Quonset Point, R. I. – February 19, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 19, 1946

 

SB2C Helldiver
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of February 19, 1946, a flight of six navy SB2C Helldiver aircraft were returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.   After all had landed safely, they taxied in a line to an area where the “taxi line men” were to meet them.  When they reached the area, the first plane came to a stop, as did the following four aircraft.  However, the pilot of the sixth aircraft, (Bu. No. 82867), didn’t realize the planes had stopped and drove into the back of the fifth aircraft.  The propeller of the sixth plane sliced into the rear stabilizer of the fifth plane.  Both aircraft were damaged, but neither pilot was injured.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy report dated February 19, 1946.

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 10, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – September 10, 1949 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 10, 1949 a navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94765), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station. Just after touchdown the aircraft lost all brake pressure and went off the runway and was damaged beyond repair.  The pilot was not injured. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 10, 1949.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 7, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 7, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost all power immediately after becoming airborne.  The aircraft crashed back onto the runway and required a major overhaul.  The pilot was not injured.

     This aircraft had been involved in another accident only five days earlier on February 2nd.  On that date, BU. No. 5030 was coasting to a stop after having just landed at Quonset Point when it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in preparation of take off.  The accident was blamed on the pilot of Bu. No. 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.  

 

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 2, 1943

 

U.S. Navy Wildcat Fighter
U.S. Navy Photo

     On February 2, 1943, a navy F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 5030), was landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The pilot made a successful landing and as the aircraft was coasting down the runway and nearly to a stop, it was struck by another Wildcat, (Bu. No. 12149), which was taxiing into position in anticipation of taking off.  Both aircraft were damaged but there were no injuries.  The accident was blamed on the pilot operating Wildcat 12149.

     Both aircraft were assigned to Fighter Squadron 16, (VF-16).

     Wildcat 5030 was repaired and put back in service.  

     Five days later, on February 7, Wildcat 5030 was taking off from the Quonset Point NAS when the engine suddenly lost power just after becoming airborne and the plane crashed back onto the runway.  The aircraft required a major overhaul, but the pilot was not injured.  The cause could not be determined.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5849, dated February 2, 1943.

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 7, 1943.        

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 10, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – December 10, 1942

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On December 10, 1942, a U. S. Navy PV-3 Ventura aircraft, (Bu. No. 33951), was being used to demonstrate “wing-overs” and “flipper-turns” to student pilots when the tail section suddenly warped and became twisted.  The plane made an emergency landing and there were no injuries.  It was determined that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was scrapped.

     Source:

     U. S. navy accident report dated December 10, 1942.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 26, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 26, 1944

 

U.S. Navy SBD Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo.

     On April 26, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 54260), was approaching to land at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the pilot discovered that he couldn’t lower the landing gear.  He began to circle the airfield in an attempt to fix the problem but was unable to do so.  With fuel running low, he made a wheels-up emergency landing at the base.  The aircraft suffered extensive damage, but the crew was not injured.  The accident was due to mechanical failure. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-33.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy report #44-13575, dated April 26, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 30, 1948

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 30, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 30, 1948, a pilot was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a two hour training flight in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No.  121566).  Upon touch down the pilot applied the brakes, but the left brake overheated and locked, causing the plane to ground loop and nose over.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     The pilot was assigned to VF-72. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 30, 1948 

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 4, 1950

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 4, 1950

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 4, 1950, a pilot was making a qualification flight at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-2 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 122660).  Part of the qualification required a series of take offs and landings.  While coming in for a landing, the aircraft crash-landed short of the runway, rupturing the belly fuel tank which exploded.  The pilot was able to escape with minor burns, but the aircraft was destroyed by the flames.

     The pilot was assigned to Fighter Squadron 34, (VF-34).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 4, 1950.    

