Quonset Point, R. I. – October 20, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 20, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer
Author Photo

     On October 20, 1943, an navy SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27815), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and as it was taxiing off the runway to an airplane parking area it collided with a parked tractor causing significant damage to the aircraft requiring a major overhaul.  The pilot and instructor aboard were not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated October 20, 1943.

 

Narragansett Bay – April 24, 1943

Narragansett Bay – April 24, 1943

     On April 24, 1942, a U. S. Navy  SNJ-4 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 27278), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a one hour training flight with a pilot and instructor aboard.  While five miles from the air base, and at an altitude of 1,000 feet, the fuel tank ran dry.  The pilot switched tanks, but the engine failed to re-start.  The pilot made an emergency landing in Narragansett Bay and the plane sank almost immediately.  The pilot and instructor were able to escape and were rescued.  The aircraft was recovered and required a major overhaul. 

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #43-6638, dated April 24, 1943.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 12, 1942

    On January 12, 1942, an SNJ-3 Texan trainer aircraft, (Bu. No. 6911), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the brakes jammed.  The aircraft skidded forty feet and then nosed over.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 12, 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.  

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

Atlantic Ocean – April 19, 1945

 

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

     On the morning of April 19, 1945, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were involved in a gunnery-training exercise ten miles south of Block Island, R. I.  Both aircraft had just completed a run at a simulated target in the water, when one of the pilots noticed gas fumes in the cockpit of his aircraft, (Bu. No. 47109).  He reported the trouble to the other pilot, and both aircraft began heading back to base.  At 11:40 a.m., while both aircraft were still over the water, the engine of Bu. No. 47109 suddenly cut-out and stopped.  The fuel gauge read 45 gallons.  The pilot was unable to re-start the engine and made a wheels up emergency landing in the water.  The plane remained afloat for about a minute giving the pilot time to escape.  He was rescued a short time later by a navy sea plane.  The aircraft was not recovered.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VC-15.

     Source:  U.S. Navy accident report dated April 19, 1945.     

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 1, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 1, 1944

 

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

     On May 1, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28722), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  After achieving an altitude of ten feet, the engine suddenly cut out, and the aircraft settled back onto the runway.  Just as it did so, the engine suddenly restarted, and as the aircraft began to lift for a second time, the engine once again failed.  The aircraft went off the end of the runway and flipped over onto its back.  The Aircraft was heavily damaged, but the crew was not injured.

     The aircraft belonged to VS-33.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-13737, dated May 1, 1944.  

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 25, 1944

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 25, 1944

 

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

     At 4:10 p.m. on the afternoon of January 25, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 28651), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station and collided with another SBD-5, (Bu. No. 36454), that was stopped on the runway due to a flat tire.  At the time of the accident darkness was falling, and the control tower had failed to notify incoming aircraft of the hazard.

     The two-man crew of the incoming Dauntless were not injured.  The crew of the other Dauntless suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

     Both aircraft were substantially damaged, and both were assigned to VB-4.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11175, dated January 25, 1944.

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

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

     On January 11, 1944, an SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 29033), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Immediately after becoming airborne the pilot’s control stick locked.  The pilot cut the throttle and attempted to land on the remaining portion of the runway but overran the runway and struck a light and a mound of dirt.  The aircraft was damaged, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44-10814, dated January 11, 1944.    

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – May 2, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – May 2, 1944

 

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger
U.S. Navy Photo

     On May 2, 1944, a TBM-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 25430), was due to take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to participate in an aerial gunnery training flight.  The aircraft was designated to be the “target-tug”, meaning it was to tow a canvas target behind it which other aircraft would take turns firing at. 

     At 2:00 p.m. the aircraft began its take-off run with the target sleeve attached.  As soon as the aircraft became airborne the pilot raised the wheels.  At an altitude of 100 feet, the right wing stalled due to recent squadron modifications to it, causing a loss of altitude.  At the end of the runway was Narragansett Bay.  The target sleeve hadn’t yet become airborne, and began dragging in the water off the end of the runway.  Then the right wing stalled a second time and the plane went down in the bay.

     There were four men aboard the aircraft; the pilot, a gunner, and two radio-men.  (The Avenger generally carried a crew of three)  When the plane hit the water one crewman suffered a broken left arm, another a lacerated hand, and the other two were not injured.  All were rescued.

    The aircraft was a total loss, with its fuselage having broken in half.   

    The men were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

    Source: U.S. Navy accident report #44-13795, dated May 2, 1944.

 

 

Off Block Island – April 30, 1942

Off Block Island, R. I. – April 30, 1942

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of April 30, 1942, a flight of Vought SB2U Vindicator navy aircraft were participating in a coordinated group bomb-attack training flight off Sandy Point, Block Island.  At 2:30 p.m., two of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 1365), and (Bu. No. 0746), were involved in a mid air collision.  (Bu. No. 1365) had its right wing sheared off in the collision.  (Bu. No. 0746) had part of its right wing and tail section torn away.  Both aircraft had been traveling in opposite directions in different groups at the time of the accident. 

     The pilot of (Bu. No. 1365 ) was Ensign David L. Kauffman, 21.  With him was Lt. (Jg.) Howard Lapsley, 31, serving as an observer.   As the aircraft fell, one man was seen to bail out, but his parachute never opened.  The aircraft crashed into the water north of Sandy Point.    

     The pilot of (Bu. No. 0746) was Ensign Frederick W. Tracey.  With him was his radioman, ARM3/c  J. C. Brown.  Both parachuted safely as their aircraft crashed into the water north of Sandy Point.  Both men were rescued from the water.

     The aircraft were assigned to VS-41. 

     The weather at the time of the accident was fair and hazy.  

     To see a photograph Ensign Kauffman, and to read his obituary go to www.findagrave.com and see memorial #113970491.

     To learn more about Lt. (Jg.) Lapsley, go to www.findagrave.com, and see memorial #25898354.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #4091, dated April 30, 1942 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 12, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 12, 1942

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1942, a Vought SB2U Vindicator, (Bu. No. 0739), was returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a practice bombing training flight when it crash-landed due to heavy crosswinds.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the two-man crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4422, dated July 12,1942. 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 27, 1945

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 27, 1945

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 27, 1945, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 06381), had just landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and as the aircraft was taxiing the landing gear suddenly retracted causing the aircraft the be damaged beyond repair.  None of the crew aboard was injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 27, 1945.  

Narragansett Bay – December 5, 1945

Narragansett Bay – December 5, 1943

 

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

     On December 5, 1943, a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 10543), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a training flight.  Shortly after take off, while at an altitude of 1,000 feet,  the engine suddenly caught fire and lost power.  The pilot was forced to make an emergency water landing in the frigid waters of Narragansett Bay in the vicinity of Conimicut Point.  The aircraft sank but the pilot and gunner were able to escape with minor injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-10109, dated December 5, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – April 27, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – April 27, 1944

 

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

     On the afternoon of April 27, 1944, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 09747), overshot the runway while landing at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The aircraft was on a ferry mission with a Marine Corp 1st lieutenant aboard.   The aircraft first touched down at the approximate midpoint of the 1,400 foot runway.  To the right of the runway was a parked twin-engine PBM Mariner with a bomb truck parked alongside.   When the pilot of the Dauntless applied full brakes the aircraft swerved to the right, and its right wing struck the bomb truck causing the aircraft to pivot and crash into the fuselage of the Mariner. The pilot was not injured but the passenger suffered a cut lip.  No other injuries were reported concerning the truck or the Mariner.  Both aircraft were damaged beyond repair. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-15665, dated April 27, 1944.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 12, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 12, 1943

 

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

     On October 12, 1943, a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 24149), landed at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As the aircraft was taxiing down the runway it collided with another SBD-5, (Bu. No. 11038), that was also taxiing from another runway.  The two aircraft collided where the runways intersected.  Both aircraft suffered substantial damage, but there were no injuries.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – March 3, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – March 3, 1943

 

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

     On March 3, 1943, a Douglass SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10448), was taking off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the engine lost power and the aircraft crashed.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the crew was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 3, 1943.

