List of aircraft accidents at Eglin Air Force Base

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This is a partial list of aviation accidents at Eglin Field/Eglin Air Force Base, Florida or involving Eglin-based aircraft.



  • 7 March 1940 – Martin B-10B, 34–52, c/n 583 B-10M,[2] of the 12th Observation Squadron, Godman Field, Fort Knox, Kentucky, piloted by William A. Daniel, receives moderate damage in a take off accident at Eglin Field, this date.[11] Repaired, according to Joe Baugher, it suffers another landing accident on 2 January 1942 and is damaged again at Godman Field in a further incident on 15 February 1942.[2]
  • 7 December 1940 - Wyatt P. Exum suffers taxi accident due to mechanical failure at Eglin Field in Curtiss P-36C, 38-188, of the 1st Pursuit Squadron, Orlando Army Air Base, Florida. Moderate damage, repaired.[12][13] Airframe will be written off in landing accident[14] 16 June 1942 at Luke Field, Arizona.[15]
  • 5 January 1941 – Consolidated PB-2A, 35–48, of the 54th Support Squadron, 61st Air Base Group, suffers landing accident at Eglin Field, suffering minor damage. Pilot was George L. King.[16]
  • 2 February 1941 – Douglas B-23 Dragon, 39-27, c/n 2713, based at Wright Field, Ohio, squadron given as MD111 (?),[17] damaged on landing at Eglin Field. Pilot was Douglas M. Kilpatrick.[17] Struck off charge on 9 April 1942.[18]
  • 5 June 1941 – A Waco YPT-14, 40-14, c/n 5300, the first of 13 service test craft,[19] of the 54th Support Squadron, Air Proving Ground, suffers a takeoff accident at Eglin Field, suffering moderate damage. Pilot was George L. King.[20]
  • 9 July 1941 – A Douglas SBD-1 Dauntless, BuNo 1748, flown by Lt. John L. Zoeckler, suffers moderate damage in a taxiing accident at Eglin Field.[21] This was the Marine Corps version without self-sealing fuel tanks, only 57 of which were built. Zoeckler will retire with the rank of General in 1969.[22]
  • 9 October 1941 – "Flying Cadet W. H. Snyder, stationed at Gunters Field [sic], Alabama was killed here (Crestview, Florida) when his plane (BT-13 Valiant, 40-1064,[23] of the 85th Support Squadron,[24]) crashed in a black-jack thicket near the new CAA airport Thursday morning. He was brought to Enzor Brothers Hospital following the crash and died at about 4:00 Thursday afternoon from his injuries. Snyder was one of two groups of 30 planes each from Gunters [sic] Field here on a routine training flight, Mr. B. M. Dove, in charge of the CAA airport said. 'His plane apparently developed motor trouble as he was preparing to land and the plane crashed before he could reach the field', Mr. Dove said. Henry Spencer and his brother, Jason, who live within 300 yards of the scene of the accident were watching the plane when it went into its fatal dive. 'I was looking right at him", Henry Spencer said, 'He was flying along pretty low and suddenly made a dive for the ground. His plane tore out the top of a large oak tree before he hit the ground; He was going mighty fast and his motor seemed to be going at full speed', he declared. The Spencer brothers were the first to reach the scene and found the pilot badly injured and bleeding about the head. They did not atempt [sic] to remove him from the tangled wreckage until Army ground units arrived a few minutes later." It was reported that Snyder was "an English student flyer but this statement could not be verified by Army officers who referred all questions to the public relations department at Gunters [sic] Field. The plane was so badly damaged that it could not be repaired and a wrecking crew from Eglin Field were dismanteling [sic] it late Thursday for salvage."[25]
  • 2 December 1941 – North American AT-6A-NA Texan, 41-321, c/n 77-4280,[26] of the 5th Air Base Squadron, Barksdale Field, Louisiana, piloted by Thomas T. Wyete, is struck off charge after the engine fails on take off from Eglin Field, this date. Pilot survives.[27]
  • 2 December 1941 – North American AT-6A-NA Texan, 41-608,[26] of the 83d School Squadron, Maxwell Field, Alabama, suffers moderate damage when it ground loops upon landing at Eglin Field. Pilot was Stanley Holden.[27]
  • 2 January 1942 – 2nd Lt. Garland O. Peel Jr., is killed in the 1024 CWT take-off crash of Martin B-12AM, 33-262, c/n 550,[2][28] of the 387th School Squadron, when he suffers starboard engine failure,[29] coming down in a heavily wooded area N of the field and exploding. He was a gunnery school instructor at Eglin.[30] Peel Field, Auxiliary Field 4, is named for him and is later utilized for the filming of scenes for the 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.[31]
  • 19 January 1942 – B-25C-1 Mitchell, 41-13118, crashes into the Gulf of Mexico 2 miles S of Destin, Florida killing pilot George E. Pierce.[28] Joe Baugher cites date of 19 October 1942 for loss.[32] Eglin Auxiliary Field 2 is named Pierce Field in his honour.
  • 2 February 1942 - Curtiss P-40E, 40-605, of the 1st Pursuit Section, Air Proving Ground Command, crashes offshore in the Gulf of Mexico 2 miles E of Pensacola Beach, Florida, after pilot Wyatt P. Exum, of Galax, Virginia,[33] suffers engine failure, bails out.[34] Joe Baugher states that the pilot ditched.[35] On 1 September 1944, Exum, flying P-51s with the 4th Fighter Squadron, will make "what was probably the first successful pickup of a downed P-51 pilot by his buddy" when he lands in Rumania to rescue Lt. Charles Wilson, downed by an exploding locomotive, both flying home with the canopy open. Exum receives the Silver Star.[36]
  • 4 March 1942 – "Two Eglin Field Army flyers, Lt. John W. Smith and 2nd Lt. Richard Edward Baldsiefen, 23, were killed in a plane crash near Eglin Field Wednesday. Details of the accident were not learned today. The bodies were taken to a Pensacola funeral home."[37] Baldsiefen was a gunnery instructor at Eglin. Eglin Auxiliary Field 8 is later named Baldsiefen Field. Their AT-6A Texan, 41-528, came down at Auxiliary Field 4.[23]
  • 10 March 1942 - North American B-25B Mitchell, 40-2254, assigned to the B-25 Project Detachment, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, is written off in a landing accident at Ellington Field, Texas. Pilot was 1st Lt. Richard Outcault Joyce (0-401770).[38][39][40] This was part of the Doolittle Raid preparation and Lt. Joyce piloted plane number 10, B-25B, 40-2250, on that mission. This aircraft was the only one to take hits from anti-aircraft fire during the attack. Joyce retired as a Lieutenant Colonel on 13 May 1955.[41]
  • 21 March 1942 – P-40E Warhawk, 40-603, wrecked in taxi accident at Eglin Field.[42]
  • 23 March 1942 – B-25B Mitchell, 40-2291,[23] piloted by 1st Lt. James P. Bates, crashes on take-off from Auxiliary Field No. 3 during training for the planned Doolittle Raid on Japan. This aircraft did not participate in the mission. Some sources state that Bates deployed with the Raiders aboard the USS Hornet but did not fly the mission, but Gen. Doolittle said in his autobiography that the pilot did not deploy with the unit on the carrier Hornet.
  • 6 October 1942 – Capt. Anthony D. Piccolo, commanding officer of the 386th Single Engine Gunnery Training Squadron at Eglin Field, is KWF this date when AT-6A-NT Texan, 41-16372,[43][44] stalls and spins in at Auxiliary Field 5.[45] This satellite field is subsequently named in his honour as Piccolo Field.
  • 16 November 1942 – Douglas A-24-DE Banshee, 41-15748, of the Air Proving Ground, piloted by Raymond L. Hodges, is damaged in a landing accident at Eglin Field.[46] Repaired, the aircraft will be reclassified to CL-26 status on 12 January 1944.[47]
  • 26 November 1942 – Eglin Field headquarters announced on Monday 30 November 1942 that an Army plane [type not given] on a cross country flight crashed this date between Crestview, Florida and Pensacola, Florida, killing all three men on board. KWF were pilot 1st Lt. Duncan C. Murphy, son of Hugh Murphy, 1700 Twenty-first Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida; co-pilot 2nd Lt. Albert J. Wieland, son of A. D. Wieland, Norton, Kansas; and Sgt. Herbert C. Wade, son of Mrs. Nancy Adeline Wade, Route 1, Big Stone Gap, Virginia. The cause of the crash was not known and an investigation is underway, a public relations officer said.[48] The B-26B Marauder, 41-17704, probably of the 54th Bomb Squadron, came down 25 miles N of Pensacola, Florida.[23]
  • 29 November 1942 – Lt. Col. Boyd David "Buzz" Wagner, 26, from Emeigh, Pennsylvania (31 October 1916 – 29 November 1942), the first USAAF ace of World War II (8 confirmed victories), is killed in the crash of a factory-fresh P-40K-15-CU Warhawk,[49] 42-10271,[23] 25 miles E of Eglin Field on a flight to Maxwell Field, Alabama. He departed Eglin and then was not heard from again. The search for the missing plane took at least four days.[48] He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart. The wreckage was discovered 5 miles N of Freeport, Florida in January 1943.[50]
  • 14 December 1942 – North American A-36A Apache, 42-83666, c/n 97-15884,[51] of the Air Proving Ground Command, crashes this date on Range 52 due to structural failure, killing pilot Herman E. Watters.[52]
  • 2 May 1943 – P-38G-13-LO Lightning, 43–2227, piloted by Clyde M. Adams, is flown into the water of the Gulf of Mexico, three miles S of Tower Beach, Santa Rosa Island, Florida, killing pilot.[53]
  • 5 May 1943 - North American AT-6C-NT Texan, 42-3962, c/n 88-11567,[54] of the 92d Single Engine Flying Training Squadron, Craig Field, Alabama, flown by Anthony Karahalios, collides with a tow-target over Eglin Field Range 1A; heavily damaged.[55]
  • 17 May 1943 - Two North American AT-6C-NT Texans, of the 691st Single Engine Flying Training Squadron, Marianna Army Airfield, Florida, collide over Eglin Range 30, with both crashing. John H. Fogarty bailed out of 41-32701, c/n 88-10976, after it and 41-32704, c/n 88-10979,[56] flown by Albert Powers, struck each other in flight. The disposition of Powers is unclear.[55]
  • 17 May 1943 - Curtiss P-40M-5-CU Warhawk, 43-5486, c/n 27174,[57] of the 445th Fighter Squadron, 50th Fighter Group, Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, is heavily damaged in a landing accident at Eglin Field, Florida. Pilot was William A. Sheppard.[55]
  • 19 August 1943 – North American A-36A Apache, 42-83669, c/n 97-15887,[51] piloted by Frank M. Fazio, suffers moderate damage in a taxi accident at Eglin Field, this date.[58] Repaired, it will be disposed of to the RFC at Albuquerque, New Mexico, on 18 July 1945.[51]
  • 1 October 1943 – After flying combat missions from Great Britain and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Lieutenant Donald Wilson Hurlburt was assigned in mid-1943 to the First Proving Ground Electronics Test Unit at Eglin Field. He died this date when his Lockheed AT-18-LO Hudson gunnery trainer, 42-55591,[59] c/n 414-7313,[60] crashed during take-off at Eglin. Eglin Auxiliary Field 9 was named Hurlburt Field in his honor by Eglin base commander General Grandison Gardner. Hurlburt's nephew was Captain Craig D. Button (noted for his mysterious flight and crash of an A-10 Thunderbolt on 2 April 1997). It should be noted that an official history of Eglin AFB's early years cites 2 October 1943 as the date of this accident, and also notes that Capt. Barclay H. Dillon, test pilot of the Fighter Section of the 1st Proving Ground Group, died in another accident the same date. His P-38J-5-LO Lightning, 42-67103, crashed 8 miles W of Milton, Florida.[28] Auxiliary Field No. 10 was later named Eglin Dillon Airdrome, now more commonly known as OLF Choctaw.[61]
  • 10 October 1943 – Maj. Walter J. Wagner, former commanding officer for the 1st Proving Ground, Eglin Field, is killed in crash of AT-6C-NT Texan, 41-32187,[59] c/n 88-9677,[62] at Auxiliary Field 2, this date. Auxiliary Field No. 1 is named Wagner Field in his honour.
  • 19 October 1943 – Former American Volunteer Group ground crewman who became a pilot, Donald L. Rodewald,[63] crashes a North American P-51B-1-NA Mustang, 43-12099,[64] c/n 102-24547,[65] of the 1st Proving Ground, at Eglin Field this date in a forced landing after he runs out of fuel.[66] He served as an aircraft armorer for the first Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan after which he was sent to China to serve with the Flying Tigers, the American Volunteer Group (AVG). He served there also as an enlisted armorer, but in July 1942 he received a field commission and became the armament officer for his group. Rodewald returned to the United States in December 1942 to enter pilot training, receiving his wings in September of 1943. He was assigned to Eglin Field as a flight test pilot in armament, and will work with P-5ls that are to be used as fighter escorts for B-29 flights to Japan.[67]
  • 8 January 1944 – 1st Lt. Andrew Biancur, a test pilot of the Medium Bombardment Section of the 1st Proving Ground Group, is killed in crash of YP-61-NO Black Widow, 41-18883, c/n 711, at Eglin Field this date. Auxiliary Field 6 is later named Biancur Field in his honour.
  • 19 January 1944 – YB-29-BW Superfortress, 41-36956, assigned to the 40th Bombardment Group, Wright Field, Ohio,[68] is heavily damaged in ground accident at Eglin Field. Pilot was Jack H. Summers.[69]
  • 28 January 1944 – Col. Robin E. Epler, deputy commander (Technical) of the Air Proving Ground, Eglin Field, is killed this date in crash of A-20G-10-DO Havoc, 42-54016, one mile NE of Crestview, Florida. Auxiliary Field No. 7 is named Epler Field in his honour.
  • 9 March 1944 – Captured Focke-Wulf FW 190A-3, EB-101, piloted by Lt. Col. Tarleton H. Watkins, crashes at Eglin Field this date when it strikes parked P-47D-10-RE Thunderbolt, 42-75130 while taxiing. Brakes failed. This was pilot's first time in the FW 190, but other pilots had flown it for 46 hours.[70]
  • 8 April 1944 – Aeronca L-3C Grasshopper, 43-1742, of the 610 Air Base Unit, piloted by Arthur G. Phillips, is damaged in a landing accident. Repaired.[71]
Fisher P-75A, 44-44550, the next serialled airframe to the example lost in a fatal accident at Eglin Field, 10 October 1944.
Second XP-77 prototype, 43-34916, which was lost during Air Proving Ground tests on 22 October 1944.
  • 22 October 1944 – Second of only two Bell XP-77-BE lightweight fighters completed out of a contract for six, 43-34916, crashes when pilot Barney E. Turner attempts an Immelmann turn resulting in an inverted spin during testing at the Air Proving Ground, Eglin Field, Florida.[73]
  • 10 November 1944 – Republic P-47D-22-RE Thunderbolt, 42-26172, to TP-47D, of the 2116th Base Unit (?) -, Eglin Field, suffers moderate damage in a taxi accident at Auxiliary Field 4, this date. Pilot was William E. Keller.[74] Repaired, this airframe will be written off in a crash S of Crestview on 6 June 1945.[54]
  • 31 March 1945 – Donald L. Rodewald crash belly lands a P-51D-25-NA Mustang, 44-72717, c/n 122-39176,[75] of the 610th Base Unit, Eglin Field, 2.5 miles S of Green Bay, Wisconsin, after mechanical failure.[66][76]
  • 26 April 1945 – Consolidated B-32-5-CF Dominator, 42-108484, of the 611th Base Unit, Wright Field, piloted by Ernest B. Wilson, suffers damage in a fire at Eglin.[77] Another source lists the pilot as APGC crew Ken Eidnes, who stated that at the end of a one-hour-55-minute flight, "we landed with one engine on fire. I jumped out of the plane as it was rolling to a stop to get as far away as possible." The ground crews had been alerted that there was a fire on board and were standing by. They rushed up to the aircraft and were able to extinguish the fire before major structural damage took place. All crew escaped without injury, except for the pilot who suffered a skinned finger on evacuating.[78]
  • 28 April 1945 – A-26C-25-DT Invader, 43-22644, assigned to the 611 Base Unit at Wright Field, Ohio,[79] crashes into the Choctawhatchee Bay, 3 Miles NE of Fort Walton, Florida after being struck by a spherical Speedee bouncing bomb, a 35-in [89 cm] casing with [an overall weight] of 950 lb [431 kg]. This was the American nomenclature for the British Highball bomb, twenty-five inert casings of which were sent to the U.S. after initial testing with a modified A-26 which was adapted at the Vickers experimental facility at Foxwarren, near Esher, Surrey. Dropped at low altitude (~10 feet), the weapon skipped back into the aircraft completely knocking off the tail unit causing the bomber to nose over instantly and crash into the bay. It had taken off from Eglin Field, Florida, on a low level bombing exercise at AAF water range Number 60.[80] Footage:
  • 17 May 1946 – A Beech C-45F-BE Expeditor, 44-87191, c/n 8450, of the 610 AAF Base Unit, Eglin Field, en route from Nashville, Tennessee, to Cleveland Army Air Base, Ohio, suffers fuel exhaustion while awaiting clearance to land and crashes into Lake Erie, ~one mile N of Bay Village, Ohio, NW of Cleveland. The pilot, 1st Lt. Robert S. Hersch,[81] also reported as Robert S. Hirsch,[82] ordered the five others on board to bail out before the twin-engined aircraft came down in the lake, four of six total parachuting safely. Pilot Hersch, Capt. Robert D. Price, passenger, Pfc. Anthony J. Pinto, passenger, and engineer M/Sgt. William B. Robinson all survive. Two on board remained missing, although dragging the lake had successfully recovered the airframe. Not recovered were Capt. William K. Ramser, co-pilot, of 1821 Delabine Street, Santa Barbara, California, and passenger 1st Lt. Lawrence H. Brannon, of 3031 Drexel Drive, Toledo, Ohio.
  • 29 May 1945 – A Mitsubishi Ki-46 Type II "Dinah", c/n 2846 (?), 'TAIC 10', from Naval Air Station Anacostia, D.C., piloted by Glenn W. Knight, suffers damage in a taxi accident at Eglin Field.[83][84]
  • 19 June 1945 - Five men were killed when their army plane crashed near Crestview, Florida, Tuesday (this date), the Associated Press reported on 21 June. The plane, en route from Eglin Field to Myrtle Beach Army Airfield, South Carolina, came down in a storm, stated officials at Marianna Army Airfield, Florida. "First Lt. Joseph A. McGinnis, 24, the pilot, was from the Marianna base. He was the son of Joseph A. McGinnis of Philadelphia. The others, all stationed at Myrtle Beach were:" First Lt. Lawrence F. Schirmer, 25, Sacramento, California; T-Sgt. William J. Koger, 25, husband of Mary G. Koger of Louisville, Georgia; T-Sgt. William H. Epperson, 25, Evanston, Illinois; and S-Sgt. George L. Simmons, 26, Lakeland, Florida. "McGinnis was an instructor pilot with more than 1,200 hours of flying time and combat experience with the Canadian air force before U. S. entrance in the war, and with the American air corps in North Africa, Sicily and Italy."[85] The Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research site lists Douglas A-26C Invader, 44-35024, of the 137th Base Unit, as crashing on this date, but that serial ties up to an A-26B Invader.[86] Further, the site lists the pilot as Joseph A. McGlens, Jr., and the crash location as Myrtle Beach,[87] in direct contradiction to the Associated Press account.