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 28, 1948

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 28, 1948 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 28, 1948, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95260), took off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte, (CV-32), bound for the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  Thirty minutes later, as the aircraft approached the air station, the pilot noticed that the controls were not responding properly.  He was advised to climb to 2,000 feet where he went into a holding pattern to try to determine the cause.  No cause could be found, so he was cleared  land.  Unknown to the pilot was the fact that a thin layer of ice had formed on the runway and when the aircraft touched down it slid off the runway and into a snowbank where it cartwheeled before coming to rest.  The pilot was not seriously injured, but the aircraft sustained substantial damage. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated January 28, 1948    

Quonset Point, R. I. – February 18, 1946

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 18, 1946

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On February 18, 1946, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94830), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Just as the aircraft left the ground the pilot retracted the landing gear.  Just as he did so, the engine lost all power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway with its wheels up.  It skidded for 400 feet before stopping 60 feet from the shore of Narragansett Bay.   The aircraft suffered considerable damage, but the pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VBF-18 at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated February 18, 1946 

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 12, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 12, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 12, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95166), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  As the aircraft became airborne, the pilot retracted the landing gear.  As the gear was being raised, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft settled back onto the runway where it skidded for approximately 500 feet before it came to rest.  The pilot was not hurt, but the aircraft was severely damaged.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-8A at Quonset Point.

    Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated June 12, 1947  

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 17, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 17, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 17, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 01769), with three men aboard, was taking off for a training flight from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne, but still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost power and the aircraft fell back onto the runway with its wheels retracted.  The aircraft suffered substantial damage as a result of the incident, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VTN-91.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated October 19, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 16, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – September 16, 1943 

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On September 16, 1945, a flight of three FM-1 Wildcat fighters took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for an anti-submarine practice flight.  Just after the flight became airborne, the pilot of Bu. No. 15268 noticed that the oil pressure to his aircraft was dropping.  After notifying the flight leader he began his return to Quonset.  As he was making his approach to the runway the engine suddenly stopped, and the plane went down in the water of Narragansett Bay about three hundred yards short of the runway.  The pilot was rescued, and not injured.  The aircraft sank and was stricken after it was recovered.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-55.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8637 or 44-8687.       

Quonset Point, R.I. – April 21, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 21, 1944

 

U.S. Navy FM-2 Wildcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     At 10:30 a.m. on the morning of April 21, 1944, an FM-2 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 16583), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station on Runway 5 for a routine training flight.  Just after becoming airborne, at an altitude of 30 feet, the engine suddenly stopped.  The aircraft fell back onto the runway but there wasn’t enough time or room to stop.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway, over a sea wall, and into Narragansett Bay.  The pilot was rescued, but the aircraft was a total loss.  Inspection revealed fouled sparkplugs to be the cause.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-13366    

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – December 16, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 16, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47576) was making a landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft suddenly ground-looped and was damaged beyond repair.  The crew was not injured due to wearing their safety harnesses.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-97.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated December 16, 1944. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), was taking off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the engine suddenly lost power.  The aircraft came down at the end of the runway with it wheels retracted.  It went off the end of the runway skidding through soft dirt and then over a seawall.  The aircraft required a major overhaul but the three-man crew was not hurt.  The accident was blamed on mechanical failure.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-48. 

     As a point of fact, this same TBF Avenger, (Bu. No. 06152), had been involved in a previous accident.  On January 13, 1944, while landing at Martha’s Vineyard Naval Air Station during strong wind gusts, the aircraft went off the runway and was damaged, but the crew was not injured.  At that time the aircraft was assigned to VT-7. 

     Sources: 

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15764 dated June 22, 1944

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10853 dated January 13, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 15, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 15, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 15, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47520), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight.  Just after touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded to a stop.  The three man crew was not injured, but the aircraft suffered significant damage.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-10885

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 22, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 22, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On January 22, 1944, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 48031) , was attempting to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station on an icy runway, and couldn’t get up enough speed to become airborne.  The pilot then aborted the attempt, and applied the brakes, but due to the icy conditions the aircraft went off the end of the runway and struck some railroad tracks causing significant damage to the aircraft.  None of the aircraft crew was injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-11077

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 14, 1951

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 14, 1951

     On June 14, 1951, a U. S. Navy Grumman AF-2S Guardian, (Bu. No. 124791), with a lone pilot aboard, was landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the landing gear collapsed casing major damage to the aircraft as it skidded to a stop.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy crash report dated June 14, 1951   

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 9, 1952

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 9, 1952

     On April 9, 1952, a Grumman AF-2S Guardian, (Bu. No. 124848), with three men aboard was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a two-hour rocket and bombing training mission.  As the pilot was making preparations to land he lowered the landing gear, but noticed that the indicator for the left side landing gear wasn’t showing that the wheels were down and locked.  The pilot asked the bombardier to make a visual check of the landing gear, which was done in two ways; once by looking through a window in the left escape hatch, and by using a centrally located periscope that extended out of the bottom of the aircraft.  While these observations were being made the pilot rocked the aircraft to see if there would be any movement in the landing gear, and none was observed.  The bombardier advised the pilot that the landing gear appeared to be in the full down position. 

