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Castle Air Force Base - Parachute Shop

06/14/2012 10:56 PM

Regarding the 1956 crash of the B-53 bomber at Tracy CA, I was stationed at Castle Air Force Base at that time working in the parachute shop. The day of the crash the APs came through the Barracks and rounded up just about every enlisted man below the rank of A/2c and took us to the crash site. I was given the job, along with 3-4 other airmen, of guarding one of the largest fragments of the aircraft, which contained bodies or body parts of the crew. I don't remember how many died--I think it was 6 or 7--but I know that 4 crew members parachuted to safety. A couple of weeks after the crash all 4 survivors came to the parachute shop and gave a quart of whisky to each of the men who had packed the parachute that saved them. The aircraft commander, who was the commander of the base did not survive.

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Pathfinder Tags: 1956 CA the first B52 crash Tracy
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Guru

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#1

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 12:22 AM

Yes the loss of deputy commander Patrick Fleming, a true American hero....It was the first crash of a B-52, caused by catastrophic failure of the alternator turbine...

http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2011/March%202011/0311Fleming.aspx

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Guru

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#2

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 12:24 AM

Two questions, How does this relate to geology/geophysics and on hind sight does it really seem like a good idea to give your parachute packers a quart of whiskey each for having done their job right the first time?

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Guru
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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 7:18 AM

Regarding the whiskey - but if they're gonna drink anyway, you want to make sure they're drinking the good stuff.

SlĂ inte!

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 8:09 AM

I see nothing wrong with extra something reward to someone for a job well done. The attention applied to the person or persons usually helps to insure they continue to do so. It's not a the sort of job that you see the end results of the product. So I imagine the only time they heard anything is when they didn't work. For them it was nice to know they do!

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 12:01 PM

Boy I bet the waitresses love to see you comin'......

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Geologist/Geophysist

06/15/2012 3:53 PM

The only relationship between a parachute rigger and a Geologist/geophysicist is that I was one and now I am the other. Giving the rigger who packed the chute that save him was/is an air force tradition.

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