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MishapVP-44 MishapMishap

1930's

MishapsMISHAPs: 01 AUG 39 A/C: P2Y-3 Location: NAS Seattle, Washington Strike: No BUNO: 9619 Cause: Eng failure,landing (slight damage) Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [13APR2000]


1940's

MishapsMISHAPs: 30 JAN 42 A/C: PBY-5A pby Location: NAS Alameda, California Strike: Yes BUNO: 2314 Cause: Patrol - NAS Alameda, California. Instrument landing on glassy surface, plane water looped. Wing torn loose at tower. Both propellers bent beyond repair. Hul cut aft of bulkhead two. Plane damage due to saly water immersion. Pilot ENS Jarlath J. Lyons/No inj, ENS William E. Roy/Seriously inj, AOM1 Frederick S. Panetto/Seriously inj, AMM1 Doan A. Ferbrache/Minor inj, AMM3 Qygmunt F. Zydak/No inj, RM3 Leo C. Black/Minor inj, and RM3 Charles F. Buchanan/No inj. Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [17JUN2001]


MishapsMISHAPs: 04 JUN 42 A/C: PBY-5A pby Location: SP Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Cause: SHOT DOWN BY ENEMY ACTION Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [17MAR98]

UPDATE "...We made a rough take off but landed at Midway safe and sound. There were two survivors that were shot, an aviation machinist and an officer by the name of Camp. I understand Officer Camp died later but the other men survived. I noticed in the August 1994 Catalina Chronicle that Lee McCleary of VP 44 stated that he was the only survivor of a PBY to be shot down at Midway. He should be informed of this pickup. Our pilot Lt. Wm. O'Dowd received the Navy Cross for his fantastic landing and heroic takeoff in the open and rough sea. After the aforementioned rescue, we returned to Pearl harbor and kept patrolling each day until July 1942..." http://www.santarosa.edu/~nwalden/chronp2.htm

UPDATE "...VP-44 was (and had been) operating off the Eastern Island airstrip at Midway Atoll for the Midway operation. On 4 June the squadron had 13 PBY-5As of VP-44 (8), VP-24 (3), and VP-55 (2), all operating under the command of VP-44. The squadron contributed 11 of these to flight 55, making up half of the 22 plane the dawn search on 4 June. The search spaned the Southwestern quadrant from 204.5 to 288. PBY-5A BuAer 04975, marked 44-P-12, and using call sign 8V55 drew the "hot" 264 sector [Hot beacuse that is where the Japanese Transport forces had been spotted the day before.]. The aircrafdt was armed with two 500 pound bombs, and four defensive machine guns (bow, left waist, right waist, and tunnel). The PPC (Patrol Plane Commander) was Lt.(jg) Whitman. The entire 10 man aircrew was:

LT(jg) Robert S. "Scottie" Whitman,
(PPC)
KIA (Crash)

ENS William H. Mosley
(Co-Pilot)
KIA (Shot)

ENS Lee Coleman McCleary
(Navigator)
WIA (Exposure)

ENS Jack Hill Camp
(Extra Observer)
DOW 7 June 1942 (Shot)

Philip L. Fulghum, AOM2c
(Bombardier/Bow Gunner)
WIA (Exposure)

James W. Adams, ACRM(AA)
(Radio Operator)
KIA (Drowned)


UPDATE "...I have been researching material on the death of my cousin on 4 Jun 44. I have Mark Horan's article. If anyone has additional info on the death of my cousin James W. Adams who was radioman on PBY-5A BuAer 04975, marked 44-P-12 please let me know. Thanks. Charles Humphrey CharlesH73@aol.com..." [25NOV2002]


Virgil R. Marsh, AMM1c
(Flight Engineer)
WIA (Exposure)

Clarence J. Nordy, Jr., AMM2c
(Gunner)
KIA (Shot)

William H. O'Farrell, RM3c
Gunner)
KIA (Shot)

John C. Weeks, AMM?c
(Gunner)
WIA (Shot)


The aircraft sighted the Japanese Transport Force that morning. In response, the Seaplane Carrier Chitose launched a single Shotai of three "Pete" two-place float plane fighters. This Shotai caught the lone PBY and shot it down into the sea in flames from an altitude of approximately 500 feet. Mosley was killed by gunfire before the crash, while Whitman, struggling to straighten the burning plane out, was killed in the crash. O'Farrell and Nordy, both hit by gunfire, did not clear the wreckage. Adams did get out of the tail, but drowned shortly thereafter. Camp, hit in the abdoman, was badly off, while Weeks had a minor gunshot wound. McCleary, Fulghum, and Marsh had only minor injuries.

