NOTICE: "...Attention VP-45 (PBY) folks who were in Belem, Brazil, 1944: Editor needs any and all recollections relating to the crash and loss of the entire crew of PBY-5A on 10 May 1944 (LCDR Atkinson, Commanding Officer). Any data about where you were, what you were doing and what you recall will be valuable. If enough data are received, we will have an article in the next VP-45/VP-205/VP-MS-5 Association Newsletter. Thanks you. Charles Caldwell firstname.lastname@example.org, Secretary/Newsletter Editor..." [31AUG2000]
MISHAPs: 18 MAY 43 A/C: PBY-5A Location: NAS Sitka, Alaska Strike: Yes BUNO: 7289 Cause: Damage occurred during attempted take-off. Plane hit some heavy swells during take-off run on the step and was thrown into the air before sufficient speed had been obtained to remain airborne, as a result it dropped back onto the water in almost a full stall position, distance of 25 to 35-ft, rupturing seams in the hull. The plane immediately began to take on water in volume. There was not enough time to get back to the ramp. Pilot headed for the nearest point of land with the intentions of beaching. At this time it was one hour after low tide and medium, ground swells were running on the shore which is of rocky nature. Between the time the plane was beached and towed off by salvage crew (an elapsed time of five hours), the hull and trailing edge of the wings were damaged beyond economical repair due to action of the surf on rocks. Other minor damage occurred to this plane due to complete water immersion and salvage operations under difficult conditions. Damage:Strike plane and engines to be turned into base for further examination. Crew & pass OK: Pilot Cap.Harry Wilson Baughan, AP1c. James William Bolton, AP1c. Clarence H. Hutchinson, Amm1c. Walter Ziolkowski/Minor inj, Amm2c. Arthur Lee McLean, RT1c. Rudolph Raymond Padvarac, and Rm3c. James M. Price. Pass: Lt. Harold T. Seeley, Lt. Virgil T. Heath, Lt(jg). George A. Wright, and Ens. John E. Erhard, Jr. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [18JUL2001]
MISHAPs: 24 AUG 43 A/C: PBY-5 Location: NAS Attu, Alaska CASCO COVE, NAS Attu, Alaska Strike: Yes BUNO: O8409 Cause: ACC, SANK IN 18min Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR98]
VP-45 Mishap "...Slavage of a U.S. Navy Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina (BuNo 08409) from Partol Squadron VP-45 at Casco Cove, Attu, Alaska (USA), on 27 August 1943. The PBY sank to a depth of 30 m during take-off in high swells on 23 August..." WebSite: NavyNews http://www.navy.mil/ [02MAR2012]
"...Take-off was delayed until cross winds abated. Prior to the accident four planes took off with great difficulty being bounced severely by heavy ground swells. This plane was loaded with 1350 gallons of gasoline and four 650lb depth bombs. Under such heavy loads, take-offs are restricted to one direction in Casco Cove. On take-off this plane was thrown violently in the air by a large swell before sufficient flying speed could be attained. At the same time the plane was subjected to several gusts of wind from the starboard quarter. The plane landed with such force that the bottom was split open from the navigator's compartment to the after step. All hands abandoned ship. The plane sank in eighteen minutes. All members of the crew were picked up by crash boats. Damage: Plane sank in fifteen fathoms. Crew OK: Pilot Ens Hjalmer A. Jordal USN(T), Lt(jg) S. Gray USNR, AP1c D. O. Robbins (NAP) USN, AMM1c A. A. Rimmer USNR, AMM2c R. J. Goldberry USNR/Minor inj, RM2c W. J. Keogh USNR, RM3c D. G. Bell USNR, and AOM3c H. J. Shorkey USNR. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [25JUL2001]
MISHAPs: 28 SEP 43 A/C: PBY-5A Location: NAS Attu, Alaska Strike: No BUNO: 08407 Cause: After returning from a search, pilot attempted to make a landing in Casco Cove. Due to heavy load 2 X 325lb bombs and 1200 gallons of gasoline, plus sever williway conditions, pilot was unable to make a safe landing inside the cove. As alternate, pilot selected Massacre Bay, although the swells were high and running pendicular to the wind. On executing a power stall, plane was struck on port side by a swell which caused on pilot to make a hard landing. Damage: Major overhaul. Crew Ok. Pilot Lt(jg) James H. Airheart, USNR, Ens B. M. Elvin, AV-N USNR, AMM2c J. H. Lancaster, USN, ARM2c J. J. Ritter, USN, ARM3c V. J. Ressa, USNR, AMM3c C. Campbell, USNR, and AOM2c W. H. Lukens, USNR. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [10DEC2002]
