Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West


At 8 pm on August 22, 1962, Boeing B-47E Stratojet #52-0553 departed Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, for a night-time refueling and low-level radar bombing practice flight.  The aircraft, with the 359th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Wing, was to drop a practice bomb on a target near Emmett, ID.  At approximately 11 pm the aircraft hit trees, bounced, then crashed on a ridge near Smith's Ferry, ID.  All three crewmen were killed.  The crash and resulting fire destroyed most of the aircraft except for the wing tips and tail section, which were removed in 1962.  Today, engine parts, small pieces from the cockpit, and a few shards of aluminum fuselage are all that remain.  At the time of the accident, the crew was considered one of the best bombing teams in the Strategic Air Command.  The aircraft was not equipped with instrumentation which would alert the crew to approaching terrain, and  an accident review board found that they had been supplied with charts that did not accurately show mountain elevations in the area.  Special thanks to Dave McCurry for help with locating this crash site.  Site visited 7/25/16.


Pilot                 Lt. Col. Raymond N. McDonald, Jr.          Llano, TX
Co- Pilot          Capt. William C. Lebbs, Jr.                       Omaha, NE               
Navigator        Maj. Glen A. McClure                               Waverly, IA   


Capt. William C. Lebbs, Jr., co-pilot of B-47E #52-0553.

  (Photo courtesy of his son, John Lebbs)






Honoring our Veterans of the skies

who made the ultimate sacrifice!




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