The surviving aircrew were rescued at 1455 on 6 June by LT(jg) Norman K. Brady's PBY-5 of VP-23, call sign 4V56 at a position 380 nm from Midway on a bearing of 255. Camp died the next day.

44-P-12 was the only PBY lost in combat during the Battle of Midway, though one other (PBY-5A BuAer 05025 marked 24-P-11) was lost after force-landing because of fuel exhaustion.

While I knew this story before hand, I had the oportunity to spend a considerable amout of time last summer with the quite healthy Lee McCleary, who filled me in on all the details of this fateful mission..." Contributed by Mark E. Horan mhoran@snet.net [02JUN2000]

MishapsMISHAPs: 20 DEC 42 A/C: PBY-5 pby Location: NAS Alameda, California Strike: No BUNO: 2312 Cause: Shortly after take-off, at an altitude of abut fifty feet, the port engine (#5575) manifold pressure fell off and the 2nd pilot saw part of the cowling around #4 cylinder carry away and oil stream out of the engine. The port propeller was feather and a safe landing was executed. Damage: #4 cylinder of port engine cracked off two inches about flange. #4 piston and connecting rod broken and scored, crankshaft mutilated as were the skirts of the cylinders #2 & #6. Bolt cowling blew off into water and speed ring was badly torn. Crew Ok. Pilot Lt. William L. Richards, USN, Ens Chester V. Dolan, USNR, Ens William E. Roy, USNR, AMM1c R. V. Umphrey (NAP), AMM2c L. H. Alford, AMM3c C. L. Smith, RM1c J. A. Fielder, RM3c E. F. Bryant, Sea2c L. D. Wood, AOM1c S. F. S. Boyer, and Aerog1c E. S. Rudesill. Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [23NOV2002]


MishapsMISHAPs: 24 MAR 43 A/C: PBY-5 pby Location: Halavo Beach, Florida Isl, SP Strike: Yes BUNO: 08136 Cause: Both engines failed on take-off, believed to be water in fuel. Plane sank after crash landing & subsequently removed to shalow water. Damage:Total loss Pilot;Lt.Jarlath J. Lyons and 14 ok. Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [12JUL2001]


MishapsMISHAPs: 12 MAY 44 A/C: PBY-5 pby Location: Luganville Air Field Strike: Yes BUNO: 48280 Cause: Crash occurred during an attempted night landing on Luganville Air Field. Just after landing on the runway and while still traveling at a fast rate of speed the plane ran off the port side of the runway and into a deep ditch that ran parallel to the runway. When the plane hit the ditch it completely turned over and came to rest inverted. Fire started immediately followed by explosion of a bomb in the fire resulting in complete destruction of the aircraft and engines. Crew: Pilot Lt(jg) C. J. Hill USNR/Killed, Ens H. B. Johnson (co-pilot) USNR/Killed, Ens K. W. Sanille A-V(N) USNR/Killed, Ens A. J. Davis, Jr. USNR/Seriously inj, Amm2c L. E. Partin USN/Seriously inj, Aom3c H. B. Bailey USNR/Seriously inj, Rm2c C. O. Hester USN/Seriously inj, Rm2c L. E. Lowinsky USN/Seriously inj, and Aom2c J. L. Speit USN/Seriously inj. Contributed by Terry pb4y-2@sbcglobal.net [08AUG2001]


1950's

MishapsMISHAPs: 13 JUL 53 A/C: P5M P5M Location: Unknown Strike: Yes BUNO: 126503 Cause: Unknown "...About July of 1953 CC VP44 lost a P5M during NATO exercises. All the enlisted men were lost. What I can remember about the facts are that one of the engines was tfeathered and the plane was low over the ocean . the engine on full power lost torque pressure and it was necessary to make an open-sea landing. When the plane met the water a wave struck it from the back and front about the same time and the plane broke into about the firewall. My best friend AD3 Sowers from West Virginia was killed in the mishap along with seven other crewmen. The pilot of the plane whose back was broke heroically attemped to save an Electrician's mate but to no avail, the poor fellow unfortunately slipped out of his life jacket. I was on leave at the time of the crash so what facts I have are limited..." Contributed by E. C. Painter Elmerpainterjr@aol.com [18JAN2000]

