Topics - Airplane Crashes

 
Close this window
 

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: October 3, 2013.

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.

Page Contents:


Back to Page Contents

Brief Details

  • 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

Back to Page Contents

Investigation Statements

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 engines."

Back to Page Contents

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."

Back to Page Contents

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."

Back to Page Contents

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."

Back to Page Contents

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 off duty."

Back to Page Contents

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."

Back to Page Contents

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."

Back to Page Contents

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 degrees.

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."

Back to Page Contents

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."


Back to Page Contents

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.


Back to Page Contents

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.

Back to Page Contents

Global Security.Org

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 inventory.

Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/c-124.htm


Back to Page Contents

Remembrances

Back to Page Contents

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.


Back to Page Contents

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.”


Back to Page Contents

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


Back to Page Contents

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.


Back to Page Contents

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.


Back to Page Contents

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 wrote:

"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 page.

Kickstarter

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 in action.

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: jimescalle@gmail.com.  See also,
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563031574/unforgotten-hero &
http://unforgottenhero.blogspot.com/


Back to Page Contents

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 met.

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 of war.

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 Culver Groves.


Warren R. Pool
(Click pix for a larger view)


Back to Page Contents

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
January 1951

(Click picture for a larger view)

Narcisco Gutierrez Jr.
(Click picture for a larger view)

Back to Page Contents

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 Church.

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 Gorham.

Pallbearers were James Guin, Glyn Guin, G. W. Jones, David McCartney, Walter Ross, Buddy Foster, M. J. Foster, and Manson Howard.


Back to Page Contents

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 Ken Mayo.

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.- Mike Perry


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 hearts.

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.


Back to Page Contents

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 Nute Grange.

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 to offer.

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 old.

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 preservation.

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., South End
  • 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., Springfield
  • Private First Class Sherman C. Canney, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor C. Canney of Milton, N.H.
  • Airman Third Class Raymond H. Peloquin, husband of Mrs. Theresa Peloquin of Mason St., Woonsocket, R.I.
  • 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 Hartford, Conn.

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 in August.

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.”

In Memoriam

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
(Click a small picture for a larger view.  If you want, click the first picture, or any picture, and sit back and watch a slideshow... pictures will automatically change in 10 seconds.)

Back to Page Contents

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."


(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

Back to Page Contents

Thurman "Joe" Howerton - in remembrance of Ulrich Myller


Ulrich Myller and Parents 1952
(Click picture for a larger view)

"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."


Back to Page Contents

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.


(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

(Click picture for a larger view)

Back to Page Contents

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 him!


Back to Page Contents

Passenger List

[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@koreanwar-educator.org.]

  • Adkins, Robert C. - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970
  • 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.
  • Anderson, Donald J. - 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Basham, James R. - 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.
  • 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, North Carolina.
  • 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, IA; and a brother, George, also of Madrid.
  • Bell, Earl H. - Private First Class Bell was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation Construction Battalion.  He was 72 inches tall and weighed 152 pounds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Burke, James E. - Private First Class Burke was a member of Company B, 802nd Engineer Aviation Construction Battalion. He was 75 inches tall and weighed 195 pounds.
  • 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 Battalion.

  • Robert & Doris Bushong
    Wedding Day

    (Click picture for a larger view)

    Bushong, Robert - 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, PA.  His wife later married Wilbur Neff, and they had two sons, David & Phillip. Doris passed away several years ago. Wilbur is still alive, and he has now remarried. Wilbur never tried to sever ties with the Bushong family. Robert's nephew Steve Troutman was in his early teens before he discovered how Dave and Phil were "cousins".  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.
  • 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.
  • Carforio, Louis V. - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970.  He was 65 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds.
  • Case, James W. - 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.
  • 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 L. - 12th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970. First Lieutenant Church was a crew member of a F-86F Sabrejet fighter with the 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th Fighter Bomber Wing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Croff, Robert E. - Staff Sergeant Croff was a member of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, U.S. Air Force.  He was 67 inches tall and weighed 133 pounds.

  • Raymond Cross

    Cross, Raymond - Corporal Cross was a member of the 51st Installation Squadron, U.S. Air Force. From Philadelphia, PA, he was born on December 27, 1933.  He was 70 inches tall and weighed 164 pounds.

  • Crough, James N. Jr. - "C" Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970.  PFC Crough was 72 inches tall and weighed 159 pounds.
  • 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, CA.
  • 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 - 219th Ftr Intcp Sq APO 970.  Airman Second Class Ferguson was 67 inches tall and weighed 154 pounds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hallas, Robert E. - 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.
  • Hamilton, Albert R. Jr. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970 - "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hora, August W. - Corporal Hora was a member of the 662nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company.
  • 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, Virginia.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 1949.