Charlestown, R. I. – February 12, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – February 12, 1943

 

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

     On February 12, 1943, a pilot was making practice landings and take-offs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in a Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 06850), when he crash-landed due to cross winds.  The aircraft sustained heavy damage, but the pilot and his gunner were not injured.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5790, dated February 12, 1943   

South Kingstown, R. I. – March 13, 1943

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – March 13, 1943

 

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

     On March 13, 1943, Ensign Charles W. Bradley, 22, was piloting a Douglas SBD-4 aircraft, (Bu. No. 01526), taking part in a gunnery practice training flight over southern Rhode Island.  The weather was clear, with a cloud ceiling at 5,00 feet, and visibility six miles. 

     After completing a gunnery run at 3,000 feet, the aircraft was observed to turn over and enter a vertical dive from which it did not recover.  Both Ensign Bradley and his gunner, ARM2/c Pat D. McDonough, 22, were killed. 

     Both men were assigned to squadron VB-23.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-6221, dated March 3, 1943.   

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 3, 1943

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 3, 1943 

 

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

     On June 3, 1943, Ensign Charles Howland Reinhard was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless aircraft, (Bu. No. 10940), for an authorized cross country training flight.  Almost immediately after becoming airborne, and with the landing gear retracted, the aircraft was observed by ground personnel to suddenly enter a left spin and crash.  Ensign Reinhard perished in the accident. 

     Ensign Reinhard was assigned to VB-15.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-7131, dated June 3, 1943.  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

Charlestown, R. I. – September 15, 1943

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the night of September 15, 1943, a pilot was making practice carrier landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Field in a Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 11057).  On his third approach he was given a “high out” and due to darkness, made a hold-off landing.  The plane stalled and came down on the port landing gear causing it to collapse and break off causing damage to the port wing.  As the plane settled the propeller was also damaged.  The pilot was not hurt.      

     The pilot was assigned to VC-32.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated September 15, 1943, #44-8014

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 22, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 22, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 22, 1949, the landing gear to an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121519), collapsed upon landing at the Quonset Point Naval Air station.  The aircraft skidded to a stop suffering underside and prop damage, but the pilot was not hurt. 

     Source:  U. S. Navy accident report dated August 22, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 27, 1949

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 27, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 27, 1949, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95089), crashed on take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  The aircraft struck a small shed, then a wall beyond it, and then cartwheeled into Narragansett Bay where it came to rest in six feet of water.  The pilot was rescued. 

     The pilot was assigned to VF-71.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 27, 1949.

 

Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948

Atlantic Ocean – November 2, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 2, 1948, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Leyte was operating in waters off the coast of New England.  On that day, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121542), took off from the Quonset Point Naval; Air Station and landed aboard the Leyte. 

     Later, when the pilot took off from the ship, he did so by going off the bow.  Immediately after take off the Bearcat began running roughly and emitting black smoke.  The aircraft lost altitude and dropped nearly to the water, but the pilot was able to recover and bring his plane up to about 1,000 feet of altitude, at which time he began to circle back toward and around the ship.  (The pilot later reported that the cockpit gauges indicated that fuel and oil pressure were normal, but the cylinder head temperature was 300 degrees.)  As the Bearcat was approaching the aircraft carrier from the rear, the engine lost all power and the pilot was forced to make a water landing.  The Bearcat sank within 90 seconds, but the pilot was able to escape unharmed, and was rescued within minutes. 

     The coordinates of the accident were 37 degrees, 19 north, 70 degrees, 14.5 west.   

     The pilot was assigned to VF-71.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 2, 1948   

 

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. – November 22,1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – November 22, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 22, 1949, a pilot was awaiting clearance for take off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  As he sat waiting in his F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95355), the aircraft suddenly caught fire.  The pilot turned off the engine and exited the airplane unharmed, but the aircraft was damaged beyond all repair.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report date November 22, 1949.

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 11, 1950

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 11, 1950

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     At about 11:40 a.m. on the morning of April 11, 1950, two aircraft were making landing approaches to Runway 16 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, and due to their approach angles, neither pilot saw the other.  The first aircraft to land was a Beechcraft SNB-3, (Bu. No. 67100).  The landing was normal, and after touchdown the pilot applied the brakes.  Immediately afterward, an F8F-2 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 122639), landed directly behind the Beechcraft and overtook it, plowing into the rear of the aircraft.  The Beechcraft was damaged beyond all repair, but its three-man crew was not injured.  The Bearcat suffered front end damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     The Bearcat was assigned to Fighting Squadron 74, (VF-74).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated April 11, 1950

 

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. – August 10, 1948

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 10, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 10, 1948, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121657), to test the performance of the aircraft after a new carburetor had been installed.   Shortly after takeoff the engine stopped and the pilot was unable to restart it.  He brought the plane in for an emergency landing, but upon touchdown a tire blew out, causing the aircraft to careen into another Bearcat,( Bu. No. 121667) that was parked along the side of the runway.   After the collision, the landing Bearcat rolled over and came to rest in an inverted position.  The pilot wasn’t injured, but the aircraft was damaged beyond all repair.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 10, 1948    

Charlestown, R. I. – November 30, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – November 30, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 30, 1948, an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121470), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station bound for the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station to conduct simulated aircraft carrier practice landings.  While the pilot was making his first landing attempt, the aircraft crashed and skidded 231 feet, causing the belly tank to rupture and set the plane ablaze.  The pilot was able to extricate himself and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The aircraft was consumed by fire.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-173.

     Source:

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

 

Charlestown, R.I. – August 9, 1948

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 9, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 9, 1948, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94782), was taking off from the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station when the engine lost power just after the plane had become airborne and the wheels had been retracted.  The aircraft came back down on the runway crushing its fully loaded belly tank which exploded and enveloped the aircraft in flames.  The aircraft skidded for 1,500 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was able to extricate himself, but the aircraft was consumed by fire. 

     The aircraft was assigned to Fighter Squadron 10A, (VF-10A).

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 9, 1948         

Narragansett Bay – February 3, 1949

Narragansett Bay – February 3, 1949

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 4:15 p.m., on the evening of February 3, 1949, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in an F8F-1B Bearcat, (Bu. No. 121506), as part of a seven aircraft night tactical training flight.  Shortly after taking off, the pilot heard a loud whirring noise followed by grey smoke coming from under the instrument panel which began to fill the cockpit.  The pilot turned back toward the air station and requested clearance for an emergency landing.  As this was taking place another pilot in the flight reported seeing flames coming from the underside of the smoking aircraft.  The flight leader advised the pilot to bail out, which he did, and landed safely in the icy waters of Narragansett Bay.   His aircraft also crashed into the water not far from where he’d landed, and sank immediately without exploding.  The pilot was rescued by a crash boat thirteen minutes later suffering from shock and exposure but otherwise unhurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-31.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated February 3, 1949.    

 

 

U.S.S. Shenandoah in Rhode Island – 1924

U.S.S. Shenandoah In Rhode Island – 1924

 

USS Shenandoah moored to the USS Patoka, Narragansett Bay, R.I. – Aug. 8, 1924

     The U.S.S. Shenandoah, (ZR-1), was the first of four giant rigid airships built for the United States Navy to be used for fleet reconnaissance.  The other three airships included the U.S.S. Los Angeles, U.S.S. Akron, and the U.S.S. Macon. 

     When completed in August of 1923, The Shenandoah was 680 feet long, and 78 feet 9 inches wide, and capable of carrying seaplanes.   

     In July of 1924, the U.S.S. Patoka was modified from a fleet oiler to an airship tender with the addition of a 125 foot tall airship-mooring-mast attached to the aft section of the ship.

