VPNAVY VP-9 Mishap - Soviet Shot Down 22JUN55 - No Loss Of Life
VPNAVY Address

MishapVP-56 MishapMishap


Mishaps 09 APR 55 A/C: P5M-1 P5M Location: Willoughby Bay Unknown Strike: YES BUNO: Unknown

UPDATE "...I am one of the last 2 survivor's of the VP-56 P5M April 9th, 1955 mishap. I was on the panel when we started the fatal take off. I served with VP-56 from 1952 to 1957 and then transfer'd to VR-24 in NAF Naples, Italy. I would like to hear from former Shipmates. REED, AL1 Jack jackreedsr@hotmail.com..." [06SEP2009]

UPDATE "...I was on watch the nite we lost our plane on the seawall. Howell ao3 was killed that nite taking my place on that flight while I stood his ramp watch..." Contributed by HANSON, AO3 Donald R. krunchbird@prodigy.net [10MAR2005]

UPDATE "...VP-56 Mishap ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...Newsletter Article..." Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [03FEB2002]

UPDATE "...VP-56 Mishap ThumbnailCameraMishap Photo Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [02FEB2002]

UPDATE "...VP-56 Mishap ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...Newsletter Article..." Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [02FEB2002]

UPDATE "...The names of Cougling AT3 and Pusstinger AT are there. Barnes AT3 also died in that crash..." Contributed by KOONTS, AT2 Billy billkoonts@aol.com [26AUG2001]

UPDATE "...In April 1955, lost a plane and four crewmembers when it porpoised into the seawall, on a calm, dark night without luminated sealane lights. It was on either Good Friday, or the Saturday before Easter. The four crewmembers that were killed were down and in the after-station where they went for landings and takeoffs. These were usually the two ordnancemen and the two electronics technicians. I recal the names of Richard Couglin AT3 and Pusstinger AT3. Until recently, I remembered the names of the AO's also. One of them was Claude Howell and he was from West Virginia. Morgantown I think. I was mess cooking at the time but was recalled to replace one of the AT's. The concept that went around from those in the know is, the sealane lights weren't on. The bay was as smooth as glass and they couldn't seem to break the suction for take-off. They started to porpoise and "thought " they saw the sealanes and headed for them. What they found out was, they mistook the runway lights for the sealane lights. The big mystery for a long time was how they got between the corner of the seawall and the crash boat marina. When the pilot/co-pilot realized their mistake, one of them chopped the throttles, and the other jammed them forward, causing the plane to kind of jump. When it did, the plane caught the seawall, lined up with the runway, and sheared off the bottom of the plane, from just below the flight deck, aft. The complete tail section was sheared off and was sent down the runway, and came to rest not too far from the impact point. As I am writing this, I become more convinced that this occurred on the Saturday night before Easter. The plane was a P5M-1. One of the officer's names, if I recall is Pimm. Kline I am not sure about. AD3 Huffman was one of the mech's. AL1 Jack Reed was on the panel..." Contributed by Carlo Iachini (Ike) Shu10933@aol.com [19DEC2000]

UPDATE "...VP-56 (activated from VP-661) stationed at Breezy Point in Norfolk VA had a VP Mishap that burned into my memory. I can't remember the exact date but it was between 1952 and 1955...The seaplane taking off at night on Willoughby Bay began porposing and in going to instruments the pilot lost his direction and headed toward the concrete seawall. He pulled up on the controls and crashed the sea wall shearing off the bottom of the plane just below the flight deck luckily sparing the eight on the flight deck but crushing and killing the 4 enlisted men in the aft of the seaplane...We walked down from our barracks at SP 29 and watched them extract the bodies. The furneral for one was held at the Hampton Roads Military cemetery with full squadron and marines with taps bringing tears to our eyes and our fellow flier was buried...Sorry I cant give you the exact date..." Contributed by Lou LeConte wleconte2@gmail.com [28SEP98]

MishapsMISHAPs: 11 NOV 56 A/C: Unknown Location: NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal Strike: Yes BUNO: Unknown Deaths: 4 Cause: Crashed on takeoff. "...I was a radioman attached to VP-44 stationed at NAS Norfolk, Virginia from mid 1955 to mid 1957. On November 11, 1956 I was part of a crew that crashed on takeoff in the Azores which resulted in the loss of 4 crew members..." Contributed by Carl E. Klinger hotelsun@juno.com [14JAN2001]

UPDATE "...Attached are photos of the VP-56 crash at the end of our Med Cruise in 1956. Following is the narrative for the photos. The sequence is #1 P5M Crash & Currituck....#2 P5M Takeoff....#3 P5M Burning...#4 Crash Memorial..." Contributed by GERALDI, Dr. AT3 Vince v.geraldi@verizon.net [06AUG2013]

In November 1956, our Medcruise was about to end. By all accounts it had been a completesuccess. Marlins had been hoisted onto the Currituck's deckthirty-two times (often two on deck at the same time). Nearly 340,000 gallons of aviation fuel had been pumped by boat onto the planes as they bobbed on the buoys. A total of 1,350 flight hours had beenlogged. All without incident.

