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Short Stories

Flight Line Accident
by Vincent La Berge
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About noon December 16, 1952, there was a terrible accident on the 8th Bomb Squadron flight line. An 8th armament crew somehow dropped a 500 LB M1A2 frag cluster bomb and one of the frags detonated. This cut the armorer's legs off, although he survived.

The aircraft was being loaded with 500 LB GPs, which were on the ground under the wing when the aircraft caught fire. These 500 LB GPs blew up. This caused significant damage to several adjacent 8th aircraft, and some to the 13th aircraft. M1A2 (20#) were flying through the air, lodging under the landing gear on the aircraft and damaging engine nacelles, etc.

Since the 13th aircraft were parked next to the 8th squadron, our line chief had our aircraft towed or taxied out of the area to a distant location. The crew chiefs showed real bravery in as much as the fire from the aircraft burning and exploding ammunition presented periods of great hazard. I know it was very hairy because I started taxiing one of the aircraft.

We were all very lucky. The fire could have gotten into the flight line Bomb Dump, which was within 50 or 60 yards of the fire and explosions.

There were several Soldiers' Medals given out from events this day.
flight line accident

flight line accident

the bomb dump

-- Vincent La Berge
Col. USAF, Ret.
Vincent La Berge