Topics - Stateside Tragedies

Tragedies that Occurred Stateside
During the Korean War

 
While over 33,000 American lives were lost in the Korean combat zone, lives were also being lost stateside during the Korean War.  Click on the links below to learn about these tragedies.
 
  • Sinking of the USS Benevolence - California - Just offshore at San Francisco, California, the hospital ship USS Benevolence was rammed by the freighter Mary Luckenbach.  There were 23 fatalities, including one Navy nurse.  There were 505 survivors.  The sinking occurred on August 25, 1950.
     
  • Troop Train Wreck - Coshocton, Ohio - When the Spirit of St. Louis train collided with PX5444West, a Pennsylvania National Guard troop train, 33 Pennsylvania National Guardsmen lost their lives and 67 others were injured.  The wreck occurred on a foggy morning on September 11, 1950 in Coshocton County, Ohio.  All of the fatalities were from Pennsylvania.
     
  • Collision of the Thomas Tracy and USS Valcour - Virginia - Near Cape Henry, the USS Valcour was passing the collier Thomas Tracy when the two vessels collided on May 14, 1951.  A fierce fire broke out on the Valcour when a fuel tank was ruptured.  No one on the Thomas Tracy was injured, but there were 11 dead, 16 injured, and 25 missing (later presumed dead) on the USS Valcour.
     
  • Globemaster Crash - Indiana - A huge Globemaster C-124 crashed near New Castle, Indiana on May 23, 1951 when two of its four propellers reversed pitch, causing the plane to lose altitude.  There were seven fatalities and five survivors in the crash.
     
  • Launch Capsize - Rhode Island - Eighteen men were drowned in Narragansett Bay on May 24, 1951, when a Nor'easter caused the water to churn, swamp the launch, and capsize the vessel.  On the launch were 159 men who were returning from liberty.  All struggled for their lives in the water until rescue. (PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
     
  • Globemaster Crash - Alaska - On its way to Korea, a Globemaster C-124 crashed into Knik Glacier east of Anchorage on November 22, 1952.  The bodies of all 52 persons on the massive plane were lost under snow until they were re-discovered in 2012.
     
  • Globemaster Crash - Washington - Some say it was pilot error and others say it was mechanical failure that caused this C-124 to crash five miles northeast of Moses Lake, Washington on December 20, 1952.  One of the worst air tragedies of its time, 82 passengers and 5 crew members were killed.  There were only 28 survivors.
     
  • Pontoon Raft Capsize - North Carolina - On September 2, 1953, 40 trainees with the 406th Engineer Training Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina were given a demonstration ride aboard an engineer pontoon raft on a nearby lake when the raft capsized. Twenty trainees drowned.
     
  • Leyte Explosion - Boston Naval Shipyard - Thirty-seven men were killed by an explosion and fire aboard the USS Leyte CVS32 on October 16, 1953.  The ship was under conversion to a CVS when an explosion occurred in the port catapult machinery room.  It took four hours to extinguish the fire.  Twenty-eight others were also injured.
     
  • Bennington Explosion - Nantucket Island - The forward third of the USS Bennington suffered the brunt of an explosion or series of explosions that occurred on May 26, 1954 in the Atlantic Ocean not far from Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.  It is believed the explosions were caused by hydraulic fluid in the ship's catapults.  There were 104 deaths and injury to 139 others.
 

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