Goose Bay AB, Canada
1 Aug 1958
The Express (Lock Haven, PA)
Thu, Aug 7, 1958, Page 8
Air Force Chief in Helicopter Crash Returning from Labrador Fishing Trip
Washington — The fishing trips of the Air Force top brass are causing resentment among enlisted men, to say nothing of dipping into the taxpayer’s money. Last week a fishing trip by the top general of the Air Force, Chief of Staff Tom White, came a cropper when his helicopter cracked up about 100 miles from Goose Bay, Labrador.
Cost to the taxpayers for the H-21 helicopter, No. 53-4401 was close to $200,000.
It was left to lie in the wilds of Labrador, near the Sandhill River, and when safety officers convened an investigation board and ask for the records, the board was called off. General White’s name was then removed from the records. Furthermore, the No. 53-4401 is now listed as “cross country”. This means that it is still officially flying somewhere across country, despite the fact it’s wrecked.
The helicopter crackup took place on Friday, Aug. 1. General White was much more frank than those who tried to cover up for him at Goose Bay. Calling this writer, he said: “I understand you inquired whether I was. I don’t like to be in accidents, but I also don’t like any coverup and I’m glad to tell you the facts. I was in a helicopter that crashed on a recreation fishing trip in Labrador”‘
When General White was told that some of the enlisted men had griped about the trek of generals to Goose Bay, he replied: “Yes, but I’m glad to say that 1,400 enlisted men also enjoyed fishing on the Labrador Lakes. We down here in Washington can’t get away very often. We work at top speed and when we can get off we, too, like to get a break from pressure”.
The others who have enjoyed Labrador fishing include Gen. Nathan Twining, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who’s been in Labrador this week: Gen. Curtis LeMay, vice chief of staff, who’s also been there this week: together with Gen. Edwin W. Rawlins, commander of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Patterson Air Base, who flies in from Dayton, Ohio: and Gen. Earle Partridge, commander-in-chief of the North American Air Defense Command, who flies in from Colorado.
Goose Bay has established various fishing camps within one to two hundred miles as a recreation area. They are serviced by H-21 helicopters and SA-16 amphibious planes, which normally are supposed to service the men camped in lonely radar stations in the Arctic wilderness watching for surprise attack.
However, those planes are not busy flying fishing parties. An average of ten planes and helicopters is assigned to the fishing service, operating about 20 hours daily at a minimum cost of $15 an hour. It should be noted, however, that the enlisted men and officers who have to spend their bleak Arctic winters in this area deserve all the fishing recreation they can get. Arctic nights are long and monotonous.