude and if he could maintain altitude.
He stated he was 1200 feet and that he could maintain altitude. He was turned to 360 degrees
heading for downwind leg. Pilot didn't seem to be excited or in any danger. Aircraft
passed 3 miles east of Tachikawa and at a point 3 miles east north east the pilot called engineer
for tower. This was the last radio contact and he faded from radar scene also."
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Isom E. Wagoner, A/1C, Hq [abbreviation not legible] Sec., 37th AB Gp.
"C-124, number 1137 took off to the south at 16311, 18 June 1953. At 16321 GCA notified
the tower that he had feathered an engine and was returning to land. At 16341, GCA notified
the tower that they had lost the aircraft on their scopes and could not establish radar or radio
contact with the aircraft. Tower relayed all information to Base Operations. At
this time the Crash Phone System was used to alert personnel concerned.
The tower coordinated with Johnson tower to dispatch a helicopter to search for the aircraft.
GCA vectored the helicopter to the spot where they last had radar contact with the aircraft.
In the meantime, the crash crew was dispatched to search for the aircraft in the vicinity
where GCA last had radar contact, three (3) miles north east of the field on a heading of 070
At about 17151, word was received that the Japanese Police had notified the Tachikawa Air
Police that an aircraft had crashed in the vicinity of Kodaira, Japan. The Crash Phone
was again used to notify concerned personnel that the aircraft had definitely crashed.
At 17211, the tower notified operations that the helicopter had arrived at the scene and
reported there apparently were no survivors and that the aircraft was completely demolished
and still burning.
The Crash Phone System was used to give this latest information and a request for all available
ambulances to report to operations was made.
Later a request was made for all available chaplains from FEALOGFOR, in addition to those
from Tachikawa, to report to the crash scene."
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Theodore P. Tatum Jr., Lt. Colonel, USAF
"At 16:50 hours Johnson tower called the alert crew of the 36th Air Rescue Squadron - and
advised that Tachikawa GCA had called and reported that a C-124 was apparently down, as they
(Tachikawa GCA) had lost it on their scope after take off.
Upon receipt of this message the helicopter pilot, Lt. Colonel Tatum and Captain Mecca and
the Land and Para-Rescue team were alerted and given the information available in a quick briefing
as the helicopter (H-19) was being rolled out of the hanger. The crew and load consist
of pilot and co-pilot, a two man para-rescue team, litters blankets and assorted emergency equipment.
A second para-rescue team was briefed to stand by in vehicles to be dispatched by the helicopter
crew if needed. A second helicopter was rolled out (H-5) and cranked up to await further
instructions and the Johnson Air Base Air Police and Hospital were alerted to stand by.
We the undersigned took off in the H-19 at 17:06, after receiving instructions from Johnson
tower to report to Tachikawa GCA when airborne. The weather at Johnson at this time was
approximately 200' and 1/2 to 3/4 miles. we took off on a heading of 200 degrees cruising
at 75 to 100 feet at 50 KTS. and attempted to contact Tachikawa GCA. Initial radio contact
was made immediately, however the instructions were garbled, we continued this heading until
passing the south end of the reservoirs. At this time solid communications were established
with Tachikawa GCA. We were given heading of 190 degrees for about two minutes - 90 degrees
for about two minutes and 140 degrees for about 1 minute and a final heading of 160 degrees.
At this time GCA advised the aircraft wreck should be dead ahead at 3/4 miles. At exactly
this location we observed the smoke and fire of the wreck. At 17:13 we hovered over the
wreck at 100 feet to give GCA another fix and then landed approximately 150 feet from the wreckage.
The AF Officer in charge at the scene (a Major name unknown) was immediately contacted to determine
if there were any survivors or if rescue was needed to evacuate anyone. He replied there
were no survivors. The para-rescue team were directed to inspect the area for any possible
unlocated survivors. After examining the area thoroughly this team determined that there
were no survivors.
We then advised the [not legible] that as no survivors existed we would return to base.
He requested that a message be passed to Tachy tower for chaplains and graves registration personnel
be sent to the scene, this was done immediately.
We departed at 17:35 and returned to Johnson Air Base the land rescue team were dispatched
to the scene and instructed to remain until all personnel were accounted for.
The weather in route was approximately the same as at the time of take off. At the
scene of the accident, the weather was approximately 200' with light rain with about 3/4 mile
visibility. During the period we were on the ground, the rain increased and the visibility
decreased somewhat. The weather on return to Johnson deteriorated and some difficulty
was experienced in returning to the base. We arrived at Johnson at 17:55.
In conclusion, we feel some comment should be made of the detailed accuracy of the Tachikawa
GCA in directing the helicopter to the site of the accident under the most adverse conditions.
Without their instructions and guidance, it is doubtful if the wreckage would have been located
by the helicopter."
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About the Pilot
Born in 1916, Major Herbert G. Voruz, Jr. became a pilot on 6 January 1942 and then became a
senior pilot on 13 January 1949. He was assigned to FEAF, Tachikawa Air Base, serving with
the 315th A Div., 374th TCWg (H), 374th TCGp (H), 22nd TCSq (H). Major Voruz's operator's
flying experience included 6302:50 pilot hours.
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Miscellaneous Published Accounts
Life Magazine - June 29, 1953, p. 48
The regular Life magazine feature "Life on the Newsfronts of the World" carried the
following mention of this Globemaster crash:
Worst Air Crash
One rain-filled afternoon last week a giant Air Force C-124 Globemaster lifted off the runway
at Tachikawa airport near Tokyo and disappeared into the murk. The tower heard one brief
radio message from the plane: "One engine dead; returning for G.C.A. landing." A few minutes
later, in a flat spin, the C-124 crashed into a muddy farm field northeast of the airport.
There were no survivors: the plane carried to death 129 persons, seven members of the crew and
122 servicemen returning to their units in Korea after leave in Japan. It was--by a margin
of 42 deaths--the world's worst disaster in the history of aviation.
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The C-124 had a variety of problems associated with its anti-icing equipment, autopilot,
brakes, and instrument visibility. Until WADC engineers could devise a solution to ice
formation, pilots were simply told to avoid icy conditions. At the end of 1952, all C-124s
of the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron were grounded because of fuel tank leaks. Early in
February, after fuel cell modifications, the big planes returned to the skies. In July
1953, a number of C-124s were grounded again pending inspection of their engines after a number
of engine fires. On 18 June 1953, the worst air disaster up tot hat time occurred at Tachikawa
Air Base in Japan when an engine fire caused the crash of a C-124 shortly after takeoff, killing
all 129 passengers aboard. Some of the planes were returned to service the following month,
but many remained grounded at the war's end, awaiting new generators. Despite its problems,
the C-124 had demonstrated that it was the cheapest air transport per ton-mile in the Air Force
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Steve Troutman - In Remembrance of Robert Bushong
Yesterday at a family gathering, a cousin asked if I knew where an uncle was buried.
I did and a discussion about our uncle began. Do you have any information about a plane
crash of American servicemen returning from Korea in June of 1953? Supposedly it was,
and maybe still is, the worst military air craft disaster in history. There were no survivors.
The same number perished in this disaster as did when the nuclear sub "Thresher" was crushed
in the Atlantic Ocean on maneuvers. My uncle's name was Robert Bushong, aka Bob from Lititz,
PA. Any information will be greatly appreciated. My first name is Robert after my
uncle. I was born on June 29, 1953. It is my understanding that Bob was killed 10
days prior to my arrival. My cousin named his son Bobby in honor of Robert and now we
would like to know more about the crash that took his life.
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Herman Cupp - In Remembrance of Members of the 802nd Engineers
Several men on the plane were members of Companies A, B, C & HQ of the 802nd Engineers. Their
headquarters were located at K13 (Suwon) Airstrip in Korea. Cpl. Herman Cupp of Tennessee considers
himself lucky that he wasn’t a Globemaster fatality, because when he went on R&R on February
13 of 1953, he flew on that same Globemaster. A member of Company A, Cupp had been in Korea
since September of 1952. He was head equipment mechanic in the motor pool for Company A.
On the day he flew in the Globemaster to Japan, he said that the officer in charge announced
to the passengers (after they were already in flight) that the plane was having problems. They
were losing the ability to generate electricity. The passengers were seated in folding seats
that lined the sides of the plane. There were no parachutes available, so all of the passengers
were ordered to put on their Mae West life jackets in case the plane went down in water. “I
don’t recall being worried at the time,” said Cupp, “but I wasn’t ready to return to Korea on
the same plane, either. The Globemaster made an emergency landing that night, although I don’t
know where. I remember that we finished the rest of the trip by bus. On the return trip to Korea,
we flew back on another plane.”
Cupp said that his company was on the front lines north of the 38th parallel when news came
back that a member of the survey crew had gone down in the Globemaster crash. “The surveyors’
home base was K13,” said Cupp. “We were on TDY in Kumwha Valley to build an airstrip for the
2nd and 3rd Army. There were about 25 men in the company—three mechanics and the others were
operators and that sort of thing. All of the workers were from Company A, but the surveyors
were from Headquarters Company. They didn’t live in my tent, but I helped to supply electricity
for theirs. News came out of Headquarters that one of the surveyors died in the crash. I believe
he was a boy named Lockwood.”
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Bushong Family - In Remembrance of Robert Bushong
Steve Troutman, nephew of Robert Bushong, told the KWE:
"In my search for a photo and obituary, I just discovered a letter written July 9,1953 from
Headquarters 802D Engineer Aviation Battalion APO 970 from Earl S. Wilson Major CE (USAF) The
second paragraph writes:
"The accident in which Robert was involved occurred as he was returning from Japan where
he had taken rest leave. The C-124 in which he was traveling departed Tachikawa Air Force
Base at 1631 hours 18 June 1953. Immediately after take off the pilot found it necessary
to feather one engine and prepare to return to Tachikawa. On the down-wind approach, the
plane dropped from Ground Controlled Approach surveillance and crashed short of the field
at 1634 hours. Witnessed stated that there were no survivors and that death was instantaneous."
The letter goes on to express his sympathy and comments about Robert and services held at
the Battalion on Sunday 21 June by Battalion Chaplain Bradley T. Morse."
Click HERE to view a copy of the letter.
View Death Notice newspaper clipping
View Obituary newspaper clipping
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Donald Donat - Remembrance of the Victims
I was in the radio room of the 374th Communication Squadron at the time of the crash.
They were monitoring air traffic at the time, and we heard the call from the 124. As I
remember, the pilot reported one port engine failing and within a minute or two he called and
said he had lost his other port engine. That was the last we heard. Sgt. Matt Welton
and I went outside and could see the smoke off in the distance. We took a Jeep and went
to the crash scene. There were 128 on the manifest, but in counting the bodies they came
up with 129. At first they thought they may have killed someone on the ground. As
it turned out, one of the 374th boys had put his brother on the plane to fly back to Korea where
he was stationed. This happened often where guys hitched rides. Unfortunately, this
time it cost the guy his brother. I don't remember what his name was. I only know
that you never forget the smell.
Matt and I were right at the crash, up close. It happened in late afternoon, as I remember.
I had gone to the radio room to meet Matt, and we were going to go to dinner. When we
arrived at the scene, it was a smoldering mess of pieces. The recovery people were placing
the bodies on buses that were used to transport serious stretcher cases from Korea normally.
This evening they were used to take the bodies back to base.
The plane pieces varied in size. The tail vertical section was in almost one piece.
The body of the plane was in hundreds of pieces. The engines were whole. I believe
that it hit at about 20 or 25 degrees. When it hit, the force made it bounce back about
five feet. We could tell by the marks the engines made in the dirt. The bodies were
primarily outside, as the plane was torn apart. The crew compartment, however, was crushed,
and the pilot and copilot were mashed in the plane.
We stayed until dark. I came back on the 19th and took pictures of the crash.
I didn't take the time to go get a camera when it happened. All we were trying to do was
get there to see if we could help. Of course, there was no need. They were all dead.
How did I feel? Well, as I remember, like someone hit me in my stomach--short of breath,
shaken. And as I said, the smell of burnt flesh. Terrible smell!! Sad to think
that they had just finished their R&R and were on their way back to Korea. I guess it
could have been worse if it had happened on the way to Japan and they had never had their R&R.
But just think...they were mostly in their teens and twenties. Never really lived.
Many with no wife or children. Sad.
As I remember, they brought a bulldozer and plowed a road between a row of houses back about
100 yards in the field to the site. I believe it was a potato field. The first there
were the crash crews, and I believe it was the Army Med Evac unit that had the buses.
They used to meet the planes coming in from Korea MASH units and take them to hospitals in Japan.
I don't know who counted the bodies and I don't know the name of the guy who put his brother
on the plane. I just remember everyone talking about how badly he felt. I didn't
know him and I don't know if he got to go home or not.
As to the smell, burnt pork comes to mind, but when you know it's a funeral fire of 129 good
GIs, it makes you sick. I never saw anything on the crash until I wanted to tell our local
newspaper about it. They are planning an article on it for--I guess for want of better
words--"War Stories." I wasn't sure of the date. I should have looked on the back
of my pictures. I had dated them. But I went to Google and found your site and another
site that mentioned the crash.
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Bernard L. Large Jr. - Remembrance of a West Pointer
My father, Capt. Bernard L. Large Sr., was standing at the end of the line waiting to bard
this plane on June 18, 1953. He was tapped on the shoulder from behind and turned around
to find another Captain standing there. This man was a West Point graduate, and in the
U.S. Infantry. He had noticed my father's Combat Infantryman's Badge on his left breast
pocket. This award was from the Second World War from combat in the Pacific with the 10th
Infantry Division. He remarked that he did not yet have the C.I.B. and desperately needed
it for his career (professional soldier). The war in Korea was drawing to a close at this
point, and this man stated that he was afraid it would end before he got over to Korea.
He asked my father if he would be willing to trade places with him and allow him to go in my
father's place. My father would fly out the next day in this man's place on the shuttle
flight to Korea. My father agreed, and the West Pointer walked with my father to the manifest
officer who was boarding the passengers. This man had the power to nullify the arrangement.
After thinking it over a few moments, he finally agreed to the switch, took the boarding pass
from my father, asked his name, scratched out my father's name, asked the West Pointer his name,
penciled this name in over my father's, and handed him my father's boarding pass. The
manifest officer then told the West Pointer that he would be boarding in about ten minutes.
The West Pointer turned to my father, shook hands with him, and thanked him for the favor.
My father then went back upstairs to the officers' quarters, and went back to bed. The
West Pointer boarded the plane ten minutes later, the flight took off, and moments later crashed
in a rice paddy just outside Tokyo. The award (C.I.B.) that had almost cost my father
his life in World War II had saved it nine years later during another war.
In Korea, my father was a company commander with the Army's most renowned unit, the famous
27th Infantry "Russian Wolfhounds" Regiment of the elite 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division.
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1953 after thirty years' service to his country.