MISHAPs: 02 FEB 44 A/C: PBY-5A Location: NAS Attu, Alaska Strike: Yes BUNO: 48398 Cause: Non combat mission. Crashed, unknown cause: "Strike". Contributed by Terry email@example.com [04AUG2001]
MISHAPs: 28 FEB 44 A/C: PBY-5 Location: NAS Attu, Alaska Strike: Yes BUNO: 08407 CAUSE: Non combat mission;Crashed- unknown cause. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [04AUG2001]
MISHAPs: 10 MAY 44 A/C: PBY-5A Location: Crashed near Natal, Brazil Strike: Yes BUNO: 46520
"...VP-45 (PBY) Crash Takes 10 Lives - VP-45/VP-205/VP-MS-5 Association Newsletter September Issue 28..." [18SEP2001]
Only two weeks after arriving for duty at Belem, Brazil in 1944, VP-45 lost its Commanding Officer and his entire crew plus two Navy Supply Corps officers on an administrative flight from Val de Cais Field to Recife, Brazil. The purpose of the flight was for LCDR Calder Atkinson to personally re- port to Commander Fleet Air Wing Sixteen, and to obtain needed material for the squadron.
The flight took off at 0710P (local time) on 10 May 1944 and was last heard from at 1252P, about ten miles west of F ortaleza. The crash site was located about forty miles west of Natal, Brazil; the plane was demolished and all aboard perished at the site. Weather conditions were reported to be: Showers; lower clouds 6/10ths cumulus tops to 9,000; top clouds 6/10ths stratus tops to 10,000; wind from 150,10 knots.
Fast Forward almost 56 years ... On 28 February 2000, Romulo Piexoto Figueiredo, a Brazilian Air Force officer and researcher on WWII in Brazil, sent an e-mail message to our Association Secretary/Newsletter Editor explaining his function and position, and saying he had a copy of a letter from the U .S. Pamamirim Field Commander at Natal, dated 8 June 1944, thanking the people helping at the accident. He wanted to know if we could supply more details. It seems the letter was sent to, or retained by, his wife's great-grandfather and grand uncle who had traveled all night to reach the crash, searched for survivors, and helped bury the crew at a nearby cemetery. The grand uncle was still alive and had in his possession one of LCDR Atkinson 's ID tags.
Through a series of e-mails back and forth, the uncle agreed to send the ID tag to our Association, and we agreed to try to fmd a surviving relative to whom we could deliver the tag. We also prepared and sent to Uncle Oswaldo Lamartine de Faria, via Romulo, a certificate of appreciation with our Association seal and signed by president, Tom Golder.
Once the tag arrived, the long and frustrating search began to fmd the closest surviving relative. Research showed there were no children but there was a spouse. Romulo also sent word that all u.s. servicemen who were buried in Brazil during the war were re-interred at one location in Natal. AU.S. Army ship (Operation Glory) then brought all bodies requested by families back to the United States in April 1947 for burial at a site chosen by relatives. Some, like the ones from the VP-45 crash, were buried at a National Cemetery in a common grave.
It took a long time to fmd that Calder was buried with his crew at the Rock Island County National Cemetery at Rock Island (an island in the Mississippi River) near Davenport, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois. The cemetery had no next-of-kin listed. The research was assisted by The Naval Historical Center, National Archives Records Center at College Park, MD, National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Office of Records Service in Washing- ton, D.C., Veterans Administration Office serving Berkeley, CA (location of Mrs. Atkinson at time of crash), some of the Association members who were in VP-45 at the time of the crash, Arlington National Cemetery, and others. Bits of data were gleaned from old records but no good information that might lead to another source or more definitive data.