  • 9 July 1945 – Douglas A-26B-35-DL Invader, 41-39484, c/n 7197, of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, piloted by Harold J. Bowen, is involved in a taxiing accident with a static North American B-25J-27-NC Mitchell, 44-30498, of the same unit.[84]
  • 5 July 1946 – Douglas A-26C-25-DT Invader, 43-22693, of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, piloted by Leslie L. Mondelli, suffers major damage in a landing accident at Eglin this date.[88]
  • 22 July 1946 – Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star , 44-85149, of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Air Proving Ground Command, flown by Barney E. Turner, suffers heavy damage in a forced landing at Eglin due to engine failure.[88] Written off.[89]
  • 26 July 1946 – The crash of an L-5E Sentinel, 44-17844, during a routine flight out of Eglin Field, Florida, kills Capt. Russell H. Rothman, originally of Chicago, Illinois, when the liaison aircraft crashes 17 miles NW of Valparaiso, Florida.[90] Rothman, who entered the service 16 September 1941 and had flown 800 hours in C-46 Commando and C-47 Skytrain transports in the European Theatre of Operations, had only recently been appointed to a regular commission in the Regular Army. He held the Unit Citation, the Air Medal with three clusters, the European and Middle East Theatre of Operations Ribbon, the American Defense Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Eleanor E. Rothman, of 26 Shalimar Court, Shalimar, Florida, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Rothman of Chicago.[91]
  • 11 August 1946 – TB-25J-25-NC Mitchell, 44-29971, c/n 108-33246, of the 611th Base Unit, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, sustains heavy damage in a crash landing at Eglin this date. Pilot was Howard H. Kaiser.[92] Reclamation completed at Eglin Field 20 November 1946.[93]
  • 10 January 1947 – An Army Douglas A-26C-25-DT Invader, 43-22697,[94][95] of the 308th AAF Base Unit, Air University, Tyndall Field, Florida, crashed 16 miles NW of Eglin. The pilot Capt. Robert W. McCulla of East Orange, New Jersey, and one passenger, Pfc. Oliver Banks of Nashville, Tennessee, were killed. Major J. S. Wallace, also a passenger, parachuted to safety. Army officials said the plane left Barksdale Field, Louisiana, at 4:55 a.m. and was due at Tyndall Field, Florida, at 7:10 a.m. when it crashed 45 minutes later in the woods between Eglin Auxiliary Fields 4 and 7. It was flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet and had radio contact with Brookley Field, Alabama, tower, when both motors stopped at once. McCulla and Wallace were stationed at Tyndall; Banks, on a five-day pass before getting discharged, was stationed at MacDill Field, Florida. Banks had obtained a ride at Barksdale.[96][97]
  • 20 January 1947 – Lockheed FP-80A-5-LO Shooting Star, 44-85481, c/n 080-1504,[98] of the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron, 363d Reconnaissance Group, assigned at March Field, California, piloted by Jack T. Bradley, is damaged in a landing accident at Eglin Field, this date.[95] Repaired, it will be written off in California on 26 January 1949.[89]
  • 21 March 1947 – A P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star, 44-85286, of the 610 AAF Base Unit, Eglin Field, Proving Ground Command, piloted by David L. Henderson, suffers moderate damage after suffering structural failure in the Eglin Field area.[99] Written off.[89]
  • 28 April 1947 – North American P-82C-1-NA Twin Mustang, 44-65169, c/n 123-43755,[100] of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, suffers major damage in a landing accident (undercarriage failure?) at the base this date. Pilot was Leonard F. Koehler.[101] This airframe was a conversion of 10th P-82B to a P-82C night fighter with an SCR-720 radar in a pod mounted under the centre wing section. Redesignated ZF-82C-1-NA in 1948.[102]
  • 29 April 1947 – Three Eglin Field men were listed as missing following the crash of an Army B-17 Flying Fortress while on a routine training flight about five miles south of Destin, Florida, the Playground News reports on 5 May. Four members of the seven-man crew bailed out and three were picked up by Eglin rescue craft. The fourth man was rescued by a local fishing boat. The three crew members listed as missing were: 1st. Lt. High R. Burns, Scranton, Pennsylvania; 1st. Lt. Raymond W. Duffy, Louisville, Kentucky, and Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Willcoxen, San Diego, California.[103] The Aviation Archaeological Investigation & Research (AAIR) website lists the loss of TB-17G, 44-6388, c/n 22611, built as a B-17G-50-DL, of the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Squadron, Air Proving Ground Command, piloted by Hugh R. Burns, as crashing 2 miles S of Destin on 8 May 1947,[104] a date repeated by Joe Baugher.[93] If, however, the reported date of the account of the accident by the Playground News is correctly 5 May, then the May accident date is suspect and 29 April seems more likely. Furthermore, the bail-out incident over the Gulf of Mexico reported to have occurred 27 May 1947 by Lt. Lawrence Taylor Biehunko and his crew from the aircraft they are testing (type not specified) when it suffers an engine fire, sounds exactly like the details of the TB-17G loss. After treading water without a Mae West for over thirty minutes, he is picked up by a fishing boat. In that account, four of his crew are lost to drowning. On 8 June 1947, Biehunko is made a member of the Caterpillar Club because of an emergency parachute jump from the burning aircraft. Lt. Col. Biehunko, USAF (Ret.), rated a Senior Pilot with 8500 hours flying time in 31 different military aircraft, died 19 August 2010, and is interred in Moulton City Cemetery, Moulton, Texas. He had been an as an aircraft commander on a B-17 which gathered data for scientists who were assigned to the Marshall Islands during Operation Crossroads in 1946. After completing that assignment, the Radio Control B-17 unit returned to Field 9 at Eglin to undergo further training. The unit later returned to Eglin, and in January 1947 he participated and tested aircraft equipment under the cold weather conditions at Ladd Air Force Base, Alaska.[105]
  • 6 May 1947 – A TP-51H-5-NA Mustang, 44-64344,[106] flown by Major Wayne Patton of the Eglin Field fighter section crashed into the base library at Eglin Field during a belly-landing due to engine failure. Medical authorities reported his condition as satisfactory.[107] After leaving military service, Patton will become a local real estate developer, creating a residential neighborhood in a previously forested area of the Ocean City area of the Fort Walton Beach community. The Patton Agency remains in business in 2013.
  • 8 May 1947 – Beechcraft C-45F Expeditor, 44-87265,[98] of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, piloted by Carl T. Goldenberg, suffers moderate damage in a belly landing at Eglin Field, this date.[104]
  • 9 May 1947 – North American TB-25J, 44-30060, built as B-25J-25/27-NC,[93] of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Proving Ground Command, Eglin Field, receives moderate damage in a taxi accident at Eglin, this date. Pilot was Robert P. Zoppi, Jr.[104] Reclamation of this airframe will be completed at the base on 19 July 1949.[93]
  • 25 July 1947 – First (of two) North American XP-82 Twin Mustangs, 44-83886, c/n 120-43742, of the 611 AAF Base Unit, piloted by Jesse G. Oliver, crash lands at Eglin Field, Florida.[108][109] Repaired, it will be transferred to NACA on 6 June 1948 and operated until 5 October 1955, after which it is salvaged at Langley AFB, Virginia.
  • 29 July 1947 – Nine crew are killed and two injured in a failed take-off attempt by a B-29-45-MO Superfortress, 44-86307,[110] from Eglin Field, Florida at 0813 hrs., the bomber coming down ~300 yards N of the main base near Valparaiso, Florida and burning. Killed were instructor pilot Capt. Gordon W. Barrett, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a West Point graduate who was awarded the DFC while flying B-29s in World War II; pilot 1st Lt. Huddie C. Bagley of Braufield, Texas; co-pilot Capt. Robert M. Seldomridge of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; navigator 1st Lt. Joseph A. Anderson, Shalimar, Florida; navigator 1st Lt. Milton Rose, Fort Walton, Florida; engineer Master Sgt. Michele Aulicino, Mary Esther, Florida; scanner Staff Sgt. Hugh T. Mulholland of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; scanner Cpl. Ashley W. Odom, McBee, South Carolina; and scanner Pfc. Donald D. Crawford from Fort Worth, Texas. Injured were scanner S/Sgt. Jeremiah W. Conlon of Worthington, Kentucky, admitted to the Eglin hospital with abrasions of the face and head, and ankle injuries; and radio operator S/Sgt. Lloyd D. Farris of Pensacola, Florida, with minor injuries but admitted for observation. The Superfortress apparently failed to gain much altitude before coming down, said Capt. Robert Gaughan, base public relations officer.[111]
  • 19 August 1947 – North American P-82B Twin Mustang, 44-65173, c/n 123-43759,[100] of the 522d Fighter Squadron, Two Engine, 27th Fighter Group, Strategic Air Command, Kearney Army Air Field, Nebraska, (activated 28 July 1947), suffers moderate damage in a taxi accident at Eglin Field, this date. Pilot was Charles C. Heckel.[112]
  • 16 September 1947 – A pilot assigned to Eglin Field, Florida, is killed while flying (KWF) during an attempted emergency landing in a Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star, 44-85305, of the 611th Base Unit,[113] at that base on Tuesday afternoon. Capt. Lawson L. Lipscomb, of Houston, Texas, radioed that he was having difficulty with the jet and was returning to the Eglin main base where emergency preparations had been made on the runways, but the fighter came down just west of the airfield.[114]
  • 22 September 1947 – Douglas C-47B-10-DK Skytrain, 43-49096, c/n 26357,[94] of the 1st Experimental Guided Missiles Group, Duke Field, is damaged in a taxi accident at Brookley Field, Mobile, Alabama, this date. Pilot was Donald J. Young.[115] Repaired, this airframe will eventually go to the Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña as 103, and written off in April 1963.[94]
  • 24 October 1947 – Lockheed P-80B-5-LO Shooting Star, 45-8590, c/n 080-1804,[116] of the 71st Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled, 1st Fighter Group, March Field, California, piloted by Lewis F. Webster, suffers damage from a bird strike 1.5 miles S of Valparaiso, Florida, but lands safely at Eglin Field.[117] Repaired, this airframe will be written off 22 September 1955 in California.[89]
  • 3 November 1947 – Lockheed P-80B-1-LO Shooting Star, 45-8495, c/n 080-1709,[116] of the 71st Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled, 1st Fighter Group, March Field, California, piloted by Lawrence J. Fleming, crash lands at Eglin Field following engine failure,[118] coming down near Valparaiso, Florida.[89]
  • 14 November 1947 – Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star, 44-85148,[98] of the 611th AAF Base Unit, Eglin Field,[89] crashes 6 miles SW of Florosa, Florida, after engine failure, killing pilot George H. Parker.[118]
  • 21 November 1947 – Lockheed P-80A-1-LO Shooting Star, 44-85273,[98] of the 62d Fighter Squadron, Jet Propelled, 56th Fighter Group, 56th Fighter Wing, Selfridge Field, Michigan, piloted by Donald J. Wellings, suffers damage from mechanical failure 5 miles SE of Eglin Main Base, but recovers safely. It will be lost in a crash near Jean, Nevada, on 17 July 1951.[89]
  • 9 April 1948 – A six-month fatality-free period at Eglin AFB, Florida, (the longest since the base opened) ends when Capt. William Robbins, 26, is killed in the crash of a P-51D-30-NA Mustang, 44-74913, in a wooded area N of Crestview, Florida. The pilot in the Friday morning accident was father of three and was well known for his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. A resident of Cinco Bayou, Florida, Robbins is buried in his hometown of Tampa, Florida on 11 April.[119]
  • 10 April 1948 – Eglin AFB, Florida, suffers second accident in two days when TA-26C Invader, 44-35446, of the 1st Target Towing Squadron,[120] Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas, goes down in the Gulf of Mexico 2 miles S of Destin, Florida. Two of three crew survive by parachuting from stricken bomber, TDY here for firing exercises over the Gulf. First Lieutenant John Kubo and T/Sgt. Joseph A. Riley (ages, hometowns not given) are rescued by Eglin crash boats. KWF is T/Sgt. John E. Brizendine, officially listed as missing.[119]
  • 11 May 1948 – Maj. Simon H. Johnson, Jr., deputy commanding officer of the Eglin AFB, Florida, fighter section, is killed when his Republic P-84B-36-RE Thunderjet, 46-661,[121][122] disintegrates during an air demonstration at Range 52 on the Eglin reservation, in front of some 600 witnesses. The public information officer at Eglin stated that the pilot was "engaged in operational tests on the plane" when the accident occurred. Maj. Johnson, a resident of Shalimar, Florida, was originally from Houston, Texas. He had served a year in Italy flying 50 missions in P-51s with the 31st Fighter Group, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with five clusters. He had attended the University of Texas and graduated from the U.S. Army flying school in 1940.[123] Johnson was also serving as the acting commanding officer, operations officer, and test pilot for the Eglin fighter section at the time of his death. Johnson Hall, home of Headquarters Air Proving Ground Center, is named for him on 15 December 1949.[124]
  • 11 October 1948 – The body of Maj. John Earl Shedaker, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps aviator (7 May 1918 – 11 October 1948), was found late Tuesday, 12 October, in about 100 feet of water (depth given is suspect – average depth of bay is 35 feet) in Choctawhatchee Bay near Destin, Florida, according to the public information office of Naval Air Station Barin Field, Foley, Alabama. Navy divers recovered the body located a short distance from the wreckage of the plane, after it was spotted from the air. Indications were that the plane, Vought F4U-4 Corsair, BuNo 81135, of VMF-212, MAG-14, assigned at NAS Barin Field,[125] had caught fire in the air and spun down. Major Shedaker was flying one of two Corsairs which were on a routine training flight over Eglin when the lead plane developed a fuel line failure and the pilot made an emergency landing with a dead engine. He reported that he lost sight of the other plane which failed to return to Barin Field. Major Shedaker was survived by a wife and three children who were living in Pensacola, Florida, temporarily during the assignment of the air group to Operation Combine III. He was serving as operations officer of VMF-212 of Marine Air Group 14 during the operation centered at Eglin Air Force Base.[126] Maj. Shedaker had been awarded his aviator wings on 27 May 1948 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.[127][128] Maj. Shedaker is interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego County, California, on 13 October 1948.[129]
  • 5 November 1948 – A DB-17G Flying Fortress, 44-83678,[75] returning to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida from Fort Wayne, Indiana, crashes in woods SE of Auxiliary Field 2, Pierce Field due to pilot error, crashing and burning NE of the runway at Eglin main base early Friday. All five on board are KWF, including Lt. Col. Frederick W. Eley, 43, of Shalimar, Florida, staff judge advocate at Eglin for nearly three years – he was returning from his grandmother's funeral in Portland, Indiana; Maj. Bydie J. Nettles, 29, who lived in Shalimar, Florida but was originally from Pensacola, Florida, group adjutant for the 3203rd Maintenance and Supply section; Capt. Robert LeMar, 31, Ben's Lake, Eglin Air Force Base, test pilot with the 3203rd; crew chief M/Sgt. Carl LeMieux, 31, of Milton, Florida; and Sgt. William E. Bazer, 36, assistant engineer, Destin, Florida. Bazer's wife was the Eglin base librarian.[130]
  • 7 November 1948 – Second prototype Republic XR-12A-RE Rainbow, 44-91003, crashes at 1300 hrs. while returning to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The number 2 (port inner) engine exploded as the aircraft was returning from a photographic suitability test flight. The pilot was unable to maintain control due to violent buffeting, and he ordered the crew to bail out. Five of the seven crew escaped safely, including pilot Lynn Hendrix, rescued by Eglin crash boats and helicopters. Airframe impacts two miles S of the base, in the Choctawhatchee Bay. Sgt. Vernon B. Palmer, 20, and M/Sgt. Victor C. Riberdy, 30, who lived at Auxiliary Field 5, but was from Hartford, Connecticut, are KWF.[130]
  • 9 March 1949 – First Lieutenant Arnold E. Adams of Newton, Iowa, was killed when the F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter that he piloted crashed in Choctawhatchee Bay. Lieutenant Adams, a resident of Eglin Air Force Base, was 26. He was on a routine service testing flight. He was survived by his wife.[131]
  • 4 May 1949 – An U.S. Navy aircraft, type unidentified, crashes in Destin, Florida near the home of Reddin Brunson. The pilot bails out and parachutes into a small lake near the Destin post office, landing unhurt. Assisted by near-by residents, he is rowed out to three responding Eglin base crash boats by Lt. Cdr. Ross Marler, USNR, and conveyed across the Choctawhatchee Bay to Eglin Air Force Base.[132]
  • 21 July 1949 – Lockheed F-80C-1-LO Shooting Star, 48-386, c/n 080-2109,[122] crashes near Niceville. this date.[89]


  • 5 January 1950 – A B-50A-10-BO Superfortress, 46-021,[110] c/n 15741,[133] of the 3200th Proof Test Group, crashlands in the Choctawhatchee Bay, two miles NNE of Destin, Florida, killing two of the 11 crew. Nine escape from the downed aircraft following the forced landing. The airframe settles in eight to ten feed of mud at a depth of 38 feet. Divers recover the body of flight engineer M/Sgt. Claude Dorman, 27, of Kingston, New Hampshire, from the nose of the bomber on Monday, 8 January. He is survived by his wife, Gladys, and two sons, Theodore Earl and Michael, his father, Walter Lewis, and a brother, Theodore Richard. The body of S/Sgt. William Thomas Bell, 21, aerial photographer, who lived in Mayo, Florida, is recovered on Tuesday, 9 January, outside the plane from beneath the tail. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bell, a brother, Robert, and a sister, Martha. The Eglin base public informations officer identified the surviving crew as 1st Lt. Park R. Bidwell, instructor pilot; 1st Lt. Vere Short, pilot; 1st Lt. James S. Wigg, co-pilot; Maj. William C. McLaughlin, bombardier; and S/Sgt. Clifford J. Gallipo, M/Sgt. Alton Howard, M/Sgt. William J. Almand, T/Sgt. Samuel G. Broke, and Cpl. William F. Fitzpatrick, crewmen.[134] One source gives crash date as 6 January.[110]
  • 14 January 1950 – F-84E-1-RE Thunderjet, 49-2106, of the 307th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group, out of Turner AFB, Georgia, piloted by William C. McClure, crashes in the Gulf of Mexico, 10 miles SW of Fort Walton, Florida.[135]
  • 10 March 1950 – A Lockheed F-80C-11-LO Shooting Star, 44-85014, c/n 080-1037, upgraded from P-80A-1-LO,[98] is written off at Eglin Aux. Field 2, this date.[89]
  • 24 March 1950 – Lockheed RF-80A-5-LO Shooting Star, 44-85479, c/n 080-1502,[136] of the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, 3200th Fighter Test Group, Eglin AFB, flown by Fred W. Belue, suffers damage in landing accident due to mechanical failure.[137]
  • 19 August 1950 – Republic F-84E Thunderjet, 49-2130, of the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, crashes due to structural failure 8 miles NE of Niceville, Florida.[138]
  • 16 October 1950 – A QB-17G Flying Fortress, 44-83565, of the 3200th Drone Squadron, piloted by Emerson N. Hixson, is involved in a ground accident at Eglin AFB [121] due to weather, receiving moderate damage.[139]
  • 25 January 1951 – A B-26C-55-DT Invader, 44-35938, c/n 29217,[120] of the Headquarters Squadron, 3201st Air Base Group, Eglin AFB, piloted by Carl A. Ousley, is moderately damaged in a landing accident at Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C. Repaired.[140]
  • 31 January 1951 – A Royal Air Force exchange officer is killed in the crash of his F-86A-5-NA Sabre, 49-1136, when it goes down in a wooded area near Auxiliary Field No. 2 shortly before 1000 hrs. while on a rocket-firing test mission. Flt. Lt. Ralph C. Williams, 28, was assigned to the air proving ground's 3200th Fighter Test Squadron for ~ a year, and was from Bournemouth, Hampshire, England. He is survived by his wife.[141]
  • 19 March 1951 - Boeing B-47A Stratojet, 49-1904, c/n 450005, assigned at Eglin AFB, piloted by Richard C. Neeley,[142] crashes near Wichita, Kansas.[143]
  • 5 April 1951 – Two F-51D Mustangs, of the 165th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 123d Fighter-Bomber Wing, Godman AFB, Kentucky, collide in a taxiing accident at Auxiliary Field 2, killing one pilot. F-51D-25-NA, 44-73548, piloted by Maj. Woodford W. (Jock) Sutherland, 34, and F-51D-25-NA, 44-73669, piloted by James L. Mehne, strike one another, killing Sutherland.[144] Tragically, on 8 April, a C-47 Skytrain carrying 22 Godman AFB personnel to Charleston, West Virginia, for Sutherland's funeral, clips a hilltop ~8 miles NE of Kanawha Airport in poor weather, killing 19.[145][146]
  • 4 May 1951 - Boeing B-47A Stratojet, 49-1906, c/n 450007,[147] assigned at Eglin AFB, is damaged in a landing accident at Wichita, Kansas.[148] Pilot was Julian R. Abernathy.[142]
  • 7 July 1951 – RB-45C Tornado, 48-018, of the 3200 AMS/3200 ANG, damaged in ground fire at Eglin AFB this date.[149]
  • 18 August 1951 – B-47A Stratojet, 49-1906, c/n 450007, from Boeing-Wichita, Wichita AFB, Kansas, suffers moderate damage at the Air Proving Ground, Eglin AFB, due to a landing accident resulting in a groundloop. Pilot was John G. Foster.[150]
  • 20 September 1951 – B-47B-1-BW Stratojet, 49-2645, c/n 450014, of the Air Proving Ground Command burned at Eielson AFB, Alaska, during refuelling and destroyed.[151]
  • 6 November 1951 – Lockheed F-94B-1-LO, 50-0810, c/n 780-7116, of the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, 3200th Proof Test Group, Air Proving Ground Command, piloted by Glen E. Jackson, is forced down 12 miles SE of Milton, Florida when it suffers fuel exhaustion.[152]
  • 3 December 1951 – B-47B-10-BW Stratojet, 50-0019, c/n 450034, of the Air Proving Ground Command, piloted by David A. Himes, suffers moderate damage in structural failure at Boeing-Wichita, Wichita AFB, Kansas. Repaired.[153]
  • 7 December 1951 – B-26C-55-DT Invader, 44-35938, c/n 29217,[120] of Headquarters Squadron, 3201st Air Base Group, Air Proving Ground Command, piloted by Warney L. Crosby, suffers moderate damage in a landing accident caused by mechanical failure, its second mishap of the year.[153] Repaired.
