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PFC Casper Zacher

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PFC Casper Zacher Veteran

Birth
North Dakota, USA
Death
16 Oct 1944 (aged 19)
Washington County, Vermont, USA
Burial
Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA Add to Map
Plot
SECTION A-14 SITE 3065
Memorial ID
View Source

Private First Class, 112th AAF Base Unit, Westover Field, Massachusetts.


Aerial gunner killed when B-24J Liberator #42-51067 on a training mission slammed into the summit of Camel's Hump Mountain, Vermont.

Nine crewmembers were killed, and one miraculously survived.


The personnel killed were:


1LT David E Potter, O-552832, TX, Pilot

FLT O John J Ramasocky, T-130498, OH, Co- Pilot

2LT Robert W Geoffroy, unknown, IL, Navigator

1LT David C McNary, O-451796, CA, Bombardier

CPL Luther N Hagler, 14167058, AR, Flight Engineer

CPL James Perry, 11139093, MA, Radio Operator

CPL Robert E Denton, 12079640, NY, Gunner

PFC Richard C Wynne & PFC Richard C Wynne, 18163610, OK, Gunner

PFC Casper Zacher, 37583306, ND, Gunner


While on a nighttime navigational training flight out of Westover Field, at 01:58 hours, the B-24 struck a large tree about 150 feet below the crest of 4,038-foot Camel's Hump Mountain, east of Huntington, Vermont, shearing off 18 inches of the wingtip, causing the bomber to careen into the mountainside.


Pilots from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) spotted the wreckage and reported their finding to the Army. Apparently receiving the wrong coordinates and believing there couldn't possibly be any survivors, the major in charge of the army rescue team told the CAP their services were no longer needed. Five teenagers from the CAP took the initiative to hike to the crash site and discovered survivor, gunner PFC James W. Wilson, age 18, who had been thrown several yards from the fuselage, lying in the snow, some 20 hours after the crash. Two of the youths stayed with him while the others went back down the mountain to obtain help. Unprepared for a rescue mission, they wrapped PFC Wilson in a parachute found in the wreckage in an attempt to keep him warm during the night.

It was a total of 41 hours before he was brought off the mountain. He would lose both hands and feet to amputation due to frost bite. A Philadelphia newspaper set up a $100,000 fund for Wilson and he would later receive artificial prosthetic limbs, attend college and graduate with a law degree, get married and raise two sons. He became a lifelong advocate for disabled veteran's rights. In 1989, he attended a dedication ceremony at Camel's Hump where a memorial plaque was placed and he reunited with his rescuers. James W. Wilson passed away in January, 2001, at the age of 75.

~

PFC Zacher was one of the nine fatalities of the fateful flight. Investigators interviewed survivor Wilson several times, but he gave conflicting information, so they allowed him to recuperate. The pilot had dropped down to 4,000 feet from his assigned 8,000 flight plan in an attempt to relieve the aircrew from the intense cold. But apparently he was unaware they were flying over high terrain. Wilson stated he was the only crewmember to remain in the rear of the fuselage.


Unfortunately, unpressurized cabins and a lack of heat was a reality of the aircraft operated. Between Pearl Harbor Day and VJ Day, over 15,000 Army personnel were killed in airplane accidents in the United States, an average of ten per day. The combination of intense training, unreliable aircraft, and inexperienced young airmen led to a tragic toll.

Private First Class, 112th AAF Base Unit, Westover Field, Massachusetts.


Aerial gunner killed when B-24J Liberator #42-51067 on a training mission slammed into the summit of Camel's Hump Mountain, Vermont.

Nine crewmembers were killed, and one miraculously survived.


The personnel killed were:


1LT David E Potter, O-552832, TX, Pilot

FLT O John J Ramasocky, T-130498, OH, Co- Pilot

2LT Robert W Geoffroy, unknown, IL, Navigator

1LT David C McNary, O-451796, CA, Bombardier

CPL Luther N Hagler, 14167058, AR, Flight Engineer

CPL James Perry, 11139093, MA, Radio Operator

CPL Robert E Denton, 12079640, NY, Gunner

PFC Richard C Wynne & PFC Richard C Wynne, 18163610, OK, Gunner

PFC Casper Zacher, 37583306, ND, Gunner


While on a nighttime navigational training flight out of Westover Field, at 01:58 hours, the B-24 struck a large tree about 150 feet below the crest of 4,038-foot Camel's Hump Mountain, east of Huntington, Vermont, shearing off 18 inches of the wingtip, causing the bomber to careen into the mountainside.


Pilots from the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) spotted the wreckage and reported their finding to the Army. Apparently receiving the wrong coordinates and believing there couldn't possibly be any survivors, the major in charge of the army rescue team told the CAP their services were no longer needed. Five teenagers from the CAP took the initiative to hike to the crash site and discovered survivor, gunner PFC James W. Wilson, age 18, who had been thrown several yards from the fuselage, lying in the snow, some 20 hours after the crash. Two of the youths stayed with him while the others went back down the mountain to obtain help. Unprepared for a rescue mission, they wrapped PFC Wilson in a parachute found in the wreckage in an attempt to keep him warm during the night.

It was a total of 41 hours before he was brought off the mountain. He would lose both hands and feet to amputation due to frost bite. A Philadelphia newspaper set up a $100,000 fund for Wilson and he would later receive artificial prosthetic limbs, attend college and graduate with a law degree, get married and raise two sons. He became a lifelong advocate for disabled veteran's rights. In 1989, he attended a dedication ceremony at Camel's Hump where a memorial plaque was placed and he reunited with his rescuers. James W. Wilson passed away in January, 2001, at the age of 75.

~

PFC Zacher was one of the nine fatalities of the fateful flight. Investigators interviewed survivor Wilson several times, but he gave conflicting information, so they allowed him to recuperate. The pilot had dropped down to 4,000 feet from his assigned 8,000 flight plan in an attempt to relieve the aircrew from the intense cold. But apparently he was unaware they were flying over high terrain. Wilson stated he was the only crewmember to remain in the rear of the fuselage.


Unfortunately, unpressurized cabins and a lack of heat was a reality of the aircraft operated. Between Pearl Harbor Day and VJ Day, over 15,000 Army personnel were killed in airplane accidents in the United States, an average of ten per day. The combination of intense training, unreliable aircraft, and inexperienced young airmen led to a tragic toll.


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NORTH DAKOTA
PVT. 1 CL.
ARMY AIR FORCES




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