    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 Company.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, he is buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery, Mukwonago, Wisconsin.
  • 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 Construction Battalion.
  • 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.
  • 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.  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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mouton, Raoul P. Jr. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970.  A 2nd Lieutenant, he was 72 inches tall and weighed 145 pounds.
  • Myller, Ulrich - "C" Co. Hq 802d Eng Avn. Bn. APO 970.  Second Lieutenant Myller was 65 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds.  He is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, California.
  • 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.
  • Nellermoe, Dale L. - 8th Sup Sq APO 970.  Airman First Class Nellermoe was 68 inches tall and weighed 149 pounds.


    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.
  • 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, Rhode Island.
  • Pool, Warren Randolph - 622d Engr Avn Maint Co APO 970.  He was also a World War II veteran.  Born July 19, 1921, he is buried in Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Powell, Archie L. Jr. - 51st Comm Sq APO 970.  Airman Second Class.  Born in Oconee County, South Carolina.

    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.


    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.
  • Schaeffer, Warren J. - 35th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970.  M/Sgt. Schaeffer was 67 1/2 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds.
  • Schrock, David A. - 80th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970.  Airman Second Class Schrock was 67 1/2 inches tall and weighed 137 pounds.
  • 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, Ohi, 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.
  • Smith, Burton Burton - 919th Engr Avn Maint Co. APO 970.  He was born December 1, 1933.  There are two references to his place of burial: Oakwood Cemetery, Red Wing, Minnesota and Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery, Hay Creek, Minnesota.
  • Smith, Charles C. - "A" Co Hq 802d Engr Avn Bn APO 970
  • Sorrento, Nicholas S. - 8th Sup Sq APO 970.  Airman Second Class Sorrento was 69 inches tall and weighed 143 pounds.
  • Stacy, William P. - Pilot, 36th Ftr Bmr Sq APO 970.  A 2nd Lieutenant, he was 70 inches tall and weighed 168 pounds.
  • Staring, John H. - 18th Fighter Bomber Wg APO 970.  Captain Staring was 72 inches tall and weighed 180 pounds. 
  • 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, Ohio.
  • 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. Oriey Sturdevant, Route S, Napoleon, Ohio.
  • Taft, George C. - 78th AAA Gun Bn APO 970 (SCARWAF).  Born March 26, 1931, he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
  • Tartaglione, Samuel J. - 8th Comm Sq APO 970.  Airman Third Class Tartaglione was 64 inches tall and weighed 202 pounds.
  • 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.
  • 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, Virginia.
  • 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 War.
  • 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.
  • 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 Omiya.

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)

Observations:

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?

Recommendations:
  1. 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.

Passenger Decks:

Observations:

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.?

Reverse Seating:

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.

Identification:

Observations:

(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.

Recommendations:

(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:

Observations:

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 future identifications.

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.

1. Evisceration:

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).

Observation:

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.

Recommendation:

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


Back to Page Contents

Photo Gallery

(Click a picture for a larger view)

 

Back to Page Contents

Readers' Comments

Vernon Copeland (10/12/2011)

"I was with the USAF stationed in Korea in 1953.  On the 18th of June 1953 I was scheduled to fly back to Korea from Japan.  I had been attending a school at Fuchu AFB not far from Tachikawa.  I went to Tachikawa on the 18th to fly back to Korea, and I had a seat reserved on the ill-fated flight.  I reported in early to the flight ops center and when I arrived they told me that they had another plane scheduled to leave for Korea earlier than the C-124, and would I like to take the earlier flight.  I said yes, and took the flight.  When I arrived in Korea, the fellow that came to meet me was at the airfield and was all shook up when he saw me because he had assumed that I had been killed on the ill-fated C-124.

Since the C-124 was booked full, and since I made one extra seat by taking the earlier flight, someone must have been on that flight in my place who took the last available seat.  I have always wondered who that might have been.  Is there any way that I can determine who that unfortunate person was?  Is there a chronological list of the manifest for the flight?  Just wondering. - Vernon Copeland"


Close this window
 

© 2002-2014 Korean War Educator. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of material is prohibited.

- Contact Webmaster with questions or comments related to web site layout.
- Contact Lynnita for Korean War questions or similar informational issues.
- Website address: www.koreanwar-educator.org
 

Hit Counter