  • 25 August 1952 – Building 100 on the flightline is named the Audette Airborne Systems Building. A dedication plaque at the front entrance reads: "In memory of Lieutenant Colonel Leo R. Audette, United States Air Force – in recognition of his contribution in the development of airborne electronics systems – who on 25 August 1952, while a member of this command, gave his life while participating in operations which advanced the development of these systems." His aircraft was F-86D-1-NA Sabre, 50-469.[110]
  • 13 January 1953 – "An Eglin (AFB) F-86 Saber [sic] jet crash landed on Range 51 here today left pilot Capt. Robert G. Loomis alive but injured. The airman is in the Eglin hospital with a back injury and undetermined internal injuries."[154] Airframe was F-86F-30-NA Sabre, 52-4306, c/n 191-2.[28][155]
  • 21 June 1953 – Two crew of the 3200th Fighter Test Squadron, Air Proving Ground Command, Eglin AFB, Florida, are KWF in a Lockheed F-94C-1-LO Starfire, 50-969 when it crashes at Fairfax Field, Kansas City, Kansas. Fighter had departed the airfield on a routine training mission for a flight to Scott AFB, Illinois, when the pilot Capt. William C. Sharp, 34, from Cleveland, Ohio, attempted to return shortly after the 1330 hrs. CST take-off. Fighter struck a dike short of the runway, hitting ~10 feet below the top, and caromed onto the runway. Radar operator 1st Lt. Ray P. Tucker, 32, of Tipton, Indiana, was killed on impact and the pilot died later of injuries. Tucker had seen combat in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre in World War II, and Sharp had 25 combat missions in P-40 and P-51 fighters in the China-Burma-India Theatre.[156]
  • 1 October 1953 – A USAF North American TB-25J, 44-86779A, built as a B-25J-30/32-NC,[98] (Joe Baugher states that it was modified and redesignated to TB-25N status, but the official accident report refers to it as a TB-25J) attached to Andrews AFB, Maryland, crashes in fog and heavy overcast into the forested pinnacle of historic Pine Mountain, striking Dowdell's Knob at ~2130 hrs., near Warm Springs in western Georgia, killing five of six on board, said spokesmen at Lawson AFB. The bomber struck the 1,395-foot peak at the 1,340 foot level. It had departed from Eglin AFB at 1930 hrs. for Andrews AFB. Two Eglin airmen were among those KWF. The sole survivor, Richard Kendall Schmidt, 19, of Rumson, New Jersey, a Navy fireman assigned to the crash crew at NAS Whiting Field, Florida, who had hitch-hiked a ride on the aircraft, was found by two farmers who heard the crash and hiked to the spot from their mountainside homes "and found the sailor shouting for help as he lay in the midst of scattered wreckage and mutilated bodies. They said [that] they found a second man alive but base officials said [that] he died before he could be given medical attention." First on the scene was Lee Wadsworth, of Manchester, Georgia, who, while visiting his father-in-law, Homer G. Swan, in Pine Mountain Valley, had heard and seen the Mitchell in level flight at very low altitude AGL on an easterly course moments before impact at ~2130 hrs. Immediately following the crash, Wadsworth, Swan, and Wadsworth's brother-in-law, Billy Colquitt, drove a truck to the knob, arriving there at 2145 hrs. After a short search, they smelled gasoline and heard the cries for help from Schmidt. They proceeded to render aid for two and a half hours until the first medical help arrived, in the person of Dr. Bates from Pine Mountain Valley. Schmidt was loaded into Dr. Bates' automobile and was driven east towards Columbus to meet the military ambulance dispatched from Lawson AFB. The semi-conscious man had died of his injuries some 35 minutes after the first responders got to him. The Air Police, and Sheriff and Coroner for Harris County arrived at ~0030 hrs., 2 October.[157] Tom Baxley, one of the farmers, said that the bodies of the dead, most of them torn by the collision, were flung about among the pine trees, and bits of the plane were hurled over a wide area. Schmidt was hospitalized with a possible hip fracture and cuts. Among the fatalities were two airmen assigned to Eglin AFB who had also hitch-hiked a ride and were on their way home on leave. The impact location is on the site of the proposed $40,000,000 Hall of History to mark a scenic point frequented by the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[158] Killed were Capt. Stephen A. Clisham, pilot; Capt. Virgil G. Harris, co-pilot; T/Sgt. Othelier B. Hoke, flight engineer; and passengers A3C Robert W. Davidson, and A2C Benny J. Shepard.[159] Shepard survived the initial impact and was thrown from the wreckage, but died of his severe injuries before assistance arrived.
This accident was added to the Wikipedia article on 12 June 2012. Exactly one month later, it was discovered by board members of the Pine Mountain Trail Association at the F. D. Roosevelt State Park, who had been seeking details of the 1953 accident. Based on information in this article, they were able to locate survivor Richard Schmidt within a day, and on the Veterans' Day weekend, 10 November 2012, he and Monica Clisham Coffey, the daughter of the B-25's pilot, unveiled a plaque and a memorial rock at Dowdell Knob to those who died in the crash, and in Schmidt's honor.[160] Schmidt was also reunited with 84-year-old Robert Lee Wadsworth of nearby Manchester, and 88-year-old Billy Colquitt, "the minister who accompanied Wadsworth up the mountain and prayed with Airman 2nd Class Benny J. Shepard as he drew his dying breaths."[161][162]
  • 17 October 1953 – Capt. Richard R. Galt, 29, is killed in the crash of an F-84F-1-RE Thunderstreak, 51-1354,[28][163] at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in a Saturday accident just north of the main base this date. "The aircraft was on a testing mission when it crashed in the woods on the outskirts of Valparaiso just off the cutoff road around the base. Apparently the plane clipped a power line before crashing. Power was off in the Playground Area from 8:25 a.m. when electric clocks stopped, to around 1 p.m. Several witnesses reported seeing a 'bright orange flame' flaring up at the time of the crash and a column of smoke. The plane was on a testing mission when it crashed, according to the PIO. Galt was a co-project officer for the F-84F, the Air Force's latest fighter-bomber, on which accelerated testing began last Monday."[164] Memorial services are held for the pilot at an Eglin AFB Chapel on 21 October. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Marjorie Galt; two daughters, Susan, 5, and Margaret, 3; and his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Russell Galt of Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.[165]
  • 4 November 1953 – An Air Force fighter pilot from Turner Air Force Base, Georgia, was critically injured at ~3:30 p.m. when his F-84G-30-RE Thunderjet, 52-3257,[166] crashed in a landing attempt at Eglin Field No. 2. The pilot, Maj. A. D. Simmons, suffered a fractured spine, fractures of both legs and facial cuts.[167] Simmons had just taken off from the Main Base at Eglin on a return flight to his own base. He later "requested permission to land at Field 2 to obtain an instrument clearance, and in attempting to land crashed into a gulley near the end of the runway. Rushed to Eglin Base Hospital immediately following the accident, Maj. Simmons was found suffering from a fracture of the spine, fractures of both legs, and lacerations of the face. His condition was described as critical."[168]
  • 17 November 1953 – The crash of a Piasecki YH-21-PH Workhorse helicopter, 50-1240,[121] deployed to Thule AFB, Greenland, from the Air Proving Ground Center, Eglin AFB, kills two crew. Dead are Capt. Raymond C. Gottfried, 30, of 3922 Avenue J, Brooklyn, New York, pilot, and T/Sgt. Clay H. Danner, 36, of Valle Crucis, North Carolina, crew chief.[169][170] "The helicopter and a sister craft left Eglin on the first leg of the 4,000 mile flight to Thule AFB on 17 August and arrived there on 14 September. The purpose of the flight was to continue the Air Proving Ground operational suitability testing of the YH-21 which began last May and included tests in Eglin's climatic hanger [sic] as well as temperate or warm weather testing. Arctic testing at Thule Air Force Base was scheduled to be completed by December 1." [171]
  • 22 December 1953 – The Eglin Air Force Base public information office reported Tuesday that Lt. Frank T. Robinson crash-landed an F-84 Thunderjet at Lee, Florida, around 1500 hrs. The pilot, attached to the Air Force Operational Test Center at Eglin, was reported safe by officials at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The news release stated that the pilot was on a routine training mission.[172]
  • 16 July 1954 – Republic F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet, 51-1325,[173] of the 466th Strategic Fighter Squadron, 508th Strategic Fighter Wing, Turner AFB, Georgia, flames out at minimum altitude and crashes into tall pine trees near Eglin AFB.[174]
  • 24 August 1954 – The pilot of an F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet, 52-3236,[166] dies at the Eglin AFB, Florida base hospital at ~1130 hrs. of injuries sustained earlier in the day when he was ejected from the cockpit of the fighter-bomber as it rolled to a stop after landing at Eglin Auxiliary Field 6, Biancur Field. The pilot, identified as Maj. Robert A. Krug, 32, of the 307th Strategic Fighter Squadron, 31st Strategic Fighter Wing, Turner Air Force Base at Albany, Georgia, resided in Albany but was originally from Reading, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife, Delores, and two sons, Lee, 1, and Robin, 3. The Thunderjet was on a routine training mission. A board of qualified Air Force officers have been appointed to determine the cause of the accident.[175]
  • 22 September 1954 – A USAF North American EF-86D-5-NA Sabre,[176] 50-516, crashes and burns on take-off from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida in a 1038 hrs. accident that kills Maj. Lyle R. King, 32, assistant chief of weapons and missiles branch directorate of test operations of the Air Force Armament Center at Eglin. After briefly becoming airborne, the aircraft suffers loss of power, the all-weather fighter settles back onto the runway's end, continues off the overrun area and comes to rest in a marshy stream bed ~1,000 feet to the north. King, who was on a routine flying mission, has been stationed at the base since June 1951, a senior pilot with 3,044 total flying hours, 1,483 of them in jets, 225 in various Sabre models. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Virginia King; a daughter, Mikel Mae, and an infant son, of 25 N. Okaloosa Road, Fort Walton Beach, Florida; and his mother, Mrs. Ollie Emiley King, of 360 W. 68th Street, Los Angeles, California. A board of qualified Air Force officers have been appointed to determine the cause of the crash.[177] A new large hangar built in 1955 and dedicated on 5 May[178] was named King Hangar in his honor.[179]
  • 12 October 1954 – A U.S. Navy P2V Neptune undergoing test cycles by the Air Force Operational Test Center at Eglin AFB suffers a structural failure on landing at Auxiliary Field Number 8, Baldsiefen Field, which causes the starboard engine to break loose and burn in a Tuesday morning accident. The crew of two escapes injury. The Eglin Public Information Office said that the two pilots, Stanley A. Beltz, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation test pilot, and Maj. John J. New, of the Air Proving Ground Test Requirement Division, brought the patrol bomber to a halt and left it through an escape hatch without suffering harm.[180] Beltz would die in the crash of a F-94B at Lancaster, California on 31 August 1955.[181]
  • 8 November 1954 – Royal Air Force Air Commodore Geoffrey D. Stephenson, former commandant of the Royal Air Force Central Fighter Establishment, is killed in the crash of a USAF F-100A-10-NA Super Sabre, 53-1534,[182] near Auxiliary Field 2 of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Commodore Stephenson, on a tour of the U.S., is flying at 13,000 feet as he joins formation with another F-100, flown by Capt. Lonnie R. Moore, jet ace of the Korean campaign, when his fighter drops into a steep spiral, impacting at ~1414 hrs. in a pine forest on the Eglin Reservation, one mile NE of the runway of Pierce Field, Auxiliary Fld. 2. The 44-year-old pilot had flown several thousand hours in fighter aircraft, both conventional and jet, during his 20-year RAF career. He had piloted virtually every type of British jet fighter including Meteors, Venoms, Hunters and Swifts, as well as USAF F-86s. He was considered one of the most experienced and capable fighter pilots in the RAF. Commodore Stephenson was married and father of three children. Air Commodore Stephenson headed a six-man team from the central fighter establishment, RAF, whose headquarters are at West Raynham-Near-Fakenham. Memorial services are held at 0900 hrs. at the Eglin Base chapel on 10 November, conducted by the Rev. Johnson H. Pace of St. Simons on the Sound church, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and attended by Air Vice Marshall R. L. R. Atcherley, chief of the Chief Joint British Services Mission to the United States, who arrived from Washington on the night of 9 November; Major General Patrick W Timberlake, commander of the Air Proving Ground Command; Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Campbell, deputy commander of the APGC; six Royal Air Force officers who were touring the U.S. with the commodore; and key staff officers of the APGC. At 1200 hrs., the party of Air Commodore Stephenson, accompanied by 30 RAF and USAF officers, fly to Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, for interment at the Royal Air Force plot there. British armed forces traditionally bury their dead where they fall. There has been an RAF squad at Maxwell since World War II.[183]
  • 1 June 1955 – "An Eglin AFB helicopter was damaged about 8 a.m. Wednesday when it made a forced landing on Johnson's pasture about four miles northeast of Crestview. There were four occupants of the 'copter but all escaped without injury. Engine trouble caused the landing and the machine tourned [sic] on its side when it struck the ground. First reports of the accident were received by Cpl. Joe Livingston of the State Highway Patrol when an unidetified [sic] person called and said the helicopter was seen to go down near Garden City and that 'it was smoking badly.' Patrolman Register Windham investigated the accident [sic] along with Air Police from Eglin AFB."[184] The aircraft involved was Sikorsky H-19B Chickasaw, 52-7519; repaired.[166][185]
  • 29 June 1955 – A newly installed steel and nylon crash barrier at Eglin Main Base successfully prevented a Republic F-84F Thunderstreak from receiving damage when the fighter of the 467th Strategic Fighter Squadron (Strategic Air Command), operating from Auxiliary Field 6 on a gunnery mission suffered failure of its hydraulic system. Pilot Capt. Robert D. Williams, TDY from Turner AFB, Albany, Georgia, was able to lower his undercarriage using an emergency system, but had no flaps and only limited braking capacity. He estimated that the aircraft was still rolling at 15 knots when the nose gear strut engaged the 40-inch high nylon barrier. The plane came to a stop within 30 feet. "So effective was the drag of the fence that the cable that engages the main gear was not needed. The net effect to the $338,713 jet was negligible. The $11,000 barrier had paid for itself in a few seconds of use."[186]
  • 18 July 1955 – A Douglas B-26C-30-DT Invader, 44-35219,[187] of the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Wing, based at Hurlburt Field, crashes in the afternoon while on approach to Ethan Allen Air Force Base at Burlington, Vermont, seriously injuring three crew. Both engines failed just prior to landing, and pilot 2d Lt. Frank C. Button, 22, Watkins Glen, New York; 1st Lt. Clarence C. Mauer, 25, of Scranton, Pennsylvania; and S/Sgt. G. M. Button, brother of the pilot, of the 1703d Construction Group, Elmira, New York, were listed as "satisfactory" at Mary Fletcher Hospital, Burlington. A board of qualified officers was appointed to determine the cause of the accident.[188][189]
  • 16 August 1955 – An F-86K Sabre jet fighter, 54-1235, crashed in an open field northwest of Holt, Florida, at 1445 hrs. According to Capt. John J. Knight, an Air Force Armament Center test pilot who successfully bailed out of the disabled aircraft, the fighter developed engine trouble indicated by an explosion at 30,000 feet. He attempted to return to Eglin AFB, but when smoke was seen coming from the tail section, he bailed out. The altitude was then about 12,000 feet. The plane plunged into a cornfield ~1.5 miles NE of Holt, digging a crater ~10 feet deep and 125 feet across and scattering wreckage over a large area.[190] The pilot was picked up by a 48th Air Rescue Squadron helicopter and returned to Eglin Air Force Base where the flight had originated.[191] This aircraft was one of six which began five months of testing by a project team from the Air Defense Division of the Air Force Operational Test Center on 15 July 1955.[192]
  • 17 August 1955 – "A cool hand and a convenient field of scrub pine added up to a successful emergency crash landing for Captain William A. Cobb, 31, of the Air Proving Ground Command, when the engine of his F-86H quit in an attempted go-around at 1:49 last Wednesday afternoon. Cobb was checking an unsafe indication of his nose-wheel position indicator by flying a 200 feet past the control tower to determine whether the wheels looked to be properly lowered. When he applied power, the engine failed to respond and the only choice was to set the plane down straight ahead. Veering a few hundred yards to the east to avoid the woods, the pilot eased the plane across the boundary road [now Eglin Boulevard] and was brought rapidly to a stop by the small trees dotting the field. Captain Cobb was uninjured and the damage to the plane was not extensive. He was on a training flight from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he is a fighter evaluation officer in the Directorate of Test Requirements of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. His 2,890 hours of flying experience includes about 1,400 hours in single engine jet fighters."[193] The aircraft involved was YF-86H-5-NA Sabre, 52-2096, c/n 187-122.[166]
  • 10 January 1956 – Double jet ace Maj. Lonnie R. Moore, 35, is killed in the 0914 hrs. take-off crash of an F-101A-15-MC Voodoo, 53-2443, of the 3243d Test Group,[194] from Eglin AFB. Moore was making his first flight in the new fighter design but the jet crashes in the center of the airfield just after becoming airborne, appearing to explode on impact.The aircraft experienced an extreme nose pitch-up, a problem that would plague the Voodoo design. Although the crash site is only 200 yards from the fire station, and the blaze extinguished within three minutes, the pilot has no chance to escape and is killed. Moore was the Air Force Operational Test Center's chief project officer for operational suitability tests of the Air Force's first supersonic jet fighter, the F-100 Super Sabre and had more than 1,500 hours in single-engine jet aircraft and 3,570 total flight hours. At the time of his death, he was being checked out in the latest fighter that the AFOTC had received for testing. As a project officer for the Air Proving Ground Command during the Korean War, the then-Captain Moore deployed TDY to Korea to perform a test under combat conditions in the modified F-86F-2 Sabre, upgunned with the M39 cannon. During the test mission he downed two MiG-15s with the new weapon. Remaining in Korea after the test was completed, he flew 100 combat missions, destroying ten MiGs, plus one probable. He is survived by his widow, the former Billie Geneeva Hall, of Dallas, Texas, and four children, Robert Lester, 16; Barbara W., 13; Lonnie Jr., 8; and Tina Gale, 4.[195][196] The family resided at 535 Okaloosa Road, Elliott's Point, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.[197]
  • 27 January 1956 – Royal Air Force Squadron Leader Peter G. P. Henson, an exchange pilot assigned to the Eglin Air Force Armament Center, is KWF when his F-84F Thunderstreak crashes into the Gulf of Mexico three miles off Destin, Florida at 1055 hrs. this date. Charles K. Windes, a Santa Rosa carpenter working in the vicinity, reported that he saw the pilot parachute into the water. Search crews are unable to locate the lost pilot, however. Three crash boats from the 3201st Boat Squadron, search aircraft of the 48th Air Rescue Squadron and the Base Flight Squadron, as well as volunteers from the community participate in the search. An oil slick is sighted and the pilot's crash helmet, flight suit and aircraft parts are found, but the search is suspended on Tuesday, 31 January. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Winifred Henson, and two children, Christine, 7, and Pamela, 6, of 2504A Ben's Lake, Eglin AFB, and his mother, Mrs. K. M. Henson, of 30 Hatton Park Road, Wellingborough North Hants., England.[198]
  • 15 February 1956 – A USAF F-84F Thunderstreak crashes in a wooded area NE of Niceville, Florida at 1745 hrs. killing pilot 2nd Lt. Gary R. Brown, 21, of Seleh, Washington. The fighter was one of two from the 405th Fighter-Bomber Wing, based at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, that was making an instrument approach to land at Eglin AFB, the Office of Information Services reported. Florida State Troopers discovered the downed aircraft ~10 minutes after the crash occurred on Swift Creek near the Ruckel airstrip. A ground search party of paramedics from the 48th Air Rescue Squadron at Eglin and base crash crewmen arrived at the scene a short time later. Lt. Brown is survived by his wife of Hampton, Virginia and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Brown, Route 1, Seleh, Washington.[199]
  • 8 March 1956 – Capt. Roy W. Konvolinka, of the 3243d Test Group (Fighters), ejects from his disabled F-100A Super Sabre and parachutes into the Choctawhatchee Bay, coming down ~1/2 mile from shore. He abandons the disabled jet shortly after takeoff when he discovers that he can not make an emergency landing. The fighter impacts in a wooded area of the Eglin reservation. He is rescued by a helicopter (type unspecified, but probably a Sikorsky H-19), piloted by Lt. Col. Walter A. Rosenfield, Jr., director of maintenance for the 3243rd Fighter Test Group at Eglin, and Capt. Carl J. Swanson, who acts as an impromptu rescue jumper. Konvolinka suffers only a broken finger on his left hand from grabbing for the winch hook.[200] The pilot is taken to the Eglin base hospital for treatment of the broken finger, shock, exposure and observation.[201] Konvolinka had experienced a training accident on 4 April 1944 in PT-17, 41-25408, at Paradise Valley Airport, Arizona.[202]
A screen image of XB-51 46-0685, from Toward the Unknown. The airframe crashed 25 March 1956 while transiting to Eglin AFB.
