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Update: 29 Jan 23
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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Francis Lamar Gasque, Lt., USAF (Fallen)March 03, 1928 – July 30, 1953
H-19A #51-3896O’Neill, NB.30 July 1953
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY.)31 July 1953, page 1
Six Die in Crash of Big Helicopter
O’Neill, Neb – A giant Air Force helicopter which stopped in Syracuse last Friday during a cross-country flight, crashed and burned yesterday near O’Neill, Neb., claiming the lives of six persons.
Dr. Guenter Loeser, 40, leading German meteorological scientist, was aboard the helicopter. The other victims were military personnel including A2C Donald Eddy, A2C Francis “Jerry” Mapes.
The Associated Press identified the craft as an H-19 model, on a cross-country flight from Bedford, Mass. The pilot was identified as Capt. Charles A. Johnson of San Gabriel, Calif., the co-pilot, Lt. Francis L. Gasque, of Conway, SC. and the crew chief as Sgt. Robert Ide of Scranton, PA.
A spokesman at the operations of the 32nd Air Division at Hancock Field said yesterday and Air Force H-19 helicopter piloted by Capt. Johnson stopped here over night. He said the craft left Hancock Field Saturday.
An Observer at the scene of the crash said parts of the craft were scattered about a 100-foot radius. The position of the bodies indicated some had jumped clear as the plane crashed.
The 6,200 pound helicopter, one of the Air Forces largest arrived in O’Neill Monday night to be used in connection with the Air Force study of upper air turbulence which is under the direction of the Air Force Research Center at Cambridge, Mass.
From The Troy Record (Troy, NY.)31 July 1953, page 1
Witnessed said one blade of the central rotor came off in flight and struck the rear balancing rotor.
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