Lawrenceville, GA National Guard Jets Collide, Dec 1953
FOUR JET PILOTS KILLED IN CRASH.
Lawrenceville, Ga. (AP) -- Four Air National Guard Thunderjet pilots making a weekend instrument flight collided and crashed to their deaths near here Saturday night.
Officials at Dobbins Air Force Base in nearby Marietta said the F84s were returning from Miami and preparing to land when they fell from about 11,500 feet. One of the falling Thunderjets struck and demolished a small unoccupied house. The other three fighters fell nearby.
All four pilots were members of the 116th Fighter Bomber Wing, Georgia National Guard. The were identified as:
CAPT. IDON M. HODGE, JR., 30, of Atlanta, the flight leader.
1st LT. ELWOOD C. KENT, 28, of East Point, Ga.
1st LT. SAMUEL P. DIXON, of Chamblee, Ga.
2nd LT. WILLIAM A. TENNENT, 25, of Atlanta.
Maj. W. J. Gay of the Dobbins base operations office said CAPT. HODGE radioed the Atlanta Naval Air Station, a checkpoint for planes landing at Dobbins, that the formation was starting its descent from 27,000 feet and would report again at 11,500 feet.
The fliers were not heard from again.
Gay said the crash occurred about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta. The planes fell about four miles west of Lawrenceville.
Dobbins officials said all the men were experienced jet pilots and they knew of no reason for the collision. An investigation is underway.
Three of the pilots -- KENT, DIXON and TENNENT --made up a stunt team specializing in close formation and acrobatic flying. HODGE and KENT were veterans of World War II and HODGE was a combat pilot in Korea.
Billings Gazette Montana 1953-12-07