  • 25 March 1956 – First prototype Martin XB-51, 46-0685, crashes on take-off from Biggs AFB, El Paso, Texas, killing both crew. Aircraft became briefly airborne, then settles back onto the runway, running off the end into sand dunes and set alight. Pilot was Maj. James O. Rudolph, 36, who was dragged from the crash site with severe burns and conveyed to Brook Army Hospital at San Antonio where he succumbed to his injuries 16 April 1956. The flight engineer was S/Sgt. Wilbur R. Savage, 28, of Rte. 3, Dawsonville, Georgia.[203] The aircraft was staging to Eglin AFB, Florida at the time of its crash for filming of scenes for the motion picture Toward the Unknown.[204] After stopping for refuelling, the bomber began its take-off run at 1030 hrs., but smashed through the fence at the end of the southwest runway and then began to disintegrate, spreading wreckage along a 250-yard trail. There was some initial confusion about the aircraft type as rescuers found the "Gilbert XF-120" name applied to the airframe for the film on the wreckage.[205][206]
  • 15 June 1956 – "A $50 reward has been authorized by Capt. Carol Presley, commander of the Okaloosa Civil Air Patrol squadron, for any information leading to the identity of the unknown pilot or persons who took a PA-18 type CAP plane from the ramp at Field 4 sometime between 10 and 11 Friday morning. This unauthorized flight resulted in a crackup at the end of the runway with the unknown pilot immediately leaving the scene of the accident. Damage to the plane was major but can be repaired. Both CAP and Eglin AFB authorities are investigating the accident."[207]
  • 22 June 1956 – Two pilots escape injuries in two separate accidents at Eglin AFB this date. Maj. John R. Phillips of the Air Force Operational Test Center was forced to abandon his Northrop F-89H Scorpion when the engines caught fire on takeoff with the pilot parachuting safely ~1.5 miles offshore over the Choctawhatchee Bay with the aircraft impacting in the bay. He was rescued immediately by a helicopter piloted by Capt. Earl A. Thone, and 1st Lt. Thomas A. Wright, and carrying Capt. Richard A. Salina, flight surgeon, and Paramedic S/Sgt. Henry H. Kirksey. Maj. Phillips resides at 516 Gardner Drive, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, with his wife Bernice, and three children, Joan Louise, 8; Joy Frances, 4; and John R. Jr., 2. In the second incident, 2d Lt. Richard C. Hale was applying power to his Republic F-84F Thunderstreak prior to takeoff when an internal explosion occurred in the engine. His wingman, 1st Lt. Wayne N. Whatley, observed fire coming from the tailpipe of the damaged jet and radioed Lt. Hale to abandon the craft, "which the latter proceeded to do with alacrity." The fire was brought quickly under control by crews from the Eglin crash rescue division. Lt. Hale is assigned to England Air Force Base, Louisiana, where he resides with his wife and month-old daughter.[208]
  • 9 July 1956 – Two pilots of the Air Proving Ground Command are rescued in two separate accidents at Eglin AFB this date. In the first incident Capt. Calvin K. Ellis receives minor injuries when, according to a witness, his F-86H Sabre blew its starboard main tire upon landing and skidded off the right side of the runway where the nose wheel dug into the soft turf and turned the aircraft over. "Crash rescue equipment arrived at the scene shortly after the alarm was sounded and lifted the aircraft with a crane, freeing the trapped pilot. The aircraft received major damage but did not catch fire." Capt. Ellis, 32, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Cal Ellis of 1106 Peachtree Terrace, Albany, Georgia. He and his wife, Janet A. Ellis, live at Eglin. They have two children: a stepdaughter, Perri Glynn Stowitte, 8; and a son, Craig Andrew, 4. In the second accident, which occurred in late afternoon, an F-102A Delta Dagger piloted by Lt. Col. Michael C. Horgan, of the 3241st Test Group (Interceptor)[209] crashed shortly after takeoff. "According to witnesses, the aircraft was airborne approximately 35 feet when the left wing dipped toward the ground. The aircraft climbed steeply to the left then plummeted to the ground. After skidding nearly 1,500 feet, the aircraft burst into flames. Crash rescue equipment arrived immediately. Although the aircraft was severely damaged and on fire, it was immediately discovered that the pilot was alive. The canopy was jammed, however, making access to the stricken pilot difficult. Crash rescuemen then broke through the canopy and with the aid of other crew members freed the pilot from the burning aircraft." Lt. Col. Horgan received a fractured leg but was reported in fair condition by the Eglin Air Force Base Flight Surgeon. Col. Horgan is the brother of Mrs. A. J. Harber of Interlocken, Fairmont, Minnesota. He and his wife, Joan, and their four children live at 5 Plew Avenue, Shalimar, Florida. The children are Michael James, 5; Candace Lee, 6; Timothy Niel,3; and Patrick Kevin, 1.[210] Col. Horgan was hospitalized for at least eight weeks with back and leg injuries from the crash.[209]
  • 15 July 1956 – Deft work by air traffic controllers at Eglin AFB saved a North American F-86D Sabre from loss when an instructor pilot, 1st Lt. F. J. Pagel, en route from Perrin AFB, Texas, to Tyndall AFB, Florida, ran low on fuel and suffered damage to his radar equipment in a heavy thunderstorm while over the Eglin water ranges of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite trouble with the Eglin tower's emergency radio frequency due to a blown fuse caused by the same storm system, the pilot was given a vector heading of 360 degrees (north) by Lts. Alfred R. Martin and Leonard L. Dawson of the 3216th Test Support Squadron, bringing the Sabre 40 miles to a safe visual landing at the Main Base. After minor repairs, the pilot and the jet were able to depart for the original destination.[211]
  • 26 July 1956 – A QF-80 Shooting Star unmanned drone of the 3205th Drone Squadron at Auxiliary Field 3, exploded in flight over the Eglin reservation SE of Range 21, this date. The drone, on a mission for the Air Proving Ground Command, made a normal takeoff and climbed to 8,000 feet before it suddenly exploded. Wreckage was scattered over a one-mile-square area within the reservation. An investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the explosion. "According to Lt. Col. Walter G. Cannon, Deputy Commander of the 3205th Drone Group, 'The incident was the first where a U.S. Air Force pilotless aircraft exploded while being airborne.'" Drone QF-80 jet aircraft and QB-17 World War II Flying Fortresses are used in the support of the "employment and suitability testing" of aircraft and armament.[212]
  • 27 August 1956 – The mid-air collision of two Lockheed T-33A Shooting Stars on approach to Moody AFB, Valdosta, Georgia, results in the deaths of all four crew. The two jet trainers were ~1,000 feet from the runway threshold at an altitude of ~200 feet when they collided. KWF were Capt. Paul W. Horan, 40, assigned to the 3243d Test Group (Fighter) and S/Sgt. Alwyn E. Padgett, 24, of the 3206th Test Wing (Technical support), both out of Eglin AFB. The victims in the second T-33 were Maj. Robert T. Maltby of Antigo, Wisconsin, and Capt. Ray J. Shipley of Mapleton, Iowa. Capt. Horan is survived by his wife, three children, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Horan, of Sarasota, Florida. Sgt. Padgett is survived by his wife, two children, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Padgett, of Crestview, Florida.[213]
  • 6 October 1956 – A B-66B-DL Destroyer, 54-497, of the 34th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Wing, Hurlburt Field, crashes after engine flameout near Blackstone, Virginia.[214] Three crew successfully bail out of the bomber, which was en route from Harmon AFB, in Newfoundland to Eglin AFB. The crew were listed as Capt. Z. W. Ryall, pilot; Lt. D. E. Selby, navigator; and Airman 1st Class C. J. Perusse. "The plane continued for about 18 miles after the crew bailed out, finally crashing in a cow pasture, boring a hole 12 foot deep in the ground."[215]
  • 30 November 1956 – "Two pilots from Eglin Air Force Base were killed in the crash of their T-33 jet trainer plane near Meridian, Miss., Friday. The two were identified by Eglin officials as Capt. William T. Davis of Mobile, La., and 1st Lt. Theodis R. Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. R. Miller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Reports from the scene of the accident state the disabled plane was headed straight for a school building when the pilot succeeded in pulling up so the plane passed about 20 feet above the building, following which it crashed in a nearby wooded area. Wreckage was scattered over a mile-wide area, and the two occupants were apparently killed instantly in the crash. Besides his parents, Capt, Davis is survived by his wife and two children, while Lt. Miller leaves a wife and one child."[216]
  • 13 December 1956 – "Recovery of a QB-17 drone aircraft which had been compelled to make an emergency landing on Range 52, was announced this week by Lt. Col. Walter G. Cannon, deputy commander, 3205th Drone Group of the Air Proving Ground Command. After recovery, the drone flew a regular mission before returning to Duke Field, he said. About 10 days ago the drone was returning from a mission over the Gulf when a malfunction of the guidance system caused the plane to lose full azimuth control. This made it impossible for the Drone to land at Field 3, consequently it was set down on an old landnig [sic] strip on Range 52. The drone veered off the runway, nosed over and sustained considerable damage. This damage was repaired at Range 52 and on December 13, the drone was flown off the range and, after making a regular mission, landed at Duke Field."[217]
  • 1 April 1957 – A B-66B-DL Destroyer, 54-493, of the 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Wing, Hurlburt Field, crashes on take-off for a routine training mission,[214] coming down at 0029 hrs. two miles N of the airfield, with three crew killed. Pilot was 1st Lt. Richard J. “Dick” Dinger, 29; navigator/observer Capt. John A. Runion, 33; gunner T/Sgt. Stanley P. Klatz, 31, in charge of all 95th BS gunners.[218] Lt. Dinger is survived by his wife Dorothy and one child, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Dinger, 120 W. Susquehanna, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Capt. Runion is survived by his wife, Irene, and one child. His parents are deceased. Sgt. Klatz is survived by his wife, Lorraine, and two children. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Henry Klatz, 1359 F Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All of the deceased resided in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. "The cause of the crash is undetermined. A board of officers has been appointed to conduct an investigation."[219]
  • 4 April 1957 – An RB-57A-MA Canberra, 52-1434,[155] crashes 15 miles N of Vancleave, Mississippi, and 23 miles NE of Keesler AFB due to engine failure in a heavy storm whilst on a flight from Eglin AFB to Cannon AFB, New Mexico. Pilot Capt. Forrest Adolph Dalton, Jr., (14 February 1924 – 4 April 1957),[220] 33, is killed. Capt. Dalton, of the Inspector General's staff, Air Proving Ground Command, "declared an emergency at 1:10 p.m., stating he had but one engine and was icing up heavily. He was at 20,000 feet at the time. The Keesler AFB tower gave him a bearing for that base and other bases in the area. A short time later the aircraft crashed 15 miles north of Van Cleve, Miss., during a heavy rainstorm. The wreckage was first sighted by a helicopter from Keesler AFB and a ground party was dispatched to the scene. Capt. Dalton's body was found in the cockpit of his aircraft. Capt. Dalton is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and eight children: William R., 12; Diane, 11; David F., 10; Caryl, 6; Michael H., 5; Elizabeth D., 3; Samuel T., 1; and John E., 1-month-old. The family resides at 1225 Bayshore dr.[sic], Valparaiso. Capt. Dalton's home address was listed as being 126 Montgomery St., Troy, Ala. Capt. Dalton was a senior pilot with over 4,000 flying hours and 14 years in service. He flew 35 combat missions during World War II and 55 missions in the Korean conflict."[221] He was interred in Troy, Alabama. The B-57 displayed at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB carries his name.[222]
  • 11 April 1957 – An RB-66B-DL Destroyer twin jet reconnaissance bomber, 53–410,[214] from Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, South Carolina, crashed off the north end of the main runway at Eglin Air Force Base. The plane, from the 43d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photo-Jet of the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Group, was on a routine training mission to Eglin. The RB-66 landed at Eglin in heavy rain on a wet runway. The pilot deployed the drag chute, used to aid in braking, but the connection pin sheared and the chute fell away. The plane then ran off the runway, across the overrun and plunged over the edge of a 50 foot bluff. The plane landed flat in the valley below, although the impact demolished it and broke it in half. The two crew members, Capt. John T. McLaine, pilot, and Capt. F. Duncan, observer-navigator, escaped serious injury. This was the first accident that the 432nd had had in ten months of flying the RB-66.[223]
  • 18 April 1957 – First Lieutenant Richard L. Corbetta, 25, was killed when his T-33 jet trainer crashed in a wooded area about 4 miles northeast of the base just off State Road 85. The Eglin office of information services said the crash occurred as the plane was preparing to land. The pilot had been on a routine test flight. Corbetta graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor of science degree in 1954. He entered active service in the Air Force in March 1955 and completed his pilot's training in April 1956. He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Corbetta, of Denver, Colorado.[224]
  • 3 September 1957 – A B-66B-DL Destroyer, 54-495, of the 95th Bomb Squadron, 17th Bomb Wing, Hurlburt Field, crashes due to an engine explosion near a Houston, Texas, bombing range.[214]
  • 2 October 1957 – First Lieutenant Richard A. Inglehart, 28, 3241st Test Group, Air Force Operational Test Center, was killed in a crash of a North American F-100 Super Sabre at Range 52. The airplane crashed into the ground after the pilot performed a toss bombing manoeuver. He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis D. Inglehart of Brunswick, Missouri.[225]
  • 3 October 1957 – Test pilots Maj. John W. Farrow, 32, of Hq. Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and Capt. Gerald King, 29, of the 3241st Test Group, Eglin Air Force Base, died in the crash of an F-100F Super Sabre. Major Farrow was a liaison officer assigned to the Air Proving Ground Command from the Tactical Air Command. Major Farrow of Strong, Maine, was survived by his wife Beverly and three children of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and his mother, Mrs. Mary W. Farrow, of Augusta, Maine. Capt. King of Silverton, Oregon, was survived by his wife Elizabeth and two children of Eglin Air Force Base and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Delbert King of Silverton.[225]
  • 17 March 1958 – A North American F-100F Super Sabre crashed about nine miles north of Mossy Head, Florida, shortly after taking off from Eglin Air Force Base. Both pilots parachuted to safety and were reported to be uninjured. Lieutenant Colonel Frank D. Henderson and Lieutenant Colonel Walter A. Rosefield, both assigned to the Air Proving Ground Center, took off from Eglin Main Base en route to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, when they encountered a flame-out of their engine shortly after takeoff. They headed back to Eglin and bailed out at 10,000 feet when several attempts to accomplish a restart were unsuccessful. The aircraft crashed and burned in a field southwest of Liberty.[226]
  • 2 May 1958 – F-105B-1-RE Thunderchief, 54-0101, the second B-model, of the Air Proving Ground Command, suffers an explosion and fire during training mission. During an aerial demonstration the pilot, Capt. Howard Westley Leaf, heard a muffled explosion, and then experienced limited flight controls. He ejected at 300 feet at 500 KIAS. He was beat up flailing in the chute, but survived. This was the first F-105 ejection. Pilot eventually retired as a Lieutenant General.[227] Subsequently, it had been reported that persons in the area had taken as souvenirs parts of the plane that crashed near Wright, Florida. The missing parts were urgently needed to help investigators pinpoint the cause of the accident. In particular, a drag parachute had not been located.[228]
  • 29 August 1959 – F-105B-15-RE Thunderchief, 57-5799, of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, explodes on start up on the parking ramp during a cartridge start, pilot Maj. James Ellis Bean survives.[227]


  • 4 January 1960 – "An Eglin pilot, Capt. James E. Myers of Grand Chain, Ill. ejected from his aircraft when it caught fire at 8:15 a.m. Monday and parachuted to safety about 10 miles north of the Main Base. The aircraft, an F-100 Super Sabre, crashed about 200 feet off Highway 85, ten miles south of Crestview. The plane exploded when it hit the ground and flaming debris was scattered over a radius of several hundred yards. Fire trucks from Eglin Auxiliary Field No. 3 put the fire out within minutes after the accident occurred. A few telephone lines were knocked down but other than that, no property damage was reported. A board of qualified officers is further investigating the accident."[229]
  • 18 March 1960 – Republic F-105B-15-RE Thunderchief, 57-5794, of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron crashes in the Gulf of Mexico after the port undercarriage leg would not extend. Pilot Capt. Bingham J. Lawrence ejects safely at 10,000 feet after being advised that his gear won't extend. Rescued.[227][230][231]
  • Week prior to 31 March 1960 – A T-33 Shooting Star, in flight at 15,000 feet, piloted by Lt. Col. Edward L. Rathbun, Director of Operations, 4751st Air Defense Wing, experiences engine difficulties, flames out at 8,000 feet, fails to relight. Upon making a dead-stick approach to Hurlburt Field, Eglin Auxiliary Field 9, the trainer's undercarriage refuses to deploy. Control tower operator T/Sgt. Clyde Martin, of the 1920-1 AACS Detachment, seeing the aircraft on approach, deploys the runway barrier control as the T-bird bellies in on the south end of the Hurlburt runway, snagging the jet by its tail and bringing it to a halt with only minor damage, pilot uninjured.[232]
  • 21 June 1960 – Two U.S. Army crew escape injury when their helicopter (type not given) crashes in a wooded area ~10 miles W of Eglin AFB Main Base shortly after a ~noon take-off, this date. Warrant Officer Jesse Taylor, pilot, of Summerdale, Alabama, and T. A. Symes, crew chief, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, members of the 84th Helicopter Company, Lawson Army Airfield, Georgia, were on temporary duty with the Army Ranger Camp at Eglin Auxiliary Field 7. "Following the crash, Taylor was forced to walk about five miles through a wooded area before reaching a telephone to report the crash. Symes remained with the downed craft."[233]
  • 23 August 1960 – Republic F-105B-20-RE Thunderchief, 57-5804, damaged during landing at Eglin AFB, due to drag chute failure.[234]
  • 6 September 1960 – A GAM-77 Hound Dog missile launched from a B-52 Stratofortress over the Eglin Air Force Base, Florida test range at ~1400 hrs. this date goes astray, coming down on a farm near Samson, Alabama. Lt. Col. Gerry Garner, Eglin Air Force Base public information director, stated that an investigation is underway into the errant missile's failure.[235]
  • 26 September 1960 – Republic F-105D-1-RE Thunderchief, 58-1146, the first D-model, experiences fire warning light on takeoff – aborted – on main runway at Eglin Main. Test pilot Mr. Henry Crescibene of Republic Aviation survives.[227] 1st Lt. Henry A. Crescibene had flown F-86E Sabres with the 335th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, in Korea,[236] killing one MiG-15,[237] on 4 August 1952.[238]
  • 2 December 1960 – Republic F-105B-10-RE Thunderchief, 57-5781,[239] used by Republic Aviation for tests at Eglin AFB, suffers engine fire during training mission, pilot Capt. Ray Kingston ejects and is rescued, and taken to the dispensary at Suffolk County Air Force Base, Westhampton.[231] Airframe impacts in Bellport Bay, Long Island, New York.[240]
  • 11 January 1961 – Republic F-105D-5-RE Thunderchief, 59-1730, crashes near Eglin during a training mission due to undetermined causes, pilot Jack B. Mayo KWF. Wreckage presumably comes down in the Gulf of Mexico as neither the pilot nor airframe are recovered.[227]
  • 18 January 1961 – Wreckage from a T-33 found floating in Choctawhatchee Bay, was positively identified as part of an overdue plane that was en route to Eglin from McCoy Air Force Base, Florida. The plane was practicing instrument approaches when approach control lost contact shortly before 2300 hrs. The pilot was identified as Maj. John M. Simmons, a test pilot with the Air Proving Ground Center.[241] Two days of searching yielded only a few pieces of aircraft wreckage, but that along with the plane's flight log positively identified them as belonging to the missing plane.[242]
  • 17 June 1961 – Republic F-105B-20-RE Thunderchief, 57-5832, of the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina, suffers flameout during training mission, makes hard landing at Eglin Auxiliary Field 2, main gear strut comes up through the wing. Pilot Capt. Samuel Henderson Martin III survives.[227]
  • 4 February 1962 - Seven are killed when Douglas C-47A-25-DK Skytrain transport, 42-108992, MSN 13768,[243] crashes and explodes immediately after takeoff at Greensboro-High Point Airport, North Carolina. The plane apparently lost power about 150 feet off the ground, and plunged into a grassy area at the edge of the airport. The left wing struck first and its fuel tanks ignited. Two bodies were thrown clear of the flaming wreckage. Plane was en route from McGuire AFB in New Jersey to its home field at Eglin AFB. Landed in Greensboro about 1600 hrs. to pick up an officer. Prior stop was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[244][245][246] A UPI wire service story stated that five of the dead were identified as 4 crew members and a passenger. Authorities still were attempting to identify the other 2. The dead included:
Capt. Richard J Rice, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 27, aircraft commander.
