Boston/Mattapan – November 1, 1944
The following incident involves self-sacrifice and dedication to duty. The unknown pilot truly deserves to be called, “an officer and a gentleman”.
On the evening of November 1, 1944, a navy Hellcat pilot out of Squantum Naval Air Station was on a training flight over Boston when his airplane developed engine trouble. After alerting Squantum of the situation, he radioed, “I don’t want to bail out, some civilian might be hurt if the plane crashed. I’m going to try to pancake it in a pond down below.” With that he dumped the plane’s ammo and set the sputtering Hellcat on a glide. Ahead he saw the Neponset River in the Mattapan section of Boston and aimed for it. As he neared the ground he skimmed over several roof tops before catching a wing in some trees and crashed in a marshy section along the river where the plane burst into flames. The pilot did not survive.
Unfortunately, although the navy gave credit to the pilot, his name was not released, presumably pending notification of kin.
The Milwaukee Journal, (United Press) “Stays With Plane To Spare Civilians, Navy Flier Killed”, November 2, 1944.