     On August 8, 1924, the Shenandoah and the Patoka came to Rhode Island to conduct airship-docking-tests in Narragansett Bay.  The Patoka anchored in the bay just off Prudence Island in an area where the effects of the changing tides were the lowest.  The Shenandoah, dubbed the “Queen Of The Air Fleet” by the press, cruised in the vicinity for several hours as thousands lined the shoreline or set out in pleasure boats to watch.

     Finally the Shenandoah glided to the Patoka and three lines were tossed from the nose of the airship to sailors waiting atop the mast.  After the lines were secured, the Shenandoah was slowly drawn nose-first to the mast by a series of winches.   

     The following is an excerpt from the Woonsocket Call (R.I.), newspaper dated August 9, 1924 which describes the docking procedure: “The Shenandoah’s crew, cooperating with the sailors below, nursed the big airship toward its resting place by using the engines in the two forward gondolas intermittently.  At times the Shenandoah’s nose would dip rather sharply.  An even keel would be resumed in a short time as the stern settled.  Water Ballast was discharged on two occasions.

     The giant ship’s nose gradually drew near the morning mast.  A locking devise made it fast.  The Shenandoah, if the protracted calculations of the designers of the rigging do not fail, and the airship withstands the strain, should, when in position at the mast, swing with the ship below.  After the mooring the Patoka steamed with the Shenandoah to a point about midway between the Naval Training Station and the Melville Coaling Station.”       

     The entire operation took about an hour.   

     Once secured to the Patoka, 37 crewmen of the Shenandoah climbed down through the mast to the deck of the Patoka.

     The whole purpose of the test was to see if anchoring an airship at sea was feasible.  The test, the first of its kind ever attempted by the navy, was a success. 

     It was also reported in the Woonsocket Call that the Shenandoah had flown over Rhode Island the previous autumn.   

     The Shenandoah was lost on September 3, 1925 when the ship encountered severe weather while passing over Ohio.  14 of the 43 crewmen aboard were killed.

     Source:

     Woonsocket Call, “Shenandoah Test At Newport Proves Favorable So Far”, August 9, 1924, page 2

 

North Kingstown, R. I. – November 26, 1947

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – November 26, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 26, 1947, an F8F Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95111), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a routine training flight.  Shortly after take off the engine began to run erratically and then failed completely.  The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing and aimed for an open field in the Saunderstown area of North Kingstown.  Unfortunately the aircraft couldn’t make it to the field, and crashed into a wooded area next to the field.  The aircraft was damaged beyond repair, and the pilot, although seriously injured, was able to extricate himself from the wreckage.  He was transported to a hospital by a civilian. 

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-7A at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated November 26, 1947.  

U.S.S. Lyete – February 13, 1948

U.S.S. Lyete – February 13, 1948

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On February 13, 1948, The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lyete, (CV-32), was operating in the waters off Block Island conducting training exercises.  On that day, aircraft from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station were sent to land on the carrier.  The seas were rough, and the deck was rising and falling. 

     One aircraft, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95112), made a “hard landing” as the deck rose as the plane descended.   The aircraft was damaged beyond repair but the pilot was not injured. 

     On the same day, a second F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95334) was also damaged upon landing, but the pilot was not hurt.

     Other aircraft landed safely.

     Both of the damage aircraft were assigned to VF-7A at Quonset Point.   

     Sources:

     Two U.S. Navy accident reports date February 13, 1948 

Block Island Sound- November 18, 1947

Block Island Sound – November 18, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On November 18, 1947, a group of seven F8F Bearcat fighter aircraft from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station were involved in a flight-tactics training exercise over Block Island Sound when two of the aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision.   

     One of the aircraft was Bu. No. 95087, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Minuard F. Jennings, 32, and the other, Bu. No. 95193, was piloted by Lieutenant Commander Marshal J. Lyttle, 26.   Both aircraft went down in the sea and neither pilot survived.

     Both men were assigned to VF-10A at Quonset Point.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated November 18, 1947

     www.findagrave.com, memorial # 185144296 & 13842978    

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    

U.S.S. Kearsarge CV-33 – 1949

U.S.S. Kearsarge, CV-33 – Summer, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 28, 1949, The aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kearsarge, (CV-33), was operating in the Narragansett Bay area of Rhode Island, conducting practice take-offs and landings of aircraft.  One aircraft, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 09366), landed on the deck of the ship but missed the arresting wire with its tail-hook and crashed into two safety barriers causing damage to the aircraft but no injuries to the pilot. 

     On July 12, 1949, another Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122342), missed the arresting wire and drifted into the safety barriers.   The pilot was not injured.

     Later that same day, another Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122336), had a similar accident.  The pilot was not injured.

     Sources:

     U.S. Navy accident reports dated June 28, 1949, and July 12, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 17, 1949

Quonset Point, R. I. – March 17, 1949 

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 17, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 09349), took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a familiarization flight.  About an hour later the aircraft returned, and as the pilot was making his final approach, the landing gear wheels struck the top of the seawall at the end of the runway tearing loose the right side landing gear.  The impact caused the aircraft to bounce upwards, and the pilot applied full throttle and remained airborne.  The pilot then circled the area for an hour trying to raise the landing gear so as to make an emergency belly landing, but was unable to do so.   With fuel running low, he made a one-wheel landing.  The aircraft suffered significant damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 17, 1949   

Quonset Point, R. I. – January 11, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – January 11, 1944

 

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

     On January 11, 1944, an F4F Wildcat, (Bu. No. 11863), with a target tow sleeve attached, was in the process of taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  At the time, the aircraft had been cleared by the tower for takeoff. When the Wildcat was about two-thirds of the way down the runway, a Grumman J2E Duck suddenly landed ahead of, and in the path of the Wildcat.  To avoid a collision, the pilot of the Wildcat skidded to the left and went off the runway and plowed into a snowbank.  The pilot was not injured, but the Wildcat was in need of a major overhaul.  

     Nobody aboard the other aircraft was injured.  

 

Grumman Duck
U. S. Navy Photo

Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated January 11, 1944   

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 9, 1950

Quonset Point, R. I. – September 9, 1950

 

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

     On September 9, 1950, an F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78183), was approaching the Quonset Point Naval Air Station to land after a cross-country training flight.  The aircraft was cleared to land, but when the pilot lowered the landing gear, the dash indicator showed that the wheels were not completely down and locked, so he asked the tower to confirm.  As he flew slowly past the tower his suspicions were confirmed.  The pilot then climbed to altitude and began circling the area trying to get the landing gear down, but was unable to do so.  With fuel running low, he was then advised to make a wheels-up landing in the grass alongside of the runway which he did.  The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot was not injured.

     Investigation showed a mechanical failure with the landing system.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated September 9, 1950        

Charlestown, R. I. – July 12, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – July 12, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On July 12, 1949, an AD-2 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122320), was attempting to land on Runway 22 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the left wing suddenly dropped and struck the runway causing the aircraft to cartwheel.  As it cartwheeled the momentum tore the engine loose from the aircraft.  When the aircraft came to rest the pilot managed to extricate himself before the wreckage was consumed by flames.  Remarkably, the pilot was reportedly not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 12, 1949   

Charlestown, R. I. – June 15, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – June 15, 1949

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 15, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 123322), was making a normal takeoff from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Airfield when the engine lost all power just after the aircraft became airborne.  The aircraft went down in the water of Ninigret Pond beyond the runway.  The pilot escaped without injury, but the aircraft was significantly damaged.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated June 15, 1949

Charlestown, R. I. – December 30, 1948

Charlestown, R. I. – December 30, 1948

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On December 30, 1948, an AD-2 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122309), was making a normal takeoff from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  Near the end of the runway, while the aircraft was at an altitude of about 150 feet, the engine suddenly stopped.  The aircraft went down in the water of Ninigrit Pond which was covered by about an inch of ice.  The aircraft struck the ice at about 80 knots, skipped once, and came back down in five feet of water.  The pilot was rescued without injury but the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. 