Capt. David L Murphy, Bloomfield, Neb., pilot.
Capt. Thomas D Carter, Helena, Ark., Navigator.
T-Sgt. Bernard P Terrien, Gillett, Wis., 32, crew chief.
Capt. Robert H Sanford, Greensboro, N.C. 34, the passenger.[247]
  • 17 March 1962 – Republic F-105D-1-RE Thunderchief, 58-1148, written off in an accident at Eglin Air Force Base this date. This was the third D-model built.[248] During a training mission, aircraft suffers an explosion and fire at 3999 ft. altitude in a climbing right turn. Pilot Capt. Joseph V. Cobislero ejects at 350 knots IAS, aircraft crashes 8 miles N of Fort Walton Beach, Florida on the Eglin Range. Pilot survives.[227]
  • 29 March 1962 - As a Strategic Air Command Boeing B-52 Stratofortress was being placed in a hangar, the tail hit a high voltage wire. Airman Curtis John Shoedel, who was aboard the tow truck pushing the aircraft, was killed. Three other airmen who were working with the operation were severely burned.[249]
  • 16 April 1962 – Republic F-105D-5-RE Thunderchief, 58-1166, of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina, on a training mission over an Eglin Range, begins a low level toss bomb run. Pilot Charles Glenn Lamb, Jr. is at Mach 1.1 at 700 KIAS as he begins his pull-up when the aircraft is observed exploding into 3 major pieces in a huge fireball. The pilot is killed.[227]
  • 8 January 1963 – F-104B-1-LO Starfighter, 56‑3720, c/n 283-5001, the second B-model, crashes on an Eglin range – several air starts were initiated which resulted in power loss, sound of tailing air‑conditioning turbine was mistaken for engine failure. Pilot ejects.[250]
  • 7 February 1963 – Republic F-105D-25-RE Thunderchief, 61-0216, c/n D-411, of the 4525th Combat Crew Training Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada, and F-100F Super Sabre flying in close formation, are hit by shrapnel from a defective BLU-14 bomb, one of four dropped from the F-105 while on a run over a rail spur on an Eglin Range. F-105 pilot Maj. Frederick C. Kyler, and pilot and photographer in F-100 all successfully eject.[227] Footage of the accident was released by British Pathé newsreel.[251]
  • 27 March 1963 – North American T-28A-NI Trojan, 52-1242, c/n 189-57, converted to first prototype RA-28 (a proposed turboprop combat version for use in SE Asia), later redesignated YAT-28E. To Air Force Special Evaluation Center at Eglin AFB, Florida for tests. Deficiency in tailfin area (tail unit separated in flight) led to its entering a flat spin and crashing this date whilst on its 14th test flight, killing North American Aviation pilot George Hoskins[252] when he is unable to bail out due to a jammed canopy.[230][253] The cause is traced to the failure in flight of the rear stabilizer spar which is unable to cope with the increased thrust generated by the turboprop.[254]
  • 19 August 1963 – A USAF QB-47E Stratojet, of the 3205th Drone Director Group, veers off course on touchdown at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, crashing onto Eglin Parkway parallel to the runway. Two cars were crushed by the Stratojet, killing two occupants, Robert W. Glass and Dr. Robert Bundy, and injuring a third, Dorothy Phillips. Mr. Glass and Dr. Bundy both worked for the Minnesota Honeywell Corporation at the time, a firm which had just completed flight tests on an inertia guidance sub-system for the X-20 Dyna-Soar project at the base utilizing an NF-101B Voodoo. Mrs. Phillips was the wife of Master Sergeant James Phillips, a crew chief at the base. Mrs. Phillips was treated for moderate injuries and released later that day. Both vehicles were destroyed by fire. Four firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation while fighting the blaze which reignited several times. Fire crews had to lay over a mile of hose to reach the crash from the nearest hydrant, as well. The QB-47 was used for Bomarc Missile Program tests, which normally operated from Auxiliary Field Three (Duke Field), approximately 15 miles from the main base, but was diverted to Eglin Main after thunderstorms built up over Duke.[255]
  • 30 October 1963 – An F-105D-6-RE Thunderchief, 60-419, of the 3214th OMS, Eglin AFB, piloted by Capt. Robert L. Jondahl, crashes two miles E of Niceville, Florida.[28] While making supersonic passes on Eglin Ranges. pilot felt the engine fail. Pilot received red lights and lost flight controls. Ejected safely.[227] Joe Baugher cites crash date of 23 October.[256]
  • 22 January 1964 – A USAF F-104B-10-LO Starfighter, 57‑1306, c/n 283-5019,[230] of the 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command,[257] Homestead Air Force Base, Florida, crashes at ~1330 hrs. on Santa Rosa Island, ~one mile E of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, shortly after departure from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, to return to Homestead. The pilot, Capt. Lucius O. Evans, ejects safely just before the fighter impacts in sand dunes just short of the Coronado Motor Hotel, parachuting into the Choctawhatchee Bay. He is then transported to the Eglin base hospital by Assistant Police Chief Jack McSwain, where he is reported to have sustained no injuries. Over sixty occupants at the hotel are not injured although flaming wreckage sprays an area close to the business. Eyewitness Andrew Christiansen, of Chester, Connecticut, reported that the aircraft was on fire as it descended and observed Capt. Evans' ejection from the Starfighter. A secondary explosion after the impact further scatters the burning wreckage.[258]
  • 11 February 1964 – During an evening airpower demonstration, B-26B Invader, 44-35665,[259] built as a B-26C-45-DT,[260] on a strafing pass over Range 52 at Eglin AFB, Florida, loses its port wing as it pulls up at ~1945 hrs., with the loss of two crew, both assigned to the 1st Air Commando Wing, Hurlburt Field. KWF are pilot Capt. Herman S. Moore, 34, of 28 Palmetto Drive, Mary Esther, Florida, and navigator Capt. Lawrence L. Lively, 31, of 19 Azalea Drive, Mary Esther, Florida. Moore, originally of Livingston, Montana is survived by his widow, Nancy Lee Moore, and a stepson, John H. Duckworth, 9, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William N. Moore, 117 South 10th Street, Livingston. Mrs. Moore is a teacher in the Okaloosa County School system. Lively is survived by his widow, Joan R. Lively.[261] The Invader was participating in a demonstration of the Special Air Warfare Center's counter insurgency capabilities, an activity that had been presented on average of twice each month for the past 21 months. This was the first such accident for SAWC during that period.[262] The audience included 19 journalists.[263] The USAF subsequently grounds all combat B-26s as the stress of operations now exceed the airframes' abilities. On Mark Engineering Company remanufactures 4 old airframes as one YB-26K and 39 B-26Ks with new spars, larger engines and rudders, and new 1964 fiscal year serial numbers which see use in Southeast Asia, and which will be redesignated A-26As for political reasons. The YB-26K was later brought up to B-26K standard.[264]
  • 16 December 1964 – On Mark B-26K Counter-Invader, 64-17656, remanufactured in 1964 from A-26C-50-DT, 44-35847,[260] is written off on an Eglin range during a low-level applied tactics mission. Pilot killed, navigator bails out but loses leg while exiting the airframe.[265][266]
  • 15 June 1965 – Due to an unfortunate oversight in inspecting F-105 Thunderchiefs following the fatal crash of a Thunderbirds air demonstration team F-105B at Hamilton Air Force Base, California on 9 May 1964, one was missed and it subsequently crashed this date at Eglin Air Force Base. Early-production JF-105D-5-RE, 58-1149, the fourth D-model built, and first Block 5 airframe, flown by Republic Aviation test pilot Carlton B. Ardery, Jr., broke apart during a 7.33 G pull-up during a test mission when the same weak backbone plate failed that caused the Thunderbirds fatal accident, stated a Fairchild Hiller Accident Report. The pilot was killed.[267] Aircraft crashes 39 miles SE of Eglin AFB.[227]
  • 24 June 1965 – The mid-air collision of two Douglas A-1 Skyraiders, of the 4407th Combat Crew Training Squadron, 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing, over the small community of Children's Home in north Okaloosa County, Florida, resulted in the deaths of four Hurlburt Field pilots: Maj. Robert W. Robinson, Capt. James J. Jines, Jr., Capt. Edward P. Doyle and Maj. Donald L. Lumadue. The collision occurred while the planes were flying formation during a routine training mission. Eyewitnesses saw one man bail out and apparently maneuver his parachute. However, his body was found some hours later in a wooded area some distance from the wreckage of the two planes. Testimony from investigators stated that the planes were "dogfighting" with two F-100 jets, both of which pulled out before the A-1E, 52-132644, piloted by Doyle (the wingman) crashed into the cockpit of the A-1G, 52-132535, piloted by Jines.[268][269]
  • 24 June 1965 – While flying mock air combat with his wingman in an F-5A Freedom Fighter under the "Sparrow Hawk" program, Capt. Jerry A. Shockley flies into the ground. USAF Accident/Incident Report 65-6-24-2, dated 19 July 1965, attributes crash to "operator error". "Sparrow Hawk" was the preliminary evaluation of the F-5A prior to its deployment to South Vietnam under the combat evaluation known as "Skoshi Tiger". Capt. Shockley had flown Slot with the 1964 Thunderbirds air demonstration team.[270]
  • 20 November 1965 – A Nike missile went out of control and landed in a wooded area off U.S. 98. This rocket was launched at 0730 hrs. from the aerospace launch facility at Santa Rosa Island. It was one of a series and programmed to fly over the gulf to measure changes in the atmosphere. But a malfunction forced it to go out of control and to land one mile east of Hurlburt Field. A 17-foot section of this rocket plunged to the ground about 100 yards from the home of retired Vice Adm. L.A. Moebus.[271]
  • 17 January 1966 – Two crew of an F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief, 62-4412, c/n F1, the first F-105F, of a test squadron based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, escape injury when the engine of the fighter-bomber in which they are engaged in a photo-chase mission catches fire while on high final, forcing them to eject. The airframe impacts in East Bay, 5 miles N of Tyndall AFB, Florida at 1008 hrs. Pilot Capt. James D. Clendenen and photographer S/Sgt. Jack G. Cain are recovered from the water by a Tyndall base helicopter.[227][272]
  • 17 January 1966 – A Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star on a night mission crashes and burns in a wooded area 11 miles NW of Eglin AFB, killing both crew. According to the base information officer, the wreckage was located in a densely wooded area which made the approach of rescue vehicles difficult. KWF were Capt. Robert D. Freeman, 30, of Lindsey, Oklahoma, and 2nd Lt. Roger A. Carr, 26, of Ames, Iowa. Both were residents of Fort Walton Beach, Florida and were assigned to the Air Proving Ground Center. Capt. Freeman is survived by his widow, Faith, and three children, Donna, 7, Robert L., 5, and Alison C., 18 months; and his parents Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Freeman, of Lindsey. Lt. Carr is survived by his widow, Karen, and a five-month-old son, Craig; and by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert W. Carr, of Ames.[273]
  • 25 February 1966 – Two crew are KWF in F-4C-23-MC Phantom II, 64-0808,[274] of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 33d Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, when the fighter goes down in the Gulf of Mexico 58 miles SSE of the base at 0759 hrs. The body of 1st Lt. Robert M. Gibbs, 27, of York, Pennsylvania, is recovered several hours after the crash. He is survived by his wife Aleda, of Eldridge Road, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.[275] Funeral services are held for Gibbs on 1 March 1966 at York, Pennsylvania, with interment at Gettysburg National Cemetery. The U.S. Coast Guard officially abandons the search for the body of Capt. Stanley R. Pyne, 35, of Bromigs, Oregon, on Saturday night, 26 February, officially listed as killed. He leaves his widow, Valerie, a native of Great Britain, a daughter, Colleen, 4, and a son, David, three weeks old, of 29B Boatner Drive, Eglin AFB. Memorial services are held for Capt. Pyne at Chapel 3, Eglin AFB, on Monday, 28 February.[276]
  • 5 April 1966 – A Hurlburt Field-based T-28 Trojan makes a forced landing, but suffers little damage and the two crew are unhurt.[277]
  • 6 April 1966 – Two Hurlburt Field pilots are killed shortly before 1200 hrs. when their T-28 Trojan fails to pull out of a dive during a routine dive-bombing and gunnery-training mission on Range 77, about eight miles from the field. The wreckage is located in such a remotely wooded area that it takes more than an hour before news of the accident can be released that it had taken place. KWF are pilot Capt. Dennis L. Anderson, 30, of Guernsey, Wyoming from the 3646th Pilot Training Wing, and co-pilot Capt. Hubert L. "Buddy" Blake, 28, of Garland, Texas from 3651st Pilot Training Squadron. Both were TDY to the 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing.[278] Cause of the crash is investigated, and in the meantime, all Tactical Air Warfare Center T-28s are grounded as a precautionary measure.[277] The official cause of the crash was metal fatigue. Capt. Blake was a member of the Air Force ROTC 845th Group Staff at Texas Christian University and earned the B.A. in history in 1960.[279]
  • 29 April 1966 – Republic F-105D-10-RE Thunderchief, 60-0457, of the 3214th OMS, Eglin AFB, piloted by Capt. John S. Hardy, suffers flameout during training mission, touches down 287 feet short of the runway at an auxiliary field (which one?), hard on the tail and main gear. The aircraft bounced, nose gear sheared, and the plane stopped 4000 feet down Runway 36. Pilot evacuated unhurt.[227]
  • 3 October 1966 - McDonnell F-4D-26-MC Phantom II, 65-0606, c/n 1539,[280] of the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing, crashes on take-off from Eglin AFB, Florida.[281]
  • 14 October 1966 – Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief, 62-4421, c/n F10, of the 3214th OMS, Eglin AFB, piloted by Maj. Kenneth H. Coffee, enters uncontrollable roll, pilot ejects successfully at 2000 feet and is rescued, aircraft crashes 17 miles S of Tyndall AFB, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. Rear seat of fighter-bomber was unoccupied.[227]
  • 25 November 1966 – A Hurlburt Field pilot, First Lieutenant James O. Barbre, 24, of Carol City, Florida, died when his Cessna O-1E Bird Dog forward air controller liaison aircraft of the 4410th Combat Crew Training Squadron out of Holley Field collided with a Douglas A-1E Skyraider fighter-bomber of the 4409th Combat Crew Training Squadron out of Hurlburt Field and crashed on Eglin's Range 77. The two aircraft were engaged in a routine Southeast Asia ordnance training mission. The A-1E was only slightly damaged and landed safely at Hurlburt 14 minutes after the collision.[282]
4751st ADMS
  • 5 January 1967 – Martin TGM-13 Mace, launched from Site A-15, Santa Rosa Island, Hurlburt Field, Florida, by the 4751st Air Defense Missile Squadron at ~1021 hrs., fails to circle over Gulf of Mexico for test mission with two Eglin AFB F-4s, but heads south for Cuba. Third F-4 overtakes it, fires two test AAMs with limited success, then damages unarmed drone with cannon fire. Mace overflies western tip of Cuba before crashing in Caribbean 100 miles south of the island. International incident narrowly avoided. To forestall the possibility, the United States State Department asks the Swiss Ambassador in Havana to explain the circumstances of the wayward drone to the Cuban government.[283] The Mace had been equipped with an "improved guidance system known as 'ASTRAN' which is considered unjammable."[284] (This was apparently a typo for ATRAN – Automatic Terrain Recognition And Navigation terrain-matching radar navigation.)
  • 19 January 1967 - A 23:22 GMT launch of a Nike Iroquois missile on aeronomy test AF07.656, conducted by the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories, fails when the vehicle only achieves an apogee of 12 miles (20 km). A second Nike Iroquois, launched at the same time on aeronomy release mission AF07.655, succeeds, achieving an apogee of 66 miles (107 km).[285]
  • 21 April 1967 - McDonnell F-4D-27-MC Phantom II, 65-0664, (c/n 1682), of the 4th TFS, 33d TFW, crashes near Crestview on the Eglin AFB reservation, supposedly after collision with F-4D-29-MC Phantom II, reported as 65-0777,[281] c/n 1849; however, 65-0777 is also listed as preserved at American Legion Post 521, Pasadena, Texas.[280] Pilot Capt. L. A. Showalter ejected from 0566 and his GIB, 1st Lt. Stephen D. Gulbrandson, experienced his first ejection while the aircraft was at 500 feet altitude and almost inverted.[286] The Project Get Out and Walk ejection website makes no mention of 65-0777 or any other second aircraft involved in this accident, so the fact that 0777 still exists strongly suggests that this was a one-airframe event and not a mid-air.
  • 26 September 1967 - Douglas A-1E Skyraider, 52-133923, of Tactical Air Command, crashes near Hurlburt Field during a training flight, Lt. Col. Albert C. Hamby and Maj. William N. Kuykendall KWF.[287]
  • 14 November 1967 – A Hurlburt Field-based C-123 Provider crashes at Crestview, Florida, killing one crew, all others injured.
  • 23 January 1968 – QF‑104A-5-LO Starfighter, 56‑0744, c/n 183-1032, on a manned drone flight crashes on the Eglin range after DT-33A director aircraft loses control, pilot on F‑104 takes over, but engine catches fire and control is lost, pilot ejecting safely.[288]
Tail section of Fairchild C-123K, 55-4518, which crashed 25 January 1968, still extant in 2012.
  • 25 January 1968 – A Hurlburt Field-based C-123K Provider, 55-4518, c/n 20179, of the 4408th Combat Crew Training Squadron, 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing,[289] crashes on approach to Duke Field, the airframe coming down on the Eglin reservation ~1/2 mile from the runway threshold. All 4 on board are killed.[290] The wreckage is abandoned in situ. The battered wings, tail section, and other small debris still there in 2016.