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Jim Escalle - Remembrance of Jimmy L. Escalle
Jim Escalle happened to be browsing the web when he came across the KWE page about the C-124
crash at Tachikawa. Jim's uncle, 2/Lt. Jimmy L. Escalle, was MIA in Korea June 19. There is a website
devoted to his memory and to that of the men of the 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron. It can be
found at http://www.36thfbs.com/. Jim
"Besides several enlisted personnel from my uncle's squadron (36th FBS) who perished on that
flight, there were three pilots and their flight surgeon. Kenneth Mayo was the flight surgeon,
and Albert Hamilton, William Stacy, and Raoul Mouton were all F-86 Sabre pilots in the 36th.
Both Mouton and Hamilton graduated from Webb AFB in Class 52-F."
Jim also attached a few photos for the KWE: one showing 2/Lt. Raoul Mouton on the hood of a jeep;
one showing 1/Lt. Albert Hamilton relaxing outside the Quonset hut with a pipe in his mouth; one
with Hamilton in t-shirt sitting on his bunk; and another photo of a C-124 from the same squadron
as the one which crashed. Jim's photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery at the very bottom of this
A few years ago I finished a biography about my uncle’s life. He was a fighter pilot in the Korean
War. I used to have a website on his squadron (36thfbs.com), but removed it so I could concentrate
on the book. After finishing the book, I tried getting publishers and agents interested in the project,
but even though they liked the story, my uncle wasn’t a famous person. They wanted first person
“I was there” stories. My uncle never made it home to tell his story because he was listed as missing
Undaunted by the publisher’s bad news, I decided to publish the book myself, but it is going
to take more money than I can spare. So what I have done is set up a page on Kickstarter, which
is the largest funding platform in the world. My goal is to raise $2,200 by February 9. More details
on my book project can be read on the page below. I also included a link to my blog that explains
things too. Secure pledges can be made at the link below, anything from $10 to $200. For a specific
amount given, unique rewards are given, such a copy of my book, posters, a CD of the book’s photos,
etc. According to the rules of Kickstarter I have to reach my goal, otherwise all the pledges are
cancelled. It’s all or nothing deal. That’s why I’m spreading the word about my project. I’d appreciate
if you could spread the word as well. - Regards, Jim Escalle; Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. See also,
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Marcia Ovrebro - Remembrance of Sherman Canney
"When I was a very small child, my Mom exchanged many letters with Sherman Canney from New
Hampshire. I am now 60 years old, and my military-assistance projects have often been in tribute
to his memory. I was only four or five when they started writing to one another. She said
he was like a "big brother" for me--and I should always remember him, although we had never
Sherman always said, in his letters that nothing would ever stop him from meeting
his "family" in Southern Minnesota. He was scheduled to soon return from Korea, and our family
was so excited to finally meet him. However, the plane crash stopped our meeting. But
the crash did not stop his memory from traveling with me the rest of my life . . . over 50 years
that his life and his memory have motivated me to love and to care, and to nurture and to encourage
military and their families.
For over 50 years, I have searched for information about that plane crash, but I could not
find any details until this early morning hour on December 27, 2007.... That in itself is like
a holiday gift to me. Unfortunately, I have not been able to track a contact with his family.
I do not remember at this time the city in New Hampshire where his family lived. He used to
write about regularly receiving letters on alternate days from his Mom, his fiancée, and my
Mom--just like clockwork, and he depended on those letters to get him through the struggles
That crash was not widely publicized, and many people did not realize its existence. However,
one little girl--who is now a senior, will not ever forget the impact of that fateful crash
54 years ago. Sherman Canney's memory lives on each time I see a military person and each time
I pray or contact someone who devotes his life to preserving and to protecting our country.
When someone dies, I feel like "my big brother" has died all over again.... Yet in my
heart, Sherman will always live. - Sincerely, Marcia Ovrebo" [Posted 12/27/07]
Back to Page Contents
Kimberly Logie Reed - Remembrance of Warren R. Pool
Warren R. Pool, nicknamed the "Gentle Giant" (he was 6'7" tall), served in the Army in World
War II and the Korean War. He was a Sergeant 1st Class with the 622nd Engineers Aviation Maintenance
Company. He was killed in the C-124A Globemaster crash on June 18, 1953 in Japan, one month
and one day before his 35th birthday. Although I never met him (I was born 12 years after
his death) I always wished I had. His sister was my beloved grandmother, Dorothy Pool
Warren R. Pool
(Click pix for a larger view)
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Ray Gamma - Remembrance of Narcisco Gutierrez Jr.
During the time I was in Korea, Narcisco was stationed 20 miles from Seoul in an Air Force
unit located next the air base in Suwon, Korea. I didn't know it at time. The last time I saw
him was in 1951 at Shepard Air Force Base in Texas where I completed my boot training.
I have a picture of four of us Santa Clara High School buddies that was taken at Shepard Air
Force Base, Texas in January 1951. They are from left to right, Ruben Lopez, myself, Ron Goulart
and Narcisco Gutierrez. All of us four served in Korea and survived the war except for Narcisco.
Shepard Air Force Base, Texas
(Click picture for a larger view)
Narcisco Gutierrez Jr.
(Click picture for a larger view)
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Fred Napp - Remembrance
of Bobby Charles Mixon
Bobby Mixon was my uncle, the brother of my mother. Being born in 1965, I did not get a chance
to meet him. All that I have known about him has come from my mother and my grandparents while
they were alive. He was in the Air Force returning to Korea from R&R. His body was recovered
and returned to his hometown of Winnfield, Louisiana by train. He was buried in Gorham Cemetery
in Joyce, Louisiana in our family plot. - Fred Napp
Remains Of Local Airman To Arrive Here For Burial
(September 17, 1953 Winn Parish Enterprise newspaper)
Funeral services for Airman 2/C Bobby C. Mixon, 22 year old Winnfield man killed last
June in an airplane crash in Japan, are scheduled here next week, it was learned today.
The remains are to arrive here Monday afternoon, and will lie in state at the Hixson Funeral
Home chapel until the funeral, to be held in Laurel Heights Baptist Church. Exact date for
the funeral has not been set. Rev. H. J. Mott and Rev. Waynon H. Mott will conduct
the funeral services, with burial in Gorham Cemetery in Joyce under direction of Hixson
Brothers Funeral Home.
Airman Mixon is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elton Mixon of Route 2, Winnfield;
one brother, David Mixon, three sisters, Nedra, Cynthia Marie and Laura, all of Winnfield,
Route 2, and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Gorham of Winnfield, Route 2.
Young Mixon was killed June 18 when the Air Force transport plane which he was aboard,
crashed in Japan. He had spent a furlough from duty in Korea and was returning from Japan
when the crash occurred.
He was a former Western Auto store employee and a member of the Laurel Heights Baptist
Burial Rites For Winn Airman Held On Tuesday
(September 24, 1953 Winn Parish Enterprise newspaper)
Burial services were held Tuesday, September 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Laurel Heights Baptist
Church for Airman 1/C Bobby Charles Mixon, victim of a military airplane crash in Japan
on June 18.
A/1/C Mixon, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Elton Mixon of Winnfield, Route 2, had been in the
Far East since February 24 and was returning from a leave in Japan after duty in Korea,
when the fatal crash occurred.
Ministers officiating the funeral were Rev. Waynon Mott, pastor of the Laurel Heights
Baptist Church, Rev. H. J. Mott of Monroe, a former pastor of the church, and Rev. D. W.
McDaniel of Winnfield, pastor of the Walker Baptist Church in Jackson Parish. Burial
was in Gorham Cemetery under direction of Hixson Funeral Home.
Young Mixon, 22 years old, is survived by his parents, one brother, David Mixon, three
sisters, Nedra, Laura, and Cynthia Marie Mixon, and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby
Pallbearers were James Guin, Glyn Guin, G. W. Jones, David McCartney, Walter Ross, Buddy
Foster, M. J. Foster, and Manson Howard.
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Mike Perry - Remembrance of Raoul P. Mouton, Jr.
My uncle, Raoul P. Mouton Jr., perished in this crash. He was an F-86 pilot with the
36th FBS. Uncle "Junior", as we later came to know of him, had written home to his parents
that he did not like flying in the Globemaster. He explained that if something went wrong
with his F-86, he could "get out." But if something went wrong with the Globemaster, he
could not "get out."
I have talked with other 36th FBS pilots who felt the same way and did not like the Globemaster(s)
one bit. A number of the pilots whom I talked with told me they narrowly missed being
on that flight. A lot of the 36th FBS pilots were eligible for R&R chose not to take it,
but rather stay and continue to "rack up" combat missions so they could get their 100 missions
and go home. Had these pilots chosen to take R&R at the same time as my uncle, they almost
certainly would have been casualties of this crash as well. Other 36th FBS members killed
in the crash included F-86 pilots Albert Hamilton and Bill Stacey, and 36th FBS Flight Surgeon
Thank you for posting the information on this event. I have created a website dedicated
to Raoul Mouton and all service members of the 36th FBS who served during the Korean War.
The URL is: www.flyingfiendsinkoreanwar.com.
I've contacted and spoken with 23 pilots, 1 "admin" type, and two crew chiefs from the famed
36th FBS. On 18, June 1953, the 36th FBS set a world record which stands to this day -
121 combat sorties for a single squadron in a single day. Together, we will not let the memory
of these American Heroes and the sacrifices they made for America and the free world, die.-
Back to Page Contents
Terry Mathews - Remembrance of Albert R. Hamilton, Jr.
[KWE Note: This article was written by Terry Mathews, art editor for the News-Telegram
newspaper in Northeast Texas. Albert R. Hamilton was her father. The article appeared
in the July 17, 2009 issue, and is reprinted on the Korean War Educator with Terry's permission.]
There’s something good here: Bittersweet phone call
unites two families 56 years after tragedy
My father was Lt. Albert R. Hamilton, Jr. I was 18 months old when he was killed
in the C-124 crash in June of 1953. I never knew him and my mother never spoke of him.
I have gaping holes in my heart where his memory should be.
– Terry Mathews, Winnsboro, Texas
I put the above post on the Korean
War Educator website (www.koreanwar-educator.org)
several years ago. Little did I know the impact those few sentences would carry through cyberspace.
My father was a Sabre jet fighter pilot assigned to the Air Force’s 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
at K-13 air base near Suwon, Korea. He is buried in paradise, at the National Cemetery of the
Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Four years after he was killed, my mother remarried, and built a new life in Winnsboro with
her second husband, John Earl McCrary. Together they had a son, Mark, and were owners of The
Bandbox of fashions for 30 years.
My paternal grandmother died when I was 8. I lost my paternal grandfather, along with most
of the Hamilton family ties in my senior year of high school.
My mother didn’t talk about my dad. “It was too painful,” she recently told me.
I grew up knowing the basic facts of his life, but didn’t have any contact with the men who
served with him until several years ago when I started Googling his name on the Internet.
The scene above was waiting on Kirby Prickett and other emergency services personnel
at Tachikawa Air Base near Tokyo on the afternoon of June 18, 1953. A C-124 transport
plane, also known as the Globemaster, carrying 129 men, was on its way back to Korea
when it experienced engine failure, was forced back to the base and crashed, killing
everyone on board.
My Internet searches yielded names and websites dedicated to the 36th squadron and its pilots,
along with e-mail addresses of those who were there at K-13. I found photos of him I’d never
seen, taken by other squadron members. I’ve also made contact with relatives of pilots
who were lost or who have since died. One of the relatives shared copies of the flight surgeon’s
report from the crash. Knowing that I had read the graphic details horrified my mother, but
it gave me a sense of closure. I had even talked to pilot “Wild Bill” Sternhagen, now
an attorney in Montana, who said, “Your father had the right stuff. He would have been a general.”
Finding these links on the Internet helped me piece together my dad’s military life.
However, nothing prepared me for the phone call I received on Friday evening, March 20, 2009.
“Is this Terry Mathews?” a male voice on the other end of the line asked. “Terry Hamilton Mathews?”
Once the caller realized he had reached the right person, he said, “You don’t know me, but my
name is Kirby Prickett and I was there the day your father died.” Kirby had seen my post
on the Korean War Educator website and decided to find me.
Over the course of the next 40 minutes, Kirby and I swapped stories. We laughed and we cried
– a lot. “I don’t sleep well at night,” he explained. “I have nightmares about Tachikawa.
After reading your post, I kept thinking about the little girl who was missing her daddy.”
Kirby was a policeman in the Air Force, stationed in Tokyo. He had just dropped someone off
at the Tachikawa air base as the C-124 carrying my dad headed back toward the field.
“I was leaving the air base when an ambulance motioned for me to turn around and follow,”
he explained. “We thought this would be a rescue mission. When we realized it was only going
to be a recovery, we all hit our knees.” The crash happened about 4:30 in the afternoon.
When he returned to his barracks later that evening, Kirby said he burned his clothes.
For almost 56 years, Kirby kept the horrors of the crash and its aftermath to himself.
“I didn’t even tell my wife, Sue, until two days ago,” he said. “And we’ve been married 53 years.”
Kirby and Sue have two sons, Dan and Dennis, and one daughter, Linda. “I kept thinking
about Linda and my relationship with her,” Kirby said. “It’s what made me search for you on
the Internet. It’s what made me pick up the phone and call you.” Kirby said he always
felt helpless because he couldn’t do anything for the men on the plane that day. “There’s
was nothing we could do to have saved them,” he said. “We were there and we were willing, but
there was nothing to be done.”
Kirby left the military in 1956. He worked for Honeywell International in Denver until he
retired in 1991. He and Sue then settled in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1993. During his
free time and with some computer skills learned from Sue, Kirby began surfing the Internet,
looking for information about the crash. “I found a list of all the men on the plane that
day,” he said. “I printed it out and said a prayer for every one of them.”
Members of the Hamilton and Prickett clans met for lunch recently at the Stagecoach
Inn in Salado. From left to right, Terry Hamilton Mathews, Kirby Prickett, Madeline
Hamilton McCrary, Shelley James, Linda Prickett Burton, Christopher Burton, Sue Prickett,
Chip Mathews and Doug Burton. Kirby Prickett contacted Terry Mathews after reading her
post on a Korean War Internet website. Prickett was at the air base in Tachikawa, Japan,
on June 18, 1953, when Terry’s father and 128 other servicemen were killed in the fiery
crash of a C-124 (Globemaster) transport plane
Using Google and other Internet search engines, Kirby was able to find my phone number, but
didn’t act on it right away. “Every now and then, I would look at what you wrote,” he
said. “But then, I’d put it away. I just didn’t know what to do.” Through the years, Kirby
said one of his greatest fears was a chance meeting with someone who had lost a friend or loved
one in the crash. “Sue and I travel a lot,” he said. “We work with Habitat for Humanity.
We meet new people all the time and I was always afraid of someone saying, ‘I had a relative
on that Globemaster crash during the Korean War.’”
As we talked, Kirby also said he was a little worried about my reaction. “I didn’t
know what you would say,” he explained. “Maybe you might not want to talk to me. I just didn’t
know.” Before we hung up, Kirby said, “I’m glad I made the call. It was very hard for
me to do, but I’m glad I did.”
