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VP-17 Memorial
VP-17 Crew - In Memorium - VP-17 Crew
7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash

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

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

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

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

May all our departed shipmates rest in peace.

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

7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash

Anchorage Daily Times

Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, January 11, 1963

Article submitted by Richard D. Hunt RRRNwestcr@aol.com


KODIAK -- Five crewmen survived and seven apparently were killed as a Navy plane slammed into a hillside and burned last night after an attempted landing in rainy weather at mountain-rimmed Kodiak airport.

The five, thrown from the tail section, were in fair to good condition.

One body was seen in the burned and twisted fuselage last night.

Adm. Fred E. Bakutis, Commander of the 17th Naval District here, said removal and identification of other bodies was delayed until today.

He said there appeared to be no hope any escaped except the five thrown clear in the crash.

The twin-engine P2V, arriving from Anchorage, touched down and bounced on the runway, Adm. Baktitis said. Then the pilot pulled up attempted to go around for another landing attempt.

"It got to about 500 feet," said Harry Ardinger, passenger agent for Pacific Northern Airlines, "then the pilot tried a steep pull up and apparently stalled."

The plane hit on Aviation Hill, one of several mountains about 1,000 feet high rimming the airport. It burned for more than an hour.

Cmdr. V. E. White, Navy information officer said the five survivors were found on the Mountainside close to the wreckage. They were taken to a hospital at Kodiak Naval Station.

The rain, darkness and rough terrain delayed the search for others.

LISTED AS MISSING

LT William M. Carter
Wife, Barbara Lee Stock Carter
Oak Harbor, Wash.

John Anthony Cole
Aviation Machinists Mate 2nd
Wife, Harriet Mae Cole
Imperial Beach, Calif.

LT Paul W. Dannell
Wife, Jo Nette Dannell
Oak Harbor, Wash.

Russel S. Fieldnann
Aviation Machinists Mate 2nd
Wife, Edith Fieldnann
Oak Harbor

UPDATE "...Please correct Russel S. Fieldnann to Russel S. Feldmann. His rating is correct (Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd. Although his hometown was listed as Oak Harbor (where he was stationed) he was actually from Sonoita, Arizona. ADCS Bill Laux, Retiredbilllaux@comcast.net..." [21DEC2003]

Merlin J. Haas
Aviation Electronics technician 2nd
Wife, Theresa
Oak Harbor.

LT(jg) Richard T. Healy
Wife, Vivian Marie Healey
Oak Harbor

Charles A. Treat
Aviation Structural Mechanic Hydraulic 3rd
Wichita, Kansas

SERIOUSLY INJURED

Charlie M. Boyce
Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Technician 3rd
Ogallalla, Neb

Larry D. Culbertson
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd
Wife, Carol Virginia Culbertson, Oak Harbor.

UPDATE "...I am the younger sister of the radioman from the crash of the VP-17 (SEE: VP-17 - In memory of lost friends...). Larry Culbertson is my wonderful brother. I thank God for saving his life for my family that day but it also brings me sadness to know that so many others lost their loved ones... All of these men, those that left this earth on that day in January, and the other survivors, should be honored and never forgotten for their service and sacrifice to their country..." Contributed by Susan Culbertson Triplett strip1254@hotmail.com [16JUN2012]

UPDATE "...I was involved VP-17's P2V plane mishap January 10th, 1963 (SEE: VP-17 - In memory of lost friends...) on Old Women Mountain on Kodiac Island Alaska. I would enjoy hearing from any of the other 4 crew members that made it after the crash..." Contributed by Larry D. Culbertson lculbert@q.com [18APR2012]

UPDATE "...Larry D. Culbertson and wife was and is currently in Powell, Ohio...Mitch Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [03APR98]

Kenneth J. Grant
Aviation Electronics Mate 1st
Wife, Eunice Martha Grant, Oak Harbor.

UPDATE "...Kenneth J Grant on the Kodiak crash was a AVIATION ELECTRICAN'S MATE FIRST CLASS. He was not a AT1.please ccorrect that.he was burned very bad but did come back to worrk in the AE shop..." Contributed by JERRY FROYD AECS (RET) Bonecru88@aol.com [E-Mail Updated 16FEB99 | 25SEP98]

Allen Mitchusson
Yeoman 1st Richard
Wife, Nancy Ellen Mitchusson, Oak Harbor

UPDATE "...42 years ago me (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...) and 4 others survived the plane crash on Old Woman's Mountain at Kodiak, Alaska. I think of those 7 that perished almost daily and I am so sorry for them and their families...MITCHUSSON, Richard "Mitch" mtchssn@comcast.net..." [10JAN2005]

UPDATE "...January 10, 1963 (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...) when I was in a plane crash on Old Woman's Mountain at Kodiak, Alaska. 5 of us survived, 7 died. I visit the Kodiak Alaska Military History site periodically and go to Aircraft Crashes and remember the crash very well as I look at the debris on the site...MITCHUSSON, Richard "Mitch" mtchssn@comcast.net..." [10JAN2004]