Finally, a letter to the Veterans Administration requesting Calder's file under the Freedom of In- formation Act was sent requesting the entire file- ( One should not do this unless one has lots and lots of time on their hands to wait for action, and a real need for the data -and can verify it! Ed. )
When the file arrived it weighed about five pounds and had letters to/from the surviving spouse about GI insurance, showing she had remarried several times and was probably deceased. There were quite a bit of data about Calder, from his joining the Navy to his demise, including his mother and father's ad- dress as well as an uncle -all in North Carolina. Searches by telephone book, Internet and other means turned up no family member or any leads to one. Everyone mentioned in the file was deceased and no relatives could be found.
By a stroke of luck, the Editor read an article in another publication that described how the Navy's Bureau of Personnel had a Navy Casualty Office and a Missing Persons Section that was active in researching old aircraft crashes and fmding relatives for those personnel casualties. An e-mail to BuPers was passed around until it arrived at the desk of Ken Terry, Pers 62CC, head of the Section. He sent an 800 number and asked for a call, since our situation was very interesting.
Had it not been for the response from Mr. Terry and the expertise of his office, we would not be writing this article. Although we were advised not to get hopes up, his office had developed various means of finding people in such situations; that it may take awhile but don't give up.
The search was having a hard time finding any surviving next-of-kin. The same results as previous research seemed to lead to only dead ends. That is, until a very perceptive LCDR named Norris Powell tried looking for relatives with a surname of Calder. Bingo! One telephone call led to another and several relatives have been located in the Calder line, LCDR Atkinson's mother's maiden name, and one in the Atkinson.
Preliminary information indicates there will be a family memorial next year and the ID tag may play a part. One relative sent this sentence which was relayed by BuPers, "She welcomes the attendance/ participation of members of Patrol Squadron Four Five Association at this Memorial."
When more details become available, they will be included in the next newsletter.
MISHAPs: 27 AUG 44 A/C: PBY-5A Location: At sea off Brazil Strike: Yes BUNO: 33961 Cause: While on a training flight from the Island of Fernando Noronha, Brazil, pilot became lost while practicing on instruments and flying above a .5 overcast on the Fernando Noronha Radio Range. it was neccessary to force land due to fuel exhaustion and being lost. The plane sustained such sever damage on hull, that the plane sank twenty minutes after it landed. Crew rescued OK. Pilot Lt(jg) Jerome C. Emory A-V(N) USNR, NE S. Rodney A. Rice USNR, Amm1c Richard Perry USN, Rm2c Thomas E. McMahon USNR, and Aom2c Gregory P. Klodzinski USNR. Contributed by Terry email@example.com [12AUG2001]
MISHAPs: 17 MAR 45 A/C: PBY-5A Location: Ascension Island, South Atlantic Strike: Yes BUNO: 46525 Cause: Night take-off on a authorized operational mission from Wideawake Field, Ascension Island. 1380 gallons of gasoline and 4 x 350lb Mk.41 depth charges were aboard. Wind 16-knots from 159deg mag; runway in use was 139deg.mag. Cross wind was apparently not corrected for and the plane drifted toward the left side of the runway as it continued the take-off run. Slightly before becoming airborne, port wing tip struck a fifteen foot vertical embankment on the left side of the runway. The outer eight feet of the port wing folded back, plane climbed the embankment and cart wheeled over onto its back. Three bombs were thrown clear. The fourth remained in the wreckage, but did not explode. "Completely Demolished" Pilot Lt Walter M. Soehner USNR/Killed, Lt Frank O.Warner A-V(N) USNR/Killed, Ens Rodney A. Rice A-V(N) USNR/Killed, Rm3c Dick West/Killed, Rm2c Lionel H. Delacroix/Killed, Arn2c George A. Sharley/Seriously inj, Aom1c Dolon L. Lack/Seriously inj, and Amm3c John R. Curtis/Minor inj. Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [18AUG2001]
