Pearblossom, CA Air Force Plane Crash, Sept 1966


Palmdale, Calif. (UPI) -- An Air Force C-119 plane smashed against a towering mountain peak in the Angeles National Forest Friday night, killing all four men aboard.
Wreckage of the twin-engine "flying box-car" was found scattered on both sides of Pallett Mountain, which rises to an elevation of 7,987 feet.
The plane crashed in nearly inaccessible terrain in Devil's Punchbowl Park, about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Forest service personnel described the scene of the crash as being south of Pearblossom. It is about 50 miles by airline northwest of Redlands and about 20 miles by road.

Officials at March Air Force Base in nearby Riverside County said the C-119 was on a routine training mission. It was approaching the base for a landing when radar contact was lost.
Sheriff's deputies battled darkness and the rugged terrain for almost six hours before reaching the crash scene early today.
The collision set off a small fire which was quickly brought under control.
All four victims were Air Force reservists assigned to the 730th Troop Carrier Squadron stationed at March AFB.

They were identified as:
Capt. RAYMOND L. MILLER, 31, Riverside, Calif.
Capt. NORMAN M. GASSMAN, 38, San Diego, Calif.
Staff Sgt. ROGER C. DUCHARME, 28, Sunnymead, Calif.
Maj. ELWIN O. ESTES, 44, La Puente, Calif., the pilot.
An Air Force board was assembled to investigate the crash.

Redlands Daily Facts California 1966-10-01