Travis Air Force Base, CA Bomber Crash, Apr 1963

Travis AFB CALIF crashed plane 4-10-1963.jpg Travis AFB CALIF crash site today.jpg


Travis AFB, Calif. (UPI) -- An Air Force C133 Cargomaster crashed in soggy marshland 3,000 feet from the landing strip here Wednesday, killing all nine crewmen aboard.
The plane, a type which often carries missiles, was apparently attempting to land after a routine training flight, Air Force officials said. Officers said the plane carried no nuclear material.
The Air Force identified the victims as:
Major ROY M. JOHNSTON, Rt. 1, Manatoup, Okla., pilot.
1st Lt. LEONARD R. DORMAN, Boise, Ida.
1st Lt. WILLIAM H. GREY, Grahamville, N.Y.
2nd Lt. RUSSELL R. ZABLAN, SR., Honolulu.
2nd Lt. EDWARD MELDA, Parma, Ohio.
T-Sgt. DONALD D. COX, Jacksonville, Fla.
T-Sgt. JOEL R. NIPPER, Derby, Ohio.
T-Sgt. LLOYD J. RICHARD, Louisiana.
Airman 3-C CHARLES W. WITTLE, Baltimore, Md.
A spokesman said all but MELDA and WITTLE were married.
The plane burst into flames on impact. It was virtually impossible for base firefighters to reach the wreckage through the marshland. An Air Force spokesman said the craft burned for nearly an hour after it crashed at 4:10 p.m. PST.
Officers said there was no immediate indication as to what caused the crash. The control tower had no warning that the plane was in trouble.
The plane carried no cargo and no passengers.
A spokesman said that planes on such missions normally stay airborne for four hours or more, making several practice approaches and landings.
The crash was the first tranport accident at this northern California base since 1959, when a C97 crashed near the base. There were no fatalities in that crash.

Eureka Humboldt Standard California 1963-04-11


My mother's father was killed

My mother's father was killed in this crash. I think having more details like this would bring her more peace of mind as it has haunted her all her life.

Airplane Crash 1963

Noticed the article on the C133 that crashed in Aril 1963. I was at my duty station at the Air/Ground communications building. I had just stepped outside and observed the plane make several approaches, the last being well out from the runway. There were power lines and the aircraft flew right into the power line and then crashed. It happened very quickly and I reported the crash to the tower. They apparently did not follow up on it as the articles are saying "don't know the cause". Maybe this will record the crash from an eye witness position. Feel free to email me at: