Atlantic Ocean – March 15, 1973

Atlantic Ocean – March 15, 1973


     On March 15, 1973, a U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3 Orion with five men aboard left Brunswick Naval Air Station for a routine training flight over the Atlantic Ocean.  While on the flight, the aircraft crashed into the sea about 40 miles south of the air station due to an unknown cause.  Coast Guard and Navy aircraft sent to search for the missing plane reported debris floating on the surface, but no sign of survivors. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Patrol Squadron 10, (VP-10), based at Brunswick.  

     There is a bronze plaque honoring the memory of the crew at the Brunswick Naval Museum at the former Brunswick Naval Air station.

     Those aboard the aircraft were identified as:

     Lt. Cmdr. John E. Boyer of Lewistown, Penn.

     Lt. Grover R. Caloway, age 28, of McGhee, Ark.  To see a photo of Lt. Caloway, see, memorial #132360463.

     Chief Aviation Machinist Mate Jeremiah K. Sullivan, Jr., of York, Penn.

     Machinist 1st Class Wayne C. Clendonning, of Vanceboro, Maine.

     AW2 Reginald Lee Walker, of Bristol, Ind.   To see a photo of AW2 Reginald Walker go to, memorial# 147983699.


     Providence Journal, “5 Are Believed dead In Crash Of Navy Plane”, March 16, 1973, page 22.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Navy Hunts 5 Lost In Sea Crash”, March 16, 1973, page 8.

     Providence Sunday Journal, “Navy Ends Search”, March 18, 1973, page B-7

Rockland, ME – April 28, 1944

Rockland, Maine – April 28, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On April 28, 1944, Ensign Kenneth C. McKay, age 22, was killed while piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42238), on a gunnery training flight over Rockland, Maine.  The crash occurred about 300 yards north of the Naval Auxiliary Air Field. 

     Source: U.S. navy Accident Report

Off Cape Porpoise, ME. – May 4, 1944

Off Cape Porpoise, Maine – May 4, 1944


U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

On May 4, 1944, Ensign William Donald Larson was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41489), on a glide-bombing training flight off the coast of Cape Porpoise, Maine.  While flying in the #2 position in a column following the flight leader, Ensign Larson entered into his first dive-run from an altitude of 6,000 feet. While making his dive, he was killed when his aircraft plunged into the water an disappeared.  Approximately twenty minutes later an oil slick and some pieces of flotsam were seen on the surface of the water in the area where his plane went in.  

     Ensign Larson was assigned to VF-44.

     To see a picture of Ensign Larson, go to, memorial #75446469. 


     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-13810   

Brunswick Naval Air Station – April 14, 1952

Brunswick Naval Air Station – April 14, 1952

Brunswick, Maine


P2V Neptune U.S. Air Force Photo

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 14, 1952, a U.S. Navy, twin-engine, P2V Neptune, (Bu. No. 124255), took off from Brunswick Naval Air Station with a crew of ten men aboard.  Shortly after take off one engine failed, and the pilot made an attempt to return to the base.  Heavy fog shrouded the area, and the aircraft missed its first approach and circled around for a second try.  As the pilot was making his second approach the other engine began running erratically and the Neptune crashed into some trees near the end of the runway.   Five men in the tail section were killed when it ripped away during the crash.  The seriously injured co-pilot was trapped in his seat as the plane caught fire, and was rescued by the pilot, who received burns to his arms and face.  Three others escaped. 

     The dead were identified as:

     AO1 Walter N. Polen, Jr., 26, of Alden, New York.  He’s buried in Lancaster Rural Cemetery in Lancaster, Penn.  (See, Memorial #20695271.)

     ALC Sherman L. Moore, Jr., 36, of Oakland, California.  He’s buried in Santa Rose Odd Fellows Cemetery in Santa Rosa, California.  (See, Memorial #75725570.)

     AL3 Oscar Krampf, 25, of New York.  He’s buried in Greenwich Cemetery in Greenwich, New York.  He died 12 days shy of his 26th birthday.  (See, Memorial #50634823.)

     AOAN George W. Thompson, Jr., 26, of Stevenson, Alabama.  He’s buried in Price Cemetery in Hollywood, Alabama. (See, Memorial #24417218.)

     AO3 Robert L. Schafer of Berlin Center, Ohio.  (No further info.)

     The co-pilot, Lt. Jg. Frederick C. Sachse, Jr., 39, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, died of his injuries eleven days later on April 25, 1952.  He’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. (See, Memorial#91460650.)        

     Those who survived were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lt. Jg. Thomas N. Pole of Hackettstown, New Jersey.

