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VP-42 Memorial

VP-42 Crew - In Memorium - VP-42 Crew

"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)

December 26th, 1962
VP-42 Mishap Thumbnail
Aircraft
VP-42 Mishap Thumbnail
Crew


BRAMLETT, James Frederick
Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman

CARGEN, Peter Alexander
LT(jg)


UPDATE "...I am the only and younger brother of Peter Cargen..." Contributed by Christopher Cargen chris@hospitalityamerica.com 12APR2017

I am the only and younger brother of Peter Cargen. I was 14 at the time of his death. Peter was not a member of the usual crew compliment of VP 42, nor scheduled to be on the flight. As I understand it from his widow Ruthe, he was simply logging training hours and signed up for the flight at his own discretion shortly before take-off. Peter was progressing through his training as a naval pilot after having graduated from Dartmouth College in June, 1960 via an NROTC full scholarship, which required 4 years of naval service. Instead he signed up for naval aviation pilot training with a 5-year minimum service requirement. Peter was an avid outdoorsman, a co-founder of the Dartmouth College Mountaineering Club and while in naval training in California, he was actively on a call list for emergency Sierra Club ropes and pitons mountain rescues. Peter’s dream was to eventually become an Alaska bush pilot.

I learned of the plane’s disappearance while I was snowbound in New Hampshire due to a blizzard. I recall only sporadic updates via short wave radio while the search was on for the plane. Even after the plane wreckage was located in the sea, one of the on-board life rafts was not found. As a result, my family and I kept hoping and praying that Peter and other survivors might still be found. Closure was never to come. A formal death certificate ever being issued. But instead His widow received a letter from President John F. Kennedy attached. Since the Vietnam War was only in its infancy, I’ve often wondered if every family losing a son received such a letter from President Kennedy, Johnson or Nixon or whether the one we received was because military deaths during active duty were rare in 1962. I imagine Peter would have eventually served as a naval aviator from aircraft carriers in the Vietnam War had his life not been cut short at age 23 in this accidental crash.

Peter was an absolutely incredible man for his age – strong, focused, ambitious and mature – one of America’s best. Our father had financially deserted our family when I was 4 and Peter was 13. From that point on, Peter simultaneously worked after high school every day to help financially support our family while at the same time achieving the high grades necessary to earn acceptance into Ivy League Dartmouth on a full scholarship. Once at Dartmouth, he paid his incidental living expenses as a ski instructor at the newly opened Dartmouth Skiway. He was an expert skier, an accomplished poet, guitarist and even a yodeler. Most cherished times were the 2 weeks that I played hookie from 5th and 6th grade to live in a sleeping bag in his dormitory room and learn to ski and spend time with him. He took the time to build an elaborate tree fort in a very high tree in my backyard when I was only 9. He was my brother and effectively my Dad. Only a teenager himself at the time, how many his age would take the time to give of his time and money to his younger brother?


History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail History - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail


DICKIE, Carl Brian
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class

EIFFE, David Keven
Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class

UPDATE "...David Eiffe was my older brother when he was killed on this flight from VP-42 out of San Diego. (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962) I did not even know this website existed, and I thank you so very much for doing it. I remember we were given very little information when the crash occured. We never knew who the other crewmen were. This is so hard for me, but yet I am happy to see his name in the memorial. That crash, so close to Christmas, devestated my parents, and Christmas has not been the same since. My mother passed away about 10 years ago, and always wondered what happened, because there was no closure for her. The Navy botched up the telegram, and my parents were told of his death by a newspaper reporter calling the house to get a picture of him for the newspaper article. I decided to enlist in the Navy when I graduated from high school in 1965. I wanted to finish Davids' work. I served as a Communications Technician, and spent a year in the Aluetian Islands on Adak. Ironically, the flight from the same Squadron that crashed in Alaska three months earlier was one that my brother tried desparetly to get on as he wanted to see Alaska. I think of him every day, and wonder what he would be like now. My oldest son is named after him, and we are extremely proud of him, and his three younger brothers. I just wish they could have known my brother. God Bless you for this website, and God Bless all our men and women who serve in our armed forces today...Daniel J. Eiffe eiffed@co.oswego.ny.us..." [06APR2002]

UPDATE "...I just found your website, and was interested to read it because my brother David Eiffe was one of the crewmen killed in the December 26, 1962 accident off the coast of Baha California in a plane from VP-42 out of San Diego. (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962) It was very poignant, reading the postings...Sr. Kathleen Eiffe, CSJ keiffe21@yahoo.com..." [05APR2002]


LARSON, Richard Alan
LT(jg)

