Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Veteran's Photos
Page 6

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USNR pilot Lt/JG Roy Arnold Hopen was part of a flight of nine USN aircraft en route from Medford, Ore. to Alameda, CA. on 11/14/45. The flight encountered an occluded cold front and was ordered to return to Medford, but the lead pilot chose to continue on with eight of the nine planes reaching Red Bluff safely. Grumman F6F-3 Bu No 25980 flown by Lt/JG R. A. Hopen was posted missing and an extensive search was launched, but no trace of Bu No 25980 or its pilot was found.  On June 12/46 the pilotís father, Jens Hopen commenced a five week search by air and on the ground in the area west and northwest of Shasta City. The 1946 search effort was funded by Jens Hopen and sadly was not successful.

On 10/31/46 the wreck of Bu No 25980 was found by a deer hunter near Boulder Peak in the Trinity Mountains. Although no remains were not found initially the hunter did find Lt/JG Roy A. Hopenís dog tags, and the case was resolved. However, in September 1962 the Hopen crash site was stumbled on again and was reported as another missing aircraft wreck. (Photo courtesy of the Hopen Family via Bruce Batchelder)

2nd Lt. William Sinclair Barnes, USAAF was killed along with three of his crew on May 23, 1943 while flying Beechcraft AT-11 41-9480.

2nd Lt. Barnes was piloting one of three AT-11s engaged in formation flight training west of Baker, California when a collision occurred.

41-9480 plunged into the Mojave Desert floor and exploded while another AT-11, though heavily damaged, managed to make an emergency landing north of Baker.

The Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan was a noted bombardier, gunnery, and pilot trainer during WWII. (Photo courtesy of Bill Barnes the nephew of 2nd Lt. William Barnes)

USMC Major Robert Frazer noted combat Ace with six confirmed kills and recipient of the DFC while assigned to VMF-211 "Wolf Pack". Maj. Frazer was killed near USMCAS Goleta, CA on 6/18/45 during combat tactics flight. (Photo via Marc McDonald)


Lt. Peter J. Dannhardt was lost at sea following a night bail out over the Santa Barbara Channel from USAAF B-24E 42-7011 on 7/4/43. (Photo courtesy Marc McDonald)

Lt. Robert H. Prosser was lost at sea following his bail out from USAAF B-24E 42-7011 on 7/4/43. (Photo courtesy Marc McDonald)

A routine night navigation training mission ended in tragedy on 7/4/43 when two engines failed and the pilot of B-24E 42-7011 ordered his crew to bail out near Santa Barbara, CA. Lt. Dannhardt and Prosser were the first to jump not knowing they were over the Pacific Ocean. The remaining eight crewmen who bailed out moments later came down in the hills and rugged mountains near Santa Barbara. 42-7011, continued on unmanned and crashed ten miles north of Santa Barbara near Pine Mountain.

S/Sgt. Gordon L. Walker was the Crew Chief aboard North American Aviation B-25D #41-30114 assigned to Victorville Army Air Base in fall of 1944. Tragically, S/Sgt. Walker shown in this photo with his wife Alyene, was killed along with his crewmates on October 2, 1944 in a crash on the Mojave Desert. S/Sgt. Walker was twenty-four years old at the time of his death. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Gordon S. Walker, the grandson of S/Sgt. Walker)

B-25D story

Charles D. Fator in United States Army uniform with sword circa 1930.  (Courtesy the Fator Family)

BT-2B Story


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