     After receiving clearance, the aircraft landed on the runway, and the left landing gear collapsed causing damage to the aircraft as it skidded to a stop.  None of the men aboard were injured.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-24 at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy crash report dated April 9, 1952

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 8, 1951

Qu0nset Point, Rhode Island – August 8, 1951 

     On August 8, 1951, an Ensign was piloting a Grumman AF-2W Guardian, (Bu. No. 124191), practicing take offs and landings at Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As the pilot was coming in for a landing on Runway 10, the left wing started to drop, so the pilot applied full power and full right aileron.  Despite his efforts, the left wing, wheel, and rear horizontal stabilizer struck the runway in a 30 to 45 degree up angle.  After striking the runway, the aircraft bounced upwards and became airborne again, and came down on its landing gear and stopped without further difficulty.  The plane suffered substantial damage, but the pilot was not injured.  

     At the time of the accident cross winds were gusting.

     The pilot and aircraft were assigned to VS-24.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Crash Brief  dated 8, August, 1951       

Quonset Point NAS – October 23, 1942

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – October 23, 1942

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On October 23, 1942, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 33946), with four men aboard, crashed on takeoff from Rhode Island’s Quonset Point NAS.  The takeoff run had been normal until the plane became airborne.  Once leaving the ground it began to swerve to the left, and then settled back onto the runway where it went into skid.  The plane left the end of the runway and crossed a portion of open ground before crossing two railroad tracks, after which it came to a stop with the landing gear torn off.  The plane was so badly damaged that it was recommended that it be scrapped.  Fortunately none of the men aboard were injured.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Investigation Report #43-5128   

Quonset Point NAS – June 17, 1943

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – June 17, 1943

 

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
U.S. Navy Photo

     On June 17, 1943, a navy PV-1 Ventura, (Bu. No. 29860), with six men aboard, was making an approach to Rhode Island’s Quonset Point Naval Air Station after six hours of flying cross country.  Thirty other aircraft were all in the vicinity attempting to land after being advised by the tower that the airport would be closed shortly due to the bad weather that was closing in.  As the plane was about to touch down it hit an air pocket and slammed onto the tarmac, the wheels causing it to bounce back into the air. It fell again, and this time the landing gear collapsed, sending the aircraft skidding on its belly down the runway.  Fortunately there was no fire and no serious injuries to those aboard.

     Source:

     U. S. navy Crash Investigation Report #43-7297

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – October 4, 1945

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – October 4, 1945

 

F4U Corsair
US Navy Photo

     On October 4, 1945, Ensign Clinton S. Winter, Jr., took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F4U-4 Corsair, (Bu. No. 81380), for a routine training flight.  Just after takeoff, while at an altitude of 200 feet, the engine suddenly lost all power and the plane crash-landed into Narragansett Bay about two miles off the end of the runway.  The plane sank, but Ensign Winter escaped and was rescued a short time later.

     At the time of the accident, Ensign Winter was assigned to VBF-81.

     Source: National Archives, AAR 7-45, TD451004RI, via Larry Webster, Aviation Historian, Charlestown, R.I.

 

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – November 1, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – November 1, 1943

 

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On November 1, 1943, fighter squadron VF-14 was commencing a carrier breakup over the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Two flights were in the air at the time; one flight of six planes, and a second flight of four.  All aircraft were F6F-3 Hellcats. 

     As the flight of four planes crossed over the flight of six, the last two planes in each group collided in mid-air.  On aircraft, (#66024), was piloted by Ensign Prentice A. Martin, age 23.  The other aircraft, (#65923), was piloted by Ensign George E. Kloss, age 23.  Both planes fell into 26 feet of water not far from the shore of the naval air station.  Neither pilot survived. 

