VPNAVY VP-9 Mishap - Soviet Shot Down 22JUN55 - No Loss Of Life
VPNAVY Address

MishapVP-26 MishapMishap


MishapsMISHAPs: 06 JUN 44 A/C: PBM-3D Marina Location: Unknown Strike: No BUNO: 045336 Cause: During gunnery training, hot round (pre-cooked) fired in aircraft; Minor dmage Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [25SEP98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 24 JUL 44 A/C: PBM-3D Marina Location: Unknown Strike: No BUNO: 11-P-26 45329 Cause: Training flt, hard landing in Cooper river, Charleston,NC; Minor damage Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [25SEP98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 13 AUG 44 A/C: PBM-3D Marina Location: 400mi.NE, Oahu, Hi Strike: No BUNO: 45363 Cause: Engine failure, force landed at sea: Major damage Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [25SEP98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 20 FEB 46 A/C: PBM-5 Marina "...Based from Tsingtao, China, during a training flight this aircraft made an unauthorized flight over Dairen (Port Arthur), Manchuria. As a result, it was fired upon by Soviet fighters firing warning bursts for twenty minutes. No damage inflicted..." APPENDIX 34 Cold War Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Aircraft http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org4-3.htm [29MAR98]


MishapsMISHAPs: 08 APR 50 A/C: PB4Y-2 PB4Y-1 "...Based from NAS Port Lyautey, French Morocco, while on a Det A patrol mission launched from Wiesbaden, West Germany, this aircraft (BuNo 59645) was lost when attacked by Soviet aircraft over the Baltic Sea off the coast of Lepija, Latvia. Wreckage was recovered, but unconfirmed reports stated that the missing ten crewmembers were taken prisoner..." APPENDIX 34 Cold War Incidents Involving U.S. Navy Aircraft http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org4-3.htm [29MAR98]

UPDATE "...BALTIC SEA INCIDENT Cold War Airplane 1950 The New York Times - New York, Wednesday, April 12, 1950..." WebSite: EBay http://www.EBay.com [13JUN2010]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

UPDATE "...08 APR 50 - A PB4Y Privateer of VP-26, with 10 men on board, was lost over the Baltic Sea after being attacked by Soviet aircraft..." http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-1910/PART07.PDF [28MAY2003]

UPDATE "...April 8, 1950: US Navy Aircraft Lost Over Baltic Sea..." WebSite: POW-MIA http://www.aiipowmia.com/koreacw/cw1.html [23MAR2005]

April 8, 1950: US Navy Aircraft Lost Over Baltic Sea
Date: 04/08/50
Aircraft: US Navy 'Privateer'
Crew: 10 {no survivors or remains recovered}


This aircraft was apparently shot down over the Baltic Sea by Soviet aircraft. The Soviets claimed that the plane had violated Soviet airspace over LAtvia and had exchanged fire with Soviet fighters.

On July 17, 1950, based on information obtained from German, Austrian, and Japanese POWs repatriated from the Soviet Union, the US Government presented a note to the Soviet Government claiming that: - #2

Sometime in 1950 and in October 1953, at least one member of this aircraft's crew had been sighted in Soviet "Camp #20" near Taishet, USSR, and "Collective Farm #25", 54 kilometers from Taishet, "said to be under sentence for allged espionage. This American national was described as having suffered burns on the face and legs in the crash of his aircraft and using crutches or a cane."

In September 1950, as many as eight crewmembers of this aircraft had been seen in the area of Vorkuta, USSR. One of these Americans stated that he was serving a 25 year sentence for espionage and had been a crewmember of a downed US aircraft.

The US diplomatic note stated that:

The reports concerning such personnel have now become so persistent and detailed, and so credible that, although the United States Government has not been able to identify by name these American nationals now detained by the Soviet Government, it request the Soviet Government to inform the United States Government in detail concerning each American military person who has been detained in the Soviet Union at any time since January 1, 1949, of whom the United States Government has not been heretofor been informed by the Soviet Government, giving in each case the name of the person and the circumstances underlying his detention.

The note went on to itemize the missing crewmembers as noted below. In addition, after noting the above case regarding the April 8, 1950 shootdown and that of June 13, 1952 (see below) the note went on to say that:

While the foregoing specific cases involve the crew members of two aircraft, it may well be that the Soviet Government has in its custody members of the crews of other United States aircraft, particularly members of aircraft engaged on behalf of the United Nations Command side of the military action in Korea since 1950.

The Soviet Government, on August 14, 1956, stated that an 'exhaustive inquiry' into the charges of the US note had been carried out and that no such American military personnel were being held on Soviet territory. - #3

A recent newspaper article also contained information about one crewmember possibly having survived, Lieutenant Robert D. Reynolds: - #4

Articles placed in a Russian newspaper by ARK {a US based POW/MIA research organization} and others... brought information... A Russian came forward who had heard of Lt. Robert D. Reynolds living in the Soviet Union in teh 1950's, said Jane Reynolds Howard, of Middleton, Wis., who was married to Reynolds. The US government had declared him presumed dead in 1951, a year and a day after his Navy plane was shot down over the Baltic Sea.

Crewmembers - #5

Fette, John H. .. LT .. USNR
Seeschaf, Howard W. .. LT .. USN
Reynolds, Robert D. .. LTJG .. USN
Burgess, Tommy L. .. ENS .. USN
Danens, Joe H., Jr. .. AD1 .. USN
Thomas, Jack W. .. AD1 .. USN
Beckman, Frank L. .. AT1 .. USN
Purcil, Edward J. .. CT3 .. USN
Rinniar, Joseph N., Jr. .. AT3 .. USN
Bourassa, Joseph Jay .. AL3 .. USN

UPDATE "...Soviet La-11s, piloted by Boris Dokin, Anatoliy Gerasimov, Tezyaev, and Sataev shot down a USN PB4Y-2 Privateer (BuNo 59645) of VP-26, Det A. Based from NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco, the Privateer was on a patrol mission launched from Wiesbaden, West Germany. According the to the American account, this happened over the Baltic Sea off the coast of Lepija Latvia. The Soviets claimed the aircraft was intercepted over Latvia and fired on the Soviet fighters when it was intercepted. After the fighters engaged the Privateer, the Soviets report that it descended sharply before crashing into the sea 5-10 kilometers off the coast. Wreckage was recovered, but the crew of John H. Fette, Howard W. Seeschaf, Robert D. Reynolds, Tommy L. Burgess, Frank L. Beckman, Joe H. Danens, Jack W. Thomas, Joesph Jay Bourassa, Edward J. Purcell and Joesph Norris Rinnier Jr. were presumed killed..." Website: Aircraft Downed During the Cold War and Thereafter http://www.silent-warriors.com/shootdown_list.html [20FEB2003]

