KC135 Accident - Walker AFB (near Roswell NM) Feb 3rd, 1960

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by vikingBerserker, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    My dad spent 33 years in the USAF and was stationed at Walker AFB near Roswell NM in 1960. He was working Crash and Rescue on the Flight Line while a Pilot In Training was taking off on a training mission flying a fully loaded KC-135A Tanker with 31k gallons of aviation fuel. The official story:

    "The 6th Air Refueling Squadron, flying early-model KC-135A aircraft, was assigned to Walker AFB from 3 January 1958. On 3 February 1960, a "short-tail" (non-hydraulic-power-assisted rudder) KC-135A crashed during takeoff in strong and gusty crosswinds. The pilot failed to maintain directional control, rotated the aircraft 5-10 knots too early and the aircraft settled onto the dirt apron of the runway, shed two engines, plowed through the aircraft parking area and came to rest in an aircraft hangar. This single crash resulted in the destruction of three KC-135 aircraft and the deaths of eight military personnel"

    My dad said the Fire Dept of the town of Roswell responded open seeing the smoke as they thought the entire base was on fire. It took both them and the entire Base's Fire Dept to finally put out the fire. There were very little of the planes left. Below are the pics my dad has:
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,719
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
    #2 Aaron Brooks Wolters, Feb 26, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
    WOW! :salute: to your dad VB. Interesting story. Thank you for the post.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Very Interesting!!!!

    Your dad have more pics of the base during when he served there?
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Yea, but I'm still waiting to get my hands on them. I was expecting pics of his Rescue Chopper but was sent these instead - which I'd never seen at all before. I'll post more soon hopefully.
     
  5. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Dang. 31,000 gallons of fuel....that's gonna take a while to put out!
     
  6. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    14,953
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    model builder
    Location:
    Revis Island.
    Wow! Great story VB!

    Are you sureeeeee it was UFO's though :lol:
     
  7. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    43
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    CNC Machinist/Programmer
    Location:
    Corona, California
    Home Page:
    Great pictures VB. :thumbup:


    Wheels
     
  8. jackie price

    jackie price New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Love this article, it has been 50 years since this happened. My dad,Tech.Sgt. Carlton Price, was in the hanger when the crash occured and he was blown from the hangar and flown to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 55 per cent of his body where he died on March 17, 1960. I would love to see any more pictures that you have.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Dans65

    Dans65 Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Occupation:
    ac mx controller
    Location:
    Arlington, Va.
    Thanks VB,
    I would love to see more pictures myself. I used to work on KC-135Rs in the beginning of 2k and on one support msn in the C-141, we went to that base (now Roswell Industrial Air Park) as a overnight stopover and got a really great tour of the town and facility. I was wondering if you know exactly where this hangar was, and what runway it came down on. Now when I was on the crash recovery team with my unit, we had afew incidences that was (not aircraft error) steered off the runway on both take-off landing rolls...I guess I'm the cat who got curious about this. There is a back-up hydraulic system for emergency brake pressure that only the co-pilot can control. Once the switch is thrown on the control panel in front of the co-pilots seat. He alone has the power to stop, but, the bad side of this is, no anti-brakes, which means, wheels are going to lock up hard. And if it was me under those conditions, I'll be in that hangar with those brave men as well.

    JP, my deepest condolences for your father's passing back then, and I want to thank you (for him) for serving our country during the cold war. We were close to a nuclear war more than the public really knows.

    Thanks again for posting this thread, I hope I didn't overstep my bounds here.

    Dan
     
  10. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Messages:
    20,140
    Likes Received:
    54
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Engineer
    Location:
    Washington State
    Not whatsoever, Dan. Good post.
     
  11. younger1125

    younger1125 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I had an uncle there. I was told he pulled out men from the third hanger but as he returned for the last few, that hanger blew. I have hit brick walls for three years. His name was Raymond Wesley Brooks and I am trying to get a metal for his two boys who were infants at the time. They are great men now and they both build churches in Romania with the profits from their business. I would love some help if any one can remember.
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    :salute: to your uncle younger, I checked with my dad and he did nto recognize the name. I wish you the best in luck for getting though as he certainly deserves it.
     