     Ensign Kloss is buried in Holy Sepulchire Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

     Ensign Martin is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-9424 

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #58751036, and # 43654228

Quonset Point, R.I. – November 5, 1943

Quonset Point, R. I. – November 5, 1943

 

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On November 5, 1943, Lt. (jg.) George E. Orenge was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (#65895) on a test flight from Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At about 10:00 a.m. he came back to land at Quonset Point.  After touching down on the runway, the left tire on the landing gear blew out causing the plane to swerve into an ordinance truck parked on the extreme edge of the tarmac.  There were no injuries, but the aircraft required a major overhaul. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report # 44-9523

 

Atlantic Ocean – December 7, 1955

Atlantic Ocean – December 7, 1955

    

Lt. (J.g.) Alfred G. Walker Photo courtesy of Judith (Walker) Miles

Lt. (J.g.) Alfred G. Walker
Photo courtesy of Judith (Walker) Miles

     In 1955 the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte was stationed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.  In early December of that year, she put to sea for a three day cruise off New England to participate in anti-submarine training maneuvers.  Navy pilot, Lieutenant (J.g.) Alfred G. Walker, 23, of Akron, Ohio, volunteered to go. 

     On December 7, Lieutenant Walker, piloting an AD Skyraider, participated in a gunnery training flight over the water.  As he was returning to the Leyte, the arresting cable snapped when it caught the Skyraider’s tail hook.  The aircraft careened into the carrier’s superstructure and then cartwheeled into the sea.     

     The Skyraider quickly sank  to the bottom taking Lt. Walker with it, but his back-seat crewman, Aviation Ordinance Man 2nd Class William E. Deering of Atlantic City, New Jersey, managed to escape. 

     One of those who witnessed the accident was Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class David Cata of the Bronx, New York, who was stationed aboard the nearby destroyer, U.S.S. Wadleigh.   Upon seeing Deering bobbing helplessly in the water, Cata jumped overboard and swam to his aid and held Deering afloat until they were plucked form the water by a helicopter.  Both men survived their ordeal.

     Lieutenant (J.g.) Walker was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on December 3, 1953.  His body was never recovered.

     Some sources describing this event state that it took place in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, however, the Ohio Informer, a newspaper from Akron, Ohio, where Lt. Walker was from, gave the location as 90 miles out to sea off the coast of New Jersey. 

     Sources:  

     New York Times, “Sailor Rescued Airman”, December 9, 1955     

     Bridgeport Telegram, “Sailor Rescues Airman In Water”, December 9, 1955  

     Ohio Informer, “Lt. Alfred G. Walker Dies In Plane Crash”, December 17, 1955, Vol. X, No. 16    

Quonset Point NAS – March 1, 1942

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – March 1, 1942

    

P-40 Warhawk  U.S. Air Force Photo

P-40 Warhawk
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On March 1, 1942, a Curtiss P-40E, (41-5547) piloted by 1st Lt. Charles R. Fairlamb, was making a normal landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft’s right landing gear suddenly struck a small pile of snow about two feet high that was on the runway.  The jolt caused the landing gear to collapse, which caused the right wing to fall and drag along the tarmac causing the plane to rotate 90 degrees.  As this was happening, the left landing gear suddenly collapsed dropping the plan causing damage to the underbelly and propeller blades.  As the plane came to rest Fairlamb cut the switches and quickly climbed out of the plane.

     The accident investigation committee did not fault Lt. Fairlamb for the accident, noting that the pile was not visible from the air, and had been covered with sand. 

     Lt. Fairlamb was assigned to the 66th Pursuit Squadron (I) as Squadron  Operations Officer.  He received his pilot’s rating March 14, 1941.

     Lt. Fairlamb was later promoted to Major, and became the Commanding Officer of the 66th Fighter Squadron while serving in North Africa.  He flew 48 combat missions before being injured in a tent fire while serving in Libya. 

     Sources:

     U.S. Army Technical Report Of Aircraft Accident #42-3-1-6

     Book – 57th Fighter Group, ‘First In The Blue’, by Carl Molesworth, Osprey Press, 2011

Block Island Sound – April 1, 1944

Block Island Sound – April 1, 1944

     On the night of June 24, 1944, the body of navy Lieutenant Edward Roy Sladek, 22, was found by the Coast Guard at Shagwong Point, in the town of Montauk, (Long Island) New York.  He had been missing since April 1st, when the aircraft he was aboard went down in the water off Block Island, R.I. 

     According to one news report, Sladek was one of “five or six” men aboard that aircraft when it crashed.    The unidentified plane was out of Quonset Point Naval Air Station in R.I.

