Dobbins Air Force Base, GA Jet Fighters Collide, Sep 1950

F-84 Thunderjet.jpg


Marietta, Ga. -- (AP) -- Two jet pilots were killed shortly before noon yesterday when their planes collided at terrific speed and crashed near Dobbins Air Force base.
The planes -- F-84 Thunderjets -- were part of a four-plane formation on a training flight. Major Walter M. Armistead, operations officer of the 54th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, said the planes collided at about 23,000 feet and at a speed of more than 500 miles an hour.
He listed the dead as First Lieutenant KENNETH M. GOODRUM, 26, of Atlanta, and First Lieutenant TOM A. MARTIN, 25, of Griffin, Ga.
GOODRUM is survived by his wife, RENE and his parents who live at Griffin. MARTIN is survived by his wife.
Armistead said both men leaped or were thrown from their planes. Their bodies were found about one mile apart. The wreckage of the planes was about one and a half miles apart in a heavily wooded area about three miles southeast of the Dobbins base.
One plane exploded and burned. The other pancaked on a wooded hillside, but did not burst into flame. The plane that exploded burned fiercely for a short time. It fell along side a rural dirt roadway several hundred feet from the nearest woodland. Dense black smoke led to reports that a forest fire had been started. However, only dry grass and high thick weeds caught fire from the wreckage.
Several hours after the planes crashed, thin smoke still rose from the charred metal.
Armistead said GOODRUM'S chute had opened, but that the ripcord of the other had not been pulled, showing no attempt had been made to open it. The officer said this probably indicated MARTIN was unconscious when thrown from his plane.
Lieutenant GOODRUM'S body was found soon after the crash. About 150 officers and enlisted personnel of Dobbins AFB fanned out over the hilly, wooded area and searched for several hours before the second body was found. A civilian came upon the second body about half a mile from the plane that had not burned.
The 128th Fighter Squadron, a unit of the 54th Fighter Wing to which the planes were assigned, is Marietta Brigadier General J. L. Riley, commander of the 54th Fighter Wing, said the crash occured at 11:09 a.m. (EST). Exact circumstances of the crash were not known, he said, but it is assumed the two planes collided as they sought to fall into regular flight formation.
The planes were attached to the Dobbins AFB.

Florence Morning News South Carolina 1950-09-04