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraVP-42 Crew "...Richard is on the bottom right. I think that the gentleman in the left front may also be in the picture from Steven Lukefahr..." Contributed by Mark A. Lawrence mark@lawhee.com..." [01DEC2006]

UPDATE "...I wanted to remember my Uncle, Richard A. Larson. He was lost December 26th, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 26th, 1962) flying a VP-42 P5M off the coast of Baja, California. I never knew him since I was less than one year old. Thank you for the service of those who fly Navy! And to those who may have known him. Cheers...Mark A. Lawrence mark@lawhee.com..." [30NOV2006]


LUKEFAHR, David Koehler
LT

UPDATE "...I am the oldest son of Lt. David Lukefahr who was the PPC aboard the VP-42 flight that was lost on 26 December, 1962. My family has many photos, newspaper articles, cards and letters surrounding this tragic accident. For now, I am attaching a couple of photos, one is of the plane (#9) itself, and the other is possibly of some or most of the crew members. We are hoping that some of the family members of the crew or other former pilots or crewmen might be able to recognize some these men. My father is the officer on the far right...Steven D. Lukefahr kfsdl00@tamuk.edu..." [16MAY2003]

UPDATE "...My husband, LT David Lukefahr, who was the PPC when the plane went down in VP-42 on December 26, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962). David was 28 years old not 21 years old and we lived in Imperial Beach not on 2nd Street in housing, at the time of the accident. If I can answer any questions for family members who also lost loved ones I would be happy to do so. I don't remember any of the crew now, since over 30 years has passed but I certainly do know for certain that the accident was on December 26, 1962. Dave and I had four children at that time ages 5, 4, 3, and 8 months. Sincerely...Patti Lukefahr Wolfe patti.wolfe@coldwellbanker.com...Now that I have read the updates more carefully, I realize that in the updates I was reading the reference to my husband's, LT David Lukefahr's, age was someone else, also where we lived. Time flies by so quickly and it's not only been over 30 years, it's been over 40 years. Captain Chuck Cornett, USN Retired, contacted me by e-mail today and it was great to hear from him. He sent me a picture from the 60's taken in San Diego during the time frame that my husband and he were squadron mates. The web site is great. Thanks again, Patti Lukefahr Wolfe patti.wolfe@coldwellbanker.com..." [13MAY2003]


PITTS, George Alan
LT(jg)

POWELL, Robert Franklin
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class

UPDATE "...Robert Franklin Powell was my paternal grandfather. he died when my father was only three months old. i am trying to find more info on this accident. any help is greatly appreciated!..." Contributed by Amanda Isbell tastetherainbow0386@yahoo.com [03AUG2010]


SMITH, Terrence Eugene
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class

UPDATE "...My first husband, PO2 Terrence Eugene Smith, a great man, husband and father. Terry is sadly missed. He was lost along with 12 other crew members with VP-42 on December 26th, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962). The pilot was LT David K. Lukefahr and co-pilot was Richard Allen Larson of Coronado, CA. He was actually lost the night of 25th/morning of 26th. Terry, I and our 14 month old daughter, Rima lived in San Diego (not on the base as she formerly thought). The Navy searched for 5 days and came up with very little debris and even less information was released to the families. I would like to know what happened - now that almost 50 years have passed..." Contributed by Joelle Smith Keprios joellesue@msn.com [02DEC2011]

UPDATE "...My father's name is PO2 Terrence Eugene Smith, a great man! He was killed along with 12 other crew members with VP-42 on December 25th, 1962, somewhere off the coast of Baha, CA. They were in a P5M1 Martin Marlin. The pilot was Lt. David K. Lukefahr and co-pilot was Richard Allen Larson of Coronado, CA. I was 14 months old at the time and my mother was very young. We lived in San Diego "on the base", which one I'm not sure. Like the story before mine (Shipmates), my family's pain was so deep, not many details were spoken of. I'm looking for anyone that knew my father to share information with me. I have a picture of a man named Jack Windsor (or Windson?) and on the back is written "terry's friend". Can anyone help me get to know the most important man I never knew? Thank you!...Rima Smith-Keprios idreamarima@yahoo.com..." [02NOV2001]


SPOUSTA, Dale Hamilton
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class

