New Marlboro, MA. – May 12, 1965

New Marlboro, MA. – May 12, 1965

     On May 12, 1965, two F-100 fighter aircraft of the Connecticut Air National Guard took off from Bradley Field n Winsor Locks, Connecticut, on what was described in the press as an “Air Defense Command mission”.   As both aircraft were passing over the town of New Marlboro, Massachusetts, one was seen to suddenly fall out of formation and crash in a thickly wooded area off Route 57 in New Marlboro.  The resulting fire reportedly burned five acres.   

     The cause of the accident was not given.

     Both crewmen aboard the downed aircraft were killed. They were identified as Captain Carl E. Beck, 31, of East Granby, Connecticut, and 2nd Lieutenant Robert E. Raeder, 24, of Millbrook, New York.  Both men were assigned to the 118th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Connecticut ANG.      

     The accident was witnessed by Lt. Raeder’s wife who happened to be visiting New Marlboro at the time.  

     Sources:

     New London Day, “Wife Watches As Husband Is Killed In Jet”, May 13, 1965 

     www.findagrave.com, memorial #125802944 – shows photo of Lt. Raeder and newspaper article “Millbrook Man Dies As His Wife Watches Guard Plane Crash”.

Windsor Locks, CT – June 15, 1947

Windsor Locks, Connecticut – June 15, 1947

    

P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On June 15, 1947, Captain William H. Greenleaf, piloting a P-47N, (#44-89106) took off from Bradley Field in Windsor Locks with seven other P-47 aircraft for a simulated combat training mission.  After the aircraft formed up over Bradley Field at 5,000 feet they split into two flights of four aircraft each, and each flight took turns making simulated attacks against the other.  

     When it was their turn, the group in which Captain Greenleaf was part of, climbed to 7,500 feet and made three successive mock attacks against the other group which was circling below at 5,000 feet.  After making two mock runs without incident, they climbed again for a third.  It was during this third mock attack that Captain Greenleaf’s aircraft never came out of the dive, and crashed at a step angle in a wooded area where it exploded and burned about 1/4 mile south of Bradley Field.     

     Capt. Greenleaf was killed instantly.

     Investigators were unable to determine the cause of the accident. 

     Captain Greenleaf was assigned to the 118th Fighter Squadron, 103rd Fighter Group, of the Connecticut Air National Guard.

     Source: Army Air Force Crash Investigation Report, # 47-6-15-1   

   

Bloomfield, CT – May 24, 1949

Bloomfield, Connecticut – May 24, 1949

    

P-47 Thunderbolt - U.S. Air Force Photo

P-47 Thunderbolt – U.S. Air Force Photo

     On May 5, 1949, two F-47N fighter planes of the Connecticut Air National Guard took off from Bradley Field for a training flight.  One aircraft, (#44-89346) was piloted by 1st Lt. Marshall J. O’Quinn, 30, and the other by Lt. Russell B. Elliott.    

     The F-47 was the designation given to the former P-47 Thunderbolt used extensively by the allies during World War II.  By 1949 they had been relegated to National Guard units. 

     At about 6:00 p.m., Lieutenant’s O’Quinn and Elliott were flying at 3,000 feet about 2 miles due west of Talcott Mountain, heading north.  Lt. Elliott was leading with Lt. O’Quinn on his left wing.  At this time Lt. Elliott made a 180 degree turn and began heading south, while Lt. O’Quinn turned east towards Bradley Filed.  Lt. O’Quinn’s radio had stopped working about five minutes earlier, and believing he was returning to Bradley due to some other malfunction with the airplane, Lt. Elliott turned to follow.   

     The airplanes passed over Heublein Tower atop Talcott Mountain with Lt. Elliott trailing and continued in a northeast direction.  Then Lt. O’Quinn made a shallow 360 degree turn at an altitude between 1,500 and 2,000 feet.  After completion of the turn, he climbed to 3,000 feet and rolled the F-47 on its back and went into a split-S maneuver pulling streamers from each wingtip.  Lt. Elliott watched as Lt. Quinn’s aircraft dove all the way down then level off just before it crashed.  Lt. O’Quinn was killed instantly. 

     Air force investigators were at a loss to explain the accident.  In their conclusions they wrote, “All reports and information concerning this pilot indicate that he was a steady conscientious individual not inclined toward rash and erratic handling of aircraft.  The reason for the maneuver which caused this crash is unknown.”   

     Lt. O’Quinn was a veteran of WWII, and received his pilot’s wings on April 15, 1945.  At the time of his accident he was assigned to the 118th Fighter Squadron, 103rd Fighter Group, 67th Fighter Wing, of the 1st Air Force.  

     He’s buried in East Cemetery in Manchester, Connecticut, in the veteran’s section.  To view a photo of his grave, go to www.findagrave.com and see Memorial # 1374190.

     Sources:

     Air Force Crash Investigation Report, #49-5-24-6

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial # 1374190 

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