Troy, New Hampshire – July 15, 1951
On the morning of July 15, 1951, 1st Lt. Alfred J. Tobias, and Captain Macsata, of the 101st Fighter Interceptor Group assigned to Grenier Air Force base in Manchester, New Hampshire, began their shift as alert pilots.
At 12:41 p.m., they were scrambled for an intercept flight, and took off in separate F-47 aircraft. (Lt. Tobias was flying A.C. #44-8976A) After intercepting “friendly” aircraft over the Newburyport, Massachusetts, area, they intercepted other aircraft over the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, vicinity.
(The F-47 was the Air Force designation of the P-47 Thunderbolt used by the Army Air Force during WWII.)
At approximately 1:25 p.m., while still in the air, the officers were directed to climb to 20,000 feet and intercept a training flight of P-51 Mustangs over southern New Hampshire. Both Lt. Tobias and Capt. Macsata climbed to altitude, and at 1:45 p.m. reported they were at 19,500 feet. Sighting the flight of P-51’s, Capt. Macsata directed Lt. Tobias to bring his position “line abreast” of the formation to which Lt. Tobias acknowledged. Both aircraft then went through a series of short maneuvers after which Lt. Tobias’ aircraft began to dive towards the ground. Capt. Macsata tried calling to the lieutenant but go no response. Lt. Tobias’s plane continued downward in an estimated 80 to 85 degree angle before it crashed and exploded.
The destruction of the aircraft was so catastrophic that investigators were unable to examine the wreckage for possible mechanical malfunctions. It was theorized that there may have been a problem with the plane’s oxygen system.
Lt. Tobias was a veteran of WWII, and earned his pilot’s wings on August 4, 1944. He’s buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Bound Brook, New Jersey.
Air Force Aircraft Accident Investigation Report, #51-7-15-2
www.findagrave.com, Memorial #133058356