     The accident was blamed on faulty maintenance of the carburetor.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VA-94. 

     Source:

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

Charlestown, R. I. – October 10, 1949

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 10, 1949 

 

Douglas Skyraider
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 10, 1949, an AD-1 Skyraider, (Bu. No. 122818), was making practice take offs and landings at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft crashed and burned.  The pilot escaped, but suffered serious burns.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 10, 1949.

Brunswick, ME. – July 19, 1946

Brunswick, Maine – July 19, 1946 

 

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

     On July 19, 1946, a flight of F6F-5 Hellcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island for a training flight to Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine.  Upon reaching Brunswick, the aircraft began to land.  One Hellcat, (Bu. No. 72606), was making a normal landing when the aircraft was caught in a downdraft and forced into an unpaved area 30 feet short of the runway.  Upon touchdown, the left landing gear was torn away.   The aircraft then bounced up and became airborne as the pilot applied throttle.  He was notified by the tower at Brunswick that a portion of the landing gear was missing, and was advised to return to Quonset Point.  Upon his return to Quonset, he made a wheels up landing on the grassy strip alongside the runway.  The aircraft suffered heavy damage, but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-82.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated July 19, 1946

 

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 

Narragansett Bay – March 19, 1947

Narraganset Bay, Rhode Island – March 19, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On March 19, 1947, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Philippine Sea, (CV-47), was in Narragansett Bay conducting training exercises.  At one point, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95046), was set to launch.  However, when the catapult fired to launch the aircraft, there was a malfunction with the launch mechanism, and the aircraft went over the side and into the water.  The aircraft sank, but the pilot managed to escape and was rescued.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-104 at the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated March 19, 1947         

Charlestown, R. I. – May 27, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 27, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On May 27, 1947, an U. S. Navy F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95341), made a normal landing on Runway 30 at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Airfield.  Upon touching down, there was a problem with the brakes, and the aircraft nosed over and flipped on its back before sliding to a stop.  The aircraft sustained significant damage and the pilot received non-life-threatening injuries. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated May 27, 1947  

Quonset Point, R. I. – April 25, 1947

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – April 25, 1947 

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On April 25, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 94797), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.  Just after becoming airborne and while still over the runway, the engine suddenly lost all power.   The pilot made an emergency water landing in Narragansett Bay just off the end of the runway.  The aircraft sank, but the pilot was able to escape and was rescued by a crash-rescue boat from Quonset.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-17 at Quonset Point.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report dated April 25, 1947

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  

Otis Air Force Base – October 17, 1947

Otis Air Force Base – October 17, 1947

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 17, 1947, an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95331), left the Quonset Naval Air Station in Rhode Island bound for Otis AFB in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  As the pilot was coming into to land at Otis, the engine suddenly lost all power.  Realizing he couldn’t make it to the service runway, the pilot decided to make an emergency wheels-up landing in the grass nearby.  The aircraft received considerable damage as it skidded for about 600 feet before coming to rest.  The pilot was not injured.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 17, 1947 

Charlestown, R. I. – October 2, 1944

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 2, 1944

 

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

     On the night of October 2, 1944, an F6f-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70998), was coming in to land at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field after a training flight when the pilot got vertigo and misjudged the altitude and distance to the runway.  The aircraft crashed a half-mile short of the runway and was damaged beyond all repair.  The pilot survived.  

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 2, 1944.  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 4, 1947

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1947

     On the night of September 4, 1947, Lieutenant Alfred George Elpern, (26), took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in an F8F-1 Bearcat, (Bu. No. 95208), for a night tactical training mission.   About 36 minutes into the flight the cockpit lighting system of his aircraft failed, and he was given clearance to return to base.  His first two attempts to land were aborted.   While making his third attempt, his aircraft was observed to go into a spin while at an altitude of 300 feet.  The airplane crashed and exploded on the field instantly killing Lieutenant Elpern.

     At the time of the crash, the horizon was partially obscured by haze.

     The cause of the crash could not be determined.

     Lieutenant Elpern is buried in Paradise Cemetery in Shannondale, Penn.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated September 4, 1947 

     www.findagrave.com Memorial #31314556

Quonset Point, R. I. – October 31, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – October 31, 1944

 

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

     On October 31, 1944, a pilot took off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station in a F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 58302), for a familiarization flight over the area.  Thirty minutes into the flight the pilot detected the odor of gasoline fumes in the cockpit and returned to Quonset.  Just after landing safely the aircraft caught fire and was burned.  The pilot extricated himself without injury.    

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 31, 1944.  

Gould Island, R. I. – October 25, 1941

Gould Island, Rhode Island – October 25, 1941

     On the morning of October 25, 1941, a U. S. Navy, Grumman JF-1 Duck, (Bu. No. 9448), with two men aboard, was due to take off from the Gould Island Navy Torpedo Station for an observation flight.  Gould Island is  located in Narragansett Bay off the eastern side of Jamestown.  The aircraft was taking off from the water, and as it was making its take-off run the lower left wing struck a marker buoy of the Magnetic Survey Range.  The impact tore the wing in half and caused the upper wing to buckle.  The aircraft then nosed over, skidded to the right and capsized.  

     The pilot managed to free himself, but the passenger, Petty Officer Alexander C. MacClellan, could not, and drowned.    

     The aircraft was assigned to VX Squadron 2D1.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #3428, dated October 25, 1941

 

Exeter, R. I. – April 29, 1946

Exeter, Rhode Island – April 29, 1946

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On April 29, 1946, an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 79462), took off rom Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a familiarization training flight.  While flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet over central Rhode Island, the engine began to make a clattering noise and the cockpit began to fill with a light smoke.  The pilot radioed the Quonset Tower and was given clearance for an emergency landing.  As the pilot steered towards Quonset, the oil pressure continued to drop and then the engine seized.  The pilot made an emergency crash-landing in an open field in the town of Exeter.  Although the aircraft was damaged beyond repair, the pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-18.   

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated April 29, 1946

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. – February 16, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – February 16, 1944

 

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

      At 7:50 p.m. on the night of February 16, 1944, two FM-2 Wildcat aircraft were returning to the Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a night tactics training flight.

     The first aircraft, (Bu. No. 16343), landed first and taxied down the runway.  The second aircraft, (Bu. No. 16161), landed just afterwards and collided into the back of the first aircraft.  The first aircraft was damaged beyond repair, but the second aircraft was repaired and put back in service. Neither pilot was injured.

     Both aircraft were assigned to VF-4.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-11748     

 

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    

Block Island Sound – March 12, 1946

Block Island Sound – March 12, 1946

 

F8F Bearcat
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the night of March 12, 1946, a flight of two F8F-1 Bearcats left Quonset Point Naval Air Station to take part in an instrument training flight.  Each pilot was to take turns flying in the lead position using only instruments while the other would follow from behind.  The weather was clear and calm.

     The flight went out over Block Island Sound to an area about eight miles south of Newport, Rhode Island.  By this time both aircraft had climbed to 8,000 feet.  At some point Ensign Miles Loyd, piloting (Bu. No. 94857), took the lead, and began a 25 degree dive which he maintained for 4,000 feet.  Then his airplane abruptly nosed over and dove downward at 90 degrees before impacting the water and disappearing before Ensign Loyd could escape.     

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report dated March 12, 1946 

 

Atlantic Ocean – February 20, 1944

Atlantic Ocean – February 20, 1944 

 

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

     At 1:00 a.m. on the morning of February 20, 1944, Lt.(jg.) Howard Francis Edwards was piloting an FM-2 Wildcat, (Bu. No. 16367), over Block Island Sound off the coast of Rhode Island.  The aircraft carrier USS Ranger, (CV-4), was also operating in this area.   

