|Birth: ||Jul. 15, 1957|
|Death: ||Dec. 16, 1982|
2ND LT, US AIR FORCE
Mather Air Force Base, CA B-52G Bomber Crash, Dec 1982
Posted March 8th, 2011 by Stu Beitler
9 CREWMEN ON BOMBER DIE.
United Press International.
Nine crewmen on a B-52G bomber died in a fiery crash in a muddy California
pasture near a California airbase.
The pilots of the fuel-laden Stratofortress bomber managed to steer it away from
buildings, gasoline pumps and busy roads, witnesses said.
The bomber and another one that had taken off 10 seconds earlier were practicing
quick-takeoff maneuvers Thursday when it went down about 1 1/2 miles from Mather
Air Force Base, officials say.
The airplane, carrying 290,000 gallons of fuel, blew up "like a napalm bomb" and
made a fireball about 250 feet in diameter, witnesses said.
It left a 400-yard-long swath of burning debris, killed at least three horses
and four people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
"They were awful close, about 10 seconds apart," Jim Carver, a contractor whose
office is a quarter-mile away, said of the planes. "He might have veered trying
to get out of the end of the turbulence" caused by the leading bomber.
"The fireball was 200 or 300 feet in diameter," he said. "It was all fuel. If it
had been bombs, we wouldn't be here to tell about it."
Carver and other witnesses said by banking right at the last moment, the pilot
appeared to be trying to avoid nearby buildings and gasoline pumps. His huge
craft also missed roads busy with morning traffic, coming down about 100 feet
from a farm house, barns and sheds.
"I heard the engine roar really loud," said Richard Nide, who was riding a
garbage truck about 400 yards away from the crash. "He looked like he was going
to go off to the left. Then he banked hard right and the right wing clipped the
ground and exploded."
"It looked like he was trying to pull out of it. It was great ball of fire and I
could feel the heat all the way to my window. It scared the holy hell out of
Both planes had left the runway in a low-level training procedure called
"Minimum Interval Take Off."
"MITO takeoffs are used when you want to get airborne in a hurry -- something
less than a minute," Lt. Col. Mike Edwards, operations officer for the 441st
Bomber Squadron, explained after the crash 10 miles east of the Capitol.
He declined to speculate on the cause of the crash. Air Force investigators
convened a board of inquiry within hours of the crash.
No nuclear weapons were aboard the plane, a modified version of a 20-year-old
model due for fitting with the air-launched Cruise missile. Sixteen B-52G's each
carrying 12 Cruises, became operational Thursday at Griffiss Air Force Base,
near Rome, N.Y., the Air Force said.
The victims were identified as:
Maj. JAMES H. YORK, 43, South Bend, Ind., the aircraft commander.
Capt. LYLE A. BRUNNER, 32, Florence, Mont., a bombardier instructor.
Capt. DENNIS E. DAVIS, Hililsboro, Ore., a navigator.
Master Sgt. GERE E. LeFEVER, 42, Conestoga, Pa., an aircraft gunner.
2nd Lt. SCOTT A. SEMMEL, 23, Levittown, Pa., a student co-pilot.
2nd Lt. PETER M. RILEY, Woonsocket, R. I., a sudent co-pilot.
2nd Lt. RICHARD P. ROBESON, JR., 27, Freeport, Ill., a student navigator.
2nd Lt. BENJAMIN C. BERNDT, 24, Norwalk, Conn., a student navigator.
2nd Lt. DANIEL N. BADER, 25, Salt Lake City, Utah, a student navigator.
Intended for replacement by the B-1B bomber, B-52s have been used since the
1950s and often are older than the pilots who fly them.
Altoona Mirror Pennsylvania 1982-12-17
R. Gordon Bader (1918 - 2001)
Fort Douglas Cemetery
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County
Created by: David Niebes
Record added: Jun 27, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14748102
Added: Jan. 23, 2016
Remembering a Veteran with appreciation and respect on Armistice Day - 2011.|
Added: Nov. 12, 2011
Rest in Peace, Lieutenant|
Added: Jun. 29, 2006