Accident Boeing B-52D-75-BO Stratofortress 56-0593,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 48399
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Date:Saturday 10 May 1969
Type:Silhouette image of generic B52 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing B-52D-75-BO Stratofortress
Owner/operator:509th BW attached to 4133 BW USAF
Registration: 56-0593
MSN: 17276
Fatalities:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Andersen AFB, Yigo -   Guam
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Andersen AFB, Guam (PGUA)
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
B-52D s/n 56-0593 was taking part in an "Arc Light" mission to North Veitnam. Target; "The Ho Chi Minh Trail" on the North Vietnam/Laos border. Started a right turn shortly after take-off from Andersen AFB, Guam (PGUA) on May 10 1968 and crashed into Pacific Ocean. All six crew on board were killed

"The May 10 1969 crash shortly after takeoff was debriefed to us as likely being the pilot following an erroneous artificial horizon display that was gradually causing him to bank the airplane while thinking he was in level flight caused by the inadvertent deactivation of the gyroscope during pre-flight and the incorrect display as the gyro wound down. The accident was late at night, over water, right after takeoff and at low altitude and the explanation was logical though pure speculation. I believe there was some corrective action taken to cover-guard the power switch for the instrument following that crash.”

My crew flew a bombing mission from Anderson the morning of May 10, 1969. When we returned at dusk that evening, flares were spotted off the end of the runway. So the accident didn't happen "late at night" as indicated above. On July 27, 1969, a B-52 crashed on take-off from Anderson due to structural failure. This most likely was the cause of the May 10th accident also.

Pilot:Capt Larry Ivan Broadhead USAF killed. Wa not the aircraft commander, Capt Sipes was
Co-pilot:1st/Lt Maurice Edward "Ed" Lundy USAF killed.
Nav:Capt James L Sipes USAF killed.
Rad/Nav:Capt Russell L Platt USAF killed.
EWO:1st/Lt Thomas R McCormick USAF killed.
AG:M/Sgt Harold B Deel USAF killed.

None of the six men are listed in available unit-of-assignment databases, but information provided indicates they were from one of the B-52 squadrons based at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

My crew, E17 of 325BS, had landed from an earlier mission and had just finished debrief. On my way to Gilligand's Island I heard the Ground Spare launch. This was significant because I knew Sipes' crew (also from 325BS) had been scheduled as Spare. This being my second deployment I recognized immediately that the Spare had launched too late to be able to catch the other cell aircraft before TOT. This meant that the crew would have had to cut their A/R short in and use a timing triangle to catch the cell. Then, after the drop, they would need another A/R in order to return to Guam. The alternative would be a post-target diversion to U-T. This was a typical staff-induced, unnecessary situation, which was very common at that time. When I say staff, I really mean the individual O6s/07s who were "NOT GONNA LOSE SORTIE ON MY WATCH. Guam is one of those places where looking East at dusk as Sipes was, you saw only darkness but looking West as the gunner, MSGT Deel, was he saw a relatively bright horizon. Therefore, as for the speculation about the gyro, I would offer the comment of my Guns, MSGT Harold Isaccson. "No way Harry Deel would not have told his pilot that they were in a bad turn!" Back to Gilligan's: I stood and watched for the Spare's lights to clear the buildings blocking visual of the departure end of the runway. That never happened; but a sudden large glow did. The next morning my wife saw three officers in dress blues knock on the door of our neighbor.
Getting no response, they trooped to our door. Right. She was able to tell them that Tom's wife had gone to visit family in Montana. Mrs McCormick saw a report on the evening news and drove several hours to the nearest phone, called Fairchild CP and was told, "Yes. Your husband is deceased." Not missing. Deceased.

Personal flight log:

Revision history:

07-Nov-2008 10:15 ASN archive Added
31-Oct-2009 01:49 JINX Updated
17-Feb-2013 19:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Country, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Aug-2013 12:30 Uli Elch Updated [Location]
13-Nov-2013 19:18 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
25-Oct-2014 07:11 talonflyr Updated [Narrative]
24-Feb-2020 12:03 Iwosh Updated [Operator, Operator]
06-Jun-2022 09:37 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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