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MishapsMISHAPs: 19 SEP 50 A/C: R5D Location: NAS North Island, San Diego, California Strike: No BUNO: 6-P-12 Cause: Night qualifications. Water looped landing in San Diego Bay (Minor injuries and aircraft damage). Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [25OCT2010]

According to KWE member Art Lajeunesse of Latham, New York, this aircraft crashed and exploded shortly after taking off from Kwajalein to Japan on September 19, 1950, killing all 26 Naval personnel on board. Take off at night with no moon may have been a contributing factor in this incident.

Analysis: Plane ___ Vanderford departed Barber's Point on routine flight to Tokyo with scheduled stops at Johnston, Kwajalein, and Guam. The flight from Barber's Point to Johnston & from Johnston to Kwajalein was uneventful. Arriving at Kwajalein at 1016313. No discrepancies were reported by plane CDR. After routine servicing the A/E was scheduled to depart from Kwajalein for Guam with relief crew. The plane CDR of which was LCDR S.L. White. When the a/e departed the terminal White was in left hand pilot seat. The positions of the remainder of his crew are unknown.

The a/e made normal takeoff with no apparent failures after takeoff. Approximately one minute after take off the a/e crashed. The a/e exploded on impact and burned for approximately ten minutes then sank in about 1200 fathoms of water. The location of the crash was approximately five miles of upwind and of takeoff w/w OYO. The ___ Kwajalein tower operator reported the first transmission read from a/e before the crash was the shift from Kwajalein tower frequency.

The fatalities were as follows:

White, TCDR Samuel Lee - Pilot. LCDR White was a highly decorated veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was assigned to Air Transport Squadron 21, Barbers Point, Hawaii. Lieutenant Commander White was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Spangle, LT(jg) William Granger, II - Co-pilot. USNA Class of 1945, Lieutenant Spangle was a veteran of World War II. In Korea, he was a member of Air Transport Squadron 21, Barbers Point, Hawaii.. Lt. JG Spangle was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp.

UPDATE "...I am William G. Spangle, LtCol, USAF (ret), but my father, also of the same name, was killed in the plane crash off Kwajalein atoll, 19 Sept 1950. I found details of the crash on this website and even after 55 years brought some closure to my father's death. My mother (my Dad's wife) and his mother, only recently deceased, were sketchy on the details and who could blame them! I had considered a trip to Kwajalein Atoll. I don't exactly know why--perhaps just to stand on the runway where my Dad last stood. These details certainly helped. If any readers of this message knew my father, I would appreciate hearing from them...." Contributed by William G. Spangle wgspangle@verizon.net [25OCT2010]

Watkins, LT William D.
Best, LCDR Issac S.
Sessons, CPO Robbie
Sauer, AEM3 Edward A.
Johnson, AEM3 Albert J.
Esposito, ENS Constance R.
Kilthau, LT James J.
Englehardt, ENS Edward E.
Harsh, ENS Robert A.
Thrall, ENS Alvin E.
Giroux, LT(jg) Alice J.
Boatman, ENS Marie M.
Heege, LT(jg) Constance A.

LT(jg) Heege served as a nurse with the US Navy. She was enroute to Tokyo to aid the Korean wounded. She was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

Clarke, Lt. JG Jeanmne E.
Kennedy, LT(jg) Margarte G.
Goodwin, LT(jg) Calla V.
Rundell, Ens. Edna J.
Jackson, David J. Jr.
Palmer, LT Francis G.
Smith, LT(jg) Harold K.
Beste, ENS Eleanor C.
Liljegreen, LT(jg) Mary E.
Horter, LT William D.
Eldridge, ENS Jane L.

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