UPDATE "...Born July 4, 1959, have lived most of my life in San Diego. I was too young to remember my dad, PO1 Dale Hamilton SPOUSTA, but have heard he was a great guy. I have sometimes wondered, what if VP-42 hadn't gone down that December night in 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for VP-42 lost friends...December 26th, 1962)? My life, though has pretty much had some sort of connection with the Navy. My mom remarried (a friend of my father, also in the Navy). We lived on the naval base NAS Point Mugu, California from 1967 to 1971. He retired a CPO, and also helped me get my 1st job at the Chief's Club at NAS Miramar, California. I lived in Navy Housing in pacific beach from (SD) from 1971 to 1977, graduated from Mission Bay HS in 1977. Married daughter of a retired CPO in 1982, have 1 daughter born November 1985. I became a clean and sober Christian September 2006 (praise God), and thank Him daily. I know it has been a long time since the crash, but any information about my dad Dale, would be greatly appreciated. Dale Hamilton Spousta Jr. dspousta@live.com..." [26AUG2009]


SYMONS, Harry Jr.
LT

WARMACK, Robert Frank
Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class

WHIPPLE, William Stuart
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class

UPDATE "...My first husband, PO2 Terrence Eugene Smith, a great man, husband and father. Terry is sadly missed. He was lost along with 12 other crew members with VP-42 on December 26th, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962). The pilot was LT David K. Lukefahr and co-pilot was Richard Allen Larson of Coronado, CA. He was actually lost the night of 25th/morning of 26th. Terry, I and our 14 month old daughter, Rima lived in San Diego (not on the base as she formerly thought). The Navy searched for 5 days and came up with very little debris and even less information was released to the families. I would like to know what happened - now that almost 50 years have passed..." Contributed by Joelle Smith Keprios joellesue@msn.com [02DEC2011]

UPDATE "...Robert Franklin Powell was my paternal grandfather. he died when my father was only three months old. i am trying to find more info on this accident. any help is greatly appreciated!..." Contributed by Amanda Isbell tastetherainbow0386@yahoo.com [03AUG2010]

UPDATE "...Just had an e-mail from Lynne Wallace. She and her husband Don were in VP-42 at the time of the plane accident (In Memorial for VP-42 lost friends...December 26th, 1962). It was a lovely e-mail and it was good to hear from someone from the squadron. It's now been almost 47 years. Where does the time go? Would love to hear from any of the other squadron mates or their wives. I am trying to get in touch with Jeri Larsen, her husband was on the plane with my husband. Best regards to all. Patti Lukefahr Wolfe patti.wolfe@coldwellbanker.com..." [29JUL2009]

UPDATE "...I wanted to remember my Uncle, Richard A. Larson. He was lost December 26th, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 26th, 1962) flying a VP-42 P5M off the coast of Baja, California. I never knew him since I was less than one year old. Thank you for the service of those who fly Navy! And to those who may have known him. Cheers...Mark A. Lawrence mark@lawhee.com..." [30NOV2006]

UPDATE "...Mishap Newspaper Articles..." Contributed by Steven D. Lukefahr kfsdl00@tamuk.edu [Updated 24SEP2003]



UPDATE "...I am the oldest son of Lt. David Lukefahr who was the PPC aboard the VP-42 flight that was lost on 26 December, 1962. My family has many photos, newspaper articles, cards and letters surrounding this tragic accident. For now, I am attaching a couple of photos, one is of the plane (#9) itself, and the other is possibly of some or most of the crew members. We are hoping that some of the family members of the crew or other former pilots or crewmen might be able to recognize some these men. My father is the officer on the far right...Steven D. Lukefahr kfsdl00@tamuk.edu..." [16MAY2003]

VP-42 Mishap ThumbnailVP-42 Mishap Thumbnail


UPDATE "...My husband, LT David Lukefahr, who was the PPC when the plane went down in VP-42 on December 26, 1962 (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962). David was 28 years old not 21 years old and we lived in Imperial Beach not on 2nd Street in housing, at the time of the accident. If I can answer any questions for family members who also lost loved ones I would be happy to do so. I don't remember any of the crew now, since over 30 years has passed but I certainly do know for certain that the accident was on December 26, 1962. Dave and I had four children at that time ages 5, 4, 3, and 8 months. Sincerely...Patti Lukefahr Wolfe patti.wolfe@coldwellbanker.com...Now that I have read the updates more carefully, I realize that in the updates I was reading the reference to my husband's, LT David Lukefahr's, age was someone else, also where we lived. Time flies by so quickly and it's not only been over 30 years, it's been over 40 years. Captain Chuck Cornett, USN Retired, contacted me by e-mail today and it was great to hear from him. He sent me a picture from the 60's taken in San Diego during the time frame that my husband and he were squadron mates. The web site is great. Thanks again, Patti Lukefahr Wolfe patti.wolfe@coldwellbanker.com..." [13MAY2003]