  • 2 February 1968 – F‑4E-32-MC Phantom II, 66‑0311, of the 40th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, crashes into the Gulf of Mexico 20 miles offshore near Eglin AFB, both crew safely ejecting.[288]
  • 19 March 1968 – Two Eglin men were killed when their F-4 Phantom II fighter bomber crashed and burned over Test Area 52. The men were identified as Maj. Charles M. Dray, 36, the aircraft commander from Tampa, and First Lieutenant Charles V. Townsend, Jr., 27, of Guthrie, Oklahoma, the pilot. The plane was on a routine training mission at the time of the accident about 25 miles northeast of Eglin. The cause of the crash was unknown and was under investigation. Both officers lived on Eglin Air Force Base. Maj. Dray was survived by his wife, Helen H. and Lt. Townsend was survived by his parents.[291]
  • 16 April 1968 – A Hurlburt Field-based Fairchild C-123K Provider, 54-602, c/n 20051, call sign MOOSE 09, of the 4408th Combat Crew Training Squadron,[292] 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing,[289] crashes near Panama City, Florida, while on a training mission.[293] The aircraft departed Hurlburt at 0800 hrs. CST as lead of three C-123s for a practice SEA spray mission at a point 25 nm NW of Panama City, arriving there at 0835 hrs. After several simulated defoliation runs, the aircraft took up the number three position in a right echelon formation at 0850 hrs. for another pass. After the run a right 270 degree turn was ordered and while making it the number three aircraft struck the ground left wing-low, and cartwheeled, caught fire and was destroyed. Maj. Joseph M. Chalk, Jr., 34, student pilots Lt. Col. Thad M. Neal, 44, and Maj. George M. Greglein, 33, and flight engineer Sgt. Richard Best, 20 The instructor pilot, Maj. Joseph M. Chalk, Jr., 34, two student pilots, Lt. Col. Thaddeus "Thad" M. Neal, 44, and Maj. George M. Greglein, 33, and the flight engineer Sgt. Richard Best, 20,[292] all KWF.[294]
  • 31 May 1968 – JQF-104A Starfighter drone, 56-0733, 'QFG-733', (so modified and designated on November 29, 1961), of the 3205th Drone Squadron, suffers a severe class A landing accident at Eglin AFB, Florida. Repaired. This airframe preserved at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum (HAMM) in Tyler near Arlington, Texas by April 2005.[295]
  • 24 January 1969 – An EC-121R Batcat, 67-21476, call sign Homey 92, of the 553d Reconnaissance Wing, Otis AFB, Massachusetts, departs Duke Field, Florida, at 0730 hrs EST. on a local range mission, lands at Eglin AFB for equipment offload, then proceeds to Otis AFB for termination of flight. Makes three approaches due to poor weather conditions, and on third attempt at 1814 hrs. EST, contacts the ground 4,060 feet from Precision Approach Radar touchdown point. Airframe enters area covered with small pine trees, left main gear and nose gear collapse during roll-out over unimproved terrain, coming to a stop after travelling 2,560 feet, 1,810 feet from NW approach end of runway 14. Crew of 12 makes orderly evacuation from plane, which does not burn, remaining largely intact. One crewman breaks a leg while evacuating the rear of the fuselage. Aircraft commander was Maj. David F. Collett.[296][297]
  • 2 September 1969 - Five airmen are killed when their Bell UH-1P Huey crashes[298][299] in a marshy ravine two miles west of Highway 87 near the Yellow River, near Milton, Florida. The helicopter was on a routine training mission from Eglin when it apparently struck a 110,000-volt transmission line 65 feet above ground.[300] "The victims, all members of the 4409th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, were Maj. Leonard F. Ciemniecki, 35, instructor-pilot, of Fort Walton Beach; Sgt. Eddie Hagerman, 40, Fort Walton Beach; Sgt. Gene Lally, 22, Hurlburt Field; Capt. Richard M. Ryan, 26, Portland, Ore., assigned to Eglin on temporary duty from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.; and Carl E. Troyer, airman, 20, of Plain City, OH."[301][302]
  • 8 October 1969 - Sikorsky HH-53C, 67-14996, of the 55th ARRSq at Eglin AFB goes out of control and crashes 36 miles SW of Eglin AFB during aerial refueling and crashes into the Gulf of Mexico, killing all on board.[303]
  • 13 November 1969 – T-39A-1-NA Sabreliner, 59-2871, c/n 265-4, crashed into waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay, 2.5 miles (4 km) while on approach to Eglin in foggy weather, no fatalities of two on board. The aircraft was fitted with radiological test equipment for Project "Have Doughnut".


  • 1 May 1970 – The crash of a Cessna O-2 Skymaster of the 547th Special Operations Training Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, out of Holley Field, an auxiliary field W of Hurlburt Field, Florida, kills two Air Force pilots when their aircraft on a forward air control mission crashes on Friday morning 20 miles NW of Hurlburt. "The pilots were identified as Maj. Billy R. Thompson, 37, assigned on temporary duty from the 64th Bomb Squadron at Little Rock AFB, Ark., and Capt. Noah A. Kennedy II, 26, assigned to the 547th Special Operations Training Squadron at Holly [sic] Field." Kennedy, the instructor pilot, is survived by his wife Katherine of 209 Lorraine Drive, Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Survivors of student pilot Thompson are his wife, Sarah, and three children. An investigation by a board of Air Force officials is being conducted to determine the cause of the crash.[304]
  • 17 June 1970 – A late Wednesday night crash of a Hurlburt Field-based Douglas A-1E Skyraider, 52-132641, of the 4407th Combat Crew Training Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, takes the lives of two Air Force officers TDY to Eglin while on a local training flight near Hurlburt. "According to Eglin officials, Lt. Col. James J. Mihalick, 39, of Luke AFB, Ariz., was killed in the accident, and Maj. Odell L. Riley, (O'Dell L. Riley, in one source[305]) 34, of Tyndall AFB, Panama City, died Thursday morning in the Eglin Hospital after being listed in very serious condition." Mihalick, of Dunlow, Pennsylvania, is survived by his wife Dorothy and four daughters, Frances, 15; Susan, 13; Loretta, 11; and Dorothy, 9, all of Wickliffe, Ohio. Riley is survived by his wife Beverly, and three children: Mark, Laura, 8, and Jamie, 4; and his parents Mr. and Mrs. Odell Riley, Sr., of Augusta, Georgia.[306]
  • 17 December 1970 - Douglas A-1H Skyraider, 52-134535, of the 4407th Combat Crew Training Squadron, 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing, crashes on take off from Hurlburt Field. Capt. Randy Jayne ejects and survives. Airframe repaired and eventually transferred to the Vietnamese Air Force.[307]
  • 10 May 1972 – A Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker, 72-1309, being tested under Credible Chase by the 4400th Special Operations Squadron (Provisional), crashed after an in-flight engine failure. The pilot was not hurt, but all AU-23As were grounded until 22 May, during the accident investigation.[308]
  • 18 June 1972 – General Dynamics F-111A, 67-0082, c/n A1-127, crashes near Eglin AFB shortly after takeoff. Lost control after an external fuel fire and explosion. Unsuccessful ejection, crew killed.[309]
  • 4 March 1974 – A USAF CIM-10 Bomarc missile of the 4751st ADMS, Hurlburt Field, Florida, explodes on Santa Rosa Island due to a malfunction shortly after launch from Site A-15, impacting on government property adjacent to the launch site. Eglin AFB authorities confirmed that there were no personnel injuries, and local law enforcement agencies had received no damage reports.[310]
  • 29 April 1974 – A USAF Martin MGM-13 Mace of the 4751st ADMS, crashed in a wooded area of Eglin AFB, Florida, approximately ~1.5 miles north of Auxiliary Field 4 after launch from Eglin Site A-10 on Santa Rosa Island about 1200 hrs. for a routine Air National Guard training mission. There were no injuries or property damage although a small brushfire was ignited, quickly extinguished.[311] The okay to launch the nine remaining Maces during June for air-to-air missile tests was given on 29 May 1974. "Officials noted that 154 mace [sic] target missiles had been fired prior to this failure, with none failing due to a similar problem."[312]
  • 27 January 1975 – An F-4 Phantom II of the 3246th Test Wing, Air Development and Test Center, makes a wheels-up landing at ~0600 hrs. at Eglin AFB. "Air Force officers are conducting an investigation into the incident, but have not determined as yet the extent of damages or the cause of the unconventional landing." The aircraft reportedly slid the length of the north-south runway on its underside and came to rest at the south end of the runway near King Hangar. The only damage reported was to the external tanks and flaps of the aircraft. The unidentified pilot was uninjured.[313]
  • 26 August 1975 – A-7D-12-CV Corsair II, 72-0172, of the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing, England AFB, Louisiana, crashes on a test range on the eastern area of the Eglin reservation at ~2240 hrs. during a night training mission. The aircraft, part of a three-ship flight, had departed England AFB at ~2015 hrs. for a ground attack simulation at Eglin. The A-7D went down while orbiting the range with the other two aircraft of the flight. Pilot Capt. William N. Clark, 33, of Little Rock, Arkansas is KWF. "The cause of the crash is unknown at this time but is being investigated by a board of qualified officers," Maj. Les Smith, Eglin Information officer, said. The three jets were slated to return to England AFB directly after completing the mission, Smith said. Capt. Clark is survived by his wife and three children who reside at England AFB.[314][315]
  • 23 December 1975 – Ling-Temco-Vought A-7D Corsair II, 67-14586, c/n D.005, while assigned to Eglin AFB, Florida's 3246th Test Wing, Air Development and Test Center for mission support, suffers engine failure on take-off from Tallahassee Municipal Airport, Florida and makes forced landing, coming down largely intact. Pilot ejects. Airframe is hauled back to Eglin AFB on a truck, where it is either scrapped or becomes a target hulk.
  • 27 October 1976 – General Dynamics F-111E-CF, 67-0116, c/n A1-161 / E-2, of the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development and Test Center, one of two assigned to the base, crashes at Eglin AFB, Florida, upon return from a test mission and burns. Crew, pilot Capt. Douglas A. Joyce, and Capt. Richard Mullane, deploy crew escape module safely and are uninjured.[316]
  • 25 April 1977 – An F-4 Phantom II crashes on an Eglin AFB Range. A 20th Special Operations Squadron UH-1N crew is diverted from a training mission over the Eglin Range to perform search and rescue duty for an F-4 crew. The Huey crew successfully located the downed crew and went in for the recovery as ordnance exploded from burning wreckage of the F-4 nearby. Staff Sergeant James T. Carter won the Cheney Award for his part in the rescue.[317]
  • 2 September 1977 – McDonnell Douglas F-4E-41-MC Phantom II, 68-0518,[318] c/n 3711, UKE 21, of the 33d TFW, operating out of Nellis AFB, Nevada, crashes in The Seeps, 11.5 miles NE of Rachel, Nevada, during Exercise "Red Flag 77-9". The aircraft was flying as lead of a flight of two for the Blue Forces. The aircraft impacted the ground in a 25 degree nose down angle at 310 KIAS as the aircrew attempted to negate a stern gun attack by Hawk 42, an F-15 aggressor. The pilot, Captain David W. Sanden, and weapons systems officer, 1st Lieutenant James I. Lewis III, were killed.[319]
  • 13 August 1979 – A Sikorsky CH-3E of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, is forced to make an emergency landing in the Choctawhatchee Bay near Eglin AFB after an engine failure and fire. The aircraft is recovered safely and towed back to Eglin for repairs. The tow operation takes six hours.[317]


  • 29 October 1980 – A USAF YMC-130H, 74-1683, c/n 4658, outfitted with experimental JATO rockets for Operation Credible Sport, a planned second attempt to rescue American hostages held by Iran, is destroyed when the rockets misfire during a test landing at Wagner Field, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA. All crew members survive, but the rescue operation is deemed excessively risky and is cancelled.
  • 15 April 1981 – An Air Force pilot mistakenly shoots down an F-4E-54-MC Phantom II, 72-1486, c/n 4445,[320] of the 526th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, TDY from Ramstein Air Base, West Germany on WSEP training, during a training mission over the Gulf of Mexico with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. The two-man crew, Capt. M. R. "Ruddy" Dixon and Captain Charles G. Sallee,[321] ejected from the burning F-4 and was rescued quickly. The jets were about 40 minutes into their flight. The Air Force blamed the mishap on inadequate briefing, a failure on behalf of the crews to follow procedures and the fact that the F-4 and the target plane looked similar.[322]
  • 2 November 1981 – F-15A-14-MC Eagle. 75-0051, c/n 0152/A131, of the 59th TFS, 33d TFW, based at Eglin AFB, crashes near Panama City, Florida, after mid-air collision with F-15A-16-MC Eagle, 76-0048, c/n 0231/A200, during night refuelling. Pilot killed. Second F-15 lands okay.[323] An accident investigation report indicated that one jet slammed into the bottom of the other at an altitude of 20,000 feet. Maj. John Clifton Booker Jr., of the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing, was thought to have been killed instantly. The cockpit area of his F-15 took the brunt of the crash. His body was never found. A horizontal stabilizer and fuel-soaked insulation thought to have come from Booker's plane were the only wreckage recovered.[322]
  • 11 March 1982 – A-10A Thunderbolt II, 73-1668, c/n A10-0005, of the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development and Test Center, crashes on an Eglin range this date.[324]
  • 23 March 1982 – An Eglin Air Force Base F-16B Block 5 Fighting Falcon, 78-0112, of the 4485th Test Squadron,[325] crashed into a green at Rocky Bayou Country Club, near Niceville, Florida. The pilot had just finished a test bombing run over Eglin's Range 52 and lost power in the engine. The pilot was able to get the aircraft to an altitude of about 3,000 feet and a speed of between 285 mph and 345 mph before the engine gave out. The pilot, and a weapons officer decided to eject, expecting the F-16 to continue north and crash into a wooded area of the Eglin reservation. According to officer in charge of Eglin's safety office, the dual ejection caused the plane to roll to the right and slam into the golf course's sixth green, narrowly missing several homes. The two airmen landed on the 18th green and didn't suffer any major injuries. Air Force investigators were able to later watch the entire crash because a chase plane that had been photographing the test mission caught the crash on film. When F-16 experts recreated the accident they discovered a sequence of control switch moves that would restart an F-16 engine. The procedures were added to F-16 instruction manuals.[326]
  • 13 July 1982 – One of two F-15C Eagles from Eglin's 33d Tactical Fighter Wing crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 90 miles south of Eglin. Midway through the first of three planned dogfights, the two jets appeared in danger of colliding. One pilot attempted an evasive maneuver called a "quarter plane," designed to keep a pilot from closing in on another too quickly. He pulled the throttles to idle and deployed the speed brake, and it was at that time he went into a spin from which he was unable to recover. The flight leader called for the pilot to eject, which he did at about 3500 feet. He was taken from the water by rescuers about an hour later.[327]
  • 4 February 1983 – F-15A-16-MC Eagle. 76-0081, c/n 0271/A233, of the 59th TFS, 33d TFW, based at Eglin AFB, goes into an unrecoverable roll ("autoroll"); crashes into the Gulf of Mexico near Tyndall AFB, Florida, pilot ejects safely.[328]
  • 9 January 1984 – A Bell UH-1N-BF, 69-6644, c/n 31050, of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, crashes during a deployment to the Bahamas on an Operation Bahamas and Turks (Operation BAT) drug interdiction mission, killing three of the four crewmen aboard. Aircraft suffered a two engine failure and crashed at sea off of Nassau, Bahamas.[329] Dead were Capt. Dyke H. Whitbeck, 1st Lt. Thomas L. Hamby, and S/Sgt. Edgardo L. Acha. Staff Sergeant Paul B. Cartter was seriously injured.[317] Whitbeck Street, Hamby Place, and Acha Drive at Hurlburt Field were named for these personnel.[330] Wreckage of this Huey was detected on the sea bottom during the search for wreckage of the space shuttle Challenger.[331]
  • 16 December 1985 – F-15D-37-MC Eagle, 84-0042, c/n 0909/D050, of the 3246th Test Wing, Armament Development and Test Center, Eglin AFB, crashes in the Gulf of Mexico, 53 miles SE of Eglin.[328]
  • 12 February 1986 – A USAF F-16A Block 5 Fighting Falcon, 78-0055, c/n 61-51, flown by a pilot of the 3247th Test Squadron, 3246th Test Wing, disappears from Eglin Air Force Base's radar tracking screens at 1230 hrs., crashing in the Gulf of Mexico ~30 miles S of Okaloosa Island. The body of the pilot, Capt. Lawrence E. Lee, 31, of Kokomo, Indiana, is retrieved from the water by two rescue jumpers from a UH-60 Blackhawk at 1350 hrs., said Eglin public affairs officer Lt. Col. Bill Campbell. A parachute is found floating nearby. The pilot is thought to have drowned after ejecting from the fighter. "There were no radio transmissions ... nothing to indicate there were any problems," said Campbell. "We found no wreckage, so we can't be sure at this time what caused the crash. I don't know if we'll ever know for sure." Hypothermia may have been a factor in the pilot's death. The Gulf's water temperature averaged between 55 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday. Lee was performing what was to have been the aircraft's last test flight before it was returned to the Tactical Air Command. The F-16 had been modified for use in weapons tests by Eglin's Armament Division, then restored to its original condition. Campbell stated that he expects the Air Force will try to recover the wreckage to examine it for clues into the accident, although he acknowledged that such a crash "doesn't always leave much evidence." Lee is survived by his wife, Maj. Terri Lee, assigned to Eglin's 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing.[332]
  • 14 January 1987 – A Learjet C-21A, 84-0121, c/n 35-567,[333] from Detachment 4 of Eglin Air Force Base's 1402d Military Airlift Squadron crashed in a field 1.75 miles east of Montgomery, Alabama's, Dannelly Field where it had been conducting touch-and-goes on an airport runway. The men killed in the crash were identified as Maj. Charles Edward Sullivan III, 42, of Alexandria, Virginia, and 2nd Lt. Vincent Lowell Michael, 23, of San Antonio, Texas. The lone survivor, 2nd. Lt. William Edward Kelley, 26, was pulled from the wreckage by a passer-by. The twin-engine jet, which had flown to Maxwell Air Force Base near Montgomery to pick up parts and was on its way back to Eglin when it crashed.[334]
  • 14 July 1987 – An F-4E Phantom II assigned to Eglin Air Force Base's Tactical Air Warfare Center (TAWC) crashed into the Gulf of Mexico ~five miles S of Destin, Florida, about 1900 hrs. during a routine training mission. An exhaustive search of the area failed to turn up anything but bits of debris. The jet, accompanied by a second F-4 from Eglin, had been on its way home from Moody Air Force Base near Valdosta, Georgia. The second aircraft landed safely.[335] A spokesperson for Eglin's Tactical Air Warfare Center announced that the Coast Guard had actively suspended the search pending further developments on 16 July. Crewmembers were Maj. Thomas A. Perrot, 37, a pilot from Evergreen Park, Illinois, and Capt. Steven J. Puls, 30, a weapons systems operator from Willow Brook, Illinois.[336]
  • 20 February 1989 – Lockheed C-141B Starlifter, 66-0150, c/n 300-6176, of the 63d Military Airlift Wing, Norton Air Force Base, California, crashes in stormy weather four miles N of Hurlburt Field, Florida while trying to land, killing seven crew and one military retiree.[337][338]
  • 6 July 1989 – One of two F-15 Eagles of the 33d TFW, Eglin AFB, Florida, engaged in 2V2 (two versus two) aerial combat maneuvers with two F-16 Fighting Falcons of the Alabama Air National Guard, crashes at 1456 hrs. near Lamison, Alabama, a small community ~80 miles SW of Montgomery, the pilot, Capt. Leo Moore of the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron, ejecting safely. Moore, unhurt, is rescued less than an hour later, said Sandy Mau, a Selma Times-Journal reporter, by an Air National Guard helicopter vectored to him from Dannelly Field by the F-16 pilots who were flying close enough to Moore to pinpoint his location, said S/Sgt. Dave Beaulieu, 33d TFW spokesman. Tim Henderson, of nearby Millers Ferry, said that he saw Moore's jet flying low across his pasture minutes before the crash. "It was flying maybe a little over the treetops, very low," Henderson said. "He wasn't flying very fast to be flying so low, and it kind of sounded like the engine was cutting out." The fighter impacted on a ridge in a rural, virtually inaccessible area and Air Force investigators were having difficulty reaching the site, said Mau. The F-15C-40-MC, 85-0109, c/n 0963/C351, was completely destroyed. "It just burned up," said Beaulieu. The two F-15s had departed from Eglin at ~1410 hrs. to rendezvous with the F-16s. Moore's fighter was carrying an inert infrared-guided Sidewinder, Beaulieu said. He didn't know how much training the airmen got in before the crash, which occurred ~120 miles NE of Eglin. The pilot underwent a medical check at Eglin regional Hospital and then was sent home, said Beaulieu. "He's fine. He's pretty shaken up, but doing well."[339][340]
  • 19 Oct 1989 – A twin-engine Cessna 414A Chancellor, N5820H, c/n 414-0642, owned by the Eglin Aero Club, crashed at 1017 hrs [341] about a mile north of a runway at Kelly Air Force Base, near San Antonio, Texas. Six people were returning to Eglin following an awards banquet at Kelly. The crash occurred about four minutes after the aircraft left the runway. It crashed in a vacant lot between two homes in a densely populated neighborhood.[342] Without drawing any conclusions, a National Transportation Safety Board report pointed to engine problems: The right engine was found to have an 8-inch crack in an exhaust system weld, a steel-braided oil supply line linked to a propeller mechanism was worn from chafing and had been improperly installed and another hose, which was properly installed, was also worn from chafing. Both engines had been rebuilt in April 1985.[343]
  • 28 December 1989 – F-15C-41-MC Eagle. 86-0153, c/n 1000/C381 , of the 59th TFS, 33d TFW, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, crashed in the Gulf of Mexico, 40 miles SE of Apalachicola, Florida, pilot killed.[344] The pilot was identified as Capt. Bartle M. Jackson, 31, Towson, Maryland. At the time of the crash, Jackson and three other pilots – a second F-15 pilot from Eglin and two F-16 pilots from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, were taking part in a training mission the Air Force calls a 2v2 which pits two F-15s against two F-16s in a mock dogfight. Accident investigation and forensic evaluation determined the Capt. Jackson was unconscious when his F-15 struck the water. Other pilots in the area had not seen a parachute.[345]