     Sources:

     The East Hampton Star, “Navy Flyer Found”, June 29, 1944, Pg.4 

     Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificate

Quonset Point NAS – April 6, 1945

Quonset Point Naval Air Station – April 6, 1945

North Kingstown, Rhode Island

    

U.S. Navy TBM Avengers  National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy TBM Avengers
National Archives Photo

     On April 6, 1945, two TBM Avengers assigned to Night Torpedo Squadron 55 at Quonset Point, were taking off at the same time for a night training mission when they collided at the intersection of runways 19 and 28. 

     Lt. Jg. John Frederick Kalb, 25, of West Helena, Arkansas, in aircraft #46123, was killed.

     Lt. Jg. W. F. Leeker in aircraft #16885, was seriously injured, but survived.  

     Night Torpedo Squadron 55 was commissioned at Quonset Point NAS on March 1, 1945.  The squadron’s first fatal accident occurred not long afterwards on March 9, 1945, when Lt. Jg. Harold Boren was killed when his plane crashed in Westerly, Rhode Island, during an instrument training flight. 

     For more information about Night Torpedo Squadron 55 see the website;  vtn55.org 

     Sources:

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #45-30 

     Night Torpedo Squadron 55 history        

Narragansett Bay – February 10, 1945

Narragansett Bay – February 10, 1945

One mile northeast off Quonset Point Naval Air Station

    

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat U.S. Navy photo

U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy photo

     On February 10, 1945, Ensign Pierce Hubert Beach, 22, took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in an F6F-5N Hellcat (Bu. No. 58058) for a routine training flight where he and other aircraft were to practice carrier landings and takeoffs.  He was killed when his plane crashed into Narragansett Bay.  

     Ensign Beach earned his pilots wings at Pensacola, Florida, in May of 1944, and was married in June, ’44.   

     Sources:

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “Navy Pilot Killed; Another Missing”, February 12, 1945, Pg. 1

     Larry Webster, Aviation Historian & Archeologist

     The (Bunnell Florida) Flagler Tribune, (no headline) February 15, 1945

     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated February 10, 1945

Narragansett Bay – June 4, 1971

Narragansett Bay – June 4, 1971  

       

The canopy to Commander Harley Hall's F-4J Phantom jet that he was forced to bail out of over Narragansett Bay on June, 4, 1971, on display at the Quonset Air Museum. Photo by Jim Ignasher

The canopy to Commander Harley Hall’s F-4J Phantom jet that he was forced to bail out of over Narragansett Bay on June, 4, 1971, on display at the Quonset Air Museum.
Photo by Jim Ignasher

     On June 4, 1971, an F-4J Phantom jet (#153082) belonging to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels team, caught fire in flight over Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  The pilot, Commander Harley H. Hall aimed the plane towards Narraganset Bay before bailing out.

     Hall was commanding officer of the Blue Angels for two years.  He was promoted to the rank of Commander at the age of 32, which at the time made him the youngest Commander in the navy. 

     By 1973, Hall was serving aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65) flying combat missions over Vietnam.   On January 27, 1973, Commander Hall and Lt. Cmdr. Phillip A. Kientzler took off from the Enterprise in an F-4J Phantom to attack Vietnamese supplies and logistics vehicles 15 miles northwest of Quang Tri.  During the attack the Phantom was hit by anti-aircraft fire and Hall and Kientzler were forced to bail out at 4,000 feet.  On the way down, Kientzler was shot in the leg and quickly captured.  Hall landed safely, and was last observed by another F-4 pilot circling overhead entering the jungle to evade enemy forces.  He was never seen again.    

     In Vancouver, Washington, there is a building named in Commander Hall’s memory.  The H. H. Hall Building located at 10000 NE 7th Avenue.  (www.hhhallbuiding.com)

    There is also a book about Harley Hall and the Blue Angles titled “Left Alive To Die”, by Susan Keen, c. 2011      

      Sources:

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pilot Killed In Accident At Air Show”, June 7, 1971, Pg. 3.  The headline of this article is actually about an accident at the Quonset Air Show that took the life of J. W. “Bill” Fornof on June 5, 1971.  The accident involving the Blue Angel aircraft was mentioned in it because it happened the day before.       

     The Columbian, “Cmdr. Harley Hall, Shot Down 40 Years Ago”, January 27, 2013 

     www.pownetwork.org/bios/

 

 

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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