UPDATE Mishap Information ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Mishap Information Contributed by HERNDON, AMHC JOHN D. Retired herndonjohn@hotmail.com [20SEP2002]

UPDATE LOCATION: Baltic Sea No DEATHS: 10 CAUSE: Shot down by Russian fighter aircraft while patrolling international waters of the Baltic Sea 56-19N 18-45E:Crew missing. Pilot: Lt.John H.Pette, Lt.H.W.Seeschae, Lt(jg).R.D.Reynolds, Ens.T.L.Burges, AD-1.J.H.Davies,Jr., AT3.J.H.Rinnier,Jr., AL3.J.J.Borrasasa, Jr., AD1.J.W.Thomas, AT1.F.L.Beckman, and CT3.B.J.Purcell Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 29SEP2000]

UPDATE "...50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST COLD WAR SHOOTDOWN, VP-26s PB4Y-2 (#59645)..." Contributed by John Lucas john.lucas@netzero.net

VP-26 PB4Y ThumbnailCamera
"HB 7" gassing up at NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco
shortly before being shot down by Soviet fighters.

Shortly after World War II, the U.S. government received reliable information that the Baltic Sea was being turned into a "Soviet Gibraltar" with four submarines coming off the assembly line each month and airfields being built on various Baltic islands. Stalin was at the height of his power and both the Soviet and American peoples lived in constant fear of each other. There were no satellites in the sky, no high-flying jets with cameras in the late forties. Many brave men, in slow-flying planes, risked their lives daily to provide their government with information considered essential to national security. They flew into harms-way unprotected, their aircraft striped of all guns and nonessential equipment to make room for "state of the art" electronic monitoring and photographic gear.

In 1947 air-intelligence missions began under the code name of "PASSIONATE". On these flights, photographs were taken only when they did not interfere with the primary mission. Dedicated aerial reconnaissance flights began in 1949 under the code name "FERRET". On these flights, the primary mission was to record and analyze the signals of the Soviet radars and electronic equipment. In 1947 the U.S. Navy Patrol Squadron, VP-26 had a detachment (Det 214) of three PB4Y-2 "Privateers", a four engine land-based patrol aircraft, stationed at NAS Port Lyautey, French Morocco. These three PB4Y-2s, had been specially configured to fly the elite air-reconnaissance missions.

On 8 April 1950, a VP-26 PB4Y-2, designated "HB 7" #59645, assigned to Det.A, took off from Wiesbaden Air Base, West Germany on a "FERRET" flight. At 1739 the "Privateer" was intercepted by four Soviet "La-11" fighters while flying at an altitude of 12,139ft over the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Latvia south of Liepaja. After refusing the "follow me" signals of the fighters, the "Privateer" was shot down, becoming the first publicized shootdown of the Cold War. The Soviets claimed that the plane had violated Soviet airspace over Latvia and had exchanged fire with the soviet fighters. All PB4Ys flying the "FERRET" missions were always unarmed due to countries like Sweden that would not allow them to land if they were carrying any weapons.

The search and rescue efforts started almost immediately after the plane was reported missing and continued until 16 April. No survivors or remains were recovered, however on the 15th of April a search plane spotted a inflated life raft and oil slicks in the same vicinity where another search plane reported seeing two flares, five days earlier. After the life raft was examined, Capt. D. J. Klinger, commander of the U.S. Air Rescue Mission said that all the supply pockets in the life raft were empty. Capt. Klinger also stated that the pockets could not have opened automatically, and must have been emptied intentionally. On the 21st, and 25th of April 1950, two Swedish fishing trawlers recovered a second life raft, in a damaged and submerged condition, and the nose strut and wheel assembly of the missing "Privateer". The nose wheel was said to have what appeared to be bullet holes in its tire. Seat cushions, radio logs, and other debris which had washed up along the Baltic coastline were all taken to U.S. authorities.


Fette, John H.

Seeschaf, Howard W.

Reynolds, Robert D.

Burgess, Tommy L.

Danens Jr., Joe H.

Thomas, Jack W.

Beckman, Frank L.

Purcell, Edward J.

Rinnier Jr., Joseph N.

Bourassa, Joseph J.

Based on information obtained from German, Austrian, and Japanese POWs repatriated from the Soviet Union. At least one member of the PB4Ys crew had been sighted in Soviet "CAMP #20" and "COLLECTIVE FARM #25" located near Taishet, USSR, sometime in 1950 and again in 1953. Said to be under sentence for alleged espionage, this American national was described as having suffered burns on the face and legs in the crash of his aircraft and using crutches or a cane. In September 1950 a U.S. citizen, John H. Noble arrived in the Soviet Siberian prison camp of "VORKUTA". Soon after his arrival he spoke with a Yugoslavian national prisoner who reported to Mr. Noble that he had seen and spoken to American flyers that had been shot down in the Baltic Sea. He added that two of them had perished and eight had survived the crash in the sea. One of these Americans stated that he was serving a 25-year sentence for espionage and had been a crewmember of a downed U.S. aircraft. Another American imprisoned at "VORKUTA" was William T. Marchuk who talked with a Russian who confirmed that he was among the sailors who searched for and saved the American flyers.

In Nov 1992 an interview with General Colonel (Ret.) Shinkarenko, who commanded the unit that downed the U.S. PB4Y-2, stated that some items of equipment and aircraft parts were recovered. He clamed that initially the Soviets intended to produce the recovered parts before the United Nations for propaganda purposes, but that the intelligence value of the gear overrode the desire for a propaganda victory and the recovery was kept secret. Shinkarenko also stated that upon the disbanding of his unit in 1953, a special commission of officers convened to destroy all of the locally held records. Also in 1992 an article printed in the Russian newspaper Izvestiya stated that a letter had been received from a former Soviet sailor, Victor Shevchuk, who claimed to have participated in the search for the "Privateer". Mr. Shevchuk remembered items from the plane being raised to the deck of the ship he served on, and heard from divers that remains of crewmembers were found in the cockpit of the plane. Colonel J. Vectrans, Chief of the Latvian Police, interviewed in 1993 recalls his memories and those of acquaintances in regards to the "Privateer" shootdown. Vectrans states that when the Russian pilots returned from their mission, they were reported to have been laughing because they "shot down a big plane and it was easy". Vectrans also said that there were widespread rumors concerning the crash and that all roads were blocked off in the coastal region. By the end of a week the security services were said to have "caught U.S. spies".

