Pease AFB – Dec. 8, 1964

Near Pease Air Force Base –  December 8, 1964

Newington, New Hampshire

Updated May 11, 2021

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

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

    On December 8, 1964, a B-47E Stratojet bomber carrying four airmen crashed and burned shortly after takeoff from Pease Air Force Base.  When it reached an altitude of 1,000 feet it suddenly plunged into a wooded area about two miles from the end of the runway.  All aboard were killed.  The resulting fire burned two unoccupied cabins.

     The dead were identified as:

     (Pilot) Major Daniel J. Campion Jr., 34.  To learn more about Major Campion click on link :  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/195224062/daniel-james-campion

     (Co-pilot) Captain Truman A. Burch, 28. To learn more click on link.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/159408585/truman-a-burch

     (Navigator) Major John R. North III, 30. To learn more click on link.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/225582794/john-reeder-north

     (Observer) Captain Bennie Ward Forrester, 27.  To learn more click on link.  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/159008480/bennie-ward-forrester

       The plane was with the 351st Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Wing, assigned to Pease AFB.

Sources:

      The Morning Record, “Air Force Jet Carrying Four Crashes, Burns”, Dec. 8, 1964, pg. 1    (The same article also mentioned that on November 5, 1964, a KC-97 tanker plane crashed at the edge of a highway near the base killing all five crewmen aboard.)

     New York Times, “B-47 With Four Aboard Crashes In New Hampshire”, December 8, 1964

     Schenectady Gazette, December 9, 1964, Page 17.

     www.findagrave.com

 

 

Pease Air Force Base – November 5, 1964

Pease Air Force Base – November 5, 1964

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

     On November 5, 1964, five U.S. Air Force KC-97 tanker planes were scheduled to take off from Pease Air Force Base as part of an airborne refueling training mission.  The first three took off successfully, however the forth aircraft crashed and exploded on take off, scattering debris across the Pease golf course, and nearby Route 101.  All five crewmen aboard were killed.

     They were identified as:

     (Pilot) Capt. Robert Louis Thompson, 33, of Vernon, Connecticut.

     (C0-Pilot) Capt. Michael Peter Valavon, 27, of Jersey City, New Jersey.

     (Navigator) 1st Lt. Larry C. Dennis, 25, of Richmond, Virginia.

     (Boom Operator) S/Sgt. Gerald William Schulz, 32, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

     (Flight Engineer) S/Sgt. Richard Earl Towle, 36, of Kittery, Maine.   

     The men were assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Squadron. 

     Two civilians, a mother and her daughter, were slightly burned when the accident occurred.  They had been sitting in a car on Route 101 watching the aircraft take off. 

     Sources:

     (Spokane, Washington) The Spokesman-Review, “5 U.S. Airmen Crash Victims”, November 6, 1964

     Unknown newspaper, “Five Killed In AF Tanker Crash, November 6, 1964

    

Pease Air Force Base – April 15, 1958

Pease Air Force Base – April 15, 1958

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

    

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

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

     On the night of April 15, 1958, a U.S. Air Force B-47E Stratojet, (#52-562), crashed on take off from Pease AFB in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  The aircraft had risen to about 700 feet before it suddenly plunged into a swamp near the end of the runway and burst into flames.  The smoke from the fire could be see for fifteen miles.

     One witness to the accident later told a reporter, “I could see the plane spilling fuel, then it just lit up, as though on fire, before it crashed.”

    

     All four crewmen aboard were killed in the crash.  They were identified as:

     (Aircraft Commander) Captain Richard D. Burns, 27, of Royal Oak, Michigan.  He’s buried in Gilgal Cemetery in Heltonville, Indiana.  To see a photograph of  Capt. Burns, go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #63005578.  

     (Pilot) 1st Lt. Edward S. Starley, 25, of Delta, Utah. He’s buried in Delta City Cemetery in Delta, UT.  He was survived by his wife Helen.  (For more info see www.findagrave.com, Memorial #42217304.

     (Navigator) 1st Lt. Edward S. McKinney, 25, of Casper, Wyoming.  He’s buried in Highland Cemetery in Casper, WY.  (See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #58413512.)

     (Crew Chief) S/Sgt. Jennings V. Ware, 23, of Webster, West Virginia.  He’s buried in Cool Spring Cemetery in Webster County, W.V.  To see more info go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #93245519.

     All four men were assigned to the 830th Bomb Squadron, 509th Bomb Wing, stationed at Walker Air Force Base in New Mexico.  

     Sources:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Four Killed In Pease Jet Crash”, April 16, 1958

     www.findagrave.com  

Portsmouth, N.H. – January 30, 1981

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – January 30, 1981

    

FB-111 U.S. Air Force Photo

FB-111
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 30, 1981, the United States military was conducting a nationwide readiness exercise dubbed Global Shield ’81.  The aircraft involved in this accident was taking part in that exercise.

     At 2:55 p.m., an FB-111 fighter-bomber (No. 68-0263) assigned to Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, was returning to Pease when the aircraft began to violently roll and shake.  The pilot, Captain Peter Carellas, 33, struggled to maintain control, but when the jet fell below 4,000 feet he and the navigator, Major Ronald Reppe, 39, were forced to eject. 

     The aircraft came down in an apartment complex known as Sea Crest Village and exploded.  The burning fuel set one of the apartment buildings on fire.  Three people suffered minor injuries, and 13 families were left homeless.  (The families were given shelter at hotels at Air Force expense.)  

     The crew of the aircraft landed safely about a 1/4 mile away.

     The FB-111 was designed to carry nuclear weapons if necessary, however, at the time of the accident it wasn’t carrying any ordinance.   

     Sources:

     St. Petersburg Independent, “Air Force Plane Crashes Into Apartments”, January 31, 1981

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pilot And navigator Eject Safely; No One Killed Or Seriously Injured”, January 31, 1981

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “F111 Crash Report – Jet Out Of Control, Crew Bailed Out”, May 8, 1981

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pease Crew Lost Fight To Control Plane”, May 8, 1981, Pg. 44

     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Fighter Plane crashes; Two Apartments Burn”, January 31, 1981, page 1.

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