On November 11, the first of our“boats” would be taking off from Horta Bay, in the NAF Lajes, Azores, Portugal, for the trip back to NAS Norfolk, Virginia via NAS Bermuda. I went top-side to watchflight ops as I often did. I loved to watch the Marlins skipping over the water, rising onto the "step", and then gently lifting airborne after what seemed to be a marathon run instead of a sprint. That day was a little different however.

Our sister squadron, VP-44 (housed in the same NAS Norfolk, Virginia hanger as VP-56), had sent a volunteerrelief crew to take the first of our P5's back home. The strategywas to have three VP-44 crews take the first three aircraft back homewhile giving the three VP-56 crews a full rest before they took thenext three planes home and so on. By staggering the crews in this manner, it was felt that each VP-56 crew would be in top shape to return the remaining nine Marlins back home (see http://www.VP44goldenpelicans.com/history for an excellent recounting of the incident).

The weather, to the best of my recollection, was sunny and moderate. The sea appeared to be relatively calm. All seemed right for a normal departure. The Marlin (BUNO: 135518), fully loaded and weighing upwards of 80,000 lbs. left the buoy with LT Donald E. Brunner of VP-44 piloting. After maneuvering the sea lane a few times, he began his take offrun at about 1440 hours. As I watched, the plane began to bounce and pitch erratically and then the JATO bottles were engaged. The P5M began to porpoise,and after about the third huge bounce, left the water fully nose-up, fell back on its tail, broke apart and exploded. Because the plane had a full load of fuel for the long flight home, the blaze was intense. The crash boats took off towards the crash site to assist and/or recoverany survivors. I was stunned. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing.

Several days later, on the USS Currituck (AV-7)'s aft deck, an all hands muster (including the wheelchair bound LT Brunner) paid theirrespects to the four VP-44 crewmen who lost their lives in the crash....Charles Hoke, AD1...Richard Knight, AD3...Basil Jakelski,AO3...Jack Smelley, AT3.

While the memory of that memorial serviceis not as clear to me as it had once been, a photo of that service inthe Cruise Book, along with the attached crash photos serve as grim reminders of that tragic day.

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

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...Shipmates, Ed Storey and Ted Rogers (VP-56 1962-65), found a section in a recently released book entitled, The Martin P5M Patrol Seaplane, by Capt. Richard Hoffman USN (Ret.) that dealt with this crash in great detail.. In fact, it answered the question of why there was a VP-44 crew flying the plane. The whole story is incredible and scary. This info was forwarded to the VP-44 group and then to me..." Contributed by STUPKA, Bill wrstupka@gate.net [15JUN2007]

UPDATE History ThumbnailCameraMishap Article "...A lot of email flew back and forth..." Contributed by STUPKA, Bill wrstupka@gate.net [31MAY2007]

A lot of email flew back and forth last October about the VP-44 Azores crash in Nov 1956 and the claim, in VP-44's Mishaps section, (later proven true) that the plane was, supposedly a VP-56 aircraft. VPNavy's historian found the crash report and showed that the crew was from VP-44 and the aircraft was VP-56. However, we never found out the why of those strange circumstances.

We still haven't found out the why, but a good of friend of mine that lives in Norfolk, and is an alumni of FASRON-102 in the early '50's and NAS Norfolk, Virginia's O and R facility as a civilian, has provided us with quite a bit more detail about the incident. My friend went the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot Newspaper and searched their archives for an article about the crash, and he found it. This information is relevant to VP-44 and VP-56.

There is quite a bit of detail about the crash and the circumstances. The article clearly states that a VP-44 crew was deployed to the Med to fly the VP-56 aircraft back to Norfolk. To actually answer the lingering question of why a VP-44 crew was sent to fly the plane back will probably take an input from a surviving crewmember.

We now, definitely, know what happened, but we still don't know why.