Word of mouth statements by people who were living in the 1950s gave considerable credence to the idea that the aircraft and its equipment were salvaged, and highly probable that most of the men were taken prisoner at that time. In 1951, all ten men were declared "presumed dead" and posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but the entire crew remained unaccounted for. In June 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin reported that Soviet forces had shot down nine American planes over Soviet territory during the 1950s. As of August 1, 1955 he said a dozen Americans were in Russian prisons, labor camps, or psychiatric hospitals.

Russia contends that, to their knowledge, no Americans are currently being held against their will within the borders of the former Soviet Union. The U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIA Affairs testified in 1992 that the U.S. was "intentionally being stonewalled" by the Russians on the subject of the Cold War incident. The only Soviet record found after the shootdown was a letter sent to Stalin in 1950 indicating that the search for the PB4Y, conducted by Soviet Navy from 22 April to 14 June 1950, was unsuccessful. To date, all archival material from 8 April to 21 April 1950 is missing. On 8 April 2000, Latvia's coastal city of Liepaja unveiled a memorial to honor the 10 U.S. airmen who were shot down by the Soviet military in 1950, so that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

UPDATE "...PB4Y-2; 59645; Shot down by Russian fighters after straying into Russian Territory while on a navigation training flight near 56-19N 18-45E. Crew missing: Pilot Lt John H.Pette, Lt H.W.Seeschae, Lt(jg) Robert D.Reynolds, Ens .Thomas L.Burges, AD1 Jospeh H.David, Jr., AT3 Joseph N.Rinnier, Jr., AL3 Joseph J.Borrasasa,Jr., AD1 Jack W.Thomas, AT1 F.L.Beckman, and CT3 B.J.Purcell..." Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [06JAN2001]

Memorial PictureIn Memorial for lost friends http://www.balticseaincident1950.com/ April 8th, 1950 [13SEP2000]

UPDATE "08APR50--A PB4Y Privateer of VP-26, with 10 men on board, was lost over the Baltic Sea after being attacked by Soviet aircraft..." http://history.navy.mil/branches/avchr7.htm [10DEC98]

UPDATE "...It was PB4Y-2, named the Turbulent Turtle. She was shot down by Lt. Boris Dokin in his La-11. She was shot down south of the Latvian coastal city of Liepaja, 5 miles from the town of Tsenknoy. Time 5:39 PM. The pilot of the PB4Y-2 was named Jack Fette. No bodies were recovered out of the 10 man crew. All 4 soviet pilots involved were awarded the Order of the Red Banner...Tim Heck on June 15, 1998 at 06:59:46..." http://www.pb4y.com/wwwboard/messages/46.html [02JAN99]

UPDATE "8 Apr. 1950--PB4Y2 from VP-26, Det A, shot down by Soviet aircraft, over Baltic Sea off coast of Latvia..." http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq56-1.htm [26DEC97]

MishapsMISHAPs: 00 XXX 51 or 52 A/C: P2V P Neptune "...I know they also lost a plane at NAS Brunswick, Maine in about 1951 - 52 shortly before I reported to the squadron. Several of the crew including one of the pilots were killed. Then when we were deployed to Iceland one slid off the runway during a single engine landing and burned. The crew all escaped that one..." Contributed by Anderson M. Rearick, Jr. andy.rearick@juno.com [17JUN98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 14 APR 52 A/C: P2V-4 P Neptune Location: NAS Brunswick, Maine Strike: Yes Deaths: 6/killed, 1/serious, 3/minor BUNO: 124255 Cause: Single engine crash crash landing. Individual non-syllabus training. Pilot. LT(jg) Thomas M. Pole, Seriously inj LT(jg) F. C. Sachse, Jr., Killed, LT(jg) E. G. Buck, Minor inj, ADC R. Fussell, Minor inj, ALCA S. J. Moore, Jr, Killed, AO1 W. Polen, Jr, Killed, AL3 O. Krampf, killed, AT3 J. G. Karl, Minor inj, AOAN G. W. Thompson, Killed, and AO3 R. Shaffer, Killed. Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [Updated 02JAN2001 | 03APR98]

UPDATE I ran across this article and thought I would share it with you...Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [11NOV2009]

WebSite: GenDisasters http://www3.gendisasters.com/
Brunswick, ME Navy Patrol Bomber Crash, Apr 1952
Posted March 8th, 2009 by Stu Beitler


Brunswick, Me. (AP) -- A Navy pilot Tuesday emerged as hero of a crash and fire that killed five men and injured the other five aboard a crippled patrol bomber attempting an instrument landing here.LT. (j.g.) THOMAS N. POLE, uninjured when his P2-Ventura swooped into mist-shrouded trees at the edge of NAS Brunswick, Maine Monday, suffered face and hand burns rescuing his co-pilot, LT. FREDERICK G. SACHSE, who was caught in the flaming wreckage.

SACHSE, who was critically burned, comes from Ann Arbor, Mich., and POLE from Hackettstown, N.J. Both live now at nearby Yarmouth.

One of the Ventura's engines failed on a flight to NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island and the piilot tried to return here, the plane's home base.

On POLE'S first approach to a new runway he was off to one side and as he made a second pass "something else went wrong," Cmdr. J. B. IFFT said, and the plane crashed into the trees."Probably the second engine was cutting out and the craft lost its emergency power," IFFT added.

The tail section was ripped off. All the dead were in that part of the ship. None was from the Northwest.

Walla Walla Union Bulletin Washington 1952-04-15


Brunswick, Me., April 15 (AP) -- The co-pilot of a Navy patrol bomber remained in critical condition today as investigation continued in the crash of the disabled craft in which five died and five were hurt.
Comdr. J. D. IFFT, executive officer of the NAS Brunswick, Maine, said engine failure undoubtedly was the major cause of the accident yesterday.