UPDATE "...The VP-44 P5M ditching out of NAS Norfolk, Virginia on July 13, 1953 was BUNO 126503. The crewmembers lost were AOU1 W.H . Justice, AL1 T. Kuzma, AD1 D.C. Peddie, AL3 J.W. Earnhart, AT3 J.B. Greene, ADP3 E.B. Sowers and AT3 R.E. Stewart. J.B. Greene was my best friend during our training at NATTC Memphis, TN in 1950..." Contributed by TIMMER, AT2 Harold w8hgt@sbcglobal.net [16FEB2009]

UPDATE"...Would like to get the manifest of the Marlin that went down off Cape Henry in July 1953...RUSSELL, AL3 Humphrey H. ah6lf@hotmail.com..." [16SEP2002]


MishapsMISHAPs: 11 NOV 56 A/C: Unknown Location: NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Deaths: 4 Cause: Crashed on takeoff. "...I was a radioman attached to VP-44 stationed at NAS Norfolk, Virginia from mid 1955 to mid 1957. On November 11, 1956 I was part of a crew that crashed on takeoff in the Azores which resulted in the loss of 4 crew members..." Contributed by Carl E. Klinger hotelsun@juno.com [14JAN2001]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...Shipmates, Ed Storey and Ted Rogers (VP-56 1962-65), found a section in a recently released book entitled, The Martin P5M Patrol Seaplane, by Capt. Richard Hoffman USN (Ret.) that dealt with this crash in great detail.. In fact, it answered the question of why there was a VP-44 crew flying the plane. The whole story is incredible and scary. This info was forwarded to the VP-44 group and then to me..." Contributed by STUPKA, Bill wrstupka@gate.net [15JUN2007]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...A lot of email flew back and forth..." Contributed by STUPKA, Bill wrstupka@gate.net [31MAY2007]

A lot of email flew back and forth last October about the VP-44 Azores crash in Nov 1956 and the claim, in VP-44's Mishaps section, (later proven true) that the plane was, supposedly a VP-56 aircraft. VPNavy's historian found the crash report and showed that the crew was from VP-44 and the aircraft was VP-56. However, we never found out the why of those strange circumstances.

We still haven't found out the why, but a good of friend of mine that lives in Norfolk, and is an alumni of FASRON-102 in the early '50's and NAS Norfolk, Virginia's O and R facility as a civilian, has provided us with quite a bit more detail about the incident. My friend went the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Newspaper and searched their archives for an article about the crash, and he found it. This information is relevant to VP-44 and VP-56.

There is quite a bit of detail about the crash and the circumstances. The article clearly states that a VP-44 crew was deployed to the Med to fly the VP-56 aircraft back to Norfolk. To actually answer the lingering question of why a VP-44 crew was sent to fly the plane back will probably take an input from a surviving crewmember.

We now, definitely, know what happened, but we still don't know why.

UPDATE "...VPI Book of Remembrance - Honour Roll- United States - VPInternational http://www.vpinternational.ca/BOOK/honour_roll/HonourRollUS/page21.html..." Contributed by McKEARNEY, PO2 James mckearney@alumni.pitt.edu[19OCT2006]

11-Nov-56  	VP-44  	P5M-2  	Azores
		AD1 	C.H. 	Hoke 	
		AO3 	B.M. 	Jakelski 	
		AD3 	R.L. 	Knight 	
		AT3 	J.A. 	Smelley

UPDATE "...The November 11, 1956 crash purported to be a VP-44 Martin Marlin was in fact Marlin number EH-11 of VP-56. Included are three images, two are of aircraft EH-10 being hoisted by crane on USS Currituck (AV-7) and one is an image of the EH-11 burning on the water in the Azores...John Dupre' jdupre5762@aol.com..." [25MAR2006]
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

UPDATE "...I am interested in the P5M Marlin crash in the Azores in November 1956. My father in law was a crew member of the USS Currituck (AV-7) and remembers the crash. There is a tantalizing reference to it on the VP-44 Mishap section but I can't find the full account...John Dupre' jdupre5762@aol.com..." [14NOV2004]

