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VP-48 Memorial

VP-48 Crew - In Memorium - VP-48 Crew

April 6, 1958

"Eternal Father Strong To Save"
The Navy Hymn
Sailor Aviators Version

Eternal Father, Strong to Save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its' own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky.
Be with them always in the air,
In dark'ning storms or sunlight fair.
O, Hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air.

But when at length our course is run,
Our work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that flew and sailed,
Let not one life in thee be failed,
But hear from heaven our sailors cry,
And grant eternal life on high.

May all our departed shipmates rest in peace.

Eternal Father by the U.S. Navy Band's Sea Chanters (668 kbytes - WAV file)

VP-48 Memorial Page information Contributed by ROBERT [N] BELL captbell@tampabay.rr.com

Eight VP-48 Crash Victims Named Dead

The six missing men who were aboard the Marlin P5M that crashed here Sunday, with 11 men aboard, where officially declared dead yesterday morning (Friday) bringing the total dead to eight.

Three survivors, two bodies and parts of the wreckage have been recovered since the mishap and the search for the remaining bodies and wreckage is being continued.

A Japanese cargo boat, the Daiichi Kokka Maru, was near the area and heard the explosion and and saw fire on the water. The ship went to the scene and picked up the three sailors and searched for more survivors but no one else was seen in the water.

The survivors, LT Clinton Jackson, USN, 34, LT(jg) Melvin Dalbey, USN, 26, and Niumea Tagaloa AL3, 33, were immediately brought to the Facility hospital where they were treated for severe cuts and bruises. They were confined to the hospital for further treatment.

"I took my eyes off the instruments when the plane was about 100 feet in the air to adjust the engine controls. Before I was able to look back at the instruments the plane struck the water hard. Fire shot into the cockit and the plane broke up and sank," LT Jackson stated.

The survivors inflated their Mae Wests and bobbed to the surface, near the wreckage and fire. They climbed into a life raft, that inflated automatically, and several minutes later were picked up.

The two bodies were recovered Sunday and a search was started to find the aircraft and remaining men. The USS Safeguard is assisting in the search and has divers aboard.

Three memorial services were held yesterday for the dead at the MCAF Chapels. A Protestant service was held at 10:15 a.m. followed by a Latter Day Saints at the Protestant Chapel. A Requiem Mass was celebrated at the MCAF Catholic Chapel at 11:45 a.m.

Listed as dead are:


Robert J. Bartkowski, AE3, 21
Cleveland OH
(Recovered)

Donald R. Neilsen, PR1, 34
Seattle, WA
(Recovered)

LT(jg) Robert F. Cody, 23
San Francisco, CA

Nicholas Chepult Jr., ADC, 39
Cleveland, OH

Robert P. Smith, AT1, 24
San Jose, CA

James G. Williams, ATCA, 36
Santa Clara, CA

"L" "A" Haggerty, ADR3, 22
Waco, Texas

Harold F. Rohn, AO1, 32
Spokane, Wash.

Fear 6 Dead in Iwakuni Air Crash

YOKOSUKA, Japan (S&S) - Military rescue boats continued to search the waters off Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Facility for six men feared dead in the crash of a Navy seaplane, the Navy here said Monday.

There were three survivors so far from among the 11 aboard the two-engine Marlin P5M-1 aircraft which plunged into the water after takeoff early Sunday.

They were picked up shortly after the crash by a Japanese cargo boat, which also found two bodies. The survivors suffered minor injuries.

A NAVY spokesman said hopes were "dim" for any more survivors.

The survivors were listed as Lt. COlington W. Jackson, Santa Ana, Cal.; Lt. (j.g.) Melvin Dalbey, Walnut Creek, Cal., and Aviation Electronicsman 3/C Niumea Pagaloa, Los Angeles. They were thrown clear when the plane crashed, before it burst into flames and disintegrated.

Cause of the crash was unknown.
'Chopper' Crashes Aiding In Search

The pilot and crewman of a HUP-2 helicopter were un-injured when the aircraft crashed into the sea three miles south of MCAF at 9:30 Monday morning.

Piloted by Major R. D. Baade, of Lincoln Neb., the helicopter developed engine trouble while assisting the USS Safeguard in the search for the wreckage of a Marlin P5M that crashed here Sunday.

Both Maj. Baade and the only crewman, Pfc. T. L. sutner, of Kingsford Mich., were picked up immediately by a MCAF crash boat and brought to the Facility Hospital where they were released after a complete medical examination.

The helicopter had been in the air for about twenty minutes before the mishap occurred.

Maj. Baade and Pfc. Sutner are assigned to the MCAF Operations Department.

UPDATE "...In reference to VP-48 Mishap (SEE: VP-48 In Memorial for lost friends April 6, 1958) - I was the designated 2nd pilot of Crew 6 on that date. I had been assgned as an observer aboard the USS Catfish (SS-339) for a 4 day cruise and missed the flight. Had I been there I probably would have been left seat. I like to think the crash never would have happened. LT(jg) Robert F. Cody liked to suck up his flaps after takeoff. He was criticized by me several times before on training flights. This crash should never have happened. Likely the flaps up after a heavy takeoff into IFR caused the a/c to stall and crash angled nose down. There was a water explosion causing substantial damage to the a/c at the forward nose position. 1 survivor was in cockpit (LT Clinton Jackson - right seat) and 2 on the flight deck. Standard procedure for IFR takeoff was power was left at take off, no flaps retracted or power reduced until after passing 500 feet. Upon returning to NAS Iwakuni, Japan I (being the deceased personal effects officer) had to go through each person's effects before being sent to survivors. LT(jg) Robert F. Cody was the only body not found after the crash. Not a pleasant experience. Regards..." Contributed by LT Duane Matson (resigned 1964) sonatagp@att.net [03FEB2016]

UPDATE "...My friend, Edith Chepult, is the widow of ADC Nicholas Chepult, Jr. If anyone has pictures of Chief Chepult, etc. - I would be happy to forward them to his widow. Thank you..." Contributed by Pamela Reisen sandiego_reisen@yahoo.com [26JAN2012]

UPDATE "...The date of the crash was Easter Sunday, April 6, 1958. It was a thick foggy morning when contact was lost around 0600 hours with SF 0269. I was in crew 2 in standby status that morning. I removed myself from flight status in November 1958 and finished my tour January 13, 1959. Thank you..." Contributed by Jack Axsom jlaxsom@sullybuttes.net [01AUG99]


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