The two engined PV2 smashed into trees in a drizzle at the edge of the air base and burned furiously. It was attempting an instrument landing.

The co-pilot, LT. FREDERICK G. SACHSE, of Ann Arbor, Mich., was reported in "pretty bad shape" at the base infirmary.

LT. THOMAS N. POLE, of Hackettstown, N. J., the pilot, was the hero of the mishap. Uninjured in the crash, POLE suffered face and hand burns rescuing SACHSE.

The Navy identified the dead as:

ALC SHERMAN L. MOORE, JR., of Bath, formerly of Oakland, Cal.
AOAN GEORGE W. THOMPSON, JR., of Stevenson, Ala.

Besides LTS. POLE and SACHSE, the injured are:

LT. (jg) EDWARD G. BUCK of Muskogee, Okla., the navigator.
ADC RAYMOND R. FUSSELL of Auburn, formerly of Pineapple, Ala.
AT3 JACOB G. KARL of New Brunswick, N.J.

Newport News Rhode Island 1952-04-16

UPDATE "...I'm searching for Bob and Kay Lindberg. They were close friends of my parents (Bud and Eileen Polen) back in the 40's and 50's, when they were in the Navy. Bob & Kay were originally from Duluth, MN, probably born in the 20's. He was a radio man 1st class in the 50's. In 1960 - they were stationed in CA. They had 2 daughters - Kathy & Susan, I would love to find them or anyone who knows about them. My father, Walter Polen Jr. (Bud) was killed in Brunswick ME. in 1952. Any help appreciated....Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [26SEP2006]

UPDATE VP-50 P3 ThumbnailCameraMishap Photograph "...A man who was on the base the day of the crash sent it to me with some photos of him so a friend of my took just this photo off of the group of photos and sent it to me...Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [08SEP2006]

UPDATE "...I received a phone call from the son of the man who survived the crash that took my father's life. Thank you very much...Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [08JUL2006]

UPDATE "...My father, AO1 Walter (Bud) Polen Jr., died in a VP-26 NAS Brunswick, Maine Mishap (April 14th, 1952). According to my Dad's Flight Log - he also served with VB-4 NAS Masters Field, Miami, Florida, VPB-197 NAAS Camp Kearny, California, VPB-200 MCAS/NAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and VPB-111 Palawan Is. P.I. I am hoping to find the man that was also aboard and survived E.G. Buck (Edward Guy Buck). I was a little girl when this happened and I so badly want to hear from anyone who knew my father. I am also looking for a man named Jack. He brought home my father's remains home to Alden, NY, near Buffalo, NY. He took us to Niagara Falls before he went home. I remember him so fondly. I would love to find him or find someone who knows who he is. Please contact me. Thank you, Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [Updated 24JUN2006 | 09MAR2006]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraWalter (Bud) Polen Jr. "...Here are two photos of my dad. I am not sure how well the one in his uniform will show up. The other one is better and is the last photo taken of my father before he died.....Christmas 1951....Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [28AUG2006]

UPDATE "...I received a phone call from the son of the man who survived the crash that took my father's life. Thank you very much...Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net...Cindy Polen Novick ourprince@verizon.net..." [08JUL2006]

MishapsMISHAPs: 00 JAN 55 A/C: P2 VP-26 Mishap LOCATION: NAS Keflavik, Iceland TYPE: Collision with runway STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 00 BUNO: Unknown CAUSE: Three aircraft were returning from patrols the day before we were to be relieved and field was at minimum visibility due to ground fog. Pilot broke out of fog off center of runway and tried to side slip back on center, but sheared off the starboard main gear. Aircraft slid down runway and starboard engine caught fire. Crew escaped with minor burns and injuries from dropping out of rear hatch. Do not have info on Crew # or BuroNo. Contributed by Norman Kratfel nkratfel@enter.net [24MAR98]

UPDATE VP-26 Mishap Thumbnail VP-26 Mishap Thumbnail "...Photo of VP-26's EB-1 that crash landed on the St. Thomas island in January 1955. Per Kenneth Rauschke, Plane Captain at the time, they lost the starboard engine shortly after takeoff from NS Roosevelt Roads, PR for operation "Springboard". Since they were only at 200 ft altitude with full gas and ordinance load, they opted to fly straight into St. Thomas rather than chance a single engine turn back to Rosey. The runway was short and the nose wheel dug into the dirt and collapsed when they tried to make a sharp turn near the end. The crew only suffered minor injuries and spent some R&R time at the local resort guarding the aircraft until it was barged back to the States..." Contributed by Norman Kratfel nkratfel@enter.net [18SEP98]

MishapsMISHAPs: January 1957 A/C: P2V-3 P Neptune Mishap Info: Contributed by John Konvalinka jkonvalinka@email.msn.com WebSite: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jkonvalinka/ [28APR98]

Eleven NAS Hutch Plane Crewmen Saved By Chutes
The Hutchinson News-Herald
Hutchinson, Kansas, Monday, January 28, 1957

Eleven men from HNAS safely parachuted from their crippled plane Sunday night after the twin-engine patrol bomber lost an engine over rugged wasteland in north-central Arizona.

The P2V Neptune crashed and burned 10 miles north of Joseph City, Ariz. The time was about 7 p. m.

Only man injured was Arthur M. Lueck, 26, first radioman of the crew who received a broken leg. He is in a hospital at Winslow, Ariz.

The plane was returning to HNAS from NAS Los Alamitos, California, on a cross-country training flight. It carried a crew of seven , and four passengers.

Lt. Hansen Pilot - Pilot of the ill-fated craft was Lt. (jg) Lawrence W. Hansen, Chanute.

In a telephone report to HNAS officials early Monday morning, Lt. Hansen said fire developed in one engine and he had to feather it. The craft was flying in snow at the time and visibility was limited.

The pilot said after losing one engine, the plane began picking up ice. Then the second engine started cutting out and the plane began losing altitude.

The plane was at 7500 feet, some 2500 feet above the snow-covered terrain, when the crew was ordered to bail out.

The 11 men parachuted over a wide area but were quickly picked up by Navajo County sheriff's officers.

Left Here Friday - Officers at HNAS said the P2V left the base Friday on the training flight.