     At 1:05 a.m. Lt. (jg.) Edwards attempted to land aboard the Ranger.  After making a normal approach the aircraft touched down on its wheels and bounced.  The pilot applied full throttle in an attempt to take off again and in doing so struck a radio antenna and part of the bridge structure.  The aircraft then crashed onto the deck forward of the safety barrier and went over the side and disappeared into the ocean before Lt. (jg.) Edwards could escape.  Due to the depth of the water the aircraft was not recovered.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-11844 

Quonset Point, R. I. – August 8, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – August 18, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of August 18, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 47884), was taking off from the Quonset Point Naval Air Station when the aircraft lost all power just as it became airborne and went into the waters of Narragansett Bay.  The crew escaped without injury and the aircraft was recovered 13.5 hours later.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 8, 1944. 

 

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. 

North Kingstown, R. I. – August 21, 1944

North Kingstown, Rhode Island – August 21, 1944

Updated March 8, 2019

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 21, 1944, two TBF-1 Avengers, (Bu. No. 23967), and (Bu. No. 06104), left Quonset Point Naval Air Station as part of a flight of several planes that were to take part in a routine training mission.   The two Avengers were flying in a two-plane formation over Narragansett Bay along the western side of Jamestown Island while they waited for other aircraft in the flight to join up with them.  Bu. No. 23967, piloted by Ensign Walter L. Miller, Jr., 21, of Texas, was in the lead position.  The other aircraft, Bu. No. 06104 was piloted by another Ensign, and was flying in the number two position. 

    While both aircraft were about two miles southwest of the Jamestown Bridge, and at an altitude of 1,500 feet, they began to make a ten degree bank to the left.  The air was turbulent, and while the bank was being executed, the right wing of the number two aircraft collided with the elevator of the lead plane.  Immediately after the collision, Ensign Miller’s aircraft went down and crashed into a vacant house in the Saunderstown section of North Kingstown and came to rest in the side yard where it exploded killing all aboard.  The vacant cottage was destroyed by the fire.

     There was an 8-year-old boy playing in the front yard of his home 100 yards away who suffered non-life-threatening burns from the flaming gasoline sprayed by the explosion.   

     A second house in which an elderly invalid woman was residing was also set ablaze.  She was rescued by two Coast Guardsmen, Meredith E. Dobry, of Bensonville, Ill. and Daniel Caruso, of Meriden, Ct., who both happened to be in the area at the time of the crash.     

     The other Avenger was able to make it safely back to Quonset Point without injury to the crew.

     Both aircraft were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.

     The dead were identified as:

     Pilot: Ensign Walter Lee Miller, Jr., 21, of Morton, Texas.  To see a photograph of Ensign Miller, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #38854830.   

     ARM3c Jacob C. Beam, 20, of Pottstown, Pa. He’s buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in North Coventry, Pa.  See www.findagrave memorial #130440147.

    AMM3c Donald J. Finkler. 19, of East Cleveland, Ohio.

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report dated August 21, 1944 

     Providence Journal, “Three Quonset Airmen Die As Plane Falls, Fires House”, August 22, 1944, Pg. 1

     New York Times, “Plane Hits House; 3 Die”, August 22, 1944

     Newport Mercury, “Navy Men Identified In Bomber Crash”, date either Aug. 22, or 23rd, 1944

     Town of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records.

 

Quonset Point, R. I. – July 20, 1942

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – July 20, 1942

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     At 1:15 p.m. on July 20, 1942, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00524), was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine lost all power and crashed into a pile of rocks at the end of the runway while attempting an emergency landing.  Two men were aboard the aircraft at the time, and both suffered broken bones.

     The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VF-4.   

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4516

Quonset Point, R. I. – June 6, 1944

Quonset Point, Rhode Island – June 6, 1944

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On June 6, 1944, a TBF-1D Avenger, (Bu. No. 24508), was landing at Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the left brakes failed causing the aircraft to ground-loop at a high speed.  Damage consisted a buckled wing and buckled rear stabilizer as well as a blown tire.  The crew was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-19.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #41-14953

Charlestown, R. I. – October 15, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – October 15, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On October 15, 1943, a lone pilot flying a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47438), was practicing take offs and landings at Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when he crashed due to insufficient air speed. The aircraft was a total loss but the pilot was not injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5161  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 27, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 27, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 27, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00626), with a lone pilot aboard, was returning to Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field after a familiarization training flight.  Strong crosswinds were blowing at the time, and the aircraft went off the runway and suffered major damage.  The pilot was not hurt.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-8820  

Charlestown, R. I. – September 18, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 18, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 18, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 01768), with a lone pilot aboard, was making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft crashed and burned.  The pilot suffered serious burns to his face and hands and an injury to his right knee.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-8671.

Charlestown, R. I. – September 21, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 21, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 21, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24126), crashed while making practice landings and takeoffs at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field.  The lone pilot aboard was not injured, but the aircraft required a major overhaul. 

     The cause was determined to be a failure of the fuel selector valve.  

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-43.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report # 44-5724

Charlestown, R. I. – September 20, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – September 20, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On September 20, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 00652), with a lone pilot aboard, was taking off in strong crosswinds  at the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field when the aircraft went into some trees at the end of the runway and nosed up violently.  The pilot wasn’t seriously hurt, but the aircraft was destroyed.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-14.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy accident report #44-5720 

Charlestown, R. I. – December 9, 1943

Charlestown, Rhode Island – December 9, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On December 9, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 23961), with a lone pilot aboard, was making practice landings and takeoffs at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field.  As the pilot was approaching to land, flying at 90 knots, 100 feet over the water, the engine suddenly lost all power and a successful emergency water landing was made.  The pilot was rescued, but the aircraft sank, and was not immediately salvaged due to weather conditions.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-13.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report # 44-10172 

 

Westerly, R. I. – November 17, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – November 17, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the evening of November 17, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 47472), with a lone pilot aboard, was approaching the runway at Westerly Auxiliary Air Field at a 500 ft. altitude when the engine suddenly lost all power.  The pilot attempted to reach the end of the runway in a normal emergency approach but was unable to do so.  The aircraft burst into flames on impact, but the pilot escaped without injury.  The aircraft was a total loss.   

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-13.

     Source: U. S. Navy accident report #44 – 9745

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

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 20, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 20, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On August 20, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24296), took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a low-level practice-bombing training flight over Narragansett Bay.  The weather at the time was clear and the water was reportedly smooth and glassy.  At about 10:15 a.m., as the pilot was making a low level pass at a target, the propeller struck the surface of the water causing damage to the aircraft and the engine.  Fortunately the aircraft made it back to Quonset Point safely and there were no injuries to the crew.  The engine required a major overhaul.

     The aircraft was assigned to VC-19.

     Source: U.S. Navy accident report dated August 20, 1943

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – August 13, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – August 13, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the afternoon of August 13, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 24031) , was returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a training flight when the engine suddenly lost all power.  At the time this occurred, the aircraft was at an altitude of 900 feet over Narragansett Bay. The pilot turned into the wind and made an emergency water landing with wheels and flaps down.  None of the crew were injured.

     The aircraft was assigned to VT-2.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-8098

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – December 22, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – December 22, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of December 22, 1943, a TBF-1 Avenger, (Bu. No. 05900), with three men aboard, was making practice carrier landings on a platform off the shore of Point Judith when the plane went off the platform and into the water and sank.  The crew escaped without injury.  The accident occurred due to faulty brakes.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report #44-10432  

Narragansett Bay, R.I. – May 23, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – May 23, 1943

 

TBF-1 Avenger
U. S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of May 23, 1943, a flight of six TBF-1 Avengers took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a formation-practice bombing flight.  One of those aircraft was Bu. No. 06123, piloted by Ensign Leon T. Gerhart, (22), of Pennsylvania. 

     Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft had a crew of three aboard:

     ARM3c Donald J. Cross, (20-21) of Wisconsin.