Ens Rodney Rice "...I have just found some information about my uncle, Ens Rodney Rice, who was killed during take off on Ascension Island in 1945..." Contributed by Marc Rice Mrakich email@example.com [12JAN2012]
MISHAPs: 15 AUG 50 A/C: PBM-5S Location: FL, PENSACOLA NAS PENSA Strike: No BUNO: 85151 Cause: SEAPLANE APRON IMPROPERLY CHOCKED BROKE LOOSE Contributed by Terry firstname.lastname@example.org [17MAR98]
VP-45 Mishap "...Over The Sea Wall - Page 30 - Naval Aviation News - December 1950..." WebSite: http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/1950s/1950/dec50.pdf [22JUL2004]
MISHAPs: 22 SEP 61 A/C: P5M-2 Location: 3510N 6510W Strike: Yes BUNO: 140144 Lost were: LCDR A.J. Tait Pilot, LT(jg) R.F. Carroll Nav, LT(jg) C.P. Cooper TACCO, ADR2 C.R. Dunaway Plane Captain, AT2 D.W. Wood 2nd Tech, AE3 E.D. Thompson Electrician, and AO3 C. Turner Ordnanceman. [30OCT2000]
"...On 22 September 1961, a VP-45 P5M S-2 crash-landed in the ocean 178 miles north of Bermuda. Crewmembers Robert Carroll, Cameron Cooper, Charles Dunaway, Lieutenant Commander Albert J. Tait, Erwin Thompson, Charles Turner and David Wood, all Bermuda-based, perished. The 3 survivors were rescued by my Dad, Captain Arthur Knight, aboard the U.S. Merchant cargo ship USS African Pilot. I would like to get more information concerning this incident. If anyone has information, please contact me. Thanks...LtCol Stephen Breen USMC email@example.com..." [08OCT2005]
"...VP-45 I can hardly believe the P5M on 22sep61 crashed on the coordinates given, as these are in the middle of Afghanistan, which was then still under the firm influence of the Soviet Union..." Contributed by Jan van Waarde firstname.lastname@example.org, Navy/USMC/USCG/NASA Updates Editor WebSite: http://www.scramble.nl Dutch Aviation Society / Scramble [01DEC2004]
"...Of the three survivors, one has since passed away. The other survivor and myself are in close contact..." Contributed by P. J. Imhof email@example.com [30OCT2000]
MISHAPs: 17 NOV 64 A/C: P3 LOCATION: Argentia Bay, Newfoundland TYPE: Collision Water STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 10 BUNO: 151362 CAUSE: Gen Fail SEE: In Memorial for lost friends...
In Memorial for lost friends Air Tragedy at Argentia; Recovery Ops Continue 17NOV64 [Last Updated 04SEP2011]
MISHAPs: 02 JUN 69 A/C: P3 LOCATION: NAS Adak, Alaska TYPE: Abort/Run Off RW STRIKE: Yes DEATHS: 00 BUNO: 151363 CAUSE: Pilot
"...I served with VP-45 (11/67-10/1969). I flew with Crew-23 as primary Radar/Mad and secondary Radios. Was aboard LN-20 as a passenger on June 2nd, 1969 at NAS Adak, Alaska along with about fifteen other guys. I guess we were all lucky (Aborted take-off - aircraft lost) that morning..." Contributed by SIEGEL, AX3 Richard "Dick" firstname.lastname@example.org [09DEC2012]
"...I served with VP-45 (pilot) from 1966 to 1969. I was the normal copilot and a rated PPC on the NAS Adak, Alaska mishap on June 2, 1969. I am interested in getting in touch with LT William R. Dailey the TACCO on Crew-20 that was also on the aircraft that day. Additionally, this an article that I wrote for the Pelican Post in the mid 90's. The article concentrated on what happened to me during the accident..." Contributed by HARTL, Robert email@example.com [30JAN2010]
It was early in the morning on June 2, 1969. My squadron, PATRON FOUR- FIVE, was returning from NS Sangley Point, Philippines, where we had been deployed for six months in support of the Armed Forces in the Vietnam conflict. I was in the lead aircraft of a three aircraft formation departing from NAS Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Island chain flying to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, our home base in the United States. Sixteen men were onboard each aircraft, all P-3A Orion. I was 26 years of age and the crew's normal co-pilot, but on this day I was a passenger occupying the navigator's seat. The crew's aircraft commander was in the right pilot seat and the pilot-navigator occupied the left seat.