I immediately fired off an e-mail to my mother telling her what had happened and giving her
Kirby’s e-mail address because I was in no shape to have another conversation. She and
Kirby e-mailed several times and eventually talked on the phone.
After his initial call, I received an e-mail from Kirby saying that he had told his story
to his son Dennis, and had plans to tell Dan and Linda soon. Then, he mentioned that he
and Sue were going to be in Texas this summer to visit Linda and her family in Burnet.
“Could you meet me and my mom for lunch somewhere?” was my immediate response.
On Monday, July 6, Kirby, Sue, Linda, Linda’s husband Doug and their son Christopher, drove
from Burnet to The Stagecoach Inn in Salado to meet my mom, my husband Chip, and me for lunch.
Rainbows have always been special to me. They remind me of Hawaii, where my father is
buried. This one appeared outside our hotel room the afternoon before my mom, my husband
and I were to meet with Kirby and his family. It was an omen from heaven that everything
would go well – and it did.
In getting ready for the visit, my mom went through a box of my dad’s letters – some 200
of them – spanning from their courtship until the night before he died. She shared a few with
me on the trip, and began to give me more details about her life with my father. “It was
just too painful [when you were young],” she said. “I just shut down.”
When we finally met face to face, Kirby and I hugged. “I don’t have any words,” he
repeated. Over the next three hours, however, we all found our voices. We shared photos
and family stories. A bond that began with horror ended 56 years later with gratitude and warmed
While he may have been unable to save the men on that plane, on June 18, 1953, Kirby Prickett
reached beyond his fears, picked up a phone and found a way to make things easier for my mom
and me. For that, I will always be grateful.
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Canney Family & Friends - in Remembrance of Sherman Canney
[KWE Note: The following material was submitted to the Korean War Educator by Connie Canney of
Florida on behalf of the family and friends of Sherman Canney, a victim of the Globemaster crash
in Japan in 1953.]
Sherman Canney Remembered: Some Comments on the Meaning of His Life and Death
by Robert Canney, a brother – written June 14, 1985
"One of the awards to be given to a member of this year’s graduating class of Nute High School
in Milton, New Hampshire is the Sherman Canney award. This award is to be given to 'the pupil
who is amiable, friendly, and has done the most to enrich the lives of his (or her) classmates.'
Such an award is significant because it is saying, in effect, that we recognize and honor those
qualities of character that make for richer lives and for better relations among ourselves and,
by extension, between and among the peoples and nations of the world.
My brother Sherman Canney graduated from Nute High School 34 years ago. The passing of so
much time suggests that a great many people attending this year’s graduation know very little,
if anything, about who Sherman was, and why an award is being offered in his name. It
seems appropriate to me, given this consideration, to offer some comments on the meaning, as
I see it, of Sherman’s all-too-brief life and tragic death. Although no amount of time will
ever lessen the sorrow that some of us carry with us since first learning of Sherman’s death,
we can, in some measure, vindicate his loss by telling others about him and persuading them
to take what steps are necessary to prevent the loss of more such lives in the future.
The Sherman Canney award suggests that we value a person’s humanity at least as much as we
value one’s ability to play basketball or achieve a certain grade point average or excel in
some other endeavor. People who knew him often remarked about his ready smile and cheerful
disposition. But Sherman was much more than just a friendly or gregarious person. He was warm,
good natured and witty. He was sensitive and responsive to the needs of others, and genuinely
interested in their concerns. He was thoughtful on an everyday basis in all of his relationships.
He seemed to know what would most please a friend or relative on their birthday or holiday and
provided it, either as an act of kindness or appropriate gift.
Sherman’s friendships and associations were numerous. Besides the many girls and boys among
his peers, he was friendly to and took an active interest in children and the elderly. Sherman
was the kind of person that everyone liked. He had a charming and personable way about him that
made him easy to meet and enjoyable to know. He was cooperative rather than competitive, and
was quicker to share than to acquire. He was, in addition, socially concerned and involved at
an early age. It was once reported that he was—at 16—the youngest master of record of the Lewis
Sherman truly was an extraordinary person. In spite of all the racist and sexist and self-centered
ways in which most of us are socialized, Sherman somehow transcended such limitations. He was
an active correspondent, for example, with many people in other areas of the world, people of
different races, ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs. Such activity and interest indicate
that he was a developing universalist and internationalist.
What was also rare about Sherman was his ability to maintain at all times a high level of
sincerity and honesty and integrity of character, so much so that those who knew him were themselves
uplifted and ennobled. Sherman was indeed in a constant state of grace. His qualities of character
were the best our family had to offer and, I believe, in many ways the best that humanity has
Sherman’s everyday life was a celebration of being alive. He loved and respected people,
he loved and respected animals, and he loved and respected the natural environment. There are
numerous photos of him with friends, relatives, pets, and selected landscape backgrounds, all
revealing his profound love of life.
My brother Sherman was also patriotic as young women and men are encouraged to be. He took
seriously the notion that he “owed a debt to society” and enlisted in the army rather than wait
to be drafted. He was anxious to fulfill what he considered to be a public service obligation
so that he would then be free to go to college and pursue other personal and creative interests.
On June 18, 1953, two years after graduating from Nute High School, Sherman was killed with
128 other young soldiers in an airplane crash in the Korean theater of war. He was 19 years
When Sherman’s broken body was returned home in a coffin a few months after his death, the
sharp reality of the Korean War was also brought home to us all. It made some of us think long
and hard about why that military involvement by the United States was so necessary that it required
the supreme sacrifice of so many people.
A military funeral was held for Sherman in Prospect Hill cemetery in September, a few days
after what would have been his 20th birthday. Our mother was presented with an American flag,
apparently for consolation. But she never was consoled. She remained deeply distressed by his
death until her own death some years later.
If he had lived longer, I’m confident that Sherman would have come to understand the Korean
military involvement by the United States not as an action on behalf of human liberation, social
justice, or out of a respect for the right of other people to true national independence and
self determination. He would have come to understand it for what it was: an action on behalf
of corporations, banks, and military interests.
Over 50,000 Americans died in that act of intervention by the United States and more than
100,000 were wounded, maimed and crippled. The Koreans sustained casualties many times these
numbers. Today it takes a continuing presence of some 40,000 U.S. military personnel and an
arsenal of nuclear and other weapons to prevent the Korean people from uniting their country
under a government which represents their interests and not those of a foreign power. The continuing
presence of U.S. military forces in Korea prevents those people from building a society where
every person has access to necessary health care, education, and the opportunity to make a positive
contribution to their own society. It prevents them from being treated with the dignity that
all human beings deserve.
Much of the same can be said, of course, with regard to Vietnam, except in that case the
Vietnamese, at an enormous sacrifice to themselves and their land, emerged victorious and are
now in the process of rebuilding and developing their devastated country. That imperialistic
intervention also cost over 58,000 American lives and some 200,000 additional casualties and
tremendous amounts of money derived from American taxpayers, money which could have been better
used for social programs and services in this country.
For the U.S. Congress to vote to supply any form of aid to the contras is tantamount to a
declaration of war. To make what has been a covert war against Nicaragua into an overt war with
Congressional approval means that the youth of America once again will be sent to kill—and to
die—as my brother Sherman did—in order that profit interests prevail over human needs and environmental
Let us join together and insist that there be an end to wars that have for their purpose
the subjugation of people for the sake of exploitation, the building of careers, and the making
of huge profits. Let us insist that there be an end to militarism. Let us demand, instead, that
our tax dollars be used to build more and better schools, hospitals, housing, and jobs provided
for those who need them. Let us demand that our natural environment be respected and revered,
not raped and plundered. Let us put an end to the divisions which keep us divided and stunted
as human beings.
Let us have the honesty and courage to acknowledge that the central problem in the world
today is the profound injustice that people experience and respond to which stems from: poverty,
hunger, illiteracy, disease, brutality, repression, and the foreign domination of a people’s
labor and resources. We must prevent our own government, when the occasion requires it, from
supporting repressive client regimes which brutalize and murder and terrorize the masses of
their own people, as in El Salvador and the Philippines, etc.
By doing this, we can put an end to the killing of tens of thousands of our young men and
women. Sherman’s death need not be completely in vain. If, as a result of reflecting upon it,
we can learn to find alternatives to such military involvement, we can yet save the lives of
countless others who are otherwise destined to die in Central America.
Long live the beautiful spirit of Sherman Canney!"
129 U.S. Servicemen Die in Crash of Giant Plane
TOKYO, Friday, June 19 (AP) – The world’s worst air disaster killed every one of 129 United States
service men aboard a giant Globemaster in a fiery crash near Tokyo yesterday. The great, two-decked
C-124, its engines failing after a take-off for Korea, was trying desperately to get back to Tachikawa
Air Base, 25 miles west of Tokyo. It never made it. The Globemaster went into a flat spin, staggered,
and plummeted nose down into a muddy farm.
Japanese farmers said there was a terrific flash and a roar as the 3000 gallons of gasoline aboard
burst into flame. Then the dead and dying were incinerated in a towering funeral pyre. “The smell
of burned oil and human flesh was terrible,” AP correspondent Stan Carter reported from the scene.
“The bodies were terribly burned and mangled. The fire was so hot it ignited magnesium metal in
the plane’s framework and part of it burned like a thermite bomb. The rain kept coming down, hissing
on the hot steel that was tangled up in giant balls of wreckage.”
Hours later, by searchlight, Air Force crews worked to recover the charred bodies. One victim
was found still clasping his rosary as he had been praying. The Air Force said it would hold
an immediate investigation into the cause of the crash. The long list of victims will not be released
until next of kin are notified.
Of those aboard, seven were crew members and the rest were airmen and Army engineers attached
to air bases returning to Korea from rest leave in Japan. All Far East C-124s, four-engined
giants capable of carrying 222 passengers, had just gone back into service after being grounded
over the week-end with generator trouble. In recent days, flights had been cancelled several times
because of mechanical trouble. But the Air Force said there was nothing to indicate coming
trouble on the fatal flight. The weather, while rainy and murky, was well within safe flying limits.
The crash was by far the worst in the history of aviation. The previous record was the crash of
another C-124 last December 20 at Moses Lake, Wash., when 87 died.
8 New Englanders Die in Plane Crash
Mrs. Edna Sorrento, 21, or 104 Ferry St., Everett, a patient at Whidden Memorial Hospital, Everett,
received word that her husband, Nicholas, 23, was one of the eight New Englanders killed in Tokyo
in the world’s worst air disaster—as she made plans for her third wedding anniversary. Word
of his death came less than 24 hours after she had received a letter for him, saying he would be
home in August. Sorrento was an airman second class. The other New England dead included:
- Airman Second Class Francis M. Gay, 18, son of Mrs. Mary A. Voner of 14 East Brookline St.,
- Airman Second Class Kenneth A. Minor, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Reignold A. Miner of 1100
West St., Sheldonville
- Technical Sergeant Donald H. Nassif, 23, husband of Mrs. Joanne Nassif of 79 Newland St.,
- Private First Class Sherman C. Canney, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor C. Canney of Milton,
- Airman Third Class Raymond H. Peloquin, husband of Mrs. Theresa Peloquin of Mason St., Woonsocket,
- Army Private First Class Edmond A. Mathieu, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mathieu of 17 Pratt
Ave., Taftville, Conn.
- Airman Second Class Bruce S. Heal, son of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Heal of 445 Main St., East
Doctor Broke News
Dr. Benjamin Barton of 107 Ferry St., Everett, a friend of Mrs. Sorrento’s family, broke the
news to her at the hospital, where she was taken Tuesday for treatment of acute appendicitis.
A native of Everett, Airman Sorrento was graduated from Everett High School and entered the Air
Force in 1951. He had been overseas since last August. Besides his wife, he leaves his mother, Mrs.
Jennie Sorrento of 152 Bow St., Everett, and six brothers, Corporal James, now with the Air Force
in England; Francis, Joseph, Patrick, Andrew and Anthony, all of Everett; and three sisters, Ann,
Carmella and Rose.
Airman Gay enlisted on Feb. 15, 1952, after attending Brighton High School. He received his training
at Sampson, N.Y., and Keesler Field, Miss. He left for Korea shortly after spending the Christmas
holiday at home last year. He leaves his mother, a sister Roberta, 8, and a brother, Richard, 16.
Airman Miner, one of nine children, would have been 21 years old Sunday. He served as ground
crewman with the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron. His parents had received a letter from him early
this week in which he expressed fears that they might have been injured in the tornado.
The father of a daughter, Donna, 1, Technical Sergeant Nassif had served five and one-half years
in the Air Force. He had mentioned Airman Miner in one of his letters to his wife, as being with
him in Korea.
Private Canney was the master of the Lewis Nute Grange in Milton, N.H., before entering the service
on March 26, 1952. In a letter received by his parents Wednesday, he said he expected to be home
Airman Peloquin had been married less than a month when he was sent to Korea in January. His
wife had received a letter from him yesterday, shortly before being notified of his death. He told
of having a “wonderful time” while on leave in Japan.
Milton Soldier Killed in Plane Crash Near Tokyo
MILTON – A 19-year-old Milton soldier was one of the 129 American servicemen killed Thursday
in the crash of an Air Force C-124 Globemaster, near Tokyo. The Defense department last night announced
that Pfc. Sherman C. Canney, son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor T. Canney of Main Street, Milton, was one
of seven New Englanders among the victims.
Private Canney, since August 1952, had been serving in Korea with the 622nd Engineers Maintenance
Company and was returning from an eight-day leave in Japan when the tragedy occurred. He is one
of five servicemen sons of the Canneys.
The youth was born in Rochester, but had resided most of his life in Milton, where he was graduated
from Nute High School in 1951. He was a member and past master of Nute grange, having held the distinction
of being the grange’s youngest master. He entered the Army in March, 1952, enlisting at Rochester
and receiving his basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ.
Survivors besides his parents are four brothers, Pfc. Herbert R. Canney, a Korean veteran, now
stationed at Mitchel Field, Long Island; Pfc. Vincent P. Canney, attached to the 646th Aircraft
Radar Company, Highland, N.J.; Robert B. Canney, paratrooper in World War II, now of Meredith, Conn.;
and one sister, Miss June Canney of Milton.
Body of Soldier Arriving Friday: Pfc. Sherman Canney Air Crash Victim in Japan
The body of Pfc. Sherman Canney, 19, of Lebanon, Me., who was killed June 18 in the crash of
a huge C-124 Globemaster at Tachikawa, Japan, will arrive at Rochester, Friday evening, in charge
of an Army escort. A delegation of local veterans will meet the evening train bearing the body and
will accompany the Edgerly funeral coach to his home in Lebanon.
Funeral services for the young man, one of five sons of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Canney of the Lebanon
side, Milton, who served in the armed forces, will be held, Monday morning, from the Sacred Heart
church, Milton, with the pastor, Rev. Henri Brodeur, officiating. Burial will be in the Prospect
Hill cemetery, Lebanon.
