Aircraft Wrecks in the
Mountains and Deserts of the American West
2nd Lt. Edwin H. Carroll, co-pilot on North American Aviation B-25G
42-65201 lost his life on 2/11/44 in a mid-air collision with B-25D
41-30492 near Sacramento, CA. Five USAAF air crewmen were killed in this
training accident. (Photo courtesy of the William Cordero Family)
Aviation Cadet Bill Garner
was killed following a low altitude bailout from a spinning Vultee
BT-13A 42-89243 near Willows, CA.
(Photo courtesy Reno County, Kansas VFW)
On January 9, 1955 USN Beechcraft SNB-4 Bu
No 67260 departed from NAS Monterey with a crew of two and one passenger
on a round robin cross-country navigational training flight that would
reach the town of Riverside in Southern California before returning to
their home base in Monterey. At approximately 7:30PM Bu No 67260 crashed
into a cloud enshrouded ridge of the San Bernardino Mountains near Cajon
Peak. Killed in this weather related accident were LT. M. H. Hand,
pilot, LT. Laskey Kirk Lacewell, Jr., co-pilot, and passenger FN USNR H.
In two photographs provided by Kirk
Lacewell, the co-pilot’s son, we see his dad standing on the wing of a
NAA SNJ “Texan” during carrier qualifications. In the second picture the
young lieutenant beams with well deserved pride at being a United States
The Project Remembrance Team that includes Chris LeFave, Tom Maloney,
Dave Mihalik, John Walker, Pat J. Macha, and G. Pat Macha completed our
mission on 12/4/10.With storm clouds gathering we escorted Kirk Lacewell
and his son Matt to the crash site of U. S. Navy Beechcraft SNB-4 Bu No
67260. This mission would not have been possible without the help of BLM
Surveyor David Haller, USFS Recreation Officer Melinda Lyon, and Craig
Fuller of AAIR who provided the detailed accident report.
Richard M. Theiler USAF Reserve, assigned to the Air Defense Command,
pilot of the Lockheed T-33A 51-9227 that disappeared after take-off from
LAX on 10/15/55. 1st Lt. Paul D. Smith USAF Reserve assigned
to the ADC was in the back seat. Their mission was a navigation training
that included night flying experience. Theiler was from Tomahawk, WI.
and Smith was from Midland, TX.
(Photo courtesy of the Theiler
Family & the Smith Family)
When a USN TV-2 (T-33B) went missing over
the mountains of Ventura County, CA on 4/16/56 a search mission was
launched. Despite many days of searching for the wreckage of the TV-2
and its crew, it was not found. On 4/22/56 a USN Piasecki HUP-2 from NAMTC
Point Mugu crashed while flying a search mission in high winds near
Ojai, CA. Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class Callis C. Gooding was
injured in the crash, but he managed to save the pilot and the Civil Air
Patrol observer from the burning HUP-2 wreckage. A/MM 2/c Gooding was
known for service above and beyond the call of duty when he helped
rescue two downed USAF airmen during the Korean War behind enemy lines.
Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd
Class Callis C. Gooding is the proud holder of the Navy Cross and
England’s Distinguished Service Award for heroism. The missing TV-2 was
finally located on 4/24/56 with the body of Lt. Robert Thomas on board,
but that’s another story.
Special thanks to Marc
McDonald of Ventura County for locating the HUP-2 crash site, and also
for his research on TV-2 Bu No 136872. (Photo courtesy Mark McDonald)
Canadian Air Force Flight Sergeant Floyd E. George was only twenty
years old at the time of his death on 3/13/45.
(Photo courtesy Edwin & Janice Zander)
F/Sgt. Edward Watkins, Royal
Air Force Volunteer Reserve was twenty-one years of age at the time of
his death aboard Douglas Dakota Mk. IV, KN345 on March 13, 1945. (Photo
courtesy Marc McDonald)