The pilots positioned our aircraft on the runway for takeoff. Looking out the window from my seat, the navigator's station, the sun's first light was illuminating the hills. Knowing this was the last leg in a six month deployment filled all of the crew's minds and was reflected on all of our excited faces. We were strapped into our ditching stations as the pilots advanced the power levers to takeoff thrust. 12,000 plus shaft horsepower came on line as the four big props bit into the morning air. There was a lurch and a roar as we began our acceleration up to an airspeed of about 140 miles per hour, our takeoff speed. Suddenly, there was an unexpected explosion followed shortly by silence as the engines were transitioning from full forward thrust to reverse thrust. As I looked over my shoulder toward the cockpit I saw that our second flight engineer "Frenchy" Lavigne had unfastened his seat belt and was attempting to assist with the emergency. As suddenly as "Frenchy" got up he just as suddenly whirled and returned to his ditching station wearing a terrified face. I could feel the aircraft decelerate slightly and I fearfully sensed that the cockpit situation was deteriorating rapidly. Almost simultaneously there was a lurching of the aircraft. Later, I learned that at that time we were leaving the runway at about 120 miles per hour. My heart stopped as I saw orange flashes of light illuminating the inside of the cabin. The flashing was caused by electrical sparks and fuel when it ignited into a tremendous fire as the right wing of the aircraft was being ripped off of the aircraft. Finally, the movement and noise stopped and there was silence.
The adrenaline was flowing as I spotted one of my fellow crew members running toward an overwing exit. My friend, tactical coordinator Bill Dailey and I ran toward the same door and we arrived in the opening simultaneously. As we attempted to squirm through the small exit I realized that one of us had to take a step back. The slapstick scene ended when I gave him a push out of the door onto the left wing. There was still a tremendous roar as the number two engine on the remaining wing was running at near full power. Bill was immediately blown off of the wing on to the ground. What I had not realized was that the power levers were in full reverse. Fortunately, the prop was in a forward thrust situation, the result of a pitchlock condition. Had the prop been in reverse, we would have been pulled into the blades instead of being blown off of the wing. I also jumped on the wing and was blown off the wing on to the tundra.
I tried to stand up but was immediately blown down on the ground by propwash. I crawled about twenty feet, until I could stand up and then ran about another seventy-five feet away from the airplane. I looked back and saw the huge furrow marks the wheels and landing gear had made in the ground. The aircraft was being consumed by flames as huge columns of black smoke rose up into the air. Fire trucks arrived in a short time. The firemen shot great streams of white foam on the flaming wreckage in front of our stunned faces and in a short time extinguished the fire.
A bus was dispatched to the crash scene and the crew (all survived with no injuries thanks to a strict PPC who insisted on every man occupying a ditching station) was whisked off to the hangar from which we had departed earlier.
Ours was the lead aircraft in the three ship takeoff, so our fellow squadron mates had watched us depart the runway and transition into a ball of fire. Slowly, they taxied their aircraft back to the same hangar where we had been taken, anticipating solemn funeral arrangements. What joy on their faces as they saw us all, alive! There was euphoric hugging and tears as they greeted us, "back from the dead."
Naturally, I have reflected on this incident from time to time. I have thought of the men and how they felt; the sadness of loosing an airplane and the righteous looks from some of my fellow squadron mates as it came time to assign the blame. However, what stands out to me was the camaraderie of most of the men in the squadron as they helped the crew overcome our fears of returning to flying. As the aircraft we flew are now being crunched into scrap metal in the "Boneyard", that redemption seems small in comparison to the inspirational behavior of my fellow squadron mates who helped us on with our lives.
P.S. It took several years for my fear of flying to dissipate. I resumed my flying duties shortly after the accident with VP-45 and later became an airline pilot for Delta Airlines, Inc. I am presently flying as Captain on the L-1011 in Atlanta… and 2 June 1969 is only a memory.
