Stephensville, NF Air Force Plane Crash, Apr 1960

NEWFOUNDLAND TAKEOFF CRASH KILLS 9 AIRMEN.

Stephensville, Nfld. (AP) -- U.S. Air Force officials today prepared an inquiry into the cause of the crash of a cargo plane minutes after it took off from nearby Harmon Field. All nine crewmen aboard were killed.
The C124 was en route to Mildenhall, England, from Dover, Del., Air Force Base with a cargo that included mail and medical supplies.
Visibility was limited when the aircraft took off from Harmon Field Monday. The plane dropped out of sight on radar screens at Harmon and helicopters were sent out to search.
Dover Air Force Base officials identified the dead crewmen as:
Lt. DONALD P. SHEEHAN, 26, plane commander, Lansdowne, Pa.
Lt. ROBERT E. LITTLE, 23, co-pilot, Monroe, La.
Capt. GERALD E. AVERY, 41, second pilot, Dover, Del., and Modesto, Calif.
Lt. LEON E. PEDERSEN, 26, navigator, McIntosh, Fla.
Lt. HAROLD G. HARRISON, 31, navigator, McCloud, Okla.
M. Sgt. BEN A. SHARPE, 35, engineer, Burlington, N.C.
T. Sgt. CLARK N. ORNDORFF, 34, engineer, Littletown, Pa.
M. Sgt. EDWARD T. RETUS, 38, engineer, Bentleyville, Pa.
A2C WALLACE M. WILLIAMS, 22, loadmaster, Louisville, Ky.

Sheboygan Journal Wisconsin 1960-04-19

Comments

Gerald Avery ate dinner with us just before fateful takeoff.

My father (Capt. Ned L. Anderson) and my mother (DeEtta Anderson) were very good friends with the Avery’s. We had all been stationed at Dover at the same time. We were transferred from Dover to Harmon in 1959. My dad had been a C-124 pilot at Dover, Travis and Hill AFB, but had become the Base Operations Deputy Commander at Harmon AFB. Your uncle called our home when the C-124 he was riding in landed at Harmon. Mom and Dad were excited to see him. Dad drove down to the flight line and picked him up and brought him back to our place while Mom started to cook a good meal for “company“. He got to visit with us for several hours while the aircraft was refueled, plus we had a good meal together. Dad took him back to the aircraft, which took off from the base towards the mountains instead of over the ocean, which was an unusual direction to take off of from Harmon. A short time later, Dad got a call from Base Ops about the aircraft. He told us that it had “dropped” off the radar much earlier than it should have, but not to worry just yet, as it was not yet “over due”. He got dressed in his uniform and reported to Base Ops. However, he called us about dark and said that the aircraft had crashed, with no survivors, and he didn‘t know when he would be home, as there was much to do. It was a shock, as you can imagine. The crash was listed as pilot error, as there was evidence that the aircraft was too low when it flew over the mountains. The tips of the propellers hit trees on the top of the mountains, which would have bent the props, causing a “loss of power”, and the crash. It would have happened very quickly. The crew never even got off a distress call. Your uncle would not have been the pilot, as he was riding with the crew as “second pilot”.

Crash Site

My Uncle, Gerald Avery, was the "second pilot." I have photos of the actual crash site (wreckage) if anyone on here is interested.

Charlie

MSgt Ben Sharpe

Did anyone know MSgt Ben Sharpe? If anyone has any information on him, please contact me at [email protected] because I think my husband is his son. Thank you!!

Ben Sharpe

If anyone knew Ben Sharpe or can give me information regarding him, I would appreciate it. I believe my husband is his son. Thank you!

A few years ago, someone

A few years ago, someone asked me to take a photo of the headstone for 1LT Sheehan, who was believed to have been buried at ANC. After much searching of the section that both findagrave.com and the Nationwide Gravesite Locator had listed for him, I determined there wasn't a burial site by that number, which was Section 6 Site 9267-LM. The ANC office and administrators searched all of their records and did not find any record of him being buried there. So, between the cemetery searching both their records and Section 6, and my searching Section 6, I think it's safe to say that 1LT Sheehan is not buried at ANC. Did you notice that one of his nephews indicated that he was buried at a cemetery in Springfield, PA?

Just thought I'd pass this information along, if you were still interested in the issue.

1LT Donald Patrick Sheehan

Hi,
A few years ago, someone asked me to take a photo of the headstone for 1LT Donald Patrick Sheehan, who was believed to have been buried at ANC. After much searching of the section that both findagrave.com and the Nationwide Gravesite Locator had listed for him, I determined there wasn't a burial site by that number, which was Section 6 Site 9267-LM. The ANC office and administrators searched all of their records and did not find any record of him being buried there. So, between the cemetery searching both their records and Section 6, and my searching Section 6, I think it's safe to say that 1LT Sheehan is not buried at ANC. Did you notice that one of his nephews indicated that he was buried at a cemetery in Springfield, PA?

Just thought I'd pass this information along, if you were still interested in the issue.

USAF Pilot Training Class 56-V yearbook

I don't know if you ever received information about my cousin Don, but if you still need contacts to relatives, write me at margot [at] nbnm . net and I will see if I can put you in touch with any living members of his immediate family.

C-124 Crash out of Harmon AFB

Brother

Lt Donald Sheehan, 1933-1960

I am Don's brother. My son steered me to this website. Very interesting. You are probably the daughter of John Sheehan, son of William M Sheehan. But, that's just a guess.

Lt Donald Sheehan

Margot,

I have a copy of the accident report. If you would like a pdf copy email me at [email protected]

Charlie