UPDATE "...VPI Book of Remembrance - Honour Roll- United States - VPInternational http://www.vpinternational.ca/BOOK/honour_roll/HonourRollUS/page21.html..." Contributed by McKEARNEY, PO2 James mckearney@alumni.pitt.edu[19OCT2006]
11-Nov-56  	VP-44  	P5M-2  	Azores
		AD1 	C.H. 	Hoke 	
		AO3 	B.M. 	Jakelski 	
		AD3 	R.L. 	Knight 	
		AT3 	J.A. 	Smelley

UPDATE "...The November 11, 1956 crash purported to be a VP-44 Martin Marlin was in fact Marlin number EH-11 of VP-56. Included are three images, two are of aircraft EH-10 being hoisted by crane on USS Currituck (AV-7) and one is an image of the EH-11 burning on the water in the Azores...John Dupre' jdupre5762@aol.com..." [25MAR2006]
History - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge ThumbnailHistory - Tap To Enlarge Thumbnail

UPDATE "...I am interested in the P5M Marlin crash in the Azores in November 1956. My father in law was a crew member of the USS Currituck (AV-7) and remembers the crash. There is a tantalizing reference to it on the VP-44 Mishap section but I can't find the full account...John Dupre' jdupre5762@aol.com..." [14NOV2004]

Mishaps 27 JAN 59 A/C: P5M-2P5M Location: Unknown Strike: YES BUNO: Unknown

UPDATE "...VP-56 P5M-2 accident on 26-27 January 1958 - It is amazing to me to read the incorrect accounts of this accident. At the time, I was a young LTjg, (a qualified 2P, on loan from Crew 8 to 7) and acting navigator aboard P5M-2. Buno 135529 "LQ-7". We took off from Willouhby Bay (NAS Norfolk, Virginia Seadrome)late on the night of 26 January as a "back-up" for another VP-56 aircraft that aborted a Task Group Bravo (Hunter/Killer) mission. About an hour and a half into the flight, en-route to our roundesvous with the Task Group, AT1 Wall, who was manning the electrical panel, reported electrical syptoms that indicated a problem with the STARBOARD Sundstrand Unit. AD1 Wease (the plane captain) and I confirmed that sundstrand fluid was coming over the top of the starboard wing, behind the engine nacelle, a sure sign of sundstrand malfunction. At that time, because the Sundstrand Unit was directly connected to the engine (the Sundstrand Unit permitted the AC generator to run at constant speed regardless of engine RPM) the only procedure to keep the Sundstrand Unit from disintegrating, was to feather the engine. Accordingly the STARBOARD engine was feathered, the drop tank jettisoned, an emergency declared and we proceeded back to NAS Norfolk, Virginia. En-route to NAS Norfolk, Virginia we were advised that the Seadrome was below limits for an ASR approach. There was no alternative but to continue back to NAS Norfolk, Virginia and hope the weather improved. The crew was ordered to ditching stations. Upon arrival, weather conditions had not improved and we proceeded into an ASR approach. During the approach the cockpit did not make visual contact with the Seadrome approach lights and executed a single engine wave-off. On the down-wind leg of the second approach, (desired altitude 500 ft.) we couldn't get above 300 ft. The ASR unit, concerned about our altitude, turned us onto a short final to "avoid the radio towers at Newport News". Turning into the "good" engine we were wide and short on final. The flight deck suddenly was illuminated with flashing yellow/orange light (from the newly installed sealane approach lighting". The aircraft impacted the water left wing down and nose low. It flipped over and broke apart into three major pieces. The cockpit/nose section, the wing and the rest of the aircraft. Bill Wease and I surfaced and clung to some wreckage, while other crewmen who were seated behind us on the flight deck were thrown down the sealane. We were all rescued from the frigid water by squadron mates who augmented the Crash Boat and PBR crews. The fatalities were Cdr Murphy (the Plane Commander and XO of the squadron); Ltjg Dave Utter (Co-pilot); Cdr Cagle (prospective XO and seated next to me at the radar station on the flight deck) and ATC Knudson seated at the Electrical Panel. Interesting to note: Chief Knudson was on his last flight before his retirement. Somewhere en-route back to Norfolk, when the crew took up ditching stations, Chief Knudt told AT1 Wall to let him, Knudson, man the Electrical Panel, because Wall at 6 ft 2 plus was too big and might not be able to get out of the station if "something happened." Because the actual crash occurred in the early morning, the actual date of the incident was January 27, 1959...GRANDJEAN, CAPTAIN Charles Retired..." [06DEC2004]

UPDATE "...VP-56 The P5M-2 that crashed on 27jan59 was 135529..." Contributed by Jan van Waarde jwaarde@chello.nl, Navy/USMC/USCG/NASA Updates Editor WebSite: http://www.scramble.nl Dutch Aviation Society / Scramble [02DEC2004]

UPDATE "...1959/1960 crash of VP-56 P5M, LQ-7 - I 'm not sure of the date but 1959 seems right The cause was a failure of the port Sundstrand unit hydraulics, which required an engine shut down to avoid igniting a magnesium fire in the Sundstrand. CDR Murphy (VP-56 XO at the time) was left seat for the landing, LT Dave Utter, the normal plane commander, was right seat. On final, the aircraft slowed below single engine control speed and yawed just before touchdown. The impact ripped out the bow, and the cockpit collapsed and was crushed. The wing rolled off the aircraft as a unit. Casualties also included a newly arrived potential XO (once CDR Murphy moved to CO) who was in the radar seat, and an enlisted man in the after station. whose name I can't remember now.