"...I found these photos of VP-45's P-3A BUNO: 151363 that crashed at NAS Adak, Alaska..." Contributed by NETTLES, Bullet Bob firstname.lastname@example.org [30JAN2006]
"...VP-45 I think the P-3 crash at Adak happened on 02JUN69. It was struck off charge on 05jun69. At least, those are the dates on the official Navy records!..." Contributed by Jan van Waarde email@example.com, Navy/USMC/USCG/NASA Updates Editor WebSite: http://www.scramble.nl Dutch Aviation Society / Scramble [01DEC2004]
NAS Adak "...Taken in late 1971 this shot at NAS Adak, Alaska shows The Communication Station Hill, with all the antenna's! Also the burned out wreckage of VP-45's P3A BUNO: 151363 (LN-20) is visible to the lower left! This P-3 crashed on takeoff from NAS Adak, Alaska in June of 1969, all crewmembers got out safe..." Contributed by NETTLES, Bullet Bob firstname.lastname@example.org [27FEB2003]
"...VP-45 aborted takeoff accident 6-3-69 at NAS Adak, Alaska BuNo 151363 LN-20 More info about that accident. The pitchlock reset CB's on the flt ess DC had ben pulled the night before, IAW the MRC for securing the airplane in a high wind situation. We were on our way back to NAS Jacksonville, Florida from our 6 month deployment in support of operation Market Time around the coast of Viet Nam. The CB's were not reset in the morning, due to a crew error. The pilot in left seat was making the takeoff, at rotate speed he pulled the nose off the ground and the smoke hatch blew open, the PPC in the right elected to abort the takeoff, and put the power levers straight into reverse, the indications in the cockpit were low FF, low TIT, 0 SHP, and near 100% RPM. Classic decouple, we never looked for beta lights like the civilians do in the Electra, which would have indicated a pitchlock situation. So we assumed a decouple and attemmted to stop the airplane with brakes, as we slowed the SHP increased and the speed didn't, so the PPC elected to go off the left side of the runway instead of straight ahead into the ocean. We went through a ditch in a right yaw and the right wing seperated from the airplane and burst into flame. The PPC commanded all four engines be E-handled as we left the runway and the FE grabbed 1 & 4 and pulled them, only to have the #4 E-handle come all the way out of the glare shield with about 6-7 feet of cable. The right wing was no longer atached to the airplane. When we stopped #2 was still running as we started to leave the airplane. The cockpit crew went out the cockpit escape hatch, which was about 8 ft off the ground head first. We all gathered on a hill behind the airplane and watched it burn. The fire crew arrived and was working on the fire. A school bus came by and stopped, we assumed it had been sent by Base Ops so we all got on and rode back to the hanger...Randy Hotton email@example.com..." [09APR2000]
"...Attached are photo's of the VP-45 P-3 that aborted a takeoff at NAS Adak, Alaska, ran off the runway and burned (all got out OK). The fire in the photo was from a fire fighting class being held out in front of the old burned our bird. I took this photo when in NAS Adak, Alaska probably in 1971 or maybe 72..." Contributed by Larry Forney (AW3) firstname.lastname@example.org
"...I was stationed in NAS Adak, Alaska from March '69 to June '70 as a GCA controller, AC2. In June of '69, I witnessed the immediate after-effects of the P-3 takeoff/abort mishap (See 06 JUN 69 VP-45). I had a front-row seat, as I was in the GCA hut next to the departure runway. It was about 5:00 am as I recall, and I was asleep while my Shipmate answered the call from tower to conduct a "GCA trackout" for a couple of departing P3's. Next thing I know, he's shaking me awake and saying "Hey, Larry, didja ever see a P-3 burn?" I was scared, and ran to the door. I could actually feel the radiant heat from the P3 as it burned brightly, lighting the pre-dawn Alaskan overcast sky. All I could think of was "Did they get out?" The fact is, yes, they all escaped. But it could have been a much worse tragedy, for the entire crew ran a few hundred feet to an empty military schoolbus that was halted by stop lights where the departure end of the runway abutted the access road to our COMSTA. They told the astonished driver to take them back to the hangar, and the crash/rescue vehicles arrived at the crash, not knowing that all occupants were safely out of danger. It took a few frantic minutes to learn the good news, but the rescuers could have been injured trying to enter a safely-evacuated burning A/C. The scuttlebutt on the abort involved an improperly latched cockpit hatch that came open dramatically, an election to abort, and an inability to stop in the remaining distance to the end of the runway/access road/freezing cold bay water. I believe the pilot probably executed an intentional ground-loop, with an induced wing strike, fuel tank rupture, and who knows what else. It was the worst wake-up call I EVER wanna have!..." Contributed by Larry Bruce IndianTrix@aol.com [19JUL98]
"VP-45 Summary Page"