  • 6 July 1990 – A Convair QF-106A Delta Dart drone aircraft, modified from a former ADC interceptor under the Pacer Six programme, crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. A civilian pilot was in control of the aircraft when it went down at 0940 hrs., about 12 miles west of Tyndall Air Force Base. The drone was still "man-rated," it had not been stripped of its on-board controls, ejection seat or life-support system. The drone, flown out of Tyndall, was being tested by Weststar Corp. of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of a development contract let by the Munitions Systems Division at Eglin Air Force Base. An Eglin spokesman said that the pilot was in control of the aircraft and had deliberately flown back over the Gulf after he ran into trouble making a planned landing at Tyndall. The pilot was rescued by the crew of a local fishing boat.[346] A report released by the Air Force Inspection and Safety Center at Norton Air Force Base, California, found no fault with the pilot, a retired Air Force major. Salvage crews recovered pieces of the plane's landing gear from 90 feet of water. Investigators and metallurgists determined that a cylinder had failed, causing a critical strut to break and bottom out. The pilot was helping train ground controllers to pilot drones by remote control. The controllers, in a van on the ground, were maneuvering the drone into touch-and-go landings on a Tyndall runway. After one such landing, which appeared normal, the report said that the drone's main landing gear crumpled.[347]
  • 28 May 1991 – An MH-60G Pave Hawk based at Eglin AFB, Florida, crashes on a reef in about three feet of water off Antigua in the Caribbean, injuring six of eight aboard, but no fatalities. (Another account states that all eight sustained injuries.[348][349]) Although initially reported to have been on a training mission, an accident report obtained by the Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, in August, revealed that the crew was sightseeing, taking pictures over beachside hotels and harbors, when the accident occurred.[350]
  • 27 June 1991 – Air Force officials reported in January 1992 that the maintenance interval for Bell UH-1N Huey drive shaft couplings has been reduced to 100 hours from the customary 600-hour period between overhauls. After a Huey made an emergency landing at Eglin Air Force Base on 27 June 1991, the interval dropped to every 20 hours, but officials eased that requirement to 100 hours in August, claiming that the problems were under control.[351][352]
  • 31 August 1991 – A Tomahawk missile launched from a warship in the Gulf of Mexico to recover on a target on the test ranges at Eglin AFB, Florida, misses by ~100 miles, coming down eight miles E of Jackson, Alabama, ~60 miles N of Mobile. "Within minutes of the missile's falling near Jackson, a recovery team arrived by helicopter. Such teams are stationed along the missile's flight path during a test so they can get to a crash scene within 20 minutes no matter where the Tomahawk goes down."[353][354] Cause was found to be two incorrect screws used to assemble a tailfin, said Denny Kline, a Pentagon spokesman for the Navy Cruise Missile Project, on 13 December 1991. A screw, rubbing against an actuator coil disabled one of the missile's two fins. "Somebody during assembly put two screws in, which were moderately too long. Well, in fact, in this case extremely too long because it physically made contact with a coil. It was fine for the first one hour and 21 minutes, but over time it wore away the protective coating and got down to the wound part of the coil and shorted it out," said Kline. As a result, one fin worked properly but the other did not when the missile was to make a pre-planned turn causing it to crash in Alabama. The wrong screws were put in by General Dynamics Corp., said Susan Boyd, Pentagon spokeswoman for the missile program. Four Tomahawks have landed in civilian areas since the Navy began the gulf tests in 1985. There have been no injuries.[355][356]
  • 13 July 1992 – F-15C-40-MC Eagle. 85-0116, c/n 0972/C358, of the 60th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Wing, based at Eglin AFB, crashes at 0900 hrs. in the Gulf of Mexico, 90 miles S of Eglin, after entering a flat spin.[344] Capt. Darren S. Ruhnau, 27, of Niceville, Florida, assigned to the 60th Fighter Squadron, ejects safely. He and another F-15, piloted by Capt. Patrick O. Moylan, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, had departed Eglin at 0835 hrs. for a training mission. "I'm just glad the ACES II ejection system worked as advertised," Ruhnau said in a statement, "and that the search-and-rescue guys were there to do the job." "He was picked up by an oil freighter," said Capt. Susan Brown, a spokeswoman for the 33rd, but the helicopter crew "couldn't get him off there. So they transferred him to a Coast Guard cutter, but they couldn't get him off there either. He was in such good shape, they dropped him back in the water, and picked him up from there." A U.S. Navy helicopter of HC-16 from the USS Forrestal, which is based in Pensacola, plucked him from the Gulf at ~1000 hrs. and transported him to Eglin Regional Hospital where he was checked out and released at ~1330 hrs. Ruhnau has been flying F-15s since May 1989 and assigned at Eglin since September of that year. In an unrelated incident, another 33d Fighter Wing F-15 makes a rough landing, overshoots the runway at Eglin and comes to a stop in the grass. The pilot, assigned to the 59th Fighter Squadron, does not eject and is uninjured, the fighter sustains less than $10,000 damage, said Brown.[357] The USS Edenton, a Navy salvage ship, arrived at the crash site on 30 July and began working 12-hour days searching for the wreckage of the F-15. A remote-control submarine was used because the wreckage was located at a depth of 1,400 feet. Yards of electronic wiring, battered electronic devices, pieces of carbon fiber from the fuselage and the ejection seat were located.[358]
  • 13 July 1992 – At 0950 hrs. as an unidentified pilot from Eglin Air Force Base's 33d Fighter Wing brought his F-15 in for a landing at Eglin, the jet went off the runway into the grass, causing less than $10,000 worth of damage. The incident was described as "very minor" and the pilot did not have to eject from the cockpit.[359]
  • 20 July 1992 – An MV-22 Osprey prototype, BuNo 163914, c/n D0004, arriving from Eglin AFB, Florida, catches fire and falls into the Potomac River at MCAS Quantico, Virginia, USA, killing 5 crew members in front of an audience of high-ranking US government officials; this is the first of a series of fatal accidents involving the controversial tiltrotor aircraft. This airframe had just completed four months of tests in the McKinley Climatic Laboratory. A U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry (COI) concluded that the aircraft "experienced multiple emergencies upon entering the downwind" and that "the primary cause of the mishap was a flammable [sic] fluid leak which was ingested by the right engine." The report also said "There was tremendous pressure on [the pilot] to get the aircraft to Quantico at the proper time on Monday 20 July. The pressure was evident on Sunday afternoon in his mannerisms [to a coworker]. The scheduling of personnel also lent credence to the perceived pressure, since most Boeing personnel were scheduled to depart on the weekend with wives and families. In addition, there were banners at Marine Corps Headquarters announcing the arrival of the Osprey at Quantico at 1430 local time on 20 July." The aircraft left Eglin at 0955 and crashed at 1242. Minutes prior to launch from Eglin, one of the flight test mechanics said that the V-22 seemed "to be pushing a lot of hydraulic fluid out of the Number Two side." Auxiliary Power Unit problems were also encountered on launch. A planned fuel stop at Charlotte, North Carolina, was also dropped by the pilot in his attempt to achieve Quantico on schedule.[360]
  • 29 October 1992 – An MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to Eglin's 55th Special Operations Squadron, carrying a crew of three and 10 passengers, crashed in the Great Salt Lake in Utah, killing 12 of the 13 people on board. The helicopter, a participant in a joint Army-Air Force training exercise, was flying to a test range in the desert near Hill Air Force Base, Utah, when the accident occurred. It went down at 9:15 p.m. MST, slamming into the lake about 100 yards east of Antelope Island. Sources said the helicopter broke into pieces and submerged on impact. Rescuers were hampered by the weather and the remoteness. There was one survivor.[361] * 18 June 1996 – General Dynamics F-111A, 66-0047, converted to EF-111A Raven (EF-15). Used as testbed for System Improvement Program at Eglin AFB. Involved in some sort of accident this date with the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, written off and used as maintenance trainer and for aircraft battle damage repair training. Sat derelict at Cannon AFB, New Mexico in bad shape. Was sitting in a lot near the Mojave, California airport. In 2011 was at Silver Springs, Nevada airport, according to Joe Baugher.[362]
  • 10 January 1997 – F-15C-39-MC Eagle. 85-0099, c/n 0952/C341, of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Wing, based at Eglin AFB, catches fire on take-off roll from Eglin. The pilot egressed safely on the ground. Aircraft completely destroyed by fire.[363] This aircraft credited with MiG-25 kill by AIM-7M on 19 January 1991 during Operation Desert Storm while flown by Capt. Lawrence E. Pitts.
  • 22 August 1997 – The crew of an Eglin Air Force Base F-16B Block 15L Fighting Falcon, 82-1037,[364] ejected over the Gulf of Mexico after their jet apparently failed about seven miles south of Destin, Florida. The airmen were rescued by the crew and passengers of Top Gun, a charter fishing boat out of Destin, who saw the crash. The airmen were members of the Eglin's Development Test Center's 39th Flight Test Squadron. The plane was returning to Eglin after flying as a chase plane in a mission with an Air Force F-15.[365] Divers located the jet in 70 feet of water a week following the accident. A barge carried the wreckage to a hangar at Eglin where investigators hoped to find clues as to what caused the crash.[366] Cause was failure of engine fourth stage at speeds past Mach.[364]
  • 28 January 1999 – F-15C-30-MC Eagle. 82-0020, c/n 834/C251, of the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53d Wing, piloted by Joe "Corn" Hruska, has mid-air collision at 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico with F-15C-37-MC Eagle. 84-0011, c/n 0920/C314, of the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53rd Wing, 80 miles S of Eglin over Eglin water range during a 2 versus 3 Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT). Both pilots eject, pilot of 82–0020 slightly injured. Pilots rescued after 45 minutes in the water by MH-53, call sign Cowboy 22, on instrument check-flight out of Hurlburt Field.[367]
  • 5 November 1999 – An Eglin AFB security policeman, Airman Raymone Sydnor, of the 96th Security Forces Squadron,[368] patrolling the flight line, drops his personal cell phone and while reaching down to retrieve it, drives his vehicle into an F-15C-28-MC Eagle, 80-0024, of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Wing, striking it from the rear and causing more than $62,000 in damage to the F-15's landing gear, according to an Air Force report released Wednesday. The report did not say how fast the car was going. The Chevrolet Lumina's roof and door had to be cut off to extract Sydnor, who suffered a concussion. He received an undisclosed punishment. As a result of the accident, the Air Force said, security personnel have been ordered to get out of their cars every half-hour for a 10-minute break "to combat boredom and oxygenate blood flow."[369] Aircraft was repaired and returned to service with the 65th Aggressor Squadron.[370]


  • 3 March 2001 – An Army National Guard Short C-23B+ Sherpa (Shorts 360), 93-1336, of the Florida Army National Guard's Det. 1 H/171st AVN, based at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, crashes during heavy rainstorm around 1100 hrs. in Unadilla, Georgia in the United States. All 21 on board are killed. Aircraft was en route from Hurlburt Field, Florida to NAS Oceana, Virginia with Virginia Beach-based Virginia Air National Guard RED HORSE detachment on board who had been training at Hurlburt Field.[371]
  • 30 April 2002 – An F-15C-27-MC Eagle, 80-0022, c/n 0665/C171,[370] of the 40th Flight Test Squadron, 46th Test Wing, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, crashes in the Gulf of Mexico ~60 miles S of Panama City, Florida, while on a captive flight development test of a new air-to-air missile, killing test pilot Maj. James A. Duricy, assigned to the 40th Test Squadron, 46th Test Wing. His body is never recovered. An Accident Investigation Board determines that the crash was caused by the structural failure of the honeycomb material supporting the leading edge of the port vertical stabilizer during a high-speed test dive. A section of the leading edge, approximately 6 × 3 feet, broke away.[372] "The doomed F-15C was flying at 24,000 feet when part of its tail broke off. Maj. James A. Duricy punched out at 900 mph and was killed. Investigators said the tail had corroded over the years. The fighter had gotten old."[373] A static display F-15 formerly assigned to the 46th Test Wing, was dedicated to Major Duricy at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee, on 9 August 2007.[374]
  • 8 March 2003 – A T-38A-75-NO Talon, 68-8141, of the 7th Combat Training Squadron, 49th Fighter Wing, out of Holloman AFB, New Mexico, crashed on final approach to runway 19 at Eglin AFB in Valparaiso, Florida. According to the Air Combat Command accident investigation report, the cause of the mishap was the pilot's failure to adequately monitor his airspeed during the final approach to landing. On final approach to Eglin AFB, the flight leader directed the wingman, the mishap pilot, to slow to final approach airspeed while he flew at a higher airspeed to obtain the required spacing between aircraft for landing. The mishap pilot then permitted his airspeed to decrease to the point that the aircraft stalled and struck several trees. Both engines failed from ingesting tree debris and the pilot chose to eject from the aircraft, sustaining minor injuries to a foot. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash. Two houses were also substantially damaged. There were no injuries to anyone on the ground.[375]
  • 1 May 2003 – A Boeing C-32B or Boeing 757-23A, wearing what may or may not have been a U.S. Air Force serial number,[376] 00-9001,[377] c/n 25494/611, and assigned to the 486th Flight Test Squadron, which is known to be an Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, unit,[378] suffers a landing accident at North Auxiliary Airfield, South Carolina, at ~0300 hrs.[379] when the nose gear collapses in a heavy landing. Thought to be operated by the United States State Department (a standard deflection for the Central Intelligence Agency and their Special Operations Group (SOG) / Special Activities Division (SAD) in support of Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) activities),[380] Air Force spokeswoman Major Linda Pepin said that there were no serious injuries, "There was a crew of 10 on board. Two sustained minor injuries and were treated and released." The nose gear on the plane collapsed and the plane's position on the ground is not parallel to the runway. Major Pepin stated that the incident will be investigated in days to come by an Air Force safety board, "In any case where there's an incident that involves aircraft safety to ensure that whatever happened in this incident we can avoid next time." Pepin said that they don't know how long the aircraft will stay on the runway, "It's really too early to know when it will get it up and moving."[381] North Auxiliary Airfield is used for C-17 Globemaster III training.
  • 22 May 2003 – The Executive Summary of the Aircraft Investigation Board gives this account of an incident involving Sikorsky MH-53M, 73-1648: "On 22 May 2003, at 1635 local time [1335 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)], an MH-53M helicopter, serial number (S/N) 73-1648, sustained damage to its main rotor system and associated dynamic components just prior to landing at an overseas operating location. The MH-53 helicopter was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron, 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida. The mishap aircraft (MA) was returning to its staging base after completing a classified mission. No personnel injuries or damage to private property resulted from the accident. The MA departed the deployed location at 0955 local time (0655 GMT) to conduct an operational mission. According to witness interviews, all phases of the mission were uneventful until final approach to the staging base. The MA was the second aircraft in a four-ship formation of U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps helicopters. At approximately 20 to 30 feet above ground level, with the aircraft commander at the controls, a loud bang was heard. Almost immediately, the crew felt a moderate lateral vibration in the aircraft and noticed that a cockpit Blade Pressure warning light was illuminated; telling the crew there was a problem with one or more main rotor blades. The crew landed the aircraft and reduced the power setting. The lower power setting eliminated much of the lateral vibration, and the crew determined it was safe to taxi the helicopter to their designated parking spot and shutdown [sic] the engines and rotors.Once of [sic] the aircraft was shutdown [sic], aircrew and maintenance personnel inspected the aircraft and found two damaged main rotor blades. After a more in-depth inspection of the aircraft, maintenance crews discovered that one set of main rotor head balance weights and the associated mounting bracket and bolts was missing. Maintenance personnel went to the landing area and found the missing weights, bracket and bolts. By clear and convincing evidence, the cause of this mishap was the failure of the mounting bracket bolts, which allowed the bracket and weights to break away from the aircraft and strike the main rotor system, resulting in damage to the aircraft."[382][383]
  • 7 September 2007 – A Sikorsky MH-53M Pave Low IV, 69-05794, callsign Cowboy 21, of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, crashes in the southeast portion of LZ X-ray, approximately 5 miles south of the town of Crestview, Florida, and approximately 4 miles west of Duke Field, Eglin Auxiliary Field 3, at 2349 hrs. when it suffers tail rotor gear box failure while in a hover.[384] The helicopter was practicing a rescue extraction near a landing zone, an oval shaped clearing roughly 180 feet X 212 feet, surrounded by trees more than 90 feet tall, and had just been brought into a hover at 150 feet and was beginning to lower the rescue apparatus when the aircrew felt a shudder. Aircraft commander Lt. Col. Eugene Becker realizes that the tail rotor gears are failing, takes control of the aircraft and prepares to land. Once out of hover, it takes about 45 seconds to return to the LZ, and due to the confined space, Becker drops the chopper vertically but the shuddering worsens. "We knew something was very, very wrong," stated Becker. "all of the gear boxes were surging up and down and making quite a bit of racket." When the MH-53 is 20 feet above the ground Becker pushes what is left of the rotor's power to the maximum in order to cushion the landing. As soon as the Pave Low hits the ground, the tail rotor fails and the chopper starts spinning and rolls to port, but the sponson fuel tanks keep it from rolling over. Of the seven crew, only two are injured: Col. William Nelson, a flight surgeon from the Air Force Special Operations Command Surgeon General's Office, receives a head injury but walks away from the accident; MH-53 aerial gunner A1C Bradley Jordan suffers a leg fracture. Both men are released from hospital the following day. Lt. Col. Becker is awarded the Koren Kolligian Jr. trophy, one of the Air Force's top safety awards, in July 2008. According to the award nomination, a landing any more forceful could have been fatal to the crew.[385] An accident investigation board determined the failure of the mounting nuts and studs that secured the intermediate gearbox to the tail pylon of the helicopter as the cause of the crash. The report, released 10 July 2008, said that the material failure of the nuts and studs allowed the intermediate gear box to become loose. The gears became loosely meshed, perhaps unengaged, as they pushed apart, and may have begun to slip in flight. This caused an abnormal oscillation in the speed of one or both engines, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing. The aircraft received approximately $8.6 million in damage. The accident investigation board was led by Col. Scott Greene, vice commander of the 623rd Air Operations Center at Hurlburt. The AIB is composed of helicopter systems experts, medial, legal and aircrew advisors.[386]
  • 20 February 2008 – Two F-15C Eagles of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33d Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Florida, collide over the Gulf of Mexico ~50 miles S of Tyndall AFB, Florida, killing 1st Lt. Ali Jivanjee. Capt. Tucker Hamilton ejected from the other fighter and survived. Airframes involved were F-15C-26-MC, 79-0075, c/n 0624/C144, and F-15C-32-MC, 81-0043, c/n 0793/C226. Both pilots ejected and one was rescued from the Gulf by the fishing boat Niña, owned by Bart Niquet of Lynn Haven, Florida, which was guided to the pilot by an HC-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile flown by instructor pilot Lt. Cdr. Travis Burns and Lt. Cdr. Coley. "Myself and Lieutenant Commander Coley were doing some training in the Gulf of Mexico when we heard on guard frequency that an F-15 had gone done. We were about 100 miles away so we headed towards the scene and made contact with another F-15 on the way. He joined on us and led us to the oil slick, that being the most expedient method to get to the crash site at the time. One of our observers was able to get a quick visual on a pilot below in the ocean and directed a fishing boat vessel nearby to pick up the survivor. We communicated with numerous assets during the event and it was a rewarding experience, being able to help save the Eagle pilot," stated Burns.[387] A 1st SOW AC-130H and an CV-22 Osprey were also diverted to the scene to help search as were five Coast Guard aircraft and two vessels. An HH-60J Jayhawk from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile lifted the pilot from the fishing boat and evacuated him to the Eglin Hospital. The second pilot was rescued from the Gulf by an HH-60J Jayhawk from CGAS Clearwater and also taken to the Eglin Hospital.[388] An accident investigation released 25 August 2008 found that the accident was the result of pilot error and not mechanical failure. Both pilots failed to clear their flight paths and anticipate their impending high-aspect, midair impact, according to Brig. Gen. Joseph Reynes, Jr., Air Combat Command's inspector general who led the investigation.[389] This was the first crash involving an Eglin F-15 since a fatal crash on 30 April 2002. The USNS Grasp, out of Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia, recovers one aircraft on 12 March from a depth of 177 feet, and the second on 22 March from a depth of 185 feet. More than half of each aircraft was salvaged including their engines, data collecting devices (flight recorders) and main computers. These items are vital to the Air Force's investigation to determine the cause of the crash.[390] This turns out to be the last fatal accident involving 33d FW Eagles before the unit converts to the F-35 Lightning II training mission.