     AMM2c Morrison C. Dobson

     AMM3c William Richard Walker

     Once airborne, the TBF’s rendezvoused with Ensign Gerhart flying in the No. 2 position.  The bombing mission was carried out, with each aircraft making their run individually at an anchored target boat.   At about 9:25 a.m., with the exercise completed,  the signal was given to re-form.  As this was taking place, Ensign Gerhart’s aircraft was involved in a collision with another TBF, (Bu. No. 47528).  During the collision, the tail section of Gerhart’s aircraft was completely broken off, and his plane fell out of control and crashed in Narragansett Bay.   All aboard were killed.

     The other aircraft (Bu. No. 47528) suffered damage to its right wing, but was able to successfully make an emergency landing at Quonset Point.  Nobody aboard that aircraft was injured.

     To see a photograph of Ensign Gerhart, go to www.findagrave.com, see memorial #86945634

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Crash Report #43-6986 

 

Charlestown, R.I. – August 2, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 2, 1945

 

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

     At 7:55 a.m. on the morning of August 2, 1945, Ensign Walter G. Davies was taking off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 78413), when the engine suddenly lost all power.  The plane dropped back onto the end of the runway where it continued off the tarmac and over an eight-foot embankment where it nosed over onto its back.  The pilot was freed by the base crash-rescue team and wasn’t injured.  The aircraft was a total loss.

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 2, 1945   

Charlestown, R. I. – August 30, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 30, 1945

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On August 30, 1945, an F6F-5, (Bu. No. 78419), was taking off on Runway 7 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field when the engine suddenly lost power and the plane came back down on the tarmac and flipped over.  The aircraft was wrecked, but the pilot was not seriously injured. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy crash report dated August 30, 1945  

Charlestown, R. I. – August 10, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – August 10, 1945

 

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

     There were two aviation related accidents which occurred at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field on this date.  

     At 8:15 a.m. on the morning of August 10, 1945, an F6F Hellcat aircraft was parked on the taxiway at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field, with its engine running in preparation for takeoff.  Meanwhile, the LOS truck came up along side and parked next to it, waiting for the aircraft to begin its takeoff.  As this was taking place, a second F6F Hellcat, (Bu. No. 40737), taxied up from behind and struck the LSO truck causing significant damage to the truck and the aircraft, but nobody was injured.     

     The second accident occurred at 10:31 a.m., while Lieutenant R. A. Reese was making practice carrier landings at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 41190), using a tail hook and arresting cable.  As he came in for a landing the tail hook snagged the arresting cable, and the cable snapped, causing the aircraft to make a 180 degree ground loop which resulted in major damage to the plane.  Lieutenant Reese was not hurt.  

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy crash reports dated August 10, 1945 

 

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       

Charlestown, R.I. – May 31, 1945

Charlestown, Rhode Island – May 31, 1945

 

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

     Shortly before 10:00 p.m. on the night of May 31, 1945, Ensign George Robertson Miller was returning to the Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field after a night operations flight.  The wind was gusting strongly that evening as he approached runway 35 in his F6F-5N Hellcat fighter aircraft, (Bu. No. 78136).  As he was coming in to land, a strong cross wind struck the aircraft causing it to crash. Ensign Miller was killed when the plane hit the ground.  

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident report dated may 31, 1945 

Hopkinton, R. I. – July 5, 1945

Hopkinton, Rhode Island – July 5, 1945

 

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

     On the morning of July 5, 1945, a flight of U. S. Navy F6F-5 Hellcat fighter planes took off from Westerly Air Field in Rhode Island for a “section tactics” training flight.  One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 71620), was piloted by Ensign William Warren Rehberg, of Decatur, Alabama.  The other F6F, (Bu. No. 53055), was piloted by Lt. (Jg.) Wallace F. McCoy, 23, of Dallas City, Texas. 

     At 12:03 p.m., which conducting aerial maneuvers at 6,300 feet over the Westerly area, Rehberg’s and McCoy’s aircraft were involved in amid-air collision.  Both airplanes were seen to be trailing smoke as they dove toward the ground, and both crashed and burned in the Ashaway section of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, a town the borders Westerly to the north.  Neither pilot survived.

     To see a photograph of Lt. (Jg.) McCoy, go to www.findagrave.com, Memorial #61030688.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report dated July 5, 1945. 

 

 

Off Jamestown, R.I. – December 5, 1943

Off Jamestown, R. I. – December 5, 1943

 

Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless
U.S. Navy Photo

     At about 12:30 p.m. on December 5, 1943, APlc O. W. Putner, was piloting an SBD-4 Dauntless, (Bu. No. 10543), 1000 feet over Narragansett Bay when a fire suddenly erupted in the engine necessitating an immediate emergency landing.  The aircraft came down in the water about 500 yards south of Beavertail Point on Jamestown Island.  Both the pilot and the gunner, AM2c A. A. Bartczak, escaped form the plane before it sank and were rescued.  Both men were assigned to CASU-22 at Quonset Point.      

     Source: U.S. Navy Accident report #44-10109, dated December 5, 1943

Narragansett Bay, R. I. – July 16, 1943

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island – July 16, 1943

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On the morning of July 16, 1943, Ensign Joseph Paul Staar was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 25848), over southern Narragansett Bay as part of a training flight.  The purpose of the flight was “Fighter Director Practice”, and Staar’s aircraft was part of a large group of aircraft.  

     As the flight of Hellcats was in the vicinity of Newport, Rhode Island, another aircraft made two diving passes at them from out of the sun.  On the second pass Ensign Staar’s aircraft entered a “high speed stall” due to “an abrupt climbing turn”, which led to his crashing into the water about 500 yards off Brenton Point in Newport.  He did not survive. 

     Source:

     U. S. Navy Accident Report #44-7667 

 

Richmond, R.I. – March 9, 1943

Richmond, Rhode Island – March 9, 1943

 

North American Texan Military Trainer

     Shortly before noon on March 9, 1943, a North American SNJ-4 Texan, (Bu. No. 26615), was flying over southern Rhode Island on a routine training flight.  There were two men aboard; Ensign Robert Foster Crader, age 21, of Gardena, California, and Ensign Robert Francis Wolfe, age 21, of Clinton, Iowa. 

     While over the town of Richmond, Rhode Island, the left wing of the aircraft suddenly folded and broke away which sent the plane into a violent spin.  Neither Crader or Wolfe were able to bail out before the plane crashed and burned in the apple orchard of the former Holly Farm, about 400 feet south of the junction of R.I. Route 2 and Heaton Orchard Road. 

     The left wing landed about a mile west of Route 2.

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Crash Report #43-6177   

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 23, 1943

Atlantic Ocean – December 23, 1943

 

F6F Hellcat
U.S. Navy Photo

     On December 23, 1943, Ensign Curtis L. Johnson was piloting an F6F-3 Hellcat aircraft, (#65933), off the coast of Westerly, Rhode Island, on a night training flight when his airplane developed engine trouble.  After reporting his situation, he was ordered to return to shore, and was following another aircraft in that direction when he evidently crashed into the sea and was killed.   The crash was not observed by the pilot of the other plane, but according to the navy accident report, a “civilian reported seeing a plane crash into (the) water but wreckage (was) never found.”  

     According to the navy accident report, Ensign Johnson was assigned to VF-51. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Accident Report #44-10170

 

Off Block Island, R.I. – December 30, 1943

Off Block Island, Rhode Island – December 30, 1943

 

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

     On the night of December 30, 1943, a flight of F6F-3 Hellcat aircraft assigned to VF(n)-76, took off from Quonset Point Naval Air Station for a night training flight.  The night was clear, but there was no moon.

     One of the aircraft, (Bu. No. 65930), piloted by Ensign Waldo E. Neuburg, was assigned to orbit the northern end of Block Island, which lies three miles off shore from Rhode Island.  About thirty minutes into the flight, Neuburg’s aircraft began having engine trouble.  He notified the flight leader, who advised him to return to Quonset Point.  Neuburg  put the plane into a climb and headed for shore, but a short time later radioed that he wasn’t going to make it and that he was bailing out.  Fifteen seconds later his aircraft disappeared from the Jamestown (R.I.) radar station’s tracking scope somewhere NNE of Block Island.   A search and rescue operation was instituted, but no trace of Ensign Neuburg or his airplane was ever found. 

