Loring Air Force Base – November 22, 1958

Loring Air Force Base – November 22, 1958

 

RB-47E Stratojet
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On November 22, 1958, a U. S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet, (Ser. No. 51-2199), crashed and burned during takeoff from Loring Air Force Base, killing all four crewmen aboard.  The aircraft was assigned to the 321st Bomb Wing stationed at McCory AFB in Florida.  The aircraft and its crew had been at Loring for a few days as part of a training exercise.   

     As the B-47 appeared to be making a normal takeoff, but when it reached an altitude of about 40-50 feet it was seen to veer to the right and go down in a swamp area about 1,000 feet off the end of the runway and explode on impact. 

     The crew was identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain Robert L. Shaffer, (37)

     (Co-Pilot) 1st Lt. Melvin H. Shira

     (Navigator) Captain Berna McDermott, Jr. (34)

     (Crew Chief) T/Sgt. Samuel A. Harwell          

     Sources:

     Fort Fairfield Review, (Me.), “4 Died In This Loring B-47 Explosion Sat.”, November 25, 1958, page 1.  (Three photos with article.)

     Aviation Safety Network

Limestone, ME. – January 4, 1965

Limestone, Maine – January 4, 1965

     On January 4, 1965, a U.S. Air Force four-engine KC-135 aerial refueling tanker, (Ser. No. 61-0265), crashed during taking off from Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.  The airplane came down about three miles off the end of the runway and exploded.  All four crewmen aboard were killed instantly.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Captain Kenneth D. Gomes, 33, of Honolulu, Hawaii. 

     Co-pilot: Captain Mathew J. Ramisch, 34, of Kensington, Maryland.

     Navigator: 1st Lieutenant John F. McCarron III, 23, of Wellesly, Massachusetts.

     Boom Operator: Staff Sergeant James Tardie, 33, of Crouseville, Maine.

      At the time of this accident, the only other Loring KC-135 accident occurred in 1962.

     Source:

     Unknown Newspaper, “AF Tanker Crashes, killing Four”, January 5, 1965 

 

 

New Brusnwick, Canada – October 4, 1989

Updated July 5, 2020

New Brunswick, Canada – October 4, 1989

     At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 4, 1989, a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Strato-Tanker based at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine, was returning to base after a six hour refueling operation over Canada when the aircraft suddenly exploded in a massive fireball.  Debris was scattered over a wide area, but the main portion of the plane came down about two miles northwest of Perth-Andover, just to the east of the U.S./Canadian Boarder.  All four crewmen aboard were killed.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Lt. Col. Wiliam H. Northcutt, 42, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

     (Co-Pilot) Captain Robert D. Weinman, 27, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

     (Navigator)  2nd Lt. Albert H. Taft, 25, of Urbana, New York.

     (Boom Operator) Airman 1st Class Jack D. Cupp, 24, of Athens, Tenn.        

     Investigators determined that the reason for the explosion was an overheated fuel pump which reached 1,435 degrees Fahrenheit, but  they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause.

     Sources:

     Bangor Daily News, “Loring Tanker Explodes In Air”, October 5, 1989, pg. 1

     Fort Fairfield Review, “KC-135A Crash Blamed On Refueling Pump”, February 28, 1990, page 1.

Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958

Loring Air Force Base – November 25, 1958 

Limestone, Maine

     On November 25, 1958, a U. S. Air Force KC-135 stratojet tanker crashed and burned on approach to Loring Air Force Base.  Two crewmen, Captain Herman J. Dosenbach, and T/Sgt. Charles A. Holsclaw, managed to escape the flaming wreck with non-life threatening injuries.  The other five members of the crew perished.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Captain John P. Eifolla, 41.

     (C0-pilot) Major John B. Brown, 39, of San Benito, Texas.

     Captain Bernard Morgan, 40, of Hope, Kansas.  He was survived by his wife Maxine and four children.

     1st Lt. Donald R. Gladdings, 29, of Shreveport, La. He was survived by his wife Patricia, and a daughter.

     (Boom Operator) T/Sgt. Ronald L. Champion, 26.  He was survived by his wife Joan, and a son.   

     The KC-135 happened to crash 100 yards from the wreck of a B-47 bomber that had crashed three days earlier on November 22.  The men guarding the wreck dove for cover as the plane approached.

     All four men aboard the B-47 had been killed in the crash.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “5 Die At Maine Base In Air Tanker Crash”, November 26, 1958  

     Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, “Jet Tanker Crash Kills Five Airmen”, November 26, 1958

      

        

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