Atlantic Ocean – November 20, 1952

Atlantic Ocean – November 20, 1952

70 miles south-east of Block island

    

P2V Neptune U.S. Air Force Photo

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     In the early morning hours of November 20, 1952, a two navy P2V Neptunes from Quonset Point Naval Air Station were taking part in an anti-submarine warfare exercise off Block Island with the submarine USS Piper, (SS-409), and the navy tug, USS Hopi, (AFT-71). 

     Shortly after 4:00 a.m. the two planes rendezvoused over the Jamestown Bridge in Narragansett Bay, and headed for the operational area about 70 miles off Block Island.  One planes was piloted by Lieut. Alvin S. Hibbs, and the other by Lt. Cmdr. Noble R. Kean. (Bu. No. 124242) 

     Hibbs later told investigators, “Commander Kean was behind me a mile or so, and we carried on radio chit-chat.  He said all the other men were in very high spirits over the radio.  We arrived at the operating area a half hour later and circled for awhile, and then endeavored to make radar contact with out target.  There were two targets visible by radar, and I investigated on while Commander Kean investigated the other.” 

     Hibbs found his “target” and after making two “runs” on it he tried to contact Kean by radio, but couldn’t.  Then the submarine and tug tried to make contact and were unsuccessful.

     Hibbs flew over Kean’s last known position and found two smoke lights and debris on the water’s surface. The smoke lights had apparently broken free of the wreck and were automatically activated.   The tug arrived in the area and collected some of the debris, but found no sign of the crew.  

     One of the last to see the missing aircraft was Lieut. Herbert C. Taft, who was aboard the submarine Piper when Kean’s Neptune passed over.  “I observed the aircraft going across our bow on his run. I observed no malfunctioning of the aircraft and received no notification by radio that anything was wrong.  I followed his flight out for approximately four or five miles.” 

     At that point the lights on the Neptune,  “indicated it was making a right banking turn.”     

     “Shortly thereafter”, Taft went on, “we heard a dull thud.  Because there was no indication of an explosion and no flash, this particular noise worried me, so I went below and tried to contact the aircraft to no avail.”

     The cause of the crash could not be determined.

     The dead were identified as:

     Lt. Comdr. Noble R. Kean, 34, a native of Evanston, Ill. He was survived by his wife Sarah.

     Lt. Thomas J. Tiernan, 28, of Wickford, R.I.

     Aviation Mechanic 2c John R. Quirk, 27, of Lavelle, Penn. He was married just twelve days earlier on November 8, to Miss Constance Lussier of West Warwick, R.I.

     Aviation Ordnance Man 2c George A. Buehler, 22, of Nekoosa, Wis. He too was recently married on October 4 to Miss Irene Carvalho of West Warwick.

     Lt. Seymour A. Moyl, 26, of Bronx, N.Y.

     Aviation Electronics Man 1c Roland O. Eades, 29, of Indiana.

     Seaman Salvatore A. Coia, 21, of Rome, N.Y.

     Seaman Joseph A. gray, 20, Bronx, N.Y.

     Sources:

     Providence Journal, “Bomber Plunges Into Atlantic Off Block Island”, November 21, 1952, Pg. 1

     Providence Journal, “Quonset pilot Described Crash As Observed From Submarine”, November 21, 1952 

       

        

         

 

         

Block Island Sound – September 4, 1951

Block Island Sound – September 4, 1951

    

P2V Neptune U.S. Air Force Photo

P2V Neptune
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On September 4, 1951, a navy P2v-3 Neptune, (Bu. No. 122978) took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station with seven men aboard to take part in an exercise with a submarine in the waters between Block Island and Montauk Point, Long Island, N.Y.  

     According to one eyewitness account, “The plane showed evidence of being in distress.  Then it suddenly plunged, struck the water and exploded.” 

  

      The plane was assigned to Patrol Squadron 5, (VP-5) tasked with locating submarines using sophisticated electronics.

     The plane crashed about 30 miles east of Montauk Point. (71-42W, 40-30N) 

     The cause of the accident was not determined.  All seven men aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     Lt. Cmdr. Jerome J. Rossillion, 32, Jacksonville NAS.

     Lt. Herschell B. Thorpe, 30, Jacksonville, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Technician Charles G. Chapman, 21, Malden, Mass. 

     Chief Aviation Machinist Charles L. Cook, 32, Yukon, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Operator Ralph R. Maxfield, 29, Jacksonville, Fla.

     Aviation Electronics Operator Frank M. Roeder Jr., 21, St. Louis, Mo.

     Aviation Ordinance Man Kenneth G. Peterson, 26, Jacksonville, Fla.   

     According to naval authorities, the plane had been at Quonset for two weeks, and had left about an hour before the accident.

     Source: Pawtucket Times, “Quonset Plane Crashes, 7 Die” September 5, 1951, Pg. 1

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