Pfc. Canney, who would have reached his 20th birthday this month and was due for an early return
to the U.S. was killed while returning to Korea from a leave in Japan. He enlisted in March, 1952
and received his basic training at Fort Dix, N.J. He was a member of the 622nd Engineer Aviation
Maintenance Co. at Suwon, Korea, at the time of his death.
Full Military Honors for Pfc. Sherman Canney
Full military honors were accorded Pfc. Sherman Canney whose body arrived here from Japan, Friday
night, escorted by M/Sgt. William Jacquest of Oakland, Cal. A high mass of requiem was held at the
Sacred Heart church, Monday morning, at 9 o’clock, with Rev. Henri A. Brodeur officiating. Rev.
Bernard J. O’Rourke of Jamaica Plain, Mass., a friend of the Canney family, assisted.
Burial was in the Prospect Hill cemetery. A squad composed of members of the Oscar Morehouse
Post, A.L., fired a salute and Taps was sounded. The bearers were four brothers of the deceased,
Robert Canney, Cpl. Herbert Canney, Edgar Canney and Pfc. Vincent Canney; a cousin, Kenneth Haseltin,
and a classmate, EM 3/c Lloyd Perkins. Edgerly and Son was in charge of the arrangements.
The service was attended by service groups, students of Nute High School, members of the Grange,
and numerous friends.
Pfc. Canney, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Canney, was killed June 18 near Tokyo when a C-124
Globemaster in which he was flying back to Korea at the expiration of a leave in Japan, crashed.
He was nearly due to return to the United States on rotation when the tragedy occurred.
He would have been 20 years old this month. He enlisted in March, 1952, trained at Fort Dix,
and then was sent to Korea with the 622nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company.
He leaves his parents, Victor and Isadore (Tanner) Canney; four brothers, Robert, Cpl. Herbert,
Edgar and Pfc. Vincent, and a sister, June Canney.
Will Miss Sherman
Not included in the regular news account of the tragic end of Pfc. Sherlman Canney, because objective
reporting does not allow sentimentality, was the friendly and affectionate regard in which we all
held the boy. His quick smile and genuine friendly nature is something not seen too often. Next
to the youngest among five boys, he yet seemed to be the personality upon whom the remainder of
the group hinged. I am sure all of Milton and all who knew him will join in offering to the family,
“May God help you in your sorrow.”
Pfc. Sherman C. Canney
Killed in Japan Air Crash
June 18, 1953 – 1961
World’s Worst Air Disaster 129 GI’s Dead
Somewhere back of the sunset
Where loveliness never dies,
He lives in the land of glory
Mid the blue and gold of the skies.
And those who have known and loved him,
Whose passing has brought sad tears,
Will cherish his memory always
To brighten the drifting years.
Sadly missed and lovingly remembered by –
Mr. and Mrs. Victor T. Canney, Robert, Captain Herbert, Edgar, Vincent and June, and Friends
Canney Photo Album
Sherman Canney's Photo Album
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picture, and sit back and watch a slideshow... pictures will automatically change in 10 seconds.)
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Jean Madsen - In Remembrance of Her Brother, Dale Nellermoe
"In remembrance of Airman 1/c Dale Nellermoe with the 8th Maintenance Squadron stationed
at the air base near Suwon, Korea. Dave Madsen (nephew of Dale) was browsing the internet
and came across the C-124 Globemaster crash at Tachikawa on June 18, 1953.
Dale was a graduate of Granite Falls, Minnesota high school in 1947. He enlisted in
the Air Force in December of 1950, married in 1953, and was sent to Korea in March 1953.
He was scheduled for the next R&R to Japan, but filled in for somebody unable to go. He sent
letters from there telling us how much he enjoyed his five days and had sent gifts home for
all of us.
Dale was a fun loving, friendly guy with a great sense of humor. Everyone enjoyed his company
because he always had a smile and a cheerful disposition."
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Thurman "Joe" Howerton - in remembrance of Ulrich Myller
Ulrich Myller and Parents 1952
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"There is not a single day now that I don’t think of Ulrich Myller! Most days
I drive by the large and beautiful red brick buildings where we trained in OCS. There is no
outward change in the buildings during the past 60 years at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Myller was my best friend during the Korean War! We had been officer candidates
at Fort Belvoir and were commissioned 2nd Lieutenants on 26 August, 1952 in the Army Corps of
Engineers. Myller had been last in the class and I close to it, but we never let this bother
us. We had seen over 70 individuals come and go, and only 36 of us had survived.
When Myller and I received orders for Korea, we were on the same ship that left
Oakland for Yokohama, Japan. It was a 16-day voyage in early January of 1953. We always addressed
each other using last names. During this voyage I really got to know Myller and found him to
be a very talented individual. I can still see him now playing the piano in the ship’s hole
with it going from side to side.
Myller and I got lucky on arrival in Tokyo. We were able to spend an additional
10 days there before shipping out to Korea. Myller spent the latter part of January, 1953 eating
sushi in Tokyo. I hated sushi! On arrival in Korea I was located at K-55 and Myller only 17
miles north of me. I saw and talked with him frequently. In May, 1953 he told me he was returning
to Tokyo in June and asked me to go with him. I declined to go saying I was very busy, but would
see him when he returned. When I arrived at his unit on the day of his expected return, I discovered
that the plane had crashed killing all aboard. The unit lost 2 officers and 16 enlisted men.
Myller was one of the officers."
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Bettie C. Overcash - In Remembrance of Her Brother, Calvin Ray Castor
I was Calvin's oldest sister and he had one sister younger than he was. Our
father died when Calvin was seven years old. The Air Force wanted him to go to Florida (Cape
Canaveral). It was top secret, but he did not want to say that he would stay on after his
enlistment was over. So they sent him to Korea. He was the soul surviving male in our
family. He could have stayed stateside during his enlistment. Calvin was a radar tech
and worked on radar in air planes. He could not talk about his job.
The telephone call that came into Kannapolis the day the military was to let my
mother know, came into this area, came to the switchboard at Cannon Mills (where my mother worked).
My sister's sister-in-law was on the switchboard and took the call. They had to take her off
the switchboard until after they told my mother about Calvin.
About two years ago, my husband and I were in a doctor's waiting room when we overheard
two men talking about the plane crash that killed my brother. What we heard was this.
They had been in the Korean War. They said there were about 250 people on that plane when
it crashed and it was supposed to carry 50. That it took off and the load was too heavy and
took a nose dive straight down into a rice paddy and burst into flames. I do not know if this
is true or not.
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Stacy Bates - In Remembrance of Uncle George H. Kissell Jr.
George is buried at the Blair Memorial Park in Bellwood, Pennsylvania. He was the brother of
my Pap, James Kissell. I saw his grave once, but only in passing. I can remember asking why he had a flag
on his grave. My cousin told me he had died in a plane crash in the war. As a kid I imagined it was during combat
and did not know that it was the Korean War or any other details. Your website was most helpful. My Pap, his
brother, did not fight in the war; however, all three of his sons were a part of the Vietnam War. All
three survived. Again, thank you for your great website. Such a terrible tragedy. Thank you for remembering
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[The KWE would like to post information about each of the following persons who perished
in the Globemaster crash. If any family members or friends have information to share about any of
the crash fatalities, we encourage you to contact Lynnita@thekwe.org.]
- Agnew, Arthur W. - Airman First Class Agnew was a member of the 8th Field Service Squadron, U.S.
Air Force. Airman First Class Agnew was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service
Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea
War Service Medal. He was 70 inches tall and weighed 152 pounds.
He was the husband of Martha Agnew and son of Mr. and Mrs. Wiley
- Anderson, Donald James - Airman First Class Anderson was a member of Headquarters, 51st Fighter
Interceptor Group, U.S. Air Force. Airman First Class Anderson was awarded the Korean Service Medal,
the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.
He was 74 inches tall and weighed 147 pounds. Born April
15, 1929, he is buried in Mount Tabor Cemetery, Kane,
- Arnold, Richard D. - Airman Second Class Arnold was a member of the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron,
8th Fighter-Bomber Group. Airman Second Class Arnold was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United
Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal. He was
69 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds.
- Athey, Verl C. - Verl C. Athey was born November 24, 1916, a son of Harvey Everett and Mina Aletha
Theobold Athey. He was in World War II and Korea. Major Athey was a member of Headquarters,
51st Fighter Interceptor Group, U.S. Air Force. Major Athey was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United
Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal. He was
survived by his wife, Alice M. Athey, his brother Marvin S. Athey, and sisters Eunice Isabelle and Myrna Ardith. He is buried
in Wauneta Cemetery, Chase County, Nebraska.
- Atkins, Robert C. Jr. - Airman First Class Atkins was a member of the 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron,
8th Fighter-Bomber Group. He was 73 inches tall and weighed 167 pounds.
Born June 01, 1931, he was the son of Robert C. Atkins Sr. and
Matilda M. "Til" Ziegler Atkins (1909-1960). He is buried
in Baltimore National Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Basham, James Ray - Airman Third Class Basham was a member of the 8th Supply Squadron, 8th Fighter
Bomber Group. He was 67 inches tall and weighed 135 pounds. He was born in 1934 in
Salyersville, Kentucky. His mother was Mrs. Virgie Risner
- Bass, Phillip Edwin - Private First Class Bass was a member of Headquarters and Service Company,
802nd Engineer Aviation Construction Battalion. He was 66 1/2 inches tall and weighed 113 pounds.
He was born May 22, 1928 in Nash County, North Carolina, son of Peyton Edwin Bass and Leslie Lyon Jenkins
Bass. He married Louise Gay on June 18, 1950. He is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Nashville,
- Battani, Geno A. - Airman First Class Battani was a member of the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron,
8th Fighter Bomber Group. He was 22 years old, 68 inches tall, and weighed 149 pounds. Geno
was survived by his father, Adolph, employed by Woods Bros., Des Moines; a sister, Mrs. Ray Girton of Madrid,
Iowa; and a brother, George, also of Madrid.
- Bell, Earl Henry - Private First Class Bell was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation Construction
Battalion. He was 72 inches tall and weighed 152 pounds. Born May 29, 1927, Pfc. Bell was
buried in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He was from Minneapolis and the husband of Myrtle J. Bell,
- Boston, John T. - Airman Third Class Boston was a crew member of a C-124A Globemaster transport
with the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan.
He was from Brooklyn, New York.
- Bottelberghe, Richard R. - Private First Class Bottelberghe was a member of Company B, 802nd
Engineer Aviation Construction Battalion. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 165 pounds. Born
June 13, 1930, he is buried in Saint Edwards Cemetery, Minneota, Minnesota.
- Braswell, Charles L. - Private First Class Braswell was a member of Company A, 802nd Engineer
Aviation Construction Battalion. He was 70 inches tall and weighed 112 pounds. He was born February
28, 1934. He is buried in Bremen City Cemetery, Bremen, Georgia.
Brennan, Mark J. - In Greenwich, Connecticut, Mark Brennan from Kiltimagh,
Co. Mayo joined his sister Helen, brother Martin and John (Gerry) Gannon, a neighbor from home. Two
and a half years after emigrating, Mark was drafted in August 1951. Trained as an antiaircraft artillery
gunner in Ft. Bliss, Texas, Brennan was assigned to the 78th AAA Battalion stationed at Suwon Air Force
Base, South Korea. He died, age 23, in the June 1953 crash of a C-124A Globemaster cargo plane ferrying
him back to his base in Korea after a week of R&R leave in Japan. Sgt. Brennan was 69 inches tall
and weighed 159 pounds.
- Brinegar, Rufus Leonard - Technical Sergeant Brinegar was a member of the 35th Fighter-Bomber
Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Group. He was 73 inches tall and weighed 183 pounds. He was from
Davie County, North Carolina.
- Brown, Thomas W. - Private First Class Brown was a member of the 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance
Company. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 142 pounds. Born in 1927, he is buried in
Charleroi Cemetery, Charleroi, Pennsylvania.
- Broyles, Gerald D. - Private First Class Broyles was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation
Construction Battalion. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 185 pounds. Born November 08,
1929, he is buried in Mount Olive Cemetery, Pittsburg, Kansas.
He was the husband of Norma D. Broyle, Pittsburg, Kansas.
- Burke, James Edward - Private First Class Burke was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation
Construction Battalion. He was 75 inches tall and weighed 195 pounds. He was born April 25, 1931,
son of Edward M. Burke (1900-1976) and Anna M. Burke (1899-1978). He is buried in Saint Mary's
Cemetery, Galena, Illinois.`
- Burt, George B. - George B. Burt, Schroon Lake, New York, was born in 1931. He was 65 1/2
inches tall and weighed 128 pounds. When he died in the airplane crash, he left a wife and a baby
he never saw. Private First Class Burke was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation Construction
- Bushong, Robert -
Robert & Doris Bushong
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Hq & Sv Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970. He was 70 1/2 inches tall and weighed
154 pounds. PFC Robert Bushong, son of A.W. and Edna Bushong, was married to the former Doris
J. Shelley of Lititz, Pennsylania. His widow remarried and had two sons. Robert Bushong is buried in the Lititz Moravian Cemetery.
- Canney, Sherman C. - 622d Engr Avn Maint Co APO 970. PFC Canney was 68 inches tall and
weighed 135 pounds. See Remembrances section.
- Canyon, Peter - Airman First Class Canyon was a member of the 31st Air Police Squadron, U.S.
Air Force. On June 18, 1953, he was a passenger on a C-124A Globemaster transport traveling from Tachikawa
Air Base, Japan to Korea. He was killed when the aircraft crashed about three miles from Tachikawa. Airman
First Class Canyon was awarded the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National
Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
He was 64 inches tall and weighed 118 pounds.
- Caforio, Louis V. - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. He was 65 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds.
Born July 15, 1931, he is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Johnson
City, New York.
- Case, James Walter - Staff Sergeant Case was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 67 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. Born April 15, 1932, he is
buried in Garden of Memories Cemetery, Tampa, Florida. His
home of record was Baltimore, Maryland.
- Castor, Calvin Ray - Airman First Class Castor was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor
Squadron, U.S. Air Force. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 125 pounds. He was born April 17,
1931, son of Joe Ray and Esther Lowder Castor. After his father's death, his mother married Clinton T. Wagoner
of Center Grove. He was the brother of Bettie Joelene Castor (Overcash) and Patsy Castor, and the
grandson of Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Castor of the Center Grove, North Carolina community.
- Church, William Loomis - 12th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. First Lieutenant Church was a crew member of an
F-86F Sabrejet fighter with the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Wing. Funeral Services
for Lt William Loomis Church, who was killed in an airplane crash at Tachikawa, Japan, June 18 will be
at 1 pm Tuesday at A J Rose & Son mortuary. Burial will be at Belle Passi cemetery, Woodburn.