Paul Wilson
Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd
Wife, Chieko Omagari Wilson, Oak Harbor


UPDATE "...I was involved VP-17's P2V plane mishap January 10th, 1963 (SEE: VP-17 - In memory of lost friends...) on Old Women Mountain on Kodiac Island Alaska. I would enjoy hearing from any of the other 4 crew members that made it after the crash..." Contributed by Larry D. Culbertson lculbert@q.com [18APR2012]

UPDATE "...I was a Navy Storekeeper stationed in NAS Kodiak, Alaska the night of this crash (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash January 11th, 1963.). I recall it was a rainy overcast evening . It was a six month event when Navy P2V would deploy from the Seattle area. It was dark that evening when the crash occured, maybe around 6:00 PM. I was in charge of the Foul Gear supply and was asked to supply a rescue team with gear. I loaded the commisary (21/2 Stake truck) with supplies and traveled as close as I could to the crash site. I beleive several airman had lost their lifes in this crash...It was not a good evening. God Rest their souls..." Contributed by SKC3 Phil Robinson pvplr100@gmail.com [29NOV2011]

UPDATE "...Mention is made of a STAR at the crash site. It is in vfact on the other side of teh mountain. The mountain's name is 100% referred to by everybody as WomAns Mt but it is in fact WomEns Mt. The Mt at the end of runway 25 is Barometer MT and it is 2000 feet, not 4000 feet tall. Thanks. Crusty Old Joe http://www.kadiak.org/..." [27APR2006]

UPDATE "...43 years ago today, me and 4 others survived a P2V plane crash on Old Woman's Mountain in Kodiak (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...). I regret that others did not survive. MITCHUSSON, Richard "Mitch" mtchssn@comcast.net..." [11JAN2006]

UPDATE "...Yesterday I achieved 39 great years on the anniversary of the plane crash with VP-17 on Old Woman's Mountain in Kodiak (In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...). Ironically, I burned my hand on the wood stove. Can't believe it. Fortunately it is a small burn spot and probably about 100th the size of the other burns I received in that crash. Happy new year to everyone...Richard (Mitch) Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [11JAN2002]

UPDATE "...Today is the date I and 4 others survived a plane crash (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...) in VP-17 at Old Woman's Mountain, Kodiak, Alaska. Sad to say that 7 did not survive. 40 years seems like such a long time ago. Best wishes to all that fly in our planes...Richard (Mitch) Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [10JAN2003]

UPDATE "...Yesterday I achieved 39 great years on the anniversary of the plane crash with VP-17 on Old Woman's Mountain in Kodiak (In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...). Ironically, I burned my hand on the wood stove. Can't believe it. Fortunately it is a small burn spot and probably about 100th the size of the other burns I received in that crash. Happy new year to everyone...Richard (Mitch) Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [11JAN2002]

UPDATE "...Mitch don't know you but thought you might be inerested in this correspondance. My email to CDR Hamilton was returned, user unknown. Anyway as follows. Commander Hamilton, for whatever reason I recently started reminiscing about Kodiak and found multiple links and came upon your observations of the Neptune crash. I am presently a controller at Sea ARTCC having controlled traffic in various FAA facilities for the last 32 years. NAS Kodiak, Alaska was my first assignment as a Navy Aircontrolman and my first tx was a landing clearance to a "Backdoor2". I e-mailed the following to Crusty Joes site (http://www.kadiak.org/) and thought you might be interested. Also as an addendum to that, a few more thoughts on it. The a/c was high on glide path but did touch down, but was well down field when I heard the engines spool up and off he went. We had a procedure in the tower on down and dirty GCA'S to, when the outside observer yelled contact, to throw down the r/y lites from high, say step 5 to low so not to blind. But couldn't this disorientate someone and and make it look like the field had receded. Anyway these are my recollections of the night. I thought 3 survived but see it was 5. I saw one of the guys on base after with burns. HI Joe - I was stationed on NAS Kodiak, Alaska in the Navy in 1962 as an Air Traffic Controller. Just 19 but remember it well. It was low ovcast and snowing with compact snow and ice on Runway 25. A Navy P2v coming up from NAS Whidbey Island, Washington for a squadron change, meaning, he had never been there before or it had been awhile, was making a GCA or ground controlled approach, being talked down by a radar controller, not me. Actually he was Norm Weiss, the best they had there. Well everyone who flew in and out of NAS Kodiak, Alaska knew and it was a requirement, that if you did not have the r/w in sight by a mile out you had to make a missed approach. Norm gave the P2v a go around but he elected to land. When he landed and from the tower we all saw this, he started "porpoising" or rocking fm nose to tail. He should have rolled it out to the overrun across the road. Instead he did instinctively what any pilot would do with a difficult landing, he went around, forgetting for a split second that he was in Kodiak where this was not going to work. He took off, momentarily turned to the right which would have got him too, than turned to the left, dissapeared into the ovc and we could hear the engines drone. And we all stood helpless as he flew into Old Woman Mt. NO sound just a brilliant flash. I came away thinking Why did he do that? Of course it wasn't on purpose but it looked so predetermined. I"ve never forgot it and have been controlling A/C since and that is the only crash I ever witnessed. Out of a crew of 12, 3 walked out, burned, from the tail section and survived. I was on NAS Kodiak, Alaska for a year, loved it and plan a trip ther this summer after near 40 yrs. I'll look you up. (SEE: In memory of lost friends...7 Die In VP-17 Kodiak Plane Crash...)...Jack Kerr logoslidat@home.com..." [29MAR2001]