     Source:

      U.S. Navy Accident report #44-10567

Quonset Point, R.I. – March 28, 1944

Quonset Point, R.I. – March 28, 1944

 

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

     At 7:45 p.m., on the night of March 28, 1944, members of the U.S. Navy’s VF-7 squadron were at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, preparing for a night tactics training flight.   All aircraft involved in the operation were F6F-3 Hellcat fighter planes.

     The first six aircraft left the ground without incident.  The next aircraft in line, (Bu. No. 41964), was piloted by Ensign Claude Earl Schilling.  When Ensign Schilling was granted clearance, he proceeded down the runway.  After traveling approximately 2,000 feet down the tarmac, his aircraft inexplicably veered to the right and went off the runway and onto the grass where it ground-looped back onto the runway and came to rest.   Meanwhile, the eighth aircraft, (Bu. No. #41938), piloted by Ensign Charles Francis Sullivan, had also been granted permission to take off on the same runway used by Schilling.  Due to the dark conditions, nobody realized that Schilling hadn’t made it into the air,  and Sullivan’s Hellcat struck Schilling’s plane just aft of  the cockpit severing the fuselage and igniting the fully loaded fuel tanks. 

     Sullivan managed to escape the burning wreckage, but Schilling was killed.

     According to the navy investigation report, what caused Ensign Schilling’s aircraft to leave the runway could not be determined.   

     Ensign Schilling is buried at Rio Vista Fellows Masonic Cemetery, in Rio Vista, California.  See www.findagrave.com, Memorial #135531762. 

     Source:

     U.S. Navy Investigation Report #44-12718    

 

    

 

Preston, CT – October 19, 1944

Preston, Connecticut – October 19, 1944

Updated January 14, 2019

     

Hellcat Fighters
U.S. Navy Photo

 On the night of October 19, 1944, Ensign George Kenneth Krause, 22, and Ensign Merle Henry Longnecker, 20, took off from the Charlestown Navy Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island for a night tactics training flight over Connecticut.  Each was piloting an F6F-5N Hellcat.  The Bu. No. for Ensign Krause’s aircraft was 70519, and Ensign Longnecker was piloting Bu. No. 70826. 

     At about 10:30 p.m., both aircraft were over the Norwich State Hospital area conducting mock interceptions when they were involved in a mid-air collision with each other.  Scattered wreckage fell over a large area, some coming down about one mile northeast of the hospital. Neither pilot survived.        

     Both men were assigned to Carrier Air Service Unit (CASU) 25 at Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Field in Rhode Island. 

     Ensign Krause is buried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.     

     Ensign Longnecker was survived by his wife Blanche.  He’s buried in New Rockford, North Dakota.

     Ensign Longnecker had survived an earlier aircraft accident only a few days earlier on October 12, 1944.  On that date he was practicing night carrier landings at Charlestown NAAF, while piloting another F6F-5N Hellcat, (Bu. No. 42794).  The weather was foggy with a 700 foot cloud ceiling making for poor visibility.  After making four successful landings and take-offs, he crash-landed while making his fifth approach.  The aircraft was damaged, but he was not hurt.  

     Sources:

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

     U. S. Navy accident report dated October 12, 1944

     Rhode Island Department Of Health death certificates

     The Norwich Bulletin, “Veterans Group Plans 70th Anniversary Tribute To Pilots killed In Preston Crash”, October 17, 2014 

 

Off Jamestown, R.I. – December 5, 1943

Off Jamestown, Rhode Island – December 5, 1943

     On December 5, 1943, a Navy plane with two men aboard crashed in the water about a mile to the north of Beavertail Light.  Acting on orders from his commanding officer, Seaman First Class C. A. Wood ran on foot along the shoreline before diving into the icy water and swimming out to the wreck.  Upon reaching the wreck he freed the trapped crewmen and assisted them to shore.  For his efforts he was awarded the Navy-Marine Medal. 

     Today Beavertail Light is automated, and home to the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum.

     Source: The Beavertail Lighthouse Museum

 

Off Jamestown, R.I. – September 4, 1942

Off Jamestown, Rhode Island – September 4, 1942

Updated March 9, 2019.

     On September 4, 1942, a Navy plane with two men aboard crashed in the water about 1,000 yards off Beavertail Light in Jamestown.  At the time, the area known as Beavertail was occupied by a coastal artillery unit to protect Narragansett Bay, and Beavertail Light was occupied by the U.S. Coast Guard.  Today the area is a state park, and the light is automated, and now serves as a museum.

     The crash was witnessed by shore personnel, four of whom entered the water and swam out to rescue the airmen.  They were identified at Privates First Class V.S. Sousa, and F. A. Hamilton, Corporal D. A. Corey, and Seaman Second Class R. F. Kirscher. The men reached the wreck at the same time as a passing Coast Guard boat.

     The plane’s crew consisted of (Pilot) Lieutenant (Jg.) Harry K. Stubbs, 29, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3C Fred Schumm, 20, of New York.  Lt. Stubbs was unconscious from a head  injury, while Schumm was cut and bleeding in several places.  Both were taken to the Fort Getty hospital located at Jamestown.

     The type of aircraft was not stated. It was reportedly recovered. 

     Lt. (Jg.) Stubbs survived the WWII and remained with the navy afterward.  He died on June 24, 1946 when the aircraft he was n crashed on take off from the Chincoteague Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Virginia.  Two others in the plane were also killed.  

     Commander Stubbs was born in Shawmut, Alabama, on August 3, 1913, but the family later moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he grew up on Bridge St.  He graduated Fairhaven High School and Silver Bay Preparatory School, and Columbia University.   He entered the Navy in May of 1937, and began his flying career at the navy base in Squantum, Mass.  He served aboard the aircraft carriers Lexington, Wasp, Enterprise, and Manila Bay.  During the war he commanded Composite Group 80 aboard the Manila Bay, which took part in a six month tour of duty in the Philippines.  During his service he is credited with shooting down two Japanese aircraft.  Among his medals earned are the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.  He’s buried in Riverside Cemetery in Fairhaven, Mass.

     Sources:

     New York Times, “Plane Dives Into Sea; Crew Of Two Saved”, September 5, 1942

     Fiarhaven Star, (Mass.) “Stubbs Rescued After Plane Crash”, September 10, 1942            

     Fiarhaven Star, “Commander Harry K. Stubbs Dies In Airplane Crash”, June 27, 1946.

     www.findagrave.com, Memorial #10683521

Narragansett Bay – October 11, 1942

Narragansett Bay – October 11, 1942 

Updated March 7, 2019

 

Vought SB2U Vindicator
U.S. Navy Photo

     The details of this accident have been learned, and this post updated. 

     On the afternoon of October 11, 1942, a Vought SB2U-2 Vindicator, (Bu. No. 1342), with a pilot and radioman aboard, was participating in a dive-bombing exercise over Narragansett Bay.  Other aircraft were also participating.  The aircraft was seen to enter a steep dive on a maneuvering target boat from an altitude of 10,000 feet.   When the pilot attempted to pull out of the dive at 3,000 feet, two small unidentified parts of the aircraft were seen to break loose. The aircraft crashed into the water in an almost vertical dive north of Patience Island.  Both the pilot and radioman perished in the accident.

     The pilot was identified as Lieutenant Commander John Randall Spiers, 31, of Philadelphia, PA.  To see a photo of Lt. Cmdr. Spiers, go to www.findagrave.co,, Memorial #115359760, and 76036118.

     The radioman was identified as Aviation Radioman Stanley D. Overfelt, 25, of Clarence, Missouri.  He’s buried in Maple Hills Cemetery, in Kirksville, Missouri.  Source: www.findagrave.com, memorial #59737610 

     Both men were assigned to VS-42.       