UPDATE "...David Eiffe was my older brother when he was killed on this flight from VP-42 out of San Diego. (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962) I did not even know this website existed, and I thank you so very much for doing it. I remember we were given very little information when the crash occured. We never knew who the other crewmen were. This is so hard for me, but yet I am happy to see his name in the memorial. That crash, so close to Christmas, devestated my parents, and Christmas has not been the same since. My mother passed away about 10 years ago, and always wondered what happened, because there was no closure for her. The Navy botched up the telegram, and my parents were told of his death by a newspaper reporter calling the house to get a picture of him for the newspaper article. I decided to enlist in the Navy when I graduated from high school in 1965. I wanted to finish Davids' work. I served as a Communications Technician, and spent a year in the Aluetian Islands on Adak. Ironically, the flight from the same Squadron that crashed in Alaska three months earlier was one that my brother tried desparetly to get on as he wanted to see Alaska. I think of him every day, and wonder what he would be like now. My oldest son is named after him, and we are extremely proud of him, and his three younger brothers. I just wish they could have known my brother. God Bless you for this website, and God Bless all our men and women who serve in our armed forces today...Daniel J. Eiffe eiffed@co.oswego.ny.us..." [06APR2002]

UPDATE "...I just found your website, and was interested to read it because my brother David Eiffe was one of the crewmen killed in the December 26, 1962 accident off the coast of Baha California in a plane from VP-42 out of San Diego. (SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...December 25th, 1962) It was very poignant, reading the postings...Sr. Kathleen Eiffe, CSJ keiffe21@yahoo.com..." [05APR2002]

UPDATE "...My father's name is PO2 Terrence Eugene Smith, a great man! He was killed along with 12 other crew members with VP-42 on December 25th, 1962, somewhere off the coast of Baha, CA. They were in a P5M1 Martin Marlin. The pilot was Lt. David K. Lukefahr and co-pilot was Richard Allen Larson of Coronado, CA. I was 14 months old at the time and my mother was very young. We lived in San Diego "on the base", which one I'm not sure. Like the story before mine (Shipmates), my family's pain was so deep, not many details were spoken of. I'm looking for anyone that knew my father to share information with me. I have a picture of a man named Jack Windsor (or Windson?) and on the back is written "terry's friend". Can anyone help me get to know the most important man I never knew? Thank you!...Rima Smith-Keprios idreamarima@yahoo.com..." [02NOV2001]

UPDATE "...I served as a pilot in VP-42 for 4+ years, detaching in December 1962, just before the plane crash in which your father was killed on December 26, 1962 along with 12 other men: I was a Patrol Plane Commander and knew and had flown with most all the people who were on board, including your father. He was a fine young man and a good aircrewman. I did not know him very well but do recall that he was an outstanding Aviation Electronics Technician and Sailor. Others on board that night were: Lt. David Lukefahr; Lt. Harry Symons; Ltjg George Pitts; LTjg Richard A. Larson; LTjg Peter A. Cargen; Robert F. Powell; Dale H. Sprousta; William S. Whipple; Carl B. Dickie; Terrence E. Smith; James Frederick Bramlett; David Eiffe, and Robert F. Warmack. LT. Lukefahr, the PPC, had previously been my copilot and was an extremely fine Naval Aviator. The crash occured on a night patrol out of NAS North Island, San Diego, California. The last known position report was at 9:15pm, 350 miles southwest of San Diego. In the front page newspaper clipping I have, your father who was 21 years old lived at 826 22nd Street. (I believe that was in San Diego quite possibly in Navy Quarters.) The story was front page news in the San Diego Evening Tribune of 27 December 1962. Ironically my entire flight crew had perished 24 September 1962, just 3 months previously in Alaska. (I was not on that detachment due to my impending transfer.) Please let me know if I may be of any further assistance. Warmest regards, Captain Charles S. Cornett, USN ret TopRun06@aol.com..." [15DEC2001]

History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail


UPDATE "...I've heard from the United States Naval Safety Center, my request has been passed along to Ms. Bowden and I'm told to expect a reply within a week or so. I've also heard from a person in VP-42 recalling the search for that plane, yet he thinks it was December 22 of 1963. I have a letter written to my grandfather expressing regrets, from my father's Commanding Officer, C.R. Lindler, and that letter is dated December 31 1962...Rima Smith-Keprios idreamarima@yahoo.com..." [04NOV2001]

UPDATE "...I show the date of loss as 27 December 1962. Outside of that all the information I have came from the NYT article of 28 December. He have to write to the United States Naval Safety Center for a copy of the accident report as it had never been released...WFI Research Group wreck1@localnet.com..." [02NOV2001]

UPDATE "...I e-mailed the head of the United States Naval Safety Center just a little while ago, requesting a release of information...Rima Smith-Keprios idreamarima@yahoo.com..." [02NOV2001]

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