Another P2V carrying an investigation board left HNAS at 8:45 a. m. Monday for the crash site. The downed flyers might return in that plane or another plane may be dispatched to return them to NAS Hutchinson, Kansas in a day or two, officials said.

Other crew members were: Lt. (jg) Fred L. Geer, 23, student co-pilot, Pontiac, Mich.; Ens. John W. Konvalinka, 23, a student, New Rochelle, N. Y.; Donald P. Marchewka, 21, Plane Captain and aviation machinists mate 3rd class, Schenectady, N. Y.; Joe L. Johnson, 20, airman apprentice, Houston, Tex., and Julius B. Fitzgerald, 34, 2nd radioman, Stilwell.

Passengers were Lcdr. Talmadge H. Morrison, 36, Los Angeles, Calif.; Lt. Herbert C. Phelps, 35, Wilton, N. Y.; Lt. William J. Fath, 33, Mt. Vernon, N. Y., and Lt.jg) Curtis R. Alien, 34, Atlanta, Ga.

First reports of the accident came from a B25 pilot who messaged a report of a fire about 25 miles east of Winslow.

Deputy Sheriff Harvey Randall reported he found nine of the crewman at the scene. They had built a fire to keep warm as snow was falling.

UPDATE "...VP-26 The crash that happened in northern Arizona was to P2V-3 122983, date was 27jan57..." Contributed by Jan van Waarde jwaarde@chello.nl, Navy/USMC/USCG/NASA Updates Editor WebSite: http://www.scramble.nl Dutch Aviation Society / Scramble [01DEC2004]

MishapsMISHAPs: 12 APR 57 A/C: P2V-3 P Neptune LOCATION: NAS Brunswick, Maine Strike: Yes BUNO: 131452 DEATHS: 06 CAUSE: Lost a plane and crew just off the runway at Brunswick, Me. Pilot training flight, got into a hammerhead stall at very low altitude. I was on LJ-8 in the traffic pattern..." Contributed by Glenn Tweedy ATC RET (1972) wgt-srt@worldnet.att.net [E-Mail Upated 26SEP98 | Updated 19JUN98]

UPDATE Varicam malfunction during touch and go landing, hammerhead stall, C & B. LTJG James D. Hovis/Killed, Ens Robert J. Kreuscher/Killed, AT3C Charles H. Frank/Killed, AD3C Donald R. Shobe/Killed, AM1C James I. Waggoner/Killed, AT3C Ray C. Stout/Killed . WebSite: Aviation Archaeology in Maine http://www.mewreckchasers.com/ [16SEP2008]

UPDATE "...VP-26 The 12apr57 accident at NAS Brunswick happened to P2V-5 131452..." Contributed by Jan van Waarde jwaarde@chello.nl, Navy/USMC/USCG/NASA Updates Editor WebSite: http://www.scramble.nl Dutch Aviation Society / Scramble [01DEC2004]

UPDATE "...If you're referring to the same accident I'm thinking about, it actually happened on 12 April 1957. (I was in VP-26 at the time.)..." Contributed by John Konvalinka jkonvalinka@email.msn.com WebSite: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jkonvalinka/ [23APR98]

UPDATE "...Here is the info on the 12 April 57 accident. I have excerpted this information from the Accident Summary. The parenthetical remarks are mine. The varicam was essentially an elevator trim mechanism that could fail in a runaway mode, those producing full nose up or full nose down trim. Full nose up trim would produce an uncontrollable pitch-up under most flight conditions. ..." Contributed by Theo Elbert AseiTheo@aol.com [19JUN98]

"After two full stop landings, the aircraft was cleared for a touch-and-go. The approach for landing was slightly nose high. In the landing roll, the nose wheel never touched the runway. The aircraft left the runway in a slightly nose high attitude until about 50-100 feet was obtained.

The aircraft continued climbing at an ever steepening angle to about 1300 feet, at which point, it was near vertical, nose up. The nose fell through with a rapid loss of altitude and change of heading. At about 200 feet and 200 yards from point of impact, the wings were leveled momentarily and a slight nose up recovery observed. Almost immediately, the port wing and the nose dropped again and the aircraft struck the ground and trees in a 70 degree bank, 45 degrees nose down. Fire consumed the aircraft. All hands were fatally injured. (There was a crew of five aboard for the local training flight--two pilots, the Plane Captain, and two observers.)

The (accident) board concluded that a malfunction of some portion of the electrical units of the varicam system was the primary cause of the accident and that positive recovery procedure was not initiated soon enough to prevent the stall and ultimate crash. Varicam was found 9-1/2 degrees nose up." [19JUN98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 29 SEP 58 A/C: P2V-5 P Neptune LOCATION: Florida Bay, twenty-two miles north of Key West, Fla. TYPE: Collision Water STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 10 BUNO: Possibly 131461 CAUSE: Unknown See Memorial "Lost at Sea" Contributed by John Konvalinka jkonvalinka@email.msn.com [15JUN98]

Memorial PictureIn Memorial for lost friends Crew "Lost at Sea" September 29th, 1958 [Updated 08FEB2015]


MishapsMISHAPs: 05 FEB 68 A/C: P3P3 Orion LOCATION: China Sea TYPE: Collision Water STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 12 BUNO: 153440 CAUSE: Possible AutoPilot See Memorial to Crew 8 "Lost at Sea" [14FEB98]

Memorial PictureIn Memorial for lost friends Crew EIGHT "Lost at Sea" [Updated 06NOV2023]

MishapsMISHAPs: 01 APR 68 A/C: P3P3 Orion LOCATION: China Sea TYPE: Collision Water STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 12 BUNO: 153445 CAUSE: Combat Action [The CAC-1 crew: Stuart M. McLellan LTJG Michael J. Purcell LTJG, Frank E. Hand LTJG Brian J. Mathison LTJG, Donald W. Burnside AME2 Kenneth L. Crist AT1, William S. Cutting AO2, Donald E. Kulacz AXC, Delmar L. Lawrence AX3 Donald F. Wood AE1, and Edward O. Wynder ADJ2 Alvin G. Yoximer AX1... Contributed by A. Scott Wilson ASCTWILSON@aol.com] [Crew Updated 01NOV98]

UPDATE "...Viet vet honored at special ceremony - 01:51 PM CST on Monday, November 12, 2007 - By GARY REAVES / WFAA-TV..." WebSite: WFAA http://www.wfaa.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/latestnews/stories/wfaa071112_wz_vetburied.2033872e1.html Contributed by LARSON, LCDR John Retired oriondriver1975@yahoo.com [23NOV2007]

History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial Navy jets roared overhead to salute a fallen comrade from the Vietnam era.
History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial Lt. j.g. Frank E. Hand III was just 26 when his plane was shot down.