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-5054, dated October 11, 1942

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #42-31

      

 

Sakonnet River, Tiverton, R.I. – September 29, 1942

Sakonnet River, Tiverton, Rhode Island – September 29, 1942

Updated June 19, 2018

Updated January 13, 2019

 

Curtis P-40 Aircraft
U. S. Army Air Corps Photo

     On the morning of September 29, 1942, a U.S. Navy Grumman JF-1 Duck, (Bu. No. 9455), and a U.S. Army P-40 fighter, (Ser. No. 41-14218), were involved in a mid-air collision over the Sakonnet River.  A security guard who’d witnessed the incident said that there had been three aircraft in close proximity to each other just prior to the accident, and that after the collision, two of the planes fell into the river.   

     Another witness to the accident was George Helger of Tiverton, who was working on his scallop boat off Jack Island Point south of an area known as Stone Bridge.  He saw two parachutes deploy and watched as the aviators dropped down into the water, and immediately went to their aid.  The first man he reached was Lt. Cmdr. Clarence A. Hawkins, the pilot of the Grumman aircraft.  After rescuing Hawkins, Helger set off to save the other man, 2nd. Lt. Robert A. Marsh, 24, the pilot of the army airplane, but Marsh sank beneath the water before he could be reached.

     Helger also came upon a body floating in the water and retrieved it.  The parachute the man was wearing hadn’t been opened.  He was identified as Aviation Machinist’s Mate 3/c James Harris Elmer, Jr., 18, of Bridgeton, New Jersey.  Elmer had been aboard the Grumman craft. 

     It was also reported that a third man aboard the Grumman airplane, a radio operator identified in the press only by his last name, “McAlendon”, was missing. 

     Update: According to U.S. Navy report 43-4907, the missing man was RM2c H. D. McLendon, and not “McAlendon”.  He is identified in the report only by his first two initials.

     No further information is available as of this update.

    

     Sources:

     U. S. Navy accident report #43-4907

     Fall River Herald, “Army and Navy Planes In Crash”, September 30, 1942

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records #42-29

     Findagrave.com  Memorial # 144801195  (Shows a photo of the grave.)

East Providence, R.I. – January 12, 1943

East Providence, Rhode Island – January 12, 1943

Updated December 29, 2015

    

U.S. Navy SBD auntless National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy SBD auntless
National Archives Photo

     At 3:00 p.m. on January 12, 1943, two U.S. Navy SBD-4 Dauntless aircraft were returning to Quonset Point Naval Air Station after a patrol/photographic  flight when they encountered snow squalls over the Providence metropolitan area and were forced to make emergency landings. 

     One aircraft (Bu. No. 06925) attempted to land in a field near St. Mary’s Seminary on Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence, and in the process collided with a tree and flipped over.  The pilot, Ensign John Robert Jasper, 22, of St. Louis, Missouri, was killed, and his companion, Photographer 3C, Ollen Amay Stevens, 26, of  Detroit, Michigan, was seriously injured.

     St. Mary’s Seminary is today known as St. Mary’s Bay View Academy located at 3070 Pawtucket Avenue.  

    The second aircraft made a hard landing in another field about a quarter of a mile away.  The pilot, Ensign William E. McCarthy, 23, of Mansfield, Mass., and his companion, Seaman Apprentice Edward Goumond, 20, of Johnston, R.I., were slightly injured.      

     Ensign Jasper had just celebrated his 22nd birthday twelve days earlier on December 30th.   His body was brought to Quonset Naval Air Station In North Kingstown, Rhode Island in preparation for burial. He’s buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Afton, Missouri.  To see a picture of his grave go to www.findagrave.com and see Memorial # 47782542. 

     Sources:

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records, #43-17

     Larry Webster, R. I. Aviation Archaeologist & Historian

     Newport Daily News, “Navy Pilot Killed In Crash Upstate”, January 13, 1943, page 12

    

Hopkinton, R.I. – December 13, 1945

Hopkinton, Rhode Island – December 13, 1945

SB2C Helldiver U.S. Navy Photo

SB2C Helldiver

U.S. Navy Photo

     On December 13, 1945, an SB2C-4E Helldiver (Bu. No. 83080) took off from Charlestown Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Charlestown, Rhode Island, for a gunnery training flight.  While making a tight turn in the air at 1,400 feet, the plane suddenly spun in and crashed in woodland off Panciera Road in the town of Hopkinton, Rhode Island.  (The area of the crash is approximately eight miles from the airfield.) 

     Both crewmen aboard were killed instantly.  They were:

     (Pilot) Ensign Kenneth Walter Barnes, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio.  He’s buried in St. Joseph’s New Cemetery in Cincinnati. He was survived by his wife Dorothy. 

    Aviation Ordnanceman 3cl Charles Otmar Henninger, 28, of Sumner, Iowa. He’s buried at St. Peter’s Evan. Cemetery in Bremer Co. Iowa.  He was survived by his wife Geneva.  For more information about the life of Charles Henninger see the website “Bremer County Veterans Affairs” at  www.bremercountyva.org/gravesite/charles-otmar-henninger/

     Sources:

     (book) BuNos! Dispostion of World War II USN, USMC, And USCG Aircraft Listed By Bureau Numbers, by Douglas E. Campbell, copyright 2012.

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records: 45-118, and 45-119. 

     Findagrave.com- Charles Otmar Henninger, Memorial # 27384806

     Findagrave.com – Kenneth Walter Barnes, Memorial # 129069814

     Bremer County Veterans Affairs website – see above.

     U.S. Navy Crash Brief, 6-45 

Block Island Sound, R.I. – July 13, 1944

Block Island Sound, Rhode Island – July 13, 1944

5 miles off Charlestown, R.I.

    

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

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

     Ensign Gerald Vivian Brosteaux was killed during a night training flight July 13, 1944 when the F6F-3 Hellcat, (Bu. No. #42254), he was piloting crashed in the water five miles off Charlestown, Rhode Island.

     Ensign Brosteaux was assigned to Night Fighter Squadron 102 at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He’s buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego OSA Site 25-A.

     Sources:

     North Kingstown, Rhode Island, death records

     Findagrave.com #67092141   

Westerly, R.I. – October 24, 1943

Westerly, Rhode Island – October 24, 1943

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger National Archives Photo

U.S. Navy Grumman Avenger

National Archives Photo

     On October 24, 1943, a Grumman TBF-1 Avenger (Bu. No. 06096) piloted by Ensign Ralph E. Sethness, 28, was approaching Westerly Auxiliary Air Field (Today known as Westerly State Airport) when the plane developed engine trouble and crashed on the golf course of the Winnapaug Country Club.  (The club was, and still is, located at 180 Shore Road in Westerly.)

     The plane came down near the 7th hole and burst into flames.  Two local men, Robert C. Gentile, and Benjamin B. York, were the first to arrive at the scene where they found the badly injured pilot lying right next to the burning wreck with live ammunition from the plane’s machine guns starting to go off.  With disregard for their own safety, they carried Ensign Sethness fifty feet away and lay him down.  No sooner had they done so, the plane’s fuel tanks exploded spraying flaming gasoline all about the area.  The flames quickly set off a succession of machine gun rounds, and Gentile shielded the injured man with his body.   This lasted for about two minutes until the heat of the flames forced them to move Ensign Sethness another fifty feet away.  There they tended to him as best they could until fire and rescue units arrived.     

     Both men were later awarded the Carnegie Medal of Heroism for their efforts.  

     The Grumman Avenger generally carried a crew of three men however, on this particular flight Ensign Sethness was alone.  The reason for the flight was not stated, nor was the cause of the accident.   Ensign Sethness was assigned to torpedo squadron VT-15.

    Sources:

     The Westerly Sun, “Saw Plane Crash, Shore Road Men Rush To Scene”, October 25, 1943

     U.S. Navy accident report #44-9275

     Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

 

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