Lieutenant Church, an Air Force jet pilot, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George J Church. He was born in
Lincoln, Nebraska, June 22, 1929. He attended Franklin High School and Willamette University before
enlisting in the Air Force in September 1950. After being shipped overseas in March 1953, he
served with the 12th fighter bomber squadron of the 18th fighter bomber group, completing 24 missions n
the front lines in Korea, June 10 he went to Japan for rest and recuperation: the fatal crash occurred
on the return trip to Korea. His body was escorted home by Lt. James W. Cooksey of Oakland,
California. - The Oregonian, Monday, September 21, 1953
- Cottle, Edward K. - Airman First Class Cottle was a member of the 39th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron,
35th Fighter-Interceptor Group. He was 66 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. Born November 07,
1929, he is buried in Huse Memorial Park, Fayetteville, West Virginia.
- Crenshaw, Horace Jr. - Airman Third Class Crenshaw was a member of the 39th Fighter-Interceptor
Squadron, 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group. He was 64 inches tall and weighed 128 pounds. Born May
10, 1932 in Butler County, Alabama. He is buried in Bragg Hill AME Zion Church Cemetery, Forest
- Cross, Raymond - Corporal Cross was a member of the
51st Installation Squadron, U.S. Air Force. From Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, he was born on December 27, 1933. He was 70
inches tall and weighed 164 pounds.
- Crouch, James N Jr. - "C" Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO
970. Pfc. Crough was 72 inches tall and weighed 159
pounds. "James N. Crouch Jr. was the only son of Mr. and
Mrs. James N. Crouch, who were natives of the Aromas area of the
Pajaro Valley. He was born in Santa Cruz County on September 18,
1930, and attended elementary school in Aromas and high school
in Salinas, California. After leaving school, he worked in the
area and married Sally Milner of Manteca, California. James
Crouch was inducted into the US Army on February 29, 1952, and
sent to army training facilities for basic and advanced
instruction. In August he was shipped to Korea and Sally moved
into the home of her in-laws on the San Miguel Canyon Road near
Watsonville. Upon arrival in Korea, Private First Class Crouch
was assigned as a cook in Company C of the 802nd Engineer
Aviation Battalion. The 802nd was an army unit attached to the
US Air Force to enlarge and expand Korean airfields. In June
1953 Crouch received an eight-day leave in Japan. At the
conclusion of his leave he boarded a C-124A Globe- master
Transport at Tachikawa Air Base in Japan for his return flight
to Korea. Shortly after takeoff on June 18, the plane developed
engine trouble and crashed into a rice field killing Private
First Class Crouch and the other 128 passengers. Newspaper
accounts noted, "Most of the victims were still strapped to
their seats indicating they were either stunned or killed by the
crash impact." The remains of James Crouch were returned to
Watsonville and following a service conducted by the local VFW
post, were interred in the Hambey Cemetery near Aromas."
[Source: Robert L. Nelson, Santa Cruz Public Libraries]
- Daman, David Elton - 319th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman First Class Daman was 68 inches
tall and weighed 116 pounds. Born December 2, 1933 in Oakland, California, son of George Herbert and
Nola Fern "Lola" Miller. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Oakland, California.
- Dawson, Norman L. - Private First Class Dawson was a member of the 662nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance
Company. He was 69 inches tall and weighed 154 pounds. Born August 19, 1931, he is buried in Lakeview
Cemetery, Eastport, Michigan.
- Evans, Wayde Daryl - Sgt. Evans was 72 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. Born January
1, 1921, Wayde Daryl Evans was from Ottumwa, Kansas. Sergeant Evans was a member of the 78th Anti-Aircraft
Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion, U.S. Army. He was survived by wife Lena and three children.
The eldest child was Gary Evans. He is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Burlington, Kansas.
- Everhart, Roy Jr. - 1993d AACS Mob Comm Sq APO 970. T/Sgt. Everhart was 65 1/2 inches tall
and weighed 137 pounds. Sergeant Everhart was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Everhart Sr., 1330 Grace
Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Ferguson, Kenneth E. - 219th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Ferguson was 67 inches
tall and weighed 154 pounds. He was from Herrin, Illinois.
Born September 09, 1933, he is buried in the Herrin City
- Fitzgerald, Mac Lee - Hq 319th Ftr Intcp. Sq. APO 970. First Lieutenant Fitzgerald was
a member of Headquarters, 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, U.S. Air Force.
Born June 19, 1930, he was from Abilene, Texas and is buried in
Elmwood Memorial Park there.
- Fletcher, Johnnie R. - Private First Class Fletcher was a member of Company A, 802nd Engineer
Aviation Construction Battalion.
- Floyd, Walker Ellis - Staff Sergeant Floyd was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. Born March 9, 1932, son of Walter Ellis
Floyd Sr. and Myrtle Agnes Nolan Floyd, he is buried in Parker Memorial Cemetery, Grapevine, TX.
- Fogelhut, Marvin Jerome - Sergeant First Class Fogelhut was a member of the 78th Anti-Aircraft
Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion, U.S. Army. Born May 15, 1931, he is buried in Cypress Hills
National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
James Jackson Folks
Folks, James Jackson - From Inverness, Florida, James was born on May 9, 1930. Private First
Class Folks was a member of Headquarters and Service Company, 802nd Engineer Aviation Construction Battalion.
Born May 9, 1930, he is buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Blitchton, FL.
- Gardiner, Raymond W. - Airman First Class Gardiner was a member of the 51st Communications Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 66 inches tall and weighed 142 pounds. Born December 21, 1932, he is buried
in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
- Garza, George G. - Airman First Class Garza was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 51st Air Base
Group, U.S. Air Force. He was 69 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds.
His home of record was San Antonio, Texas.
- Gay, Francis M. - Airman First Class Gay was a member of the 8th Communications Squadron, U.S.
Air Force. He was 70 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds.
- Goodroe, Herman G. - Airman First Class Goodroe was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor
Squadron, U.S. Air Force. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds.
He was from Macon, Georgia.
- Groff, Robert E. - Staff Sergeant Groff was a member of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, U.S.
Air Force. He was 67 inches tall and weighed 133 pounds.
Born October 14, 1931, he was the son of Clay Logan Groff
(1900-1988) and Mary Murray Willard Groff (1903-1995). His
sister was Marilyn Groff Larsen (1930-2004). He is buried
in Englewood Cemetery, Clinton, Missouri.
- Gutierrez, Narcisco Jr. - Airman First Class Gutierrez was a member of the 51st Field Service
Squadron, U.S. Air Force. He was 71 1/2 inches tall and weighed 180 pounds.
He was from Sunnyvale, California.
- Hadley, Raymond E. - Airman Third Class Hadley was a member of the 8th Maintenance and Supply
Group, U.S. Air Force. He was 69 inches tall and weighed 162 pounds.
Born January 04, 1933 in Fairport, New York, he is buried in
White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, New York.
- Hallas, Robert Edward - Airman First Class Hallas was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 8th Air
Base Group, U.S. Air Force. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 174 pounds.
He was born January 04, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, son of Edward
J. Hallas (1897-1966) and Pauline Szmaszek Hallas (1898-1993).
He is buried in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery U Mausoleums,
- Hamilton, Albert Randall Jr. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970 -
His home of record was Dallas, Texas. In Korea, he was an F-86
Sabre fighter pilot with the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 8th
Fighter Bomber Group. His widow was Madeline A. Hamilton.
"My father was Lt. Albert R. Hamilton,
Jr. I was 18 months old when he was killed in the C-124 crash in June of 1953. I never knew
him and my mother never spoke of him. I have gaping holes in my heart where his memory should be."
- Terry Mathews, Winnsboro, Texas
- Hardy, Henry Louis - Airman First Class Hardy was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 51st Air
Base Group, U.S. Air Force. He was 73 inches tall and weighed 172 pounds. He was born in 1932
in Kansas City, Missouri, son of Otto Lewis and Mary A. McLochlin Hardy. He is buried in Bremen Municipal
Cemetery, Bremen, Indiana.
- Harrington, John M. - Airman First Class Harrington was a member of the 35h Fighter-Bomber Squadron,
8th Fighter-Bomber Group. He was 72 inches tall and weighed 164 pounds.
He was from Bradshaw, Nebraska. He was the son of
Mr. and Mrs. Harry M. Harrington of Bradshaw.
- Hartzler, Thomas - Corporal Hartzler was a member of the 662nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance
Company. Born September 3, 1929, he is buried in Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, IL.
- Heal, Bruce S. - Airman Second Class Heal was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 51st Fighter
Interceptor Wing, U.S. Air Force. He was 69 inches tall and weighed 149 pounds.
He was from Hartfordf, Connecticut.
- Hollis, Andy Jr. - Airman Second Class Hollis was a member of the 51st Motor Vehicular Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 60 1/2 inches tall and weighed 148 pounds.
He was from Brownsville, Pennsylvania.
- Hora, August William - Corporal Hora was a member of the 662nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company.
Born August 22, 1931 in Stickney, Illinois, he was the son of
August and Agnes Hejduk Hora. His sisters were Beatrice
and Laverne Hora. He was drafted into the Army on January
04, 1952. He is buried in Mount Auburn Memorial Park,
- Hornsby, Walter F. - Airman First Class Hornsby was a member of the 8th Motor Vehicular Squadron,
8th Fighter Bomber Wing. He was 72 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds.
- Hunter, Samuel W. - Airman First Class Hunter was a member of the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
51st Fighter-Interceptor Group. He was 67 inches tall and weighed 147 pounds.
- Hyde, Samuel Forrest - 12th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. First Lieutenant Hyde was a crew member
of a F-86F Sabrejet fighter with the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Wing. He was 72 inches
tall and weighed 170 pounds. Born March 22, 1927, he is buried in Blandford Cemetery, Petersburg,
- Ives, Richard Eugene - Crew member. Airman Third Class Ives was a member of the 36th Fighter-Bomber
Squadron, 8th Fighter-Bomber Group. He was 70 inches tall and weighed 138 pounds. Born April 30, 1933,
son of John H. and Louise F. Ives, he is buried in Enid Cemetery, Enid, Oklahoma.
- Jones, Ernest Dean - Airman Third Class Jones was a member of the 16th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
51st Fighter Interceptor Group. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. He was the son of Homer
Gailey and Evelyn Anthony Dabbs Jones.
"Funeral services will be held at 2:30 Tuesday afternoon in the Baptist Church, Stella, (Missouri) for A-2c
Ernest (Jack) Jones, 21, who was killed June 18 in the wreck of the Globemaster. He was returning to Suwon,
Korea, after a rest period in Japan. Airman Jones had been in service since April, 1952, overseas since
January, 1953. He was born and raised at Stella, but had been at home in Joplin prior to entering service.
He was a member of the McKinley Baptist Church in Joplin. His body will arrive in Neosho at 1:35 a.m. Tuesday.
Rev. W. E. Darby of Chickasha will officiate. Military rites will be conducted at the graveside. Interment
will be in Macedonia cemetery under direction of Culver-Shewmake Funeral Home of Granby. Survivors are his
widow, Mrs. Donna Sue Jones, and two-months old baby son, Bobby Dean, of the home; his parents, Mr. and
Mrs. Homer Gailey of Stella; two sisters, Mrs. Howard Haddock of Pueblo, Colo., and Mrs. Lewis Farley, Stark
City; a brother, Kenneth, of Joplin; four half-sisters, Mrs. Robert Turner of Stella, and Dean, Jean and
Joan Gailey of the home; and a half-brother, William Gailey Stella. (The Neosho Sunday News, Neosho, MO,
Sunday, September 20, 1953, p. 1, Col. 5)"
- Jordan, John H. Jr. - Airman 3c Jordan Jr. was from
- Kelley, Thomas P. - Staff Sergeant Kelley was a member of the 8th Air Police Squadron, 8th Fighter
Bomber Wing. He was 66 inches tall and weighed 147 pounds.
- Kennedy, Paul E. (Co-pilot). Major Kennedy was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he
was the co-pilot of a C-124A Globemaster transport with the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier
Group stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. Born September 22, 1918, he is buried in Arlington National
Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His home of record
was Beaver, Pennsylvania.
- Kirsnis, Raymond Jan - 1993d AACS Mob Com Sq. APO 970. First Lieutenant Kirsnis was a member
of the 1993rd Airways and Air Communications Service Mobile Communications Squadron, U.S. Air Force.
He was 66 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. Also a World War II veteran, he is buried in Arlington
National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His home of record
was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Kissell, George H. Jr. - Staff Sergeant Kissell was the engineer of a C-124A Globemaster transport
with the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan.
BELLWOOD SOLDIER AMONG VICTIMS IN ARMY PLANE CRASH
Daily Herald, Tyrone, Pa., June 20, 1953, page 1
Among the 129 American soldiers killed in the crash of an Army transport plane in Japan Thursday was Staff
Sgt. George H. Kissell, Jr., Tyrone R.D. 2, whose father, George H. Kissell Sr., and a sister live on the
back road between Tipton and Bellwood. Kissell was among the group of American soldiers returning to Korea
from a rest period in Japan. After serving three years in the U. S. Navy, Kissell enlisted in the Army,
on December, 1950, and had been in Korea nearly a year. He graduated from Bellwood-Antis High school in
Surviving are the father and these sisters and brother: Mrs. D. O. Simmers, Altoona; Mrs. Harry Taylor,
Heston, Huntingdon County; Mrs. Blair Estep, Bellwood; Miss Pauline Kissell, at home, and
James C. Kissell, Tyrone R.D. 2. During the past four years the mother, a brother and a sister have died.
Seven other Pennsylvania men were killed in the accident. The Defense Department identified them as: Lt.
Raymond J. Kirsnis, Pittsburgh; Staff Sgt. Thomas P. Kelley, of Stowe Township; Pfc. Thomas W. Brown, Charleroi;
Maj. Paul E. Kennedy, Beaver; Airman 1-C Donald J. Anderson, Kane; Lt. Vernon W. Miller, Johnstown, and
Airman 2-C Andrew Hollis, Jr., Brownsville.
- Klein, Robert J. - Airman First Class Klein was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 175 pounds. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph
Klein, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Knotts, James R. - Staff Sergeant Knotts was a member of the 8th Air Police Squadron, 8th Fighter
Bomber Wing. He was 76 inches tall, weight unknown. Born May 12, 1928, he is buried in Arlington
National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
- Kolb, Isidore E. - Private First Class Kolb was a member of the 662nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance
- Lee, Clarence M. Jr. - Airman Third Class Lee was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 51st Air
Base Group, U.S. Air Force. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 180 pounds.
He was from Orange, New Jersey.
- Leicht, Donald E.C. - Hq 319th Ftr Itcp. Sq. APO 970. First Lieutenant Leicht was a member
of Headquarters Squadron, 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, U.S. Air Force. He was 68 inches tall and
weighed 135 pounds. His home of record was Waco, Texas.
- Lenhardt, Leroy W. - Airman First Class Lenhardt was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor
Squadron, U.S. Air Force. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 166 pounds. Born November 25, 1931,
son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Lenhardt of Mukwonago, Wisconsin,
he is buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery, Mukwonago.
