Sgt Melvin D. Wooten

Sgt Melvin D. Wooten

Death 17 Jan 1964 (aged 27)
Burial Farmington, San Juan County, New Mexico, USA
Memorial ID 59164709 · View Source
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Melvin Wooten was the tailgunner of the ill-fated B52, Buzz One Four that crashed into Big Savage Mountain in Maryland in January 1964. A known structural defect caused the tail section to break off in severe turbulence. The pilot and co-pilot survived, but Wooten and two others perished.

Main article: 1964 Cumberland B-52 crash
A USAF Boeing B-52D-10-BW Stratofortress, 55-060, Buzz One Four, of the 484th Bomb Wing, Turner AFB, Georgia, suffers structural failure in turbulence of winter storm as blizzard socks the East Coast, crashes approximately 17 miles SW of Cumberland, Maryland. The bomber comes down in a small valley on Elbow Mountain in a state park. Pilot, co-pilot, eject, survive. Navigator, tail gunner, eject, die of exposure. Radar nav fails to eject, rides airframe in with two nuclear weapons on board. The pilot, Maj. Thomas W. McCormick, 42, of Hawkey, West Virginia, telephoned the Air Force in Washington, D.C. from a farmhouse near Grantsville, Maryland, saying that he was apparently the last of his crew to bail out, having heard the other seats leave the aircraft before he ejected. The US Army sends a 15-man team of bomb disposal experts from Fort Meade, Maryland, and the USAF dispatches a 35-man rescue team from Andrews AFB, Maryland. Both bombs survive intact and are recovered. The Stratofortress was also carrying two AGM-28 Hound Dog air-to-ground missiles. The aircraft was returning from a 24 Hour Airborne Alert mission (referred to a "Chrome Dome" mission diverted to Westover AFB in Massachusetts for repair of inflight maintenance issues, spending the night at Westover before returning to Turner AFB. (See also 1964 Savage Mountain B-52 crash, linked below).

You can view a first-hand accounting of the accident in a video with Parker, a story of survival. It can be viewed at Nuclear Weapon Accident - Story of Survival

Crew of Buzz One Four
Pilot: Major Thomas W. McCormick 1921-1997
Co-Pilot: Captain Parker C Peedin 1934-2009
Radar Bombardier: Major Robert E Townley 1922-1964
Navigator: Major Robert Lee Payne 1922-1964
Tail Gunner: TSgt Melvin F Wooten 1936-1964

The following links are to .pdf articles about the Crash of Air Force Buzz One Four and it's crewmen.

Historical Marker Database
A Night To Remember
B-52 Crash (This is five pages full of photos and newspaper articles.)
1964 Savage Mountain B-52 Crash (An easy to read (with lots of details)Wikipedia source.)
The Rush to Cover the Crash of B52
Inmates to Clear Trail to B-52

Almost 50 years later this is still in the current news
Debris from 1964 crash still litters West Maryland- VideoSept 26, 2013

Jan 9th, 2014, 5 days prior to the 50th anniversary, John Josselyn debuted this new website to honor the crew
Buzz One Four
This is a very comprehensive website and contains not only the previously noted web pages but new information, documentation, and photos as well.

With grateful heart we thank Kathy for her work creating this memorial and the kindness she showed by transferring its maintenance.

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  • Maintained by: Gina Townley Swinburn
  • Originally Created by: Kathy
  • Added: 25 Sep 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 59164709
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Melvin D. Wooten (30 Oct 1936–17 Jan 1964), Find A Grave Memorial no. 59164709, citing Memory Gardens of Farmington, Farmington, San Juan County, New Mexico, USA ; Maintained by Gina Townley Swinburn (contributor 46543340) .