UPDATE "...Have made the connection with David Williamson (In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...) that found the medals on Old Woman Mountain from LTJG Richard T. Healey that died in the VP-17 plane crash on Jan 10, 1963. He now has the address of Vivian Healey Thiry and will send the medals to her. Thank you all for your help...Richard "Mitch" Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [16JAN2001]

UPDATE "...Regarding the VP-17 crash in Kodiak in 1963 (In memory of lost friends...7 Die In Kodiak Plane Crash...), I received an e-mail from a retired Coast Guardsman that he and his wife had found medals belonging to Richard T. Healey that was killed in the crash. My computer crashed and I lost his e-mail address. I have now found Vivian Healey and she is delighted with this news. Would love to hear from this gentleman again and make the connection. Thanks...Richard "Mitch" Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net..." [15JAN2001]

UPDATE "...Bill Carter (Kodiak Mishap 11 JAN 63) was a BOQ buddie in 1962 and should never have been in the cockpit on that day (a Command decision he could not disobey). Any of us "Junior" birdmen could have had the same fate, we were just luckier!..." Contributed by Mel Stephens melstephens@sprintmail.com [31DEC99]

UPDATE "...Just received an e-mail about the plane crash. A few years ago this gentleman and his wife hiked up Old Woman Mountain and found debris from the crash. They also found some medals inscribed with Richard T. Healey on them. He was the Navigator and a LTJG. He died in the crash. His wife was Vivian. He was born 27 Jun 1929 at Tacoma, WA. I have called alot of Healey's in the area of Tacoma with no luck. Got any ideas how we might track some of his descendents?..." Contributed by Richard Mitchusson, YNCS(SS), USN Ret mtchssn@comcast.net [08SEP99]

UPDATE "...With regards to that terrible accident, I wish to provide the following synopsis as I know it....Three airplanes and crews from VP-19 were with the twelve crews and planes from VP-17 deploying to NAS Kodiak, Alaska that January. Having left NAS Whidbey Island, Washington with "reasonable" destination weather forecast at Kodiak, the planes all lined up and took off in sequence. Skipper in side #1 first, and so on. Enroute the weather at Kodiak went down below GCA minimums and they all were diverted to Elmendorf AFB at Anchorage, about an hour away from Kodiak...

The weather came up above the GCA minimums and skip ordered all into the planes although they already had a full day. All crews manned the planes and began the sequential take off. Crew 6 couldn't get a jet lit. Skipper ordered the crew to take off anyway. Crew 6 did, a three engine take-off into IFR weather...This was their beginning of a very bad day. They proceeded to Kodiak...

The main GCA runway is Rwy 25 and leads directly to the base of a 4,000 foot mountain, Mt. Barometer. Precisely one mile out from the approach end of Rwy 25 is Puffin Island with a fan marker on it. Per the approach plate (I can't locate my old packet) wave-off is not to be attempted after passing the Puffin Fan. Deviation from standard ground clearances has been granted by the FAA as stated on the approach plate.

The terrain to the left of the last half of Rwy 25 is what is called "Old Woman" about a 1,500 foot hill with no trees. The unfortunate pilot should have:

1. Not taken off...
2. Been slower on final to prevent "porpoising."
3. After porpoising, closed the throttles and maintained attitude and hope for the best.
4. Sucked up the gear and bellied it in.
5. Turned right to 280 and try to make it out the passage via Rwy 28.

I met the surviving radioman from that crew when I got there in late March when VP-19 sent relief crews, I was PPC of one of those crews...I vividly remember that part of his ears had been burned off. The tail had broken off and he sort of stepped out into the burning fuel.

One of our pilots that was on the same event and involved in this tragedy was Ron HASSEL...." Contributed by C. David Hamilton, Commander USNR-Ret chamil@centuryinter.net [26JUL98]

UPDATE "...NavSta Kodiak now belongs to the Coast Guard. They have a large star mounted at the crash site and light each year on January 10th, the date of the crash..." Contributed by Crash Survivor Mitch Mitchusson mtchssn@comcast.net [19APR98]

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