- Lockwood, Maurice G. - Private First Class Lockwood was a member of Company A, 802nd Engineer
Aviation Construction Battalion.
- Lowery, William Douglas - Airman First Class Lowery was a member of the 8th Maintenance Squadron,
U.S. Air Force. He was 71 inches tall and weighed 151 pounds. Born January 6, 1931, he is buried in
Greenwood Cemetery, Ruston, Louisiana.
- Lowry, Donald E. - 8th Maint. Sq APO 970. He was 66 inches tall and weighed 139 pounds.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Doyt Putman, Rockford, Ohio.
- Lucas, Leonard J. - Airman First Class Lucas was a member of the 8th Supply Squadron, 8th Fighter
Bomber Group. He was 68 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds.
- Marshke, Lawrence B. - Private First Class Marshke was a member of the 919th Engineer Aviation
- Mathieu, Edmond A. - Private First Class Mathieu was a member of the 78th Anti-Aircraft Artillery
(Automatic Weapons) Battalion, U.S. Army.
- Mayo, Kenneth P. - First Lieutenant Mayo was a member of the 8th Medical Group, 8th Fighter Bomber
Wing. He was one of two Iowans to die in the air crash. He was a flight surgeon. According
to an Iowa paper, Dr. Mayo's mother was Mrs. Edna C. Mayo, an employee of the registrar's office at Iowa
State College. The only child of parents who were separated, Dr. Mayo was reared in Ames, Iowa by
his mother and grandmother, Mrs. Ed Coe. He was 27 years old on June 3, 1953. He was married
on October 18, 1952 to Carolyn Ann Flodin of Burlington, Iowa, a member of his graduating class at S.U.I.
She was employed at Iowa Ordnance plant in Burlington. The newspaper stated, "Gordon Gammack, Des
Moines Register and Tribune war correspondent who returned recently from Korea, said Friday he had visited
several times with Lieutenant Mayo at a Korean jet air base. Gammack characterized Mayo as 'an exceptionally
fine youthful medical officer.'" He was 72 inches tall and weighed 162 pounds.
- McAninch, Darrell E. - Airman Third Class McAninch was a member of Headquarters Squadron, 51st
Fighter Interceptor Wing, U.S. Air Force. He was 74 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds.
His home of record was Seattle, Washington.
- McCorkle, Robert D. - Major McCorkle was the pilot of a C-124A Globemaster transport with the
22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. Born November
30, 1923, he served in World War II as well as in the Korean War. He is buried in the Mobile National
Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.
- McCurtain, Isaac M. - Airman Third Class McCurtain was a member of the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron,
8th Fighter Bomber Group. He was 65 1/2 inches tall and weighed 149 pounds. Born April 22, 1924, he
is buried in Stigler Cemetery, Stigler, Oklahoma.
- McHenry, John A. - John McHenry was from Canton, Ohio. He was born on March 21, 1929, the
son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe J. McHenry, 912 Fourth Street, Southwest, Canton, Ohio. He is buried in Sunset
Hills Burial Park, Canton, Ohio.
- McLaird, Paul R. - 51st Air Police Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class McLaird was 71 inches
tall and weighed 218 pounds. Born July 14, 1933, he was the son of John Augustus and Della May Ayres
McLaird. His home of record was Laird, Missouri. He is buried in Zion Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.
- Mihalic, Raymond M. - 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class Mihalic was 71 inches
tall and weighed 141 pounds. His home of record was
Trenton, New Jersey.
- Miller, Vernon W. - 1st Lieutenant, Hq 8th Ftr Bmr Wg APO 970. He was 71 inches tall and
weighed 190 pounds. Born September 11, 1910, he is buried in Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, San
Antonio, Texas. He was stationed at Holloman Air Force
Base, New Mexico.
- Milner, Obie Eldridge - 8th Maint Sq APO 970. M/Sgt. Milner was 72 inches tall and weighed
240 pounds. Born October 23, 1913, he was also a World War II veteran. He is buried in the Odd
Fellows Cemetery, Ponca City, Oklahoma.
- Miner, Kenneth A. - Crew member. 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Miner
was 66 1/2 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds.
- Mixon, Bobby W. - 8th Comm Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Mixon was 64 inches tall and
weighed 115 pounds. Burial services were held Tuesday, September 22 at 2:30 p.m. in Laurel Heights Baptist
Church for Airman 1/C Bobby Charles Mixon, victim of a military airplane crash in Japan on June 18. A/1/C
Mixon, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Elton Mixon of Winnfield, Route 2, had been in the Far East since February
24 and was returning from a leave in Japan after duty in Korea, when the fatal crash occurred. Ministers
officiating the funeral were Rev. Waynon Mott, pastor of the Laurel Heights Baptist Church, Rev. H. J. Mott
of Monroe, a former pastor of the church, and Rev. D. W. McDaniel of Winnfield, pastor of the Walker Baptist
Church in Jackson Parish. Burial was in Gorham Cemetery, Joyce, Louisiana, under direction of Hixson Funeral
Home. Pallbearers were James Guin, Glyn Guin, G. W. Jones, David McCartney, Walter Ross, Buddy Foster,
M. J. Foster, and Manson Howard. Young Mixon, 22 years old, is survived by his parents, one brother, David
Mixon, two sisters, Nedra and Cynthia Marie Mixon, and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Gorham. [Published
in The Winn Parish Enterprise, September 24, 1953]
- Modenese, Eugene M. - Hq Sq Sec 8th AB Gp APO 970. Airman First Class Modenese was 68 inches
tall and weighed 152 pounds. Air Force, Airman 1/c. 22 years of age. Next of kin – Mr. And Mrs.
M.A. Modenese (parents), sister, Diane, 2816 Eddy St., Seattle, WA; Dorothy Lynch Modenese (wife)Place
of birth – Seattle, WA. Place of burial – Seattle, WA. Eugene Modenese was born and brought up in Seattle.
He attended Georgetown Elementary School and graduated from Cleveland High then went to Seattle University.
He was interested in Mountaineering and Skiing and was a champion at this sport. At Cleveland he was a member
of the All-City Ski Team. He planned to make photography his life work and had been employed at Boeings
as a photographer. He joined the Air Force in 1951 and was due home a month before his death.
- Moran, Francis E. - Hq 51st Ftr Intcp Wg APO 970. Airman Second Class Moran was 65 inches
tall and weighed 136 pounds. His home of record was York,
- Mouton, Raoul P. Jr. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. A 2nd Lieutenant, he was 72 inches
tall and weighed 145 pounds. His home of record was
Jennings, Louisiana. He was b
orn June 27, 1930, son of Raoul Paul Mouton Sr. and Aline
Fleming Mouton. He is buried in Saint Mary Magdalene
Cemetery & Mausoleum, Abbeville, Louisiana.
- Myller, Ulrich - "C" Co. Hq 802d Eng Avn. Bn. APO 970. Second Lieutenant Myller was 65
inches tall and weighed 150 pounds. Born March 1, 1931, he is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco,
- Nassif, Donald H. - 1993d AACS Mob Comm Sq APO 970. T/Sgt. Nassif was 67 inches tall and
weighed 145 pounds. Born July 29, 1929, he is buried in Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery,
Agawam, Massachusetts. His home of record was Springfield,
- Nellermoe, Dale L. - 8th Sup Sq APO 970. Airman First Class Nellermoe was 68 inches tall
and weighed 149 pounds. See Jean Madsen Remembrance.
Leonard Riles (top)
(Click picture for a larger view)
- Painter, Donald Irving - Airman Second Class Painter was a member of the 319th Fighter Interceptor
Squadron, U.S. Air Force. On June 18, 1953, he was a passenger on a C-124A Globemaster transport traveling
from Tachikawa Air Base, Japan to Korea. He was killed when the aircraft crashed about three miles
from Tachikawa. Airman Second Class Painter was awarded the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations
Service Medal. He was 65 inches tall and weighed 116 pounds. Born June 4, 1933, he is buried
in Woodbury Memorial Park, Woodbury, New Jersey. His home
of record was Brooklawn, New Jersey.
- Peloquin, Raymond H. - 8th H & S Gp APO 970. Airman Third Class Peloquin was 65 inches
tall and weighed 146 pounds. Born April 23, 1932, he is buried in Precious Blood Cemetery, Woonsocket,
- Pool, Warren Randolph - 622d Engr Avn Maint Co APO 970. He was also a World War II veteran.
Born July 19, 1921 in Ft. Worth, Texas to Ada E. Albright Pool
(1861-1945), he is buried in Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Powell, Archie Lee Jr. - 51st Comm Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class. Born in Oconee
County, South Carolina on July 15, 1932, he was the son of
Archie Lee Powell Sr. (1912-2006) and Henry Louie Green Powell
Crash Is Fatal To Westminster Boy
Airman 2-C Archie L. Powell, 21, of Route 1, Westminster, was killed in the crash of C-124 Globemaster transport
plane in which 128 other servicemen were killed. The crash occurred 25 miles West of Tokyo Thursday morning,
June 18. Powell , a native of Oconee County, graduated from Westminster High School in 1951, and entered
the Air Force shortly after. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Archie L. Powell, Sr., of Westminster. He received
his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and was later stationed at Wyoming. He had been assigned
to duty in Korea since September, 1952.
The Powell family did not know that Airman Powell was on the Globemaster, according to the Sandifer Funeral
Home in Westminster. They knew only that he had been on a short vacation to Japan. The family was notified
of his death by an official War Department telegram last week.
Powell's mother is the former Henry Lou Green, a native of Georgia. His father is employed by the Excelsior
Mill at Clemson. A Member of the Westminster Baptist Church, Powell had been active in church work.
Airman's Body On Way Home
WESTMINSTER - The body of Airman Second Class Archie L. Powell, Jr., native of Westminster, is scheduled
to arrive in Westminster Friday morning for funeral rites and burial. The popular young airman, whose parents
are Mr. and Mrs. Archie L. Powell, Sr., well-known residents of Westminster, was killed June 13 when a C-124
Globemaster transport crashed in Japan. A spokesman from Sandifer Funeral Home said that Airman Powell will
be buried with full military honors, performed by Donaldson Air Force Base men from Greenville, Sunday,
2:30 p.m., at Westminster Baptist Church. The Reverend Jim Tannery will be in charge. Burial will be in
Oconee Memorial Park, Seneca, South Carolina. Pallbearers will be taken from the ranks of the Air
Force Base, while honorary pallbearers will be members of the Young Men's Bible Class of the church. Surviving
young Powell besides his parents are one brother, William Powell, and three sisters, Rachel, Thelma, and
Linda all of the home. He is also survived by his paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Powell of Westminster.
- Powers, Michael F. - 8th H & S Gp APO 970. Airman Second Class Powers was 67 inches tall
and weighed 122 pounds.
- Rensashe, Joseph - "C" Co. Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970
- Riles, Leonard Leon - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970 - A/1C Leonard L. Riles was 73 1/2 inches tall
and weighed 170 pounds. He enlisted in the Air Force in February of 1952 and was sent to Korea in
November 1952. He was survived by his widow, Sally Scobey (formerly Sally Henfling) from San Rafael, CA.
They were married in February of 1952. Riles was a native of Sebring, Florida. Born June 1, 1931,
he is buried in Pinecrest Cemetery, Sebring, Florida.
- Roberson, David Jr. - 16th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class.
His home of record was Dallas, Texas. Born August 06,
1933, he was the son of David Roberson Sr. and Lavera W. Jones
Roberson (1921-2006). He is buried in Lincoln Memorial
James Andrew Rose
- Rose, James Andrew "Jim" or "Red" - 25th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class Rose
was 69 inches tall and weighed 157 pounds. Born November 24, 1930, he was an artist. He was
from Cincinnati, Ohio and was known as "Red" because of his red hair. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs.
John Rose Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio. According to the family, "He was on leave in Japan and sent his mother
a beautiful collection of china with a message that if anything happened to him to remember how much he
loved her. The china arrived AFTER she was notified of his death."
- Rudolph, Donald R. - 39th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman First Class Rudolph was 67
inches tall and weighed 127 pounds. He was the son of Mr.
and Mrs. Louis P. Rudolph, Saint Matthews, Kentucky.
- Schaeffer, Warren J. - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. M/Sgt. Schaeffer was 67 1/2 inches tall
and weighed 155 pounds. He was a veteran of World War II, where he served in the Pacific Theatre.
He also served in the Korean War when he was killed. His occupation in the Army Air Corps was Aviation
Mechanic. He was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and eventually moved to Farmingdale, New York where he
met his wife, Mary Butler. They had two children, Cynthia and Warren.
- Schrock, David A. - 80th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Schrock was 67 1/2 inches
tall and weighed 137 pounds. He was born October 5, 1931,
son of Clarence D. Schrock. He is buried in Restlawn
Cemetery, Muskegon, Michigan.
- Sheets, Richard Lee - 39th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class Sheets was 66 inches
tall and weighed 135 pounds. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Sheets, Rt. 1, Covington, Ohio, he was
born June 9, 1933. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Troy, Ohio.
- Simpson, Edwin J. Jr. - 1993d AACS Mob Comm Sq 970. Airman 1-C Simpson was the son of Mr.
and Mrs. Edwin J. Simpson Sr., Norwood, Ohio. He was born December 21, 1927. He is buried in
Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Montgomery, Ohio.
- Simpson, Thomas S. 8th Sup Sq APO 970. Airman First Class Simpson was 70 inches tall
and weighed 162 pounds. He was born October 05, 1930 and
is buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, Emerson, Arkansas.
- Smith, Burton Bernard - 919th Engr Avn Maint Co. APO 970. He was born December 1, 1933,
son of Verl Smith, rural route, Red Wing.
There are two references to his place of burial: Oakwood Cemetery, Red Wing, Minnesota and Immanuel Lutheran
Church Cemetery, Hay Creek, Minnesota.
- Smith, Charles Curtis - "A" Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970.
Born November 02, 1928 in Dunn, North Carolina, he was the son
of Alonzo and Hattie Barefoot Smith, rural route, Dunn. He
is buried in Smyrna FWB Church Cemetery, North Carolina.
- Sorrento, Nicholas S. Jr. - 8th Sup Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Sorrento was 69 inches
tall and weighed 143 pounds. He was the son of Nicholas
Sorrento Jr. and Jenny Sorrento of Everett, Massachusetts.
- Stacy, William P. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. A 2nd Lieutenant, he was 70 inches
tall and weighed 168 pounds.
- Staring, John Hillman - 18th Fighter Bomber Wg APO 970. Captain Staring was 72 inches tall and
weighed 180 pounds. Born September 18, 1918 in Texas, he
was the son of George Henry Staring III (1894-1946) and Minna
Mary Venturine Staring (1895-1976). His widow was Janet "Netta"
Steele Staring (9/25/1922-8/11/1991). He had three sisters
and two brothers. He is buried in Calvary Hill Cemetery &
Mausoleum, Dallas, Texas.