DALLAS — On the day after Veteran's Day, there was a special salute at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Frank E. Hand III—a Navy pilot from Haltom City who went missing during the Vietnam War 39 years ago—was buried with full military honors Monday morning just a short distance from the former Dallas Naval Air Station where he did some of his initial training.

Four FA-18 military jets from New Orleans soared above the gravesite in the traditional "missing man" formation to honor Hand's service to the nation.

The U.S. Navy also posthumously promoted the pilot to lietenant junior grade.

Hand volunteered to join the navy at a time when others were being drafted to fight in the unpopular war. His P-3 Orion aircraft was shot down by Cambodian gunboats on April 1, 1968, in the Gulf of Siam.

Hand was one of 12 crewmembers who died in the crash. He was 26.

Hand's remains were discovered five years ago. DNA from his brother, Bruce Hand, was used to provide positive identification just a few months ago.

"We remember our childhood, and then we remember him going into the service to serve his country," said Bruce Hand. "We do remember the incident on April 1, 1968 and the loss that we had. But we are so thankful that Frank has returned to Texas."

Even though the ceremony was tinged with sadness, family members were pleased with the honor accorded to their loved one.

"It's a fabulous day," Bruce Hand said.

UPDATE "...A Final Salute For A Fallen Texas Airman..." WebSite: KWTX http://www.kwtx.com/news/headlines/11205811.html Contributed by LARSON, LCDR John Retired oriondriver1975@yahoo.com [23NOV2007]

(November 12, 2007)--Amid full military honors, a Navy airman from Fort Worth was laid to rest Monday, nearly four decades after he died in action during the Vietnam War.

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. j.g. Frank Hand along with three other officers and eight sailors took off on a routine mission on April 1, 1968, in a P-3 Orion from an air base in Thailand.

According to news accounts, the airplane was hit by anti-aircraft fire from a Cambodian gunboat.

No one survived.

All searchers found of Hand was a boot bearing his name.

Then in 2002, a team of Defense Department experts in Vietnam got a call from the Vietnamese government after fishermen had discovered human bones and airplane wreckage in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Navy made the DNA match to Hand.

Monday, flags flew, an honor guard fired salutes and four FA-18 Hornet jets flew overhead as Hand's family buried the Navy airman at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas.

The missing man formation was a special gesture for Hand's younger brother, Bruce.

"Everything has just come together beautifully," he said.

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial "...Military honors long-lost officer - By CHRIS VAUGHN - Star-Telegram staff writer - Posted on Tue, Nov. 13, 2007..." WebSite: Star Telegram http://www.star-telegram.com/ metro_news/ story/ 299886.html [15NOV2007]

Photograph Caption: Bruce Hand and his older brother's widow, Linda Shoemaker, attend the ceremony Monday.

DALLAS -- The Navy chaplain, his voice rising above the flapping of dozens of U.S. flags, called it a "beautiful and bittersweet day."

A little bit of Lt. j.g. Frank E. Hand III had returned to Texas, after having spent much of the last 39 years in the water off the coast of Vietnam. Hand, three other officers and eight sailors were killed when their P-3 Orion was shot down April 1, 1968.

He received full military honors, including a "missing man" flyover by Navy F/A-18 Hornets, at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Monday morning. His remains were identified this year after Vietnamese fishermen found them and turned them over to Defense Department officials several years ago.

"You'll hear a lot about closure today, but the family had closure about 40 years ago," said Bruce Hand, Frank's younger brother. "Today is a homecoming for a brother, a husband, a son and someone who chose to serve."

Hand, who was 26 when he was killed, graduated from Carter-Riverside High School and attended Arlington State College before joining the Navy in 1964.

The executive officer of Hand's former unit, Patrol Squadron 26 from Brunswick, Maine, attended the service to posthumously promote Hand to full lieutenant.

CHRIS VAUGHN, 817-390-7547

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial "...Lost for almost 40 years, a serviceman comes home - Remains of naval airman who died in crash found off Vietnam - By CHRIS VAUGHN - Star-Telegram staff writer..." WebSite: Star Telegram http://www.star-telegram.com/ metro_news/ story/ 299886.html [12NOV2007]

Photograph Caption: Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison - Bruce Hand shows a photograph and medals of his brother, Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III, who died in 1968 in Vietnam. DNA from Bruce was used to identify the remains of his brother.

In the late summer of 2002, a team of Defense Department MIA hunters in Ho Chi Minh City got a call from their counterparts in the Vietnamese government.

Some Vietnamese fishermen had discovered human bones and airplane wreckage off an Phu Quoc island in the Gulf of Thailand. They wanted to turn over the remains and believed that it would guarantee them an opportunity to immigrate.

The Americans took the remains and wreckage given to them and attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to get to the underwater site a few miles offshore. Some months later, the bones were flown to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, where they stayed in a laboratory for five years.

On Monday, those remains come home, to a hallowed ground that overlooks the old Naval Air Station Dallas, where a young Fort Worth man took the naval officer's oath in 1964.

That was before Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III left for the war in Vietnam, before he and 11 other young men went down trying to find Viet Cong gun-running boats.

Growing up

Frank Hand could be found most days in the mid-1950s on the playground of Oakhurst Elementary School, leading a touch football game of neighborhood boys.

His parents' house backed up to the school, and it was there and at the Riverside Baptist Church where Frank and his younger brother Bruce spent much of their youth.

Frank was born in 1942 in Charleston, S.C., when their father was an instructor pilot for the Navy during World War II. But the family had moved to a house on Westbrook Avenue in the summer of '51 when Frank Hand Jr. took a job with the Federal Aviation Administration in Fort Worth.

He was an outgoing boy at Carter-Riverside High School, an Eagle Scout, an accomplished swimmer. He, and later his brother, worked summers as lifeguards at the Ridglea Country Club.