  13. Vince59

    Vince59 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    #13 Vince59, Aug 20, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
    I was very surprised to find this information concerning the KC-135 Crash of Feb 1960. I was a young 19 year old Airmen stationed at Walker AFB at the time of this crash. I worked in the building directly across the street from the Hanger that was hit by the KC-135. The section I worked in was the 6th Bomb Wing Supply Group. I remember the crash quite well. We all exited our building from the back side which luckily was very near the Gate entrance to the flight line. The first picture of the crash that is posted here shows what I beleive is the back side of the Hanger that faced our building. The reason I think it is the back side is that when we first consolidated all the wing supply groups from the squadron level in 1959 our part of the Wing Supply group was located in the top of that hanger. We used to climb those stairs that are shown up to our work area. After a few months we moved over to the building across the street. I have often thought that if it were not for us moving and the fact of that Hanger blocking us the KC-135 might have continued on into our old WW2 Type Wooden Building across the street. Back in 1998 I wrote the Air Force for information about this crash. They provided me with what was the actual aircraft accident investigation report. Although some of it was blacked out it was interesting to read. Walker AFB near that point had started to become a combat training base for KC-135 and B-52 crews. The pilot flying the plane that day was a student pilot with an instructor pilot plus three other crew members. The reason for the crash as I remember was that the pilot lost control during takeoff due to high crosswinds. The other KC-135's he hit before hitting the Hanger were located near or in the 6th Air Refeuling Squadron area. That was my first encounter with a magnesium fire. I can still remember the thick white smoke coming from the burning planes. I was able to locate what I think is the crash area by viewing the Roswell Industrial Air Center using Google Earth. I was also able to locate the old barracks I used to live in that is now a civilian housing area. I have some photos and a newspaper clipping from the crash that I will try to post at a later time.

    Vince

    USAF 1958-1962
    Walker AFB, NM 1959-1961
    Indian Mt. AFS, AK 1961-1962
     
  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Very cool Vince! and welcome aboard!
     
  15. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    15,719
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Auto Restoration
    Location:
    Abingdon, VA.
    That is an interesting addition to this thread. Welcome to the forum Vince and thank you for your service sir.:salute:
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Messages:
    12,631
    Likes Received:
    309
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Good info Vince.
     
  17. dmonroe

    dmonroe New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I was very surprised to find this crash when I googled WalkerAFB. My father was a navigator on the B-52, 40th Bomb Sqdn. I was 14 at the time and remember the crash. The weather was terrible that day with strong winds. I just remember seeing the Base Chaplin along with a couple other officers make that dreaded visit to the family of one of the flight crew members down the street. Visited the base a couple of years ago and drove past where the hanger once stood. There was a 747 and several other aircraft parked on the site undergoing some restoration/salvage work. Vince, you are right, Google Earth shows the flightline where the hanger stood. Stands out because there were 3 or 4 similar hangers with a gap between them and a similar foundation. That was a very, very sad day...

    Duncan Monroe
    Air Force Brat
    Walker AFB
    1952-1967
    Great site! Just joined
     
  18. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Thanks for sharing that, and welcome aboard Duncan.
     
  19. Sweb

    Sweb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Mechanic
    Location:
    Florida
    Similar experience. B-47 crashes on base at Pease AFB, 1960-1963, 100th Bomb Wing. We lived at 31 Birch Drive in base housing. On two occasions there were terrible explosions and the night sky lit up. On both occasions my Pop was due home from what they called Reflex Missions to Brize Norton AB, England. They were sent out and came home in a Vee formation of three aircraft. Both times my Mom shot to the phone and called base operations to see who crashed. My Pop wasn't one of them but she would begin to cry because she learned which of her friends lost their husbands. We, as kids (I was 8 years old) learned which of our friends lost their Pops and knew they would move away. My Mom absolutely hated the military never saying one kind word about it. That early jet age killed many of her friend's husbands due to accidents and she lived in constant fear of my Pop being one of the statistics. Twenty years of living in fear like that are seldom chronicled in military journals. Military wives and families are different kinds of veterans, but veterans nonetheless.

    There were subsequent investigations of the above crashes, which I learned the results of years later from my Pop, with the key findings that, 1) Fast jet bombers required the skills of fighter pilots with regard to reaction times and keeping their heads out in front of the (high speed) airplanes. Transitioning reciprocating engine pilots should be transitioned in T-33s before moving to the new bombers and, 2) At the time pilots were ordered to follow the commands of tower controllers who were not trained in the controller procedures for that particular high performance jet bomber, their higher approach speeds and slower power (turbine spool up times) recovery for aborting. A controller directed one aircraft onto the "runway" on one fogged-in night. The "runway" was, in reality, the base golf course. IOW, it crashed short of the runway killing all 3 crew members. The investigation determined that due to the conditions of that night the pilot could not have recovered.

    I remember seeing the burned out wreckage of one in the base golf course the morning after.
     
  20. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,064
    Likes Received:
    655
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Wow, that's a great story Sweb! and God bless the spouses of the Military, there is no harder job.
     
Loading...

Share This Page