LTC Thomas Waldo McCormick

LTC Thomas Waldo McCormick

Yawkey, Lincoln County, West Virginia, USA
Death 9 Nov 1997 (aged 76)
Riverside, Riverside County, California, USA
Burial Riverside, Riverside County, California, USA
Plot 46A, 0, 1669
Memorial ID 971774 · View Source
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Thomas Waldo McCormick

Lt. Col. US Air Force World War II, Korea, Vietnam
Service Start Date: June 9, 1941
Interment Date at Riverside Cemetery Nov. 14, 1997.

LTC McCormick was the pilot of the ill-fated 52, Buzz One Four that crashed into Big Savage Mountain in a blizzard in Maryland when a known structural defect caused the tail section to break off in severe turbulence. He and the cO-pilot, Mack Peedin, miraculously against all odds, survived. The other three crew members 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).

Crew of Buzz One Four
Pilot: Major Thomas W. McCormick 1921-1997
Co-Pilot: Captain Parker C Peedin
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

Links pertaining to the 50th anniversary
2014, Jan 19; 6 days after B-52 Crew Honored by Maryland General Assembly


Thomas W (Waldo) was born in Yawley, Lincoln, WV, the oldest of three children born to Robert Charles and Opal Spurlock McCormick. By the time he was 8 years old he lived in Duval, also in Lincoln County, WV. where he went to school with his brother and his father was employed as a foreman in the oil field. At 18 he had completed his 4 years of high school and was working as a welder in the construction industry.
A marriage license was issued to Thomas in the first week of February, 1944 to Dorismarie Healy, who would become his wife and the mother of his two sons, and to whom he would remain married his entire life.

Son of:
Robert Charles McCormick, Sr. 1895-1980
Opal Chloe Spurlock McCormick

Sibling of:
Robert "Bobby" Charles McCormick, Jr. 1923- 2011
 (m. Doris V Thompson McCormick)
Marble Fawn McCormick Campbell 1926-
 (m. Donald C Campbell)

Husband of:
Dorismarie McCormick

Father of:
Thomas R McCormick
Michael McCormick

Family Members



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  • Maintained by: Gina Townley Swinburn
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 971774
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Thomas Waldo McCormick (23 Jul 1921–9 Nov 1997), Find a Grave Memorial no. 971774, citing Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, Riverside County, California, USA ; Maintained by Gina Townley Swinburn (contributor 46543340) .