"He made enough money to buy a nice car," his brother said. "He was mechanically inclined, so he could work on it. It was a black, two-door Pontiac Bonneville, a '58, if I remember. Talk about a cool car."

After graduation in 1960, Frank started at what was then Arlington State College to study architecture. He did that for three years but decided to take a break and work for an architecture firm to earn money.

The draft board noticed the change and reclassified him as eligible.

So Frank Hand, presumably unwilling to chance the Army or the infantry, went to NAS Dallas to compete for a spot in officer candidate school and a shot at naval aviation.

Romance in Florida

Linda Merriman, a local girl in Pensacola, Fla., thought she had met the most gorgeous man in the world.

A Texas boy, a Navy officer candidate and pilot in training. He drove a new Corvette. He was, without a doubt, living the high life.

"It was like Officer and a Gentleman," Bruce said of his brother's relationship.

After a year of dating, Linda and Frank Hand wed on a warm August day in 1966 in the First Baptist Church in Pensacola, an arch of crossed swords over their heads when they left the sanctuary.

They moved frequently over the next several months, going from flight school to more flight schools. Finally in 1967, he was assigned to Patrol Squadron 26 in Brunswick, Maine, and immediately prepared for deployment to Southeast Asia.

He wrote Linda a letter every day he was gone, beginning in November 1967.

"He just wanted me to stay busy and pass the time because I had so much free time on my hands," she said. "He would tell me all was going well and 'I wish I could be with you.' They were great love letters. I kept all of them.

"He called me at Christmastime. I believe that's the last time we were able to speak."

The last flight

When Frank Hand, 26, took off on April 1, 1968, with three other officers and eight sailors in a P-3 Orion from an air base in Thailand, the biggest news in Vietnam centered on the military's efforts to break through the siege at Khe Sanh.

Hand's crew was on a routine mission, though, scanning the waters off Vietnam for Viet Cong.

His airplane -- he served as the co-pilot -- was hit by anti-aircraft fire from a Cambodian gunboat, according to news accounts. The pilots attempted to fly to land to improve their chances for rescue, but the four-engine aircraft didn't make it. No one survived.

Search and rescue crews recovered something from every man on board, so none were ever listed as missing in action. All searchers found of him, according to the Defense Department, was a boot bearing his name.

On April 24, 1968, he was laid to rest in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, where Linda wanted him buried.

The service was held in the First Baptist Church, 20 months after his picture-perfect wedding.

Hand's parents went on, of course, though they grieved terribly.

His mother, Dottie, was especially close to Frank. His father, Frank Jr., grieved more quietly, choosing to channel his feelings into a years-long search to find out more about his son's last flight.

Years later, his son Bruce discovered paperwork indicating that his father had been planning a trip to Vietnam to go to the crash site.

"Dad was very quiet," Bruce said. "He was of that generation where you kept your feelings to yourself."

Linda and Frank Hand had planned exactly six children. They would all be boys, they decided jokingly.

After a few years, Linda remarried and started a family. She now lives in North Carolina.

But Frank has never left her.

"I still share his love and will forever," she said.

A memory revived

Thirty-eight years after Hand died, an official with the Department of the Navy called Bruce and requested a blood sample.

To say it was a surprise is a wholly inadequate description for what it did to Bruce, who felt as if he had been struck by lightning on a cloudless, sunny day.

"I got excited," Bruce said, Frank's closest living relative. "But then I had to tell myself to sit down, nothing is going to come of this."

It did.

The Navy followed up a few months later, at the beginning of the summer, to tell Bruce the story of the Vietnamese villagers and the successful DNA match with several bones of Frank's. No other crewman's remains were found.

Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office in Washington, said finding additional remains of servicemen happens more often than people would think.

"It amazes me when I hear that Vietnamese villagers or fishermen have gone to the trouble of finding who to give these to," Greer said. "It tells me that they are very much aware of the U.S. commitment to the recovery effort."

Bruce called Linda, other family members, members of the Patrol Squadron Association. He heard from officers on active duty today in Frank's old squadron in Maine, and he learned about the memorial there with an etching of Frank's name from the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.

For the first time in many years, Frank and his memory have been very much alive.

"The Navy wanted to know what I wanted to do, but I needed to take a breath and consider all this," he said. "Well, the summer went by pretty quick, and I decided that the fall would be a nice time for this."

The Department of Veterans Affairs gave Bruce permission to place Frank's remains in a columbarium at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, ordinarily not allowed because he already has a spot at a national cemetery.

"While this has presented a unique situation, for reasons of compassion, we decided to honor the Hand family's request," said Ron Pemberton, director of D-FW National Cemetery.

The Navy agreed to provide four F/A-18 Hornets to perform the "missing man" formation over the cemetery on Monday, a particularly special gesture for Bruce. The executive officer of Patrol Squadron 26 is coming to Texas for the service.

"This has all been good," Bruce said. "Everything has just come together beautifully."

Linda Shoemaker will be there, too, with the friend that introduced her to Frank 42 years ago.

"I never, ever dreamed of something like this," she said. "I've shed many tears since we got the information. I am thrilled to bring him home. But it opens up a lot of hurt, and a lot of happiness, too."

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial "...BNAS Crewman Killed In Vietnam To Finally Be Laid To Rest - Web Editor: Rhonda Erskine, Online Content Producer - Created: 11/9/2007 5:37:42 PM - Updated: 11/9/2007 8:01:56 PM..." WebSite: WCSH6 http://www.wcsh6.com/ news/ local/ article.aspx?storyid=74456 [11NOV2007]

(NEWS CENTER) -- After almost 40 years, Patrol Squadron 26 of the Brunswick Naval Air Station will bury one of its fallen comrades.

Navy lieutenant J.G. Frank Hand the Third of Fort Worth, Texas, was one of 12 "Trident" crew members aboard a P-3 Orion shot down over South Vietnam in 1968.

His remains were recently identified using new DNA technology and transported to Dallas from Vietnam.

Hand will be laid to rest Monday during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Dallas-Forth Worth National Cemetery.

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial "...BNAS pilot's remains to be buried - By Daniel Hartill , Staff Writer - Saturday, November 10, 2007..." WebSite: SUN JOURNAL http://www.sunjournal.com/ story/ 237831-3/ LewistonAuburn/ BNAS_pilots_remains_to_be_buried/ [11NOV2007]

Almost four decades after his plane caught fire and tumbled into the Gulf of Siam, Lt. j.g. Frank Hand III will be going home.