- Steele, Carl Cole - Carl Steele, son of Andrew Preston Steele (died 1945) and Mary Cynthia Steele
(died 1954), was a graduate of Winchester, Kentucky High School and served in the Air Force for five years.
After serving in Japan for eighteen months as an Airman First Class, he was killed on June 18, 1953, in
an airplane crash near Tokyo, Japan, that claimed 129 lives. Steele had been flight engineer of a
C-124A Globemaster transport with the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, 374th Troop Carrier Group Awarded
many medals for his service in Korea, he was survived by his wife, Mrs. Beatrice McGuire Steele, his mother,
Mrs. O.F. Baxter, his sisters, Betty Joan Steele (Berger) and Georgia Steele (Barnett), as well as five
brothers, Fred Eugene, Charles William, John David, Travis Edward, and Billy Darrell.
- Stopyra, Bartholomew - 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class Stopyra was 67 inches
tall and weighed 133 pounds. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Stopyra, 143 Miami Avenue, Youngstown,
- Sturdevant, James Lewis - 1993d AACS Mob Comm Sq APO 970. Born 15 August 1931, Airman Second
Class Sturdavant was 69 1/2 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Orley
Sturdevant, Route S, Napoleon, Ohio.
- Taft, George C. - 78th AAA Gun Bn APO 970 (SCARWAF). Born March 26, 1931,
son of Mr. and -Mrs. W.B. Taft of Elkmont, Kentucky, he is
buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
- Tartaglione, Samuel J. - 8th Comm Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class Tartaglione was 64 inches
tall and weighed 202 pounds. His home of record was
Buffalo, New York.
- Thompson, Premas Jr. - 61st Fd Sv Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Thompson was 64 inches
tall and weighed 170 pounds.
- Tupper, Donald P. - 8th Air Police Sq APO 970. Airman First Class Tupper was 67 1/2 inches
tall and weighed 150 pounds. Born September 25, 1927, he is buried in Acacia Memorial Park, Modesto,
California. His home of record was Ceres, California.
- Van Alen, Robert G. - 25th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Third Class VanAlen was 72 inches
tall and weighed 155 pounds. Born July 2, 1931, Robert is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington,
- Voruz, Herbert G. Jr. (pilot) - Major Reg. Air Force, born April 20, 1916. Assigned to
Tachikawa Air Base, FEAF, 215th A Div, 374th TCWg (H), 374th TCGp(H), 22nd TCSq (H). A World War II and
Korean War veteran, he married Dortha Emma West in Glendale, Arizona on January 10, 1943. He is buried
in Hillcrest Cemetery, LaGrande, Oregon. He had children Gary, Nancy and Sharon West.
- Wade, Thomas E. - Hq & Sv Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970. He was the husband of Mrs. Virginia
Lee Bennett Wade, Scottown, Lawrence, Ohio, daughter of Earl and Opal Dunfee Bennett, who was born 19 July
1930 in Lawrence County, Ohio. Thomas was buried in Lawrence County, Ohio, Perkins Ridge. Tom graduated
from Windsor High School in 1945. While there he was a member of the Dukes basketball squad. Following graduation
he engaged in farming with his father. On April 7 1952 he entered the Army where he served in the Korean
- Weaver, Franklin E. - Hq Sq 51st AB Gp APO 970. S/Sgt. Weaver was 72 inches tall and weighed
146 pounds. Born September 6, 1930, he is buried in Roselawn Cemetery, Marion, Virginia.
- Wickman, John R. - 319th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Wickman was 68 inches
tall and weighed 162 pounds.
- Wilcox, John Bennett - Hq 8th Ftr Bmr Wg APO 970. S/Sgt. Wilcox was 70 inches tall and
weighed 140 pounds. Born July 28, 1930, he is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno,
California. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Milton J.
Wilcox, Fairbanks, Alaska.
- Wilkie, John V. "Johnny" - 919th Engr Avn Maint Co APO 970. Born January 10, 1934,
Private Wilkie is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
- Wilson, George V. - 919th Engr Avn Maint Co APO 970
- Wright, James R. - Hq Sq 51st Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970. Airman Second Class Wright was 68 inches
tall and weighed 140 pounds.
Back to Page Contents
Flight Surgeon's Report - Medical Officer's Recommendations
I. Participation of 374th Medical Group in C-124, 51-137 Aircraft Accident, 18 June 1953
A crash call was received by the Medical Officer of the Day, Lt. Pfrommer, at approximately 1710 hours, 18
June 1953 on crash phone located in Base Dispensary, Building 192. A/1C Borek, the C.Q., notified the Medical
Officers and airmen to report to the Dispensary immediately. An airman who was a witness of the crash site reported
to the Dispensary for the purpose of escorting the medical convoy to the scene. The convoy consisted of six
(6) ambulances; five (5) field type and one (1) metropolitan. Four (4) Medical Officers (Lt. Col. Bourke, Capt.
Haworth, Lt. Free, and Lt. Pfrommer, and approximately thirty (30) medical airmen departed from building 192
at approximately 1720 hours and arrived at the scene of the crash at approximately 1740 hours. Upon arrival
seventeen (17) bodies had previously been removed from the plane. By 2015 hours fifty-five (55) bodies had been
extricated and at this time it was decided by Lt. Col. Kennedy, Operations Officer, Lt. Col. Bourke, Wing Surgeon
and Capt. Haworth, Flight Surgeon, that because of the rain and burning of the plane further attempts to recover
additional bodies would be futile at that time, and the operation would continue again at 0500 hours the 19th
of June 1953.
At approximately 2145 hours a convoy consisting of five (5) bus type ambulances carrying the fifty-five (55)
bodies which had been recovered were transported to Camp Omiya, accompanied by Lt. Col. Bourke, Capt. Haworth,
and Lt. Free. This convoy arrived at Camp Omiya at 0050 hours on 19 June 1953.
Resumption of recovering bodies from the crash began at 0500 hours on 19 June 1953 and continued until 0925
hours at which time the last and 129th body was recovered. The 74 bodies recovered on the morning of the 19th
June 1953 were also transported to Camp Omiya. Bodies, as they were recovered, were transported by field type
ambulances to highway Route 7 where bus type ambulances were stationed to further transport the bodies to Camp
Bodies were found throughout the plane, a group were found up against the forward bulkhead, and none were
found at any distance from the plane. They were gently extricated from the ashes and other debris, placed on
litters or canvas sheets together with any adjacent personal effects or potential identification aids.
For purpose of extricating some of the bodies imprisoned under the wreckage it was necessary to lift the
plane structure at two points with the aid of a crane hoist. After removal of the bodies the plane structure
was lowered back to its original position.
Organizations which contributed medical personnel and equipment other than the 374th Medical Group were 32nd
Medical Holding Detachment, Fuchu Dispensary, Johnson Air Force Base, FEAMCOM Hospital, and 801st MAES.
II. Observations and Recommendations
It is to be emphasized that nothing in the way of safety features could have in all probability prevented
the total loss of life in a crash of this impact. However, the Flight Surgeon presents these observations and
recommendations for what they’re worth: (Attention, AMC)
Crews compartment: None of the crew on the flight deck were burned. All had shattering skull fractures and
multiple, total bodily injuries, any one of which could have been fatal. The pilot and co-pilot were in their
seats with the upper part of their trunks thrown forward and their heads shattered against the instrument panels.
In a crash of lesser impact could they have survived?
- Crash pads: Something must be devised to give the head a “fighting chance” in this, and all aircraft.
A. Permanent type pad:
(1) Instruments counter sunk in a rubber panel – this probably will result in instrument visualization difficulties
but to my way of thinking would be highly effective if at all possible.
(2) Compressible rubber “fingers” at the corner of all individual instruments-these at least would tend
to lessen skull impact.
B. Mobile type pad:
Could not a system be devised whereby a tough, thick rubber pad be released by button, that would drop from
the ceiling like a roller window shade to intervence between the skull and the instrument panel the moment
before impact? Or, would crash pillows (rubber) be feasible: Pillows that the crew could have available
beside them and which could be raised before their face the instant prior to impact.
C. Safety harnesses:
It is felt by the Flight Surgeon and all those assisting in medical evaluation of the remains that the pilot
was wearing his harness. This was determined by the nature of his injuries i.e.: (1) The tearing type
wounds to both shoulders as the trunk was thrown forward and the shoulders held back—even the large, powerful
chest muscles (pectoralis majors) were traumatically ruptured (separated) in the area of the gaping wounds
of the shoulders. (2) The complete transaction of the spinal column and cord (spine was completely
severed) between T4 & T5, the cephalic segment being displaced posteriorly as it was held there by the harness,
and the caudal segment being displaced anteriorly as though continuing due to inertia. (3) The tearing type
wound of the left anterior chest with evisceration of the apex of the heart and lower lobe of the left lung.
(4) Abrasion of the deltoid areas (the roundness) of the shoulder made, we believe, by the harness as it
slipped from the shoulders as they were forced back and practically torn off. I.e., (See Voruz, Pilot).
The point of this discussion is, of course, that the Flight Surgeon feels that this harness was responsible
for more injuries than it prevented. Again, this impact was apparently too great for anything to have been
of value as a safety measure. But in accidents of lesser impact the Flight Surgeon still can’t justify in
his mind this type of harness. With any impact of major significance, what is to prevent the shoulders from
being held against the back of the seat while the upper part of the body continue its forward motion till
the shoulders “tear” and the harness slips from them, as he feels sure happened in this accident? In other
words the upper trunk continues forward as the shoulders are held back, to such a point that the harness
slips from the shoulders, and of course, when this point is reached bodily injury has been created by that
very safety device that was supposed to have prevented injury. This Flight surgeon chooses to call this
type of harness the “suspender” type, and as such, he feels, it is valueless. However, would it be at all
feasible to take this same “suspender harness” and make an “N” type harness out of it: The simple technique
of adding a wide horizontal band of nylon to the vertical straps of the harness, at the mid-chest level,
it would seem to this observer, would alleviate the major faults and dangers of this harness. This would
tend to take the impact force off of the shoulders alone and would spread it out over a wider area by including
the chest itself as a large area for absorbing the shocking force. This horizontal portion of the harness
would thus tend to help prevent the upper trunk from continuing forward on impact until the shoulders tear,
and, also would tend to prevent the shoulder strap portion of the harness from slipping off of the shoulders.
The Flight Surgeon hopes he has not been verbose and realizes he is not trained along these lines, but he
sincerely believes that the simple addition of the horizontal wide chest strap to the harness would greatly
improve it and help to prevent the type of injuries described above. In addition, would it be feasible to
have a head harness-it could be of a type which could be left off during routine flying but at the first
evidence of a serious emergency could be slipped around the head, thus preventing the “snapping forward”
movement the head undergoes at the instant of impact. It seems to the Flight surgeon that it would have
to be allowed to “give” a few inches (to allow some forward head movement) and that some device, such as
a thick rubber pad, would have to be placed in the seat at the back of the head level to prevent fatal skull
injury on the “snap back”. Such a harness in conjunction with the “H” type harness already verbosely described,
it would seem to this observer, would prevent, or help to prevent, the totally demolished heads as seen
in the pilot and co-pilot of this aircraft accident.
The two immediate observations were that everyone in the passenger decks were grossly burned and were clumped
together in piles. The Flight Surgeon has no suggestions to offer in regards to the prevention of the burns
and it must be remembered that, of course, the burns occurred subsequent to the killing impact. However, can
anything be done to prevent this piling of bodies together? It is universally recognized that the individual
sitting at the rear of the aircraft has a better chance at survival than does the one sitting in front, and
one of the factors that makes this so is the fact that the further towards the rear of the aircraft that one
is, the less weight in the human form there will be to compress him. Or, conversely, the further forward that
one is, the more weight there will be to literally crush him at the time of impact. Bodies will be thrown forward
and this will produce an increasing weight increment. Thus, the further forward one is the greater will be the
crushing force. In the large volume passenger carrying aircraft, then, the weight factor of human bodies becomes
of extreme importance if one is to survive.
What can be done to increase the chances for survival of those individuals sitting toward the front of the
aircraft? The bucket seat type of arrangement with passengers facing towards the center of the aircraft, of
course, is not ideal but presumably is necessary and facilitates greater passenger and cargo loads. But, why
can’t the aircraft be what the Flight Surgeon, for lack of a better term, calls semi-compartmentalized. Between
every third or fourth seat there could be a tough wall or curtain anchored to the ceiling and deck by a pipe
running through it. It could extend out to the knee distance from the wall or slightly farther. This would not
interfere with a passenger-cargo load. When the load is all cargo, the “free-edge” pipes could be “unshackled”
from the ceilings and deck, and the “compartment wall” “accordion pleated” to the sides of the aircraft. If
cargo were to be unloaded and passengers taken aboard it would be an extremely easy matter to semi-compartmentalize
within a matter of 10-15 minutes. The tough cloth walls would be pulled out and anchored and the aircraft completely
sectionalized. To this Flight Surgeon’s way of thinking this would be one fairly simple way of giving these
individuals sitting in the front section of the aircraft at least a fighting chance of survival, for if these
“semi-compartments” each contained four (4) men, as an example, and, if the walls did not break through, no
individuals would have more than three (3) bodies pressing against him. There would not be the “hay stack” of
human remains that the Flight Surgeon witnessed in this crash. Is this idea feasible, A.M.C.?
The Flight Surgeon wishes to interject one thought at this point. It is not a new idea but one to which he’d
like to throw his entire and whole-hearted support. That is reverse seating in passenger carrying aircraft.
Seats facing the rear of the aircraft, he is firmly convinced, would be one of the greatest single advancements
towards furthering the safety of the individual passenger in an air crash yet devised. Even in this crash, had
seats of this type been available, he feels certain that there might have been survivors remaining to tell the
story. He can think of nothing else mechanically so simple to do that would, singly, so immeasurably increase
the individual’s chance of survival. This medical observer is firmly convinced that if the human body is to
withstand our advancement in aviation and the tragedies which inevitably will occur, then we must design into
our aircraft those safety factors which will help rather than hinder its “fight for life”. Reverse seating can
and will help. It would have helped in this crash in the Flight Surgeon’s opinion.
(1) The majority of the bodies did not have dog tags about their necks. The dog tags were found in disassociated
fragments of clothing.
(2) St. Christopher medals and “good-luck” charms were worn. It was interesting to note here that these chains
with their attached medals stayed in place around the neck at the time of the crash. The chains, being stronger,
did not break as did many of the dog tag chains.
(1) It must constantly be re-emphasized that dog tags must be worn about the neck on all flights. Their presence
in this crash would have greatly facilitated identification. of the remains.
(2) It is felt by this observer and many others who witnessed the results of this accident that the dog tag
chain is not of sufficient strength. Had they been of the strength of the “St. Christopher” chains, it is felt
that definitely more tags would have been found around the neck.