1970's

MishapsMISHAPs: 03 JUN 72 P3P3 Orion LOCATION: Morocco TYPE: Collision Ground SRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 14 BUNO: 152182 CAUSE: Pilot/Mountain

UPDATE "...My Brother, Aviation ASW Operator Airman Robert E. Standley, was aboard the P-3 Orion and a member of VP-44 when it went down on 03JUN72. I was 7 years old at the time and I had just been the ring bearer in his wedding a few months earlier. Our mother was not given much information on that day and I was hoping that anyone out there that had information to help clear up and close a few doors would be greatly appreciated. To the 14 aboard, Thanks for Serving...Tim Allen timallen2465@yahoo.com..." [21JAN2004]

UPDATE "...My father, Bob Mendenhall, was killed in the accident on June 3, 1972 in Morocco. He was a member of VP-44 out of NAS Brunswick, Maine. I was 9 years old at the time. I am trying to find out what happened that day. My mother seems to know very little. I just found an unopened letter from my father postmarked that day. Obviously, it arrived home after his death. Thanks for any information you can give me...Laurie DeWyer vddewyer@us.ibm.com..." [03APR2001]

UPDATE "...VP-44 03 JUN 72 Mishap. My father AWCS Marvin T. Clay was killed in this crash and we received very little information. If anyone could help us please contact us. Would love to also hear from anyone that knew my father and maybe could share some pictures or memories...Shawn D. Clay stsc95@bbtel.com..." [02MAR2000]

UPDATE "...Regarding the crash of a P3 on 03JUN72...I was wondering if anyone could give me some contacts for gathering additional information. My brother, James Janssen was a member of the crew of this airplane, and I would like to investigate the crash a little beyond the original information that was provided by the Navy to me and my parents in 1972. Any insights you could provide would be appreciated..." Contributed by Dennis R. Janssen djanssen@carr.org [08JUL99]

UPDATE "...Over the past several months I've had replies from three different individuals. Each has known different, useful facts, and each has been helpful - thanks!...Dennis R. Janssen djanssen@carr.org " [14JAN2000]

UPDATE "...United States Navy Aircrew..." WebSite: Arlington National Cemetary Website http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ [02NOV2008]

June 4, 1972:

    NAPLES, Italy, June 3, 1972 -A United States Navy plane crashed in northern Morocco today, killing all 14 men aboard, a Navy spokesman at Sixth Fleet Headquarters in Naples said.

    The four-engine P-3 Orion submarine patrol craft crashed into the side of a 2,700-foot mountain about an hour after taking off from the NS Rota, Spain Navy Base in southern Spain, the spokesman said.

    A Navy helicopter with medical personnel flew from NS Rota, Spain to the crash scene and its crewmen radioed that there were no survivors.

    The spokesman said that the plane belonged to Squadron VP-44 and was on a routine patrol. He said the aircraft was stationed at NS Rota, Spain from its home base in Brunswick, Maine.
June 5, 1972:
    The Navy this morning was still withholding names of the 14 VP-44 crewmen killed Saturday in northern Morocco when a P3 Orion submarine patrol airplane crashed into a 2,700 foot mountain south of Algeciras, Spain.

    Twelve of the 14 were based at Brunswick Naval Air Station, according to the Navy. The squadron has been on deployment at NS Rota, Spain, for about two months. Two members of the crew were based at NS Rota, Spain.

    Names of the crewmen were being withheld pending notification of kin, a Navy spokesman said. The names were expected to be released sometime today.

    One of the victims was Louis B. Comeau, 31, Lisbon. A Lewiston, Maine, native, Comeau's wife and family are residents of Lisbon.

    A memorial service for the lost crewmen is expected to be held sometime this week, according to an information officer at BNAS. He said details will be announced later.

    According to the Navy, the crash happened about one hour after the plane took off from NS Rota, Spain on a routine mission. Cause of the crash is unknown but investigation is expected.

    The plane was one of nine attached to VP-44. About 250 men from the Brunswick-based squadron are at NS Rota, Spain conducting submarine searching activities in the Mediterranean area.

    The Navy said the crash was first spotted by Spanish fishermen who watched the four-engine plane crash and explode in flames. A British ship, the HMS Zulu, sent a helicopter to the scene and reported at least five bodies sighted in the wreckage. A Navy helicopter with medical personnel aboard also reached the scene and reported no survivors.

