Memories of a Navigator

From: The B-47 Stratojet – Centurion of the Cold War

 By Col Alexander, USAF (Ret).


B-47 Memorial Re-Dedicated

In February and May 1961, two 40th Bomb Plot. Bomb Wing B-47’s crashed while on runs against the Ironwood bomb plot. The crashes occurred within two miles of each other in the forest, about 14 miles south of Hurley, Wisconsin. Six crew members lost their lives. On 24 February Captain J P Garrett, Lt TM Stalmach, Lt G H Hanify and Lt C. F. Weise were all killed when their aircraft went in. Later, on 2 May, Lt D D. Hariton and Capt D. B. Rasmussen lost their lives while Capts F. Mead and John Hill survived.  About twenty years ago an individual built a small memorial on the site of the second crash. About two years ago, members of the local NCO Association undertook a project to refurbish the memorial.  Retired Army Sgt Curt Meyers headed this project and in a short time the group raised over $20,000 for the memorial.

On 28 June 2014, the site was dedicated with a community wide celebration and the presence of Capt. Rasmussen’s entire family. The citizens of the town of Hurley demonstrated their patriotism and deep appreciation for the sacrifices of Cold War Warriors such as those who flew and maintained the B-47.  The site was officially designated as a Wisconsin State Memorial and is open to the public at all times.  For its precise location, contact the Hurley WI Chamber of Commerce.  Bomb Wing B-47’s crashed while on runs against the Ironwood

13 thoughts on “Memories”

  1. In 1961, my Father was called that morning to the crash site. I was 11 years old and went with him to the crash site. He was also on the team that attended to the first crash site as well. We were some of the first people who found the crash site. I recently came across never seen before photo slides of the site taken by my father. I sort of remember finding Capt. Rasmussen’s ID Card, which I not sure whether I still have it.

    1. I guess I was the last person that talked with him, I was the Radio, controller that night and al of a sudden I could not reach them we called and called, also other aircraft Captains called to no avail! it was a great shock to see the first one on radar go down but to then be talking with the crew when the second one went down in less that 4 months after I came to the site was hard for me to understand why!

    2. My son Austin and I, and our wives are planning on being back in Hurley and Ironwood the 11th of June this year.
      I sure would like to meet with you at least talk with you.
      Andy J Miller
      789 Mizer Street
      Lebanon, MO 65536

  2. It just so happens that I am the son of Capt. John T. Hill, Sr. who indeed survived the crash that day. We were stationed at Forbes AFB in Topeka, KS. I was about 10 years old at that time but can still remember the base commander and the Chaplain pulling up in front of the house flags fluttering from the front fenders of their car. Mom fainted at the sight and I was speechless, all of the families knew what this likely meant. Hours later after many visits from wives and neighbors, and lots of food, we received “the call” which was picked by her best friend and then handed to mom….it was good news for us as you know. I am, of course, honored to see this memorial posted and for the efforts of the community of Hurley, WI. God bless you all!

    John T. Hill, Jr.

    1. Mr. Hill, I am a volunteer at the Iron County Museum in Hurley Wisconsin. I would like to talk with you off line. My family’s farm was not far from the crash site, on the Ironman Route. B-47 & B-58s flying over our property was a common site.

      1. Julie Morelllo I was there for both crashes and would like to talk with you. 417-594-3443 or meet you in person when we come up June 10th and 11th.
        Andy Miller.

    2. John T. Hill JR I was on the radio talking to your father when his plane crashed. I think he was the one that walked some distance and was found sitting on a stump the next morning.
      If you would like to talk to me feel free to call anytime.
      Andy Miller
      Lebanon, MO

    3. Dear John T Hill:

      I’m so glad your father was able to come back home to you!

      I was the radio controller that night, when all of a sudden, I could no longer reach anyone! I just knew we had another crew gone in an instant! I still remember the next day when we were told 2 people had survived, only because the plane had gone end over end and your dad was one of two that survived because he had ejected while the B47 was upside down.
      I have thought about you and your siblings when Ever I thought of Ironwood.
      God’s blessings to all of the Hall Family!

    4. John,

      I found the crash site and built the airplane model. I have been writing about the accidents for many years and learned quite a bit about your father. Would you be willing to talk to me?
      Greg Landretti

  3. I still cannot understand that the crash landing of a B47 at RAF Greenham Com.Cmon resulting in the death of Navigator Richard West in 1962 or 1963 is not mentioned. I was stationed there and witnessed the accident. My name is Richard C. Sandford A/2C 3909th Squadron S.A.C. Crosswind accident I believe , Hope to hear something.

    1. I believe my friend and roommate was aboard that flight. His name was Lt. James Mullen. He was in the 509th Bomb Wing at Pease AFB NH. He was a Copilot and was seated in the fourth man seat, the Copilot seat was occupied by an Instructor Pilot. James spent a number of months in the Burn Ward in San Antonio,Texas recuperating from the crash.
      Jim was burned on his back quite seriously and carried some serious scars for the rest of his life. James was killed in an F105 in NC in about 1979 or 1980, he was flying with the Air Guard in D.C. Do not remember the other B47 crew members names.
      My name is David F. Albrecht LTC USAF Retired. I, with James, was stationed at Pease AFB flying as a B47 copilot in the 100th Bomb Wing. During my approximately 2 1/2 years in SAC B47’s between the two Bomb Wings we lost three Bombers and two complete crews plus the Navigator on Jim’s Bomber.

  4. Rex Bahr, next to our Flight Crews, the Crew Chief’s & Asst. Crew Chiefs, the ground crews were the most dedicated people in the USAF. They were very well trained. A lot was learned from the RB/B47’s.

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Preserving the legacy of the Boeing B-47 StratoJet Bomber