The remains of the pilot, a member of the Brunswick-based Patrol Squadron 26, were discovered earlier this year and identified using DNA tests.

He will be buried on Monday at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, not far from where he grew up and took his oath as a naval officer.

"It will be a homecoming," Hand's brother, Bruce, said Friday in a phone interview from his home near Dallas. "We always thought we'd get together and make great memories as adults. All that was scrapped."

Frank Hand III was serving as a young pilot with the U.S. Navy when he was sent to Brunswick. He hadn't been here long when his squadron, nicknamed "The Tridents," deployed to the South China Sea in early 1968.

On April 1, he was part of a 12-man crew aboard a P-3 Orion searching for enemy gunboats.

"A Cambodian gunboat threw up a shell," Bruce Hand said. The damage was catastrophic.

The .50-caliber shell knocked out an engine and started a fire, according to reports filed with the Pentagon.

Too low to bail out, the pilot tried to reach an airfield 20 miles away.

Within sight of the runway, the starboard wing tore off between two engines and the plane fell into the water. No one survived.

Almost immediately, the Navy recovered some remains, which they brought home. The discovered portion of Hand's remains were buried at Barrancas National Cemetery near Pensacola at his widow's request.

Hand's parents and his brother attended the funeral.

"That kind of closed that chapter," Bruce Hand said.

Thirty-nine years passed. Then, the Navy called one of Hand's aunts.

An initiative to recover the bodies of missing servicemen in the Vietnam era included the wreck of the Brunswick plane.

Navy scientists compared some newly recovered remains with Bruce Hand's DNA and found a match.

The surviving brother chose to bring the remains home.

He planned a small ceremony until Edward Hill, an airline pilot and Navy Reserve captain, heard about it.

"I just stepped in," Hill said. "I wanted to see a good ceremony."

A formation of Navy F-18 Hornets is scheduled to do a flyover. The Brunswick squadron's executive officer, Cmdr. Andrew Westerkom, plans to attend. And Hill hopes to be able to give the fallen pilot a posthumous promotion to full lieutenant.

On Friday, Bruce Hand recalled his brother's high school years. He was an Eagle Scout who worked as a lifeguard.

"He had a hot car," Bruce Hand said with only a slight bit of sadness in his voice. "He was pretty popular, outgoing."

Monday will be a celebration.

"It's an honor of my brother," he said. "It's a reunion, remembering the things he cared about."

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-26 Memorial "...Attached is a photo of the Eagle Scout at the monument site with the family of Brian J. Mathison. Extreme Right: Eagle Scout Robert Gale, BSA Troop 50, Park Ridge, IL, with family members of Vietnam KIA Brian Mathison, lost in a crash at sea aboard a VP-26 "Tridents" P3-B Orion on 1 April 1968. In the background is the war memorial restored by Gale as an Eagle Scout Project. Robert was instrumental in adding Mathison's name to a town war memorial. The Mathison Family came to the dedication ceremony on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007...." Contributed by Brian J. Mulcrone mulcronebrian@yahoo.com [14OCT2007]

UPDATE "...Navy's Deadliest Actions in Vietnam - Death Over the Sea - VFW Magazine - October 2007 Page 40-41..." [04OCT2007]

Death Over the Sea Operation Market Timeprovided surveillance of the South Vietnamese coastline and helped halt seaborne infiltration. Among the aircraft employed were P-3 Orions based in U-Tapao Royal Thailand Air Force Base, Thailand and NS Sangley Point, Philippines. The P-3s patrolled the Gulf of Siam.

On April 1, 1968, an unarmed P-3B from Patrol Squadron VP-26 was hit in the starboard wing by fire from a 50-caliber anti-aircraft gun. It was mounted on a landing craft manned by the Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communists).

"I saw the P-3 flying rather low and burning-it appeared the right wing was on fire recalled Gunner's Mate 3rd Class Gary Goudie, who was aboard a patrolling swift boat that day. "The P-3 either exploded on impact or completely broke apart as the wreckage showed complete destruction and there were no survivors. It was rumored at the time that a Cambodian gunboat had shot the plane down."

An engine had caught fire and the plane crashed near the island of Hon Vang while attempting to land on Phu Quoc, less than 10 miles from the Cambodian coast.

"Suddenly, abruptly, the wing tore off between #3 and #4 engine, and the aircraft tumbled uncontrolled as it plunged into the sea;' wrote VP-26 veteran A. Scott Wilson in his memoirs in 1996.

All 12 members of Crew One perished-the largest single hostile aviation loss for the Navy during the war. (Crew Eight of VP-26 was lost accidentally, most likely due to autopilot problems, on Feb. 6, 1968. These 12 aviators also died in the Gulf of Siam.)

UPDATE "...My father was CPO Donald E. Kulacz. He was serving with VP-26 when the P-3 he was flying in went down April 1st, 1968. I was pretty young and I never got a chance to learn much about him. Today is the 34th anniversary of the accident. I would love to talk to any Shipmates who knew him. Thanks. Dee Kulacz StriketheAnvil@cs.com..." [02APR2002]

UPDATE "...I am looking for any information about my brother's tour of duty. VP-26, Crew 1, lost April 1, 1968. If anyone can point me in any direction, I would very much appreciate it. I just found the memorial page with crew names for VP-26 yesterday and hope I can find someone who might have known my brother, Frank E. Hand. Thank you...Bruce Hand brucehand@home.com..." [28MAR2001]

UPDATE "...I was a pilot in VP-26 from 1965-68, and left the squadron after our WestPac deployment where we lost 2 crews on Market Time patrols off Vietnam -- (they went down not in the South China Sea as indicated in the reports posted on your web site, but in the Gulf of Siam near Phu Quoc Island)..." Contributed by A. Scott Wilson ASCTWILSON@aol.com..." [31OCT98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 06 OCT 2008 A/C: P3P3 Orion LOCATION: TYPE: Collision Bird STRIKE: No DEATHS: 00 BUNO: 161006 CAUSE: Bird-aircraft strike [16JUN2010]

UPDATE "...VP-26 Mishap..." WebSite: CenterSeat http://www.centerseat.net/ [16JUN2010]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

"VP-26 Summary Page"