    NS Rota, Spain, where the squadron is on a five-month deployment, is one of the largest facilities in the Mediterranean equipped for antisubmarine warfare activities.

    VP-44 came to Brunswick Naval Air Station in 1970 from Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
June 6, 1972:
    A memorial service is scheduled tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Brunswick Naval Air Station Chapel for 14 crewmen, 12 of them members of VP-44, killed Saturday when their P3 Orion aircraft crashed on a 2,700 foot mountain on the northeast coast of Morocco.

    The crew included two area residents, Lieuenant CommanderRobert L. Mendenhall of White Street in Topsham, pilot of the plane and AE1 Louis B. Comeau of Lisbon.

    A BNAS spokesman also said that three wives of other crew members have residences in the area, but were away visiting family members at the time of the crash.

    The BNAS Chaplain will officiate at the 2 p.m. memorial service. Interested citizens are invited to attend, the spokesman said.

    Co-pilot of the submarine patrol plane was Lieuetnant (jg) Michael Whittig of Boise, Idaho. There was also a relief pilot aboard, Lieuenant (jg) Edmund B. Titcomb of Austin, Texas.

    Other crew members of the plane were identified yesterday by the Navy as:

    Lieutenant Manson H. Cheek of Maysville, Georgia; ADJ1 Scott P. Russell of Sylvania, Ohio; AT3 James S. Janssen of Butler, New Jersey; AW2 Jarrell F. Crocker of Harpersville, Alabama; AN Robert E. Standley of West Palm Beach, Florida; AW3 Stephen K. Petersen of Staten Island, New York; AO3 Michael E. Ryan of Ft. Myers, Florida; AZ2 Thomas J. Kiley of Hazlet, New Jersey; AWCS Marvin T. Clay of Rome, Georgia; and AX2 Charles O. Wallace of Dansville, New York.

    All were killed when the plane crashed into the mountain while on what the Navy called a "routine mission" from NS Rota, Spain. The plane and crew were part of 250 men and nine planes of VP-44 on deployment at NS Rota, Spain since April.

    VP-44 has been stationed at BNAS since 1970 when the squadron was relocated from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.

    The crash victims included 12 regular VP-44 men and two stationed at NS Rota, Spain.
June 21, 1972:
    NAPLES, Italy--Fourteen Navy men died June 3 when their four-engine P3 Orion patrol plane crashed into the side of a mountain across the Straits of Gibraltar from Algeciras, Spain, about an hour after taking off from the NS Rota, Spain.

    Killed were: Lieutenant Commander Robert L. Mendenhall, Lieutenant Manson H. Cheek, and Lieutenants (jg) Edmund B. Titcomb Jr. and Michael J. Whittig.

    Also, Senior Chief Aviation ASW Operator Marvin T. Clay, Aviation Machinist's Mate First Scott P. Russell, Aviation Electrician's Mate First Louis B. Comeau, Aviation ASW Operator Second Jarrel F. Crocker, Aviation Maintenance Administrativeman Second Thomas J. Kiley, Aviation ASW Technician Second Charles O. Wallace, Aviation Electronics Technician Third James S. Janssen, Aviation ASW Operator Third Stephen K. Peterson, Aviation Ordnancemen Third Michael E. Ryan, and Aviation ASW Operator Airman Robert E. Standley.

    All crewmen were assigned to VP-44 home-based at NAS Brunswick, Maine, except Chief Clay and Petty Officer Wallace who were attached to the Antisubmarine Warfare Classification and Analysis Center at NS Rota, Spain.
History ThumbnailCameraVP-44 Crew Monument
    COMEAU, LOUIS BERTRAND
    AE1 USN
    01/05/1941
    BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 4302 A

    TITCOMB, EDMUND BLISS JR
    LT USN
    DATE OF BIRTH: 04/23/1947
    DATE OF DEATH: 06/03/1972
    BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 4302-A

    MENDENHALL ROBERT L
    LCDR USN
    DATE OF BIRTH: 02/17/1938
    DATE OF DEATH: 06/03/1972
    BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 4302-A

    WHITTIG, MICHAEL J
    LT, USNR
    DATE OF BIRTH: 04/25/1946
    DATE OF DEATH: 06/03/1972
    BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 4302-A

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