  • 8 July 2008 – Three Airmen of the 319th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing, avoid serious injury when the leased Pilatus PC-12, 04-0602, N901TR,[391] they are training in crashes at the end of the runway at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Eglin Auxiliary Field 9, at ~2330 hrs. as they attempt a landing. The initial investigation finds that the turboprop encountered wake turbulence from another aircraft that had landed shortly before the accident. As a precaution, the three crew were taken to the Eglin hospital and released the same afternoon. Hurlburt leases the PC-12 to train Airmen for the UC-28A, the Air Force's version of the single-engine utility aircraft, used in combat for intra-theatre support for the special operations forces.[392] Damage to the plane was set at $3.8 million, making it a Class-A mishap. On board were civilian instructor pilot Robert M. Howard III, Capt. Peter McWilliam and Capt. Michael Ellis. As the plane approached Hurlburt’s runway at 2335 hrs. and about 100 feet high from the south, the aircraft suddenly rolled to the left. The single-engine, propeller-drive plane was beginning to turn upside down, when Howard stopped the roll. But before he could get the plane upright, the PC-12’s left wing struck the ground, sending the plane skidding 669 feet across a field before stopping on a paved overrun. The board concluded that Howard didn’t wait for the turbulence from the gunship to subside. As he tried to the land the PC-12, the 47-foot-long plane was caught by the AC-130U’s wake. Air Force rules require at least a two-minute separation between slow-moving heavy planes, like the AC-130U, and small, light planes, the investigation noted. The PC-12 trailed the gunship by about 40 seconds. The board also found that air traffic controllers had not issued any wake turbulence advisories even though Air Force rules required to them do so. The controllers told investigators they assumed that since both aircraft and crews were from Hurlburt, the crews were aware of potential turbulence dangers. The PC-12 that crashed had been used as a trainer and leased by the Sierra Nevada Corp., for the Air Force’s use. Versions of the PC-12 flown on operational missions are owned by the Air Force and designated as UC-28s.[393][394]
  • 9 February 2009 – A leased Pilatus UC-28A, 06–0692, with three personnel of the 319th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing on board, based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, makes a gear-up landing at Craig Field (Alabama) at Selma, Alabama (formerly Craig Air Force Base), whilst performing simulated engine failure approach, breaking off nosewheel and causing severe damage to nosewheel strut assembly, propeller and main undercarriage doors. A board of officers will investigate the 1415 hrs. incident in which there were no injuries.[395] This accident has been classified as a Class A accident, indicating that fairly substantial damage was incurred.[396] Aircraft repaired and reported flying again by 29 April 2009.[397]


  • 23 June 2011 – Two civilians are killed in the 0430 hrs. crash of a Beechcraft C24R Sierra, N38029, c/n MC-746, belonging to the Eglin Aero Club, on a grassy area next to the 46th Test Wing's side of the runway at Eglin Air Force Base. The four-seat cabin aircraft had been airborne for about 30 minutes prior to the accident, said Col. Michael T. Brewer, commander of the 46th Test Wing, during a press conference Thursday at the Aero Club. Passengers on the earliest flights at Northwest Florida Regional Airport experienced about a 15-minute delay Thursday morning because of the crash, said Bill Potter, the operations manager for the airport. The victims were identified as David A. Miles, of Shalimar and Thomas E. Lewis, of Apalachicola, according to a press release from Eglin Air Force Base. Exactly who was in control of the plane at the time of the crash remains under investigation, but Miles was acting as a pilot instructor for Lewis during the training exercises this morning, said Andy Bourland, the director of Eglin's public affairs division. Miles was a retired colonel in the Air Force.[398]
  • 18 February 2012 – A U-28A of the 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, returning to Camp Lemonnier after a surveillance and reconnaissance mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, crashes in Djibouti, Horn of Africa, six miles from Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport,[399][400] at ~2000 hrs local time, killing all four crew. They were identified as Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock, 29, of Newnan, Georgia; 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens, 26, of Bend, Oregon; and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten, 26, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Hall was with the 319th Special Operations Squadron. Whitlock and Wilkens were with the 34th Special Operations Squadron, and Scholten was a member of the 25th Intelligence Squadron. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available and a memorial service at Hurlburt, slated for late this week or early next week, was still in the planning stages, according to Staff Sgt. Ryan Whitney. No official cause for the accident had been released as of Tuesday, 21 February 2012, although Whitney and other sources at Hurlburt said it was not believed the plane had been brought down by enemy fire.[401][402]
  • 15 March 2012 – A civilian-owned Piel Emeraude homebuilt low-wing monoplane crashes on the eastern slope of a wooded ridge on the Eglin AFB reservation, N of Niceville, Florida, killing both occupants. Impact was about 100 yards W of where a section of the Mid-Bay Bridge Connector road is being built near the intersection of Forest Road and College Boulevard. The aircraft was attempting to land at the Ruckel Airport and came down ~one mile NE of the strip. The victims were tentatively identified as Donald Marco Jr., 59, of Sandlewood Circle in Niceville and Stanley Bloyer, 66, of Fort Walton Beach, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. There was no information on who was piloting the plane which was owned by Marco.[403][404]
  • 13 June 2012 – A Bell-Boeing CV-22B Osprey, 06-0032, c/n D1013,[405] of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, 1st Special Operations Wing crashes on the Eglin AFB reservation N of Navarre, Florida, during a routine training mission, injuring all five crew, stated M/Sgt. Kristina Newton, a spokeswoman for Hurlburt Field. Three of the airmen were flown to local hospitals and two were taken by ambulance. The extent of their injuries had not been released by 2200 hrs. A board of Air Force officials will investigate the accident, according to the public affairs office for the 1st SOW.[406] The cause off the crash has not been determined, although Air Force officials have said that there is no evidence yet to suggest that it was a mechanical failure. The commander of the 8th SOS was dismissed on 21 June 2012, with the Air Force leadership stating that they had lost confidence in the officer who had commanded the unit since May 2011.[407] On 30 August 2012, the results of the investigation board, convened by the AFSOC Commander, are released. "The Accident Investigation Board President found by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the mishap was the crew's failure to keep the aircraft clear of the lead aircraft's wake. This resulted in an 'uncommanded' roll to the left, rapid loss of altitude and impact with the terrain. The aircraft was destroyed upon impact with the loss valued at approximately $78 million."[408]
  • 23 June 2014 - A fire breaks out in the rear of USAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II, 10-5015, c/n AF-27, of the 58th Fighter Squadron, 'EG' tailcode,[409] while on the runway during take off at 0915 hrs. from Eglin AFB, Florida. The pilot is able to shut down the engine and exit the airframe without injury. A grounding order of the 26 Air Force F-35s based at Eglin until 25 June is extended indefinitely after an initial safety investigation turns up "additional evidence and information", stated Lt. Hope Cronin, spokeswoman for the 33d Fighter Wing. The order does not affect Marines and Navy versions of the F-35, and so far is limited to Eglin. The Air Force has not released the extent of the damage, but Cronin said that the fire was significant.[410] The fighter suffered a major engine failure that reportedly caused a 12 to 15 ft (3.7 to 4.6m) section to detach, starting the fire.[411] Fire was caused by excessive rubbing of fan blades inside the engine. Category 5 damage so it is a write off.[412]
  • 10 March 2015 - Seven Marines and four soldiers were missing early Wednesday, 11 March, after a Louisiana Army National Guard Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed during a night training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base. Base officials said the Marines are part of a Camp Lejeune-based special operations group and the soldiers were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit. The helicopter was reported missing around 2030 hrs, and went down near Range A-17, east of the Navarre Bridge[413] Tuesday and search and rescue crews found debris from the crash around 0200 Wednesday, Eglin spokesman Andy Bourland said. "At this time all are missing," Bourland said. Names of those involved were being withheld pending notification of next of kin, he said. Bourland said the Army helicopter took off from a nearby airport in Destin and joined other aircraft in the training exercise.[414] Bourland said that the second UH-60 on the training mission was not involved in the crash and all of its crew were accounted for.[415][416] The aircraft are assigned to the 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Hammond, Louisiana.[417] The aircraft apparently struck the surface of Santa Rosa Sound as wreckage and human remains have been recovered from both shores of the waterway. Heavy fog is impeding recovery operations.[418][419]
  • 21 April 2015 - A brand new Lockheed AC-130J Ghostrider, 09-5710,[420] is overstressed in an accidental inverted flight condition and recovery during a medium risk flying qualities test sortie over the Gulf of Mexico by the 413th Flight Test Squadron out of Eglin Main Base, rendering the airframe a right-off. An Accident Investigation Board report, released at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, 6 November 2015, states that the accident, which took place ~40 miles S of Eglin Main, resulted in no injuries. "The incident occurred while the crew from the 413 Flight Test Squadron at Eglin was performing steady heading sideslips at an altitude of approximately 15,000 feet. The aircraft exceeded the targeted angle of sideslip until it departed controlled flight and momentarily inverted before being recovered after losing approximately 5,000 feet of altitude. The aircraft returned to base and landed safely without further incident. As a result of the mishap, the aircraft was "over G'd," and exceeded its design limit load, thereby nullifying the airworthiness of the aircraft and rendering it a total loss. The damages are estimated at more than $115 million. The board president found the cause of the accident to be the AC-130J pilot's 'excessive rudder input during the test point followed by inadequate rudder input to initiate a timely recovery from high angle of sideslip due to overcontrolled/undercontrolled aircraft and wrong choice of action during an operation.' The board president also found four substantially contributing factors: instrumentation and warning system issues, spatial disorientation, confusion, and inadequate provision of procedural guidance or publications to the team."[421] The airframe had experienced a similar incident in February 2015.[420]


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  124. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "APGC's Johnson Hall Mystery Is Solved", Playground News, Thursday, 13 October 1960, Volume 15, Number "36" (actually No. 37), page 29.
  125. ^ "F4U Corsair USN Accident Reports". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  126. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Body of Marine Flier Located In Deep Water", Playground News, 14 October 1948.
  127. ^ "Naval Aviator Ceremony Scheduled at NAS Today", Jax Air News, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, 27 May 1948, Volume 6, Number 9, page 1.
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  129. ^ "Search - California". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
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  131. ^ Fort Walton, Florida, "Eglin Flier Killed In F-80 Crash", Playground News, Thursday, 10 March 1949, Volume 4, Number 6, page 1.
  132. ^ Marler, C. A., "Destinite Writes Of Plane Crash", Playground News, Fort Walton, Florida, Thursday 5 May 1949, Volume 4, Number 14, page 10.
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  141. ^ Special. "Exchange Officer Killed in Crash – Speedy F86 Jet Crashes at Eglin", Playground News, Fort Walton, Florida, Thursday 1 February 1951, Volume 6, Number 1, page 1.
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  145. ^ Horan, Robert D., "19 Area Airmen Killed as C-47 Crashes Near Kanawha Airport – Two Officers Hurt As Plane Hits Hill, Bursts Into Flame – Member of Former State Air Guard Unit Were Enroute Here to Attend Funeral of Maj. Sutherland; Second Craft Turned Back by Weather", Charleston Gazette, Charleston, West Virginia, 9 April 1951.
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  154. ^ Special, "Eglin Jet Plane Is Crash Landed, Pilot Is Injured", Playground News, Fort Walton, Florida, Thursday 15 January 1953, Volume 7, Number 50, page 8.
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  156. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Jet Plane Crash In Kansas Fatal For 2 Eglin Men", Playground News, Thursday 25 June 1953, Volume 8, Number 22, page 1.
  157. ^ Wadsworth, Lee, Manchester, Georgia, Testimony, USAF Accident Report, Lawson AFB, Georgia, October 1953
  158. ^ Special, "Two Eglin Airmen Killed In B-25 Crash", West Florida Daily Globe combined with The Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, Friday 2 October 1953, Volume 40, Number 163, page 1.
  159. ^ USAF Accident Report, Lawson AFB, Georgia
  160. ^ "Pine Mountain Trail Association and FDR State Park To have 1953 B-25 Pine Mountain Crash survivor come to FDR for Veterans Day weekend. Daughter of pilot and her husband also to come to unveiling of memorial" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
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  167. ^ "Pilot Is Hurt During Landing", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, 12 November 1953.
  168. ^ Special, "Fighter Pilot Critically Hurt At Eglin Field [sic]", West Florida Daily Globe combined with The Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, Thursday 5 November 1953, Volume 40, Number 187, page 1.
  169. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Killed Last Week...", Playground News, Thursday 26 November 1953, Volume 8, Number 44, page 16.
  170. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Playground News Makes Correction", Playground News, Thursday 3 December 1953, Volume 8, Number 45, page 1.
  171. ^ Special, "Two Eglin Pilots Die In Greenland Helicopter Crash", West Florida Daily Globe combined with The Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, Florida, Thursday 19 November 1953, page 1.
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  174. ^ "Republic F-84G Thunderjet". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  175. ^ Special, "Ejector Seat Accident Kills Pilot at Eglin", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 26 August 1954, Volume 9, Number 58, page 1.
  176. ^ "1950 USAF Serial Numbers". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  177. ^ Special, "Jet Crash Kills Pilot Wednesday On Eglin Flight", Playground News, Thursday 23 September 1954, Volume 9, Number 62, page 1.
  178. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Eglin's AFAC Will Dedicate Installations Building May 5", Playground News, Thursday 5 May 1955, Volume 9, Number 66, page 5.
  179. ^ "Historic hangar showered in foam". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  180. ^ Special, "Two Pilots Walk Away From Crash", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 14 October 1954, Volume 9, Number 65, page 11.
  181. ^ "Test & Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers: Stanley A. Beltz 1911-1955". 2007-09-02. Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
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  183. ^ Special, "British Pilot Dies in Crash Of F-100 Jet", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 11 November 1954, Volume 9, Number 41, pages 1, 10.
  184. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Force Land Helicopter; Crew Safe", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 2 June 1955, Volume 41, Number 22, page 1.
  185. ^ "1952 USAF Serial Numbers". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  186. ^ Crestview, Florida, "New Crash Barrier Proves Worth, Saves Disabled F-84F Jet Fighter", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 7 July 1955, Volume 41, Number 27, page 7.
  187. ^ "USAAF/USAF Accidents for Vermont". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  188. ^ Special, "Three Are Injured In Crash of Plane Based at Hurlburt", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 21 July 1955, Volume 9, Number 77, page 1.
  189. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Hurlburt Plane Crashes In North", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 21 July 1955, Volume 41, Number 29, page 1.
  190. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Jet Pilot Parachutes To Safety", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 18 August 1955, Volume 41, Number 43, page 1.
  191. ^ "Pilot Bails Out Of Jet Fighter – Disabled Plane Crashes in Field", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 18 August 1955, Volume 9, Number 81, page 5.
  192. ^ Fort Walton Beach, "Six Jet Planes for NATO Will Undergo Tests Here", Playground News, Thursday 14 July 1955, Volume 9, Number 76, page 20.
  193. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Pilot Sets Jet Down in Scrub Without Injury", Playground News, Thursday 25 August 1955, Volume 9, Number 82, page 5.
  194. ^ "McDonnell F-101 Voodoo series". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  195. ^ Special, "Lonnie R. Moore, Double Jet Ace, Dies in Crash", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 12 January 1956, Volume 10, Number 49, page 1.
  196. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Double Jet Ace Dies In Crash: Maj. Moore Is Victim At Eglin Field [sic]", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Volume 42, Number 2, pages 1, 6.
  197. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Double Jet Ace Dies In Crash: Maj. Moore Is Victim At Eglin Field [sic]", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Volume 42, Number 2, page 6.
  198. ^ Special, "Eglin Halts Search For Downed Pilot", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday 2 February 1956, Volume 10, Number 52, page 1.
  199. ^ Special, "Pilot, Who Died In Niceville Plane Crash, Identified", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 23 February 1956, Volume 11, Number 3, page 13.
  200. ^ Harvey, Nan, Staff Writer, "Eglin Pilot Rescued From Bay", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 15 March 1956, Volume 11, Number 6, page 20.
  201. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Jet Fighter Pilot Parachutes Safely", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 15 March 1956, Volume 42, Number 11, page 7.
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  205. ^ Feather, Bill, "Plane Crash Kills Engineer; Pilot Injured As Bomber Falls", El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas, 26 March 1956.
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  207. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Reward Offered In Plane Theft", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 21 June 1956, Volume 42, Number 25, page 14.
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  209. ^ a b Crestview, Florida, "Col. Michael C. Horgan Heads For Air College Despite Crash Injuries", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Edgewatr [sic] Area News section, Thursday 6 September 1956, Volume 42, Number 36, page 1.
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  212. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Jet Drone Explodes In Flight", Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 2 August 1956, Volume 42, Number 31, page 6,
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  225. ^ a b "Three Eglin Men Die in Crashes of Super Sabres", Playground News, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Thursday, 10 October 1957, page 8.
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  229. ^ Crestview, Florida, "Pilot Ejects From Flaming Plane", The Okaloosa News-Journal, Thursday 7 January 1960, Volume 46, Number 1, page 3-A.
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  235. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Investigation Continues On 'Stray' Missile" Playground News, Thursday, 15 September 1960, Volume 15, Number "33", (actually, No. 34).
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  255. ^ Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Fiery Crash of Drone Plane Kills Two, Injures One – Four Firemen Overcome In Wake Of Blaze", Playground Daily News, Tuesday, 20 August 1963, Volume 16, Number 271, page 1.
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  376. ^ Two airframes have been identified: 02-4452, marked 24452, apparently c/n 25493/523, ex-N84WA; and 02-5001, marked 25001, c/n 25494/611, ex-N987AN, but which has also reported carrying 98–6006, 99–6143, 00–9001, but, most usually, 02-5001. Apparently assigned to the 227th Special Operations Flight, McGuire AFB, New Jersey.
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  399. ^ Brown, Matthew Hay, "Pentagon: No enemy involvement in Djibouti crash – Upper Marlboro airman among four killed in 'tragic incident'", The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, Tuesday 21 February 2012,
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  408. ^ Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  409. ^ "F-35 Accident Reports for 2014". 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
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