I was the VP-56 Duty Officer the night of the crash, and had followed via radio the entire return flight of the aircraft. I also helped reconstruct the aircraft's flight path for the subsequent accident investigation.

As a result of the accident, all P5M's were retrofitted with Sundstrand disconnect units..." Contributed by Earl Benser ehbenser@bellsouth.net Ex-LT USN..." [29MAY2004]

UPDATE "...You show a P5M crashing in 1959. January 27. I was in VP-56 from 11/57 until 6/60. I flew as aircrew Radioman then First Tech in Crew 5. (I came back in 9/65 and remained until 8/66 in crew 12.) I think the '59 date is in error. The crash was in ''60. While on patrol the port engine of 7 boat failed. It was feathered and the crew brought the aircraft back to Norfolk where it encountered early morning fog. While landing the aircraft dipped its port wing into the water, causing the aircraft to cartwheel, tearing it apart. I can't remember all of the names, but the Pilot was our XO, Cdr Murphy. Both he and the co pilot was killed. An ATC, whose name was, I think, Murphy was also killed. Strangely enough, a friend of mine, Dick Simmons who was Radioman for the school was TAD to school and didn't make the flight. He later was killed in a crash in the Antarctica. J. Lewis JLewis7045@aol.com..." [11MAR2002]

UPDATE "...Under blue skies and light winds, 150 USN aircrew were inducted into the VP International Book of Remembrance during a ceremony held at the VPI Memorial at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Except for the USN aircrew who died in the Mishaps identified below, we believe that the Book of Remembrance contains the names of all Maritime Patrol aircrew who died during MP flying duties since 1 January 1947. The names of 1602 aircrew are recorded.

We ask all visitors to this site to review these Mishaps and if possible provide us with names so that they may be recorded in the Book of Remembrance:

11 May 64/VP-7/P2V/10 fatalities/ Rota Spain
27 Jul 65/VP-16/P-3/4 fatalities/ Bermuda/BuNo 151380

We have identified two aircrew for the following Mishaps:

27 Jan 59/VP-56/P5M/4 fatalities/ Willoughby Bay, Virginia/ CDR R.J. Murphy
4 Jul 66/VP-19/P-3A/4 fatalities/ Battle Creek, Michigan/BuNo 152172, PE-5/LT W.E.Xiques

Please send any information to Norm Donovan n.don@ns.sympatico.ca, VPI Compiler..." [18OCT2000]


MishapsMISHAPs: 21 JUL 64 A/C P2V-7P Neptune Location: NAS Norfolk, Virginia Strike: Yes BUNO: 145922 Deaths: 00 {BUNO Added 20APR2012]

UPDATE "...The "unknown" BUNO was 145922. Reason I know is that my Dad, PO George J. DeGidio Jr., was aboard..." Contributd by Chris DeGidio cpd6200@yahoo.com [20APR2012]

UPDATE "...Attached is a scanned copy of the newspaper article concerning the crash of VP-56 P2V Neptune LQ-8 that happened on July 21, 1964. Also attached are a couple photos of the crashed P2V on the runway. This crash happened July 21, 1964. That was the day before I left VP-56 and got out of the Navy. The VP-56 P2V crashed on landing at NAS Norfolk, Va. All of Crew #8 survived the crash, but some had serious injurys mostly due to burns. Even though this wasn't the crew I flew with, I did know some of them. I never knew if everyone recovered from their injuries..." Contributed by MORGAN, ATR3 Larry S. morgan220@bellsouth.net [29MAY2011] [29MAY2011]

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

MishapsMISHAPs: 00 FEB 67 A/C P2V-7P Neptune(LQ12) BUNO: 147951 LOCATION: NS Roosevelt Roads, PR DEATHS: 00 TYPE: Blown tire on landing and skidded off runway, the search light took quite a beating in the dirt SRIKE: No Contributed by DANA A. SANDLEBEN dasme@comcast.net [28DEC97]

UPDATE "...I was on Crew 12 and I was on board in the Radiomans seat..." Contributed by DANA A. SANDLEBEN dasme@comcast.net [28DEC97]

"VP-56 Summary Page"