Granby, MA. – February 1, 1965

Granby, Massachusetts – February 1, 1965

 

F-86 Sabre – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On February 1, 1965, a flight of three Massachusetts Air National Guard F-86 Sabre jets left Tampa, Florida, to return to Barnes Airport  in Westfield, Massachusetts, after completing aerial gunnery training.  As the aircraft entered the New England area they encountered a snowstorm and were diverted to Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  There, the three planes circled the Westover Field area for about fifteen minutes, according to a husband and wife who lived Granby, Massachusetts, a town to the northeast of Chicopee.  As they watched the planes, one was seen to crash and explode in a gravel pit located in a wooded area, about 1,000 feet from the nearest home.  The witnesses said it was still snowing heavily at the time of the accident.  

     The downed aircraft had been piloted by Major James Romanowicz, age 45, of the 104th Tactical Fighter Group of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.   Major Romanowicz was a veteran aviator, having served as an army pilot during World War II.   He’s buriend in Gethsemane Cemetery in Athol, Massachusetts.

     Sources:

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Pilot Killed By Jet Crash In Mass. Town”, Date unknown.

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #89990193

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