     (Navigator) Lt. Jg. Edward G. Buck of Miskogee, Oklahoma.

     ADC Raymond R. Fussell of Auburn, Maine, and Pineapple, Alabama.

     AT3 Jacob G. Karl of New Brunswick, New Jersey.  

     The Brunswick Naval Air Station was in operation from 1943 to 1946, and from 1951 to 2010.


     New York Times, “5 In Navy Plane Die In Crash In Maine”, April 15, 1952

     (Utah) The Deseret News, “Navy Pilot Hero Of Plane Crash At Maine Base”, April 15, 1952

     VPNAVY – VP-11 Mishaps Summary Page,

     Wikipedia – Brunswick Naval Air Station

Kench Mountain, ME – April 11, 1961

Kench Mountain, Maine – April 11, 1961

 Dedham, Maine    

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Fighters U.S. Air Force Photo

McDonnell F-101 Voodoo Fighters
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On April 10, 1961, two F-101B Voodoo fighter jets took off from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, on an intercept mission to identify an unknown aircraft which had appeared on radar.  After completing the intercept, both aircraft set a course back to Dow.  By this time it was after midnight, and the jets flew in a driving rain with zero visibility.  At about 1:00 a.m., one of the F-101’s, (#57-0401), crashed into the top of Kench Mountain, a hill just south of Bald Mountain, in the town of Dedham.  Both the pilot and radar observer were killed. 

     The crew was identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Vernal W. Johnson, 27, of Bangor, Maine.  He was survived by his wife Deanna and two sons.  He’s buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

     (Radar Observer) 1st Lt. Edward C. Masaitis, Jr., 27, of Brewer, Maine.  He was survived by his wife Barbra Ann, and his son and daughter.   He’s buried in St. Teresa Cemetery in Summit, New Jersey.  

     Both men were assigned to the 75th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Dow AFB.


     Bangor Daily News, “Air Force Jet Smacked Into A Dedham Hill On A Dark And Rainy Night”, January 1, 1997, memorial numbers 115784815, and 130206171

     Maine Aviation Historical Society, Dirigo Flyer, “Kench Mountain F-101B Crash Hike”, Vol. IV, No. 7, July, 1996. 


Dow Air Force Base – September 20, 1955

Dow Air Force Base – September 20, 1955

Bangor, Maine 

     On September 20, 1955, a U.S. Air Force KD-97 tanker-refueling aircraft crash landed and burst into flames at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine.  Five of the twelve crewmen aboard were injured, but none critically.  All escaped the burning aircraft, the smoke from which was seen for miles.  Two base firemen were also injured fighting the blaze, but not seriously.    

     The aircraft was assigned to the 341st Air refueling Squadron, part of the 4060th Air Refueling Wing stationed at Dow. 

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, “Aerial Tanker Crashes, burns At Dow Base”, September 21, 1955.  

Dow Air Force Base – September 9, 1960

Dow Air Force Base – September 9, 1960

Bangor, Maine 

     On Friday, September 9, 1960, six  U.S. Air Force F-100 Super Sabres, all belonging to the famous Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic flight team, left Pease Air Force Base in Newington, New Hampshire, for Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine, to take part in the Downeast Air Fair being held that weekend.  When the jets arrived they made two passes in formation around the field before peeling off to land one at a time.  As one of the F-100s came down on the runway, its landing gear suddenly collapsed.  The aircraft skidded on its belly across the runway, then across a taxi way, before coming to rest in a ditch.  There was no fire, and the pilot was not hurt.     

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, Thunderbird In Dow Base Crash”, September 10, 1960

Dow Air Force Base – May 26, 1949

Dow Air Force Base – May 26, 1949

Bangor, Maine


F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 26, 1949, an Air Force F-84B Thunderjet, (#45-59537), was returning to Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, due to an onboard fire.  The plane crash landed in a wooded area next to the field, smashing its way through 100 feet of brush and small trees before erupting in flame.  The pilot managed to escape unharmed. 

     The pilot was identified by the press as being 2nd Lt. Albert H. Bull, 22, of Verbank, New York, assigned to the 49th Fighter Squadron at Dow AFB.   

     Source: Lewiston Daily Sun, “Dow Air Base Pilot Survives Jet Crash”, May 27, 1949    

4.5 Miles West of Amherst, ME – April 22, 1948

4.5 miles West Of Amherst, ME – April 22, 1948 



F-84 Thunderjet - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-84 Thunderjet – U.S. Air Force Photo

     At 1:55 p.m. on April 22, 1948, a USAF P-84B Thunderjet, (#45-59580), piloted by 1st Lt. Herbert F. Hawes, Jr., 27, departed from Dow Air Force Base for what was to be a local transition flight.  At some point during the high altitude flight, Lt. Hawes was blown off course.  The reason, according to the Air Force investigation report, may have been due to strong high-altitude winds, for the report stated in part: “Winds aloft for the general area, at altitudes the mission was flown, were reported as being from a westerly direction and varying from 39 to 62 miles per hour.”   

     At approximately 2:45 p.m., Lt. Hawes contacted Dow tower and requested a homer bearing.  He was advised to switch to “F” channel for further instructions. 

     At 3:00 p.m., he was given a heading of 273 degrees.  Eight minutes later he asked the tower for a recheck as he was still uncertain of his position, and advised he was beginning to run low on fuel.  Successive headings were given at three to five minute intervals.

     At 3:20 p.m., Lt. Hawes reported his altitude to be 26,000 feet with 60 gallons of fuel remaining, and asked Dow tower how far he was from the base.  Dow tower replied that by their estimate he was fifty miles out. 

     At 3:36 p.m. Lt. Hawes advised that he was still unable to orient himself to his location.  At that time he was given a course correction to 276 degrees. 

    Ten minutes later Lt. Hawes had descended to 16,000 feet and found himself over Deblois airstrip in Deblois, Maine, with 25 gallons of fuel remaining.   At about that time Hawes was in contact with a captain who was piloting another P-84 in the vicinity. Hawes asked him for advice, and the captain advised to “throttle back to idling fuel pressure and establish a glide of 170 mph.”

     Lt. Hawes also contacted Dow tower and asked for instructions, and was advised to attempt to make it back to Dow AFB, which is about 40 miles distant from Deblois. 

    Another captain piloting a P-84 in the area contacted Hawes and advised him to attempt to land at Deblois, but Lt. Hawes elected to head for Dow AFB instead. 

     At 3:58 p.m., while still about 19 miles east of Dow AFB, Lt. Hawes reported he was now out of fuel and was going down.  Instead of bailing out, he elected to remain with the aircraft and aimed towards a small open field amidst hilly and wooded terrain.  With no engine with which to guide the aircraft, he crashed about one mile short of the field and was killed.    

     The crash was witnessed by the P-84 pilot who had advised Lt. Hawes to attempt an emergency  landing at Deblois airstrip. 

     The “P” in the P-84 aircraft designation stood for “pursuit”.  The designation was later changed to “F” as in F-84, which stands for “fighter”.  The P-84 and the F-84, were essentially the same aircraft.    

     At the time of this accident Lt. Hawes was assigned to the 14th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Squadron, then based at Dow AFB in Bangor, Maine.  This was the first fatal accident for the 49th FS since its activation on December 21, 1946. 

     Lt. Hawes is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery at West Point.


     Report Of Special Investigation Of Aircraft Accident Involving P-84B, No. 45-59580. 

     The Hangman’s News, (The Official Publication Of The 49th Fighter Squadron Association), “From Props To Jets Part 4 – 1 Apr. 1948 To 30 June 1948”, by Paul Scoskie, September 2008, Vol. 6, Issue 3. , memorial #41509101.          



Atlantic Ocean, ME – February 2, 1943

Atlantic Ocean, Maine – February 2, 1943


WWII Civil Air Patrol Insignia

WWII Civil Air Patrol Insignia

     On the morning of February 2, 1943, a Civil Air Patrol airplane with two men aboard took off from Trenton, Maine, for a routine patrol flight off the Maine coast.  Shortly after 9:00 a.m. the aircraft developed engine trouble and the pilot was forced to ditch in the sea about 45 miles off Brunswick.  

     The pilot, 1st Lt. William B. Hites, 30, of Jamestown, New York, and the flight officer/observer, 1st Lt. Welles L. Bishop, 34, of Meriden, Connecticut, were able to escape from the plane before it sank.  Another aircraft radioed their position to a shore control station, but rough seas made rescue operations difficult.  Although both men wore life-vests and waterproof coveralls, they perished before help could reach them.    

     Both men were survived by their wives.

     Update July 15, 2016

     In 1970, twenty-seven years after the crash, Lt. Welles L. Bishop was posthumously honored by the town of Meridian and the Connecticut Civil Air Patrol during ceremonies marking the 29th anniversary of the establishment of the national Civil Air Patrol, (Dec. 1, 1941).  


     Bangor Daily News, “2 CAP Officers Killed On Duty Off Maine Coast”, February 3, 1943

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Two Fliers Killed Off Maine Coast”, February 3, 1943

     The Morning Record, “Meridian Pilot Lost In War To Be Honored”, November 13, 1970.

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