Areas of Identifications:
One of the striking things to the Flight Surgeon is what he chooses to call “The Triad of Identification
Areas.” As the task of identifying the remains progressed and drew to completion, and the [two words illegible]
of what had been seen and done during this identification process became crystallized in the Flight Surgeon’s
mind, one observation became of paramount importance. There are three areas of the body of which greatly increased
emphasis should be placed as a site for identification. They are, in brief, the wrist, the waist, and the foot.
It was noted that all of those who had worn “crash bracelets” had these bracelets intact upon their wrist when
the identification process began. This is an excellent site for identification and the Flight Surgeon feels
definitely that the Air Force should emphasize its importance.
Of perhaps even greater importance was the waist area. This area is of extreme importance in offering a site
for identification. Had it been utilized to a greater extent by the victims in this crash, it is felt definitely
that it would have speeded positive identification. And of course it becomes of utmost importance when fire
is involved as it was in this crash. The waist becomes a “protected area”. There seem to be two factors
that make it such: One is the automatic flexion of the trunk at the hips in an apparent attempt to protect the
abdominal-genital area at the time of impact—the individual has the tendency to “double up.” Secondly, the area
is protected because of the “layering” affect of the clothes which act as a “fire wall.” Thus, it cannot be
emphasized greatly enough that the shorts, undershirt, shirt, pants and belt should all be marked with indelible
ink at the waist level. If this is done, the vast majority of crash victims of the future will be more readily
positively identified, and particularly, if fire is involved.
Further, the Flight surgeon feels that we are overlooking one excellent potential site of identification
at the waist and that is the belt buckle. It was of interest to note that the vast majority of remains had an
intact belt buckle. Even the fire did not destroy them. If each and every buckle was used as an “identification
tag” then the process of identification would be greatly simplified. The name and serial number could be stamped
on either the front or back surface of the buckle. This is an excellent site for identification if this crash
can be used as a criteria!! Incidentally, it is suggested by the Flight Surgeon that it is definitely better
to use small print in inking the name on the clothes because of the fact that in any one area more of the name
will be visualized than if large “sprawling” print is used.
The third member of the triad, and of equal importance, is the foot area. Again, like the waist and the wrist
this area is an extremely valuable site for identification and had it been utilized more frequently in this
crash, identification would have progressed more easily. Again, the factor here is that the shoe or boot acts
as protection for the foot. The inner sole of the shoe should be stamped with indelible ink (name, etc.)—this
ink will stay on!! (The Flight Surgeon conducted his own personal experiment and his feet perspire a lot!)
Also, in regards to the feet, this observer feels that we are neglecting a primary source of positive identification
and that is the foot print. The foot print, because of the protection afforded by the shoes, was often times
intact in those cases when the finger prints were totally destroyed. Foot prints are required on each infant
at birth. Would it be such an insurmountable task to set up a foot print file for the military similar in part
to the finger print file of the F.B.I. The Flight Surgeon is convinced that it would pay great dividends in
To repeat, the wrist, the waist, and the foot was the identification triad that this Flight Surgeon has learned
by unhappy experience should be utilized to facilitate rapid and positive identification of future military
crash victims. Please give these suggestions serious consideration. This was the Flight Surgeon whose responsibility
it was to record the worst aircraft accident in the history of aviation and he never wants to see or experience
another one, but, if at some future date he does, he knows that the task will be simplified if the Triad of
Identification is fully exploited.
Skeletal Chart – Section C AF Form 14-B
Medical Report of an Individual Involved in AF Aircraft Accident
The Flight Surgeon wishes to express, also, his viewpoint on a subject which he feels must be commented on.
It was his unhappy duty to learn by sad experience how worthless, repetitious, and time-consuming a skeletal
chart of this type really is. The Flight Surgeon feels that its only value might be in the recording of burned
areas, but as a diagrammatic representation of the skeleton it is valueless. Its very repetitions (the presentation
of multiple views) tend to promote inaccuracy, particularly when large numbers of records are necessary as in
this crash, and it definitely is a constant source of frustration to the recoding Flight Surgeon. Why must these
forms be needlessly cluttered and grandiose when simplicity in its essence would so much more adequately and
accurately portray the true picture?
This observer recommends (attention A.M.C. or whoever is interested in such things) that the Air Force rid
itself of this cumbersome and inaccurate skeletal chart. It’s awful! Please substitute for this chart a plain
and simple diagrammatic representation of the skeleton with just one view, and with all the bones showing. Such
a skeletal diagram, accurate and yet simple, would not only be completed with more ease but also would create
within the recording medical man the desire to be absolutely accurate in his transcribing of physical injuries
to the skeletal chart. The reasoning is simple: If a skeletal chart is anatomically accurate and non-repetitious,
it will appeal to the professional man and, this observer believes, will arouse his professional interest to
the point of recording in more minute detail all of the injuries sustained, and this, in about 1/3 of the time
that it now takes to fill out accurately the existing skeletal chart.
The Flight surgeon offers in support of his request for termination of the existing AF skeletal chart (Section
C, AF Form 14-B, Medical Report of an Individual Involved in AF Aircraft Accident) the type of skeletal chart
that he would like to see the Air Force adopt. It is forward as a supplemental report and will be found stapled
to the existing skeletal charts (Section C, AF Form 14-B) of the crew members involved in this crash. It is
a chart used by Graves Registration, Central Identification Unit, Kokura, Japan and its very simplicity and
yet exactness appeal to the medical man involved with future crashes, and will save much valuable time and yet
promote a greater desire for completeness and accuracy in recording. Please consider very seriously this suggested
change. It will greatly help to relieve the doctor in the field when a similar tragedy once again occurs, and
will make him more readily available to continue the normal and routine duties expected of him and his office
at the earliest possible date subsequent to the tragedy.
The Flight Surgeon wishes to comment on two further observations that he feels are significant.
There were 19 remains which demonstrated abdominal evisceration of the traumatic type (sustained at the time
of impact). It must be stressed here that there were more eviscerations than this present, but it was not able
to be ascertained as to whether these were due to the actual impact trauma or to the 4th degree burns which
literally burned the flesh away and left the gastrointestinal tract exposed. These charring burns confused the
picture. However, there were 15 anterior abdominal eviscerations about equally divided as to right and left.
There was one bilateral abdominal evisceration, one epigastric, one posterior and one rectal evisceration. There
is no way of knowing just where these individuals might have been sitting in the aircraft. As to their cause,
the Flight surgeon feels certain that they were the direct result of the fastened seat belt plus impact force.
Something had to give and the gastro-intestinal tract sought and found the weakest portion of the abdominal
cavity through which to make its exit. It is the cautious estimate of this medical observer that in many of
those cases which gave no evidence of external evisceration, evisceration of the abdominal contents into the
thoracic cavity was in all probabilities a fairly common occurrence, although he has no laboratory evidence
with which to substantiate this belief.
How the problem of evisceration is to be prevented in the future is an unknown quantity in the Flight Surgeon’s
mind. Perhaps the partial answer might be wide shock belts, similar to those worn by motorcycle stunt riders.
This type of belt would act as a safety belt when fastened to the seat and at the same time an abdominal support
due to its “corset-effect”. This, of course, would not prevent rectal nor “trans-cavity” eviscerations and would
even, presumably, increase their incidence. This suggestion is merely offered as perhaps being worthy of consideration.
The one conclusion that the Flight Surgeon has definitely reached is that our safety belts as they exist today
caused more physical injuries than they prevented in this accident. And they will do so in the future unless
modified. A safety belt must be more than just a thin strap across the lower abdomen. It must be an abdominal
support as well as a body retaining device.
2. Broken Legs
This observation is made because the Flight Surgeon recalls how markedly impressed he was while removing
the remains from the disintegrated aircraft at the striking number of lower leg fractures. This in itself was
perhaps not so astonishing, but as the remains continued to be removed it became increasingly apparent that
all of these lower leg breaks were occurring in practically the identical site, and that was at the junction
of the middle 1/3 and lower 1/3 of the lower leg—(junction of the middle and inferior 1/3 of the tibia and fibulae).
At first this did not upset the Flight Surgeon because he felt the explanation was simple. It could be easily
shown that the breaks were occurring at the top of the combat boots, and thus it was simple to theorize that
the leg was broken at the site which was no longer enclosed by its supporting tube of rough leather. But this
hypothesis was almost immediately discarded. For by no manner nor means did it explain why the fracturing was
occurring in the identical area when the individual had been wearing low quarter shoes and not combat boots.
Many times since then this observer has attempted to find a plausible explanation as to why these legs should
have broken where they did, and why the vast majority of the remains should have exhibited this same type of
fracture. Perhaps this whole thing is unimportant and extraneous as far as this report is concerned, but the
problem and lack of ability to explain it has become almost an obsession to the Flight Surgeon. Why should so
many legs have been broken in the same area regardless of the type of footwear worn?
The one and only cause that the Flight Surgeon can possibly justify is the possibility that the remains with
the broken legs had been sitting on the same side of the aircraft with their legs swung underneath their seats.
At the time of impact the supports holding the seats up were broken, permitting the continuous iron pipe which
makes up the forward-most part of the continuous side-by-side seats to pivot downward, thus catching all of
the legs in the same area and fracturing them. But, this explanation is not satisfactory in the Flight Surgeon’s
mind. It assumes that the men would have their feet swung backward under them, and it’s the Flight Surgeon’s
contention that at such a time their legs would not be in the “swung-back” position, but rather in a position
which would most readily permit them quick access to a supporting or standing position. In the C-124 type aircraft
as in the C-46 type aircraft this position is with the lower legs vertical to the deck and is not with the feet
under the seat. This seems rather a moot point but this observer believes it to be important. With the
legs in a vertical position, even if the seat did pivot downward the legs would not be touched. Since the accident
the Flight Surgeon has had numerous opportunities to observe leg and feet positions in C-124, C-54 and C-46
aircraft during flight.
The point that makes him certain that the accident victims did not have their legs swung back under the seats
was derived from these observations. Firstly, as previous described, the center of gravity will most readily
be obtained with the lower legs in a vertical position to the deck. Secondly, whereas after an aircraft is air-borne
and the flying is routine and the passengers have settled down, they swing their legs back in a relaxed position.
In not one instance did the Flight Surgeon observe legs held in that position during take off nor landing. They
were all in a tensed position, “ready to spring” so to speak (R&R personnel), and that position was with the
lower leg vertical to the deck. And in that position not one leg would have been broken had the forward bar
of the seat fallen down. In other words, when the individual becomes tense, he prepares to brace himself or
to flee. And he cannot do this if his legs are swung back. This Flight Surgeon will never be convinced that
the legs were broken because of the falling seat bar. But, unhappily, he is unable to present a more adequate
explanation to the strikingly identical leg fractures. What is the answer?
As a conclusion to this report the Flight Surgeon has one final observation and recommendation to make. It
pertains to the Air Force Raincoat (nylon).
The Air Force nylon raincoat is absolutely useless as a raincoat. When the sun is shining it’s excellent.
When it’s raining, one might just as well be wearing a sieve or a bathing suit. And to this observer they are
no more efficient after they’ve been water-proofed, as his was. Saying this with due respect and in all seriousness,
the Flight Surgeon feels that they represent a potential health hazard. They tend to give the unwary individual
a psychological sense of protection from inclement weather. Whereas, actually, they are helping to promote a
breakdown of health by keeping the body surrounded by a sponge of dampness and permitting chilling to more easily
occur. This of course, enhances the possibility for respiratory infections to develop. During that miserably
wet afternoon and night of the crash practically as many comments were overheard concerning the worthlessness
of this raincoat as in regards to the crash itself. And, this Flight Surgeon agrees whole-heartedly. Quite frankly,
the cost was a waste of money. It’s just no good when the mist is replaced by rain.
Can we not have an adequate raincoat A.M.C.?
The Flight Surgeon finds that it is now necessary to make one additional comment. He believes it to be an
interesting observation, and certainly one on which action should be taken.
In the compilation and completion of this single crash report the Flight Surgeon was compelled to sign his
name 3,450 times. Necessary signatures were:
1,249 – AF Forms 14-B – Passengers
77 – AF Forms 14-B – Crews
11 – AF Forms 14-A
129 – Photo stats
Figuring two (2) signatures per minute (which is a fair estimate when the time consumed checking over each
group of forms, as the Flight Surgeon felt he should do prior to signing them, is included), the total time
elapsed just in the completion of signatures was 1,725 minutes. This figure converted into hours comes out to
be 28.75 hours. Is the full significance of this grasped? It took 28.75 hours just for the signatures alone
on this report. The Flight Surgeon spent 28.75 hours just signing his name. This amounts to three full duty
days plus 45 minutes of the fourth that are completely lost to the Air Force and everyone concerned. In this
observer’s opinion this is a decided and great loss of man-hours.
Naturally, being the only Flight Surgeon at this base, the normal and routine functions of the Flight Surgeon’s
Office precluded any duty hours being involved in the completion of this task and it was carried to termination
in off-duty hours, but never-the-less, it is still the Flight Surgeon’s contention that this is an unnecessary
waste of man-hours. And it is very definitely a discouraging circumstance to the hapless individual who happens
to be at the “pushing” end of the pen. Believe the Flight Surgeon when he says that it makes one stop and think.
It’s another one of the “little incidental things” that come up in military medicine that makes a young Flight
Surgeon who has seriously been considering a career in military medicine stop and reconsider once again.
This observer says this in utmost sincerity because he personally believes that military medicine, and Aviation
Medicine in particular, is a new frontier in modern medicine and, as such, has much to offer the young medical
man of today. Let us do all we can to help eliminate these unnecessary “little incidental things” wherever and
whenever they can be found. The obvious answer to this may be that this “little incidental thing” of signatures
is of extreme importance. Be that as it may, the military will better be able to “sell” a young doctor debating
about his future that it’s so important that he has to spend 28.75 hours at it. Please accept this criticism
in the spirit in which it is intended. Aviation Medicine is a whole new bright horizon. Let us do everything
in our power to keep that brightness from dimming so that its light will act as a beacon. A light by which the
young medical men can see a future of fulfillment and accomplishment. A light by which the young physicians
can see Aviation Medicine as “their” career.
The Flight Surgeon suggests that the use of a rubber signature stamp would greatly expedite matters. Even
if he has to initial each stamped signature this would still be less time consuming than the system used now.
Some such system can be adopted especially in the case of the accident involving the large volume passenger
carrying aircraft. Perhaps some arbitrary figure should be used such as 40. If an aircraft carrying more than
forty personnel is involved in an accident then the rubber signature stamp may be used. If under 40 personnel,
then the reports must be hand signed. This is merely a suggestion as to a possible solution to this problem,
but, by whatever means, it’s a problem that must be solved.
The Flight Surgeon would have liked to have discussed the problem more thoroughly, but it seems that he has
developed an occupational disease, so called “writer’s cramp”, from signing his name so often, so that he must
now finally and absolutely terminate this report.
It is hoped that some of his observations and recommendations may be of some use in furthering the achievements
and efficiency of the safest and finest Air Force in the world.
Wallace G. Haworth, Captain, USAF (MC) AME
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