Sacramento, CA Bomber Crashes Into Guard House, Jan 1952

Crash Of The B-25



Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 19 (AP) -- A crippled AIr Force bomber crash-landed today atop a crowded guard house at Mather Air Force base and exploded, turning the building into a "flaming matchbox."
Five men were killed and 50 injured enough to spend the night in a base hospital. Six of the injured were reported in serious condition.
The five men dead and most of those burned were guard house prisoners. They returned from lunch to the one-room building just in time to be caught in a fiery trap.
The B-25 was forced to land when one of its two engines failed. Its three crewmen were among those injured.
Fifty yards away, 16-year-old CONNIE SCHOLTEN, daughter of a service chaplain, watched in horror.
"I ran outside," she said, "and saw the plane doing a cartwheel on the roof of the guard house. Then men began running in and out of the center. Nothing happened for some time, and then the plane went up in smoke and flames."

One man was reported atop the plane when it exploded -- about 10 minutes after the awkward landing on the roof.
Chaplain HOWARD B. SCHOLTEN, father of CONNIE, said the 30 x 100 foot barracks-type building "looked like a matchbox somebody had stepped on."
"I didn't hear any screaming or hollering at all," the chaplain added.
"I was coming in for a landing when one of my motors went out and we pancaked on top of a building," gasped the pilot, Second Lt. PETER A. KECK, who is suffering from shock, cuts and burns.
His injured crew members were the co-pilot, Lt. ROBERT C. GROUT, and Technical Sgt. ROBERT HARRAH.

There are several other buildings near the guard house at the Teeming air base, 10 miles east of Sacramento, but only the guard house was affected.
Mather field is a training base for bombardiers, navigators and radar men.
The crash occurred at 2 p.m. (5 p.m. EST).
Names of the dead were not released immediately.
Col. JOHN W. WHITE took over command of the Air Force base today -- just in time to help in the rescue. His hands were burned and had to be bandaged.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1952-01-20


Plane Crash 1952 MATHER AFB

Would like more info as to names and any one who actually experienced the event
This info is for my brother who was there.

B25 crash

My father was The pilot of this crash. He is in his mid-80s and living in Washington state. I'm curious if any of the crew that were on this flight are still around?

My father was the man

My father was the man mentioned in the article who was standing on top of the plane when it exploded. He was attempting rescue. He was severely burned and suffered broken bones, and was in the hospital for nine months. He was awarded the Soldiers Medal for bravery.

Mather AFB Crash into guard house Jan 1952

Good morning:

My name is Everett Mefford and my father is on the back of the fire truck in the picture you have on the article. John L Mefford ( with the Hat)

It is my understanding he was one of two volunteers who went into the building to rescue the crew of the aircraft.

They were told afterwards that the plane had live bombs on it for which he was not happy about as he had a 4 year old daughter and wife at home. I was wondering if you had any more information or know where I could search for pictures or more articles for his children and Grand Children. He passed away 10/18/200

Thank you for any help you can give

Everett Mefford.

Mather AFB Crash into guard house

II was there when this happened and remember it vividly.

Would like to communicate with any one that was stationed there in this time frame


Mather AFB Crash into guard house

Additional info:
An Air Force fire fighter was kill3ed in the post crash fire. Denker recreation Hall on Mather Field is named after Sgt Denker, the deceased fire fighter.