Bridgeport, TX Two Air Force Plane Collide, Mar 1958


Bridgeport, Tex. (AP) -- One or both of two Air Force planes that collided as dusk gathered yesterday broke assigned altitudes, Civial Aeronautics Administration reports indicated today.
All 18 servicemen aboard died as the crippled plane "fell like flakes of sheet iron."
The CAA reported that the smaller craft was assigned to 8,000 feet altitude and the larger one to 7,000.
In a strange turn of the cards, the planes apparently were seeking greater visibility and safety by dipping below an overcast.
They were so low the occupants had no chance to parachute.
One was a huge C124 Globemaster based at Hill Air Force Base, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The other was a C119 cargo plane based at Carswell Air Force Base, the great Strategic Air Command installation at Fort Worth, 45 miles southeast of here.
The Globemaster carried a crew of 10, and five passengers picked up at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City.
The C119 took off from Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Tex., for Carswell AFB.
The planes fell within about 600 yards of each other in rugged scrub oak country cut by ravines and gullies.
The C124 burned fiercely. Pools of molten metal glimmered around the wreckage. The C119 did not burn.
BILL CARLTON, Bridgeport, saw the falling wreckage from his car.
"It looked like great big flakes of sheet iron falling. You coulnd't tell it was a plane," he said.
C. L. HILL, also of Bridgeport, said, "The plane coming from the south hit the wing of the one from the east (the C124)."
HILL said the C119 "fell straight down" but that the C124 "came on and it looked like he tried to pull out. Finally it came to pieces on him."
DOYLE HOOD, a Bridgeport High School athletic coach, said an explosion occurred in one plane.
The C119 struck a plowed field, missing W. J. MANN by only a few feet. It ricocheted into a wooded area, MANN was plowing with a tractor.
Debris from the C124 spread over an area a mile and a half in all directions.
MANN did not hear the air collision possibly because of the noise of his machine.
"I just looked up and the plane was falling all around me," MANN, a dairy farmer, recounted.
MRS. MANN said, "My husband found one body at once, but did not find the other two for some time. They were a considerable distance away -- mayber a quarter of a mile." The plane disintegrated.

Hill Air Force Base, Utah (AP) -- The Air Force here today released names of victims in the crash yesterday of a C124 and C119 near Bridgeport, Tex.
On the C124, all members of the Logistic Support Squadron here, were:
Capt. WILBURN D. CARRIGAN, commander, Clearfield, Utah; wife, Ida Jean Carrigan; home, East St. Louis, Ill.
Capt. LOVELACE D. BODINE, JR., co-pilot, Layton, Utah; wife, Emma Florence Bodine; home, Bloomfield, Ky.
Sgt. LEONARD A. LYNAM, engineer, Layton, Utah; wife, Catherine Alice Lynam; home, Cheshire, Mass.
Sgt. HERBERT S. YARLETT, loadmaster, Layton, Utah; wife, Virginia Lee Yarlett; home, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Sgt. BRUCE H. SPRAGUE, flight mechanic, Ogden, Utah; wife, Arla Sprague; home, Cheshire, Mass.
Airman ROGER D. THOMAS, radio operator, Sunset, Utah; wife, Anita Mary Thomas; home, San Jose, Calif.
Airman GEORGE A. SIMMONS, loadmaster, Ogden, Utah; wife, Louis Simmons; home, Robbins, N. C.
Airman HAROLD L. RUGGLES, flight mechanic, Colorado Springs, Colo.; mother, Gladys May Ruggles.
Airman JACKIE L. MYERS, flight mechanic, Baltimore, Md.; mother, Bessie E. Myers.
Officer at Hill said names of the other five men aboard the Globemaster were not immediately available. They were picked up at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Tex., by the C124.
Officials at Hill said they were awaiting word from Carswell Air Force Base before the 10 are officially declared dead. The next of kin have been told their husbands or sons are officially missing.
Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth issued this list of victims aboard the C119 based there:
Capt. H. J. THOMAS, pilot, Fort Worth; home, Des Moines, Iowa.
Sgt. C. T. SLAGGLE, flight engineer, Fort Worth; home, Seymour, Tex.
Lt. V. T. WHITE, JR., copilot, home, Cut Bank, Mont.

Abeline Reporter News Texas 1958-03-28


Bridgeport , TX. 1958 AIR CRASH

Air Crash Bridgeport, TX.

March Air Force Base. California, Records Dept has flight crash report, and photos of the two planes involved.

Bridgeport Air Crash

I saw the collision above the Bridgeport VOR Station 2 miles from my home on 27 March 1958. I had just arrived from school at 4:00 pm. I was in my back yard looking up as the C-124 reveved up his engines to avoid the C-119. I went to the crash sites before the large crowd arrived.
The Air Force cleared people from the crash site but the Towns people and local Fire Dept located the Air Crew Members and covered them up with parachutes. The Bridgeport Funeral Home located the C-119 Crew and took them to the Funeral Home because it was getting late evening and dark in the countryside. March Air Force Base Recotds Dept has all revords of accodent and crash photos.

Crash Site Memorial?

I was wondering if there is an actual crash site memorial? I live in Albuquerque but I would love to travel there and see the spot even if it was for just a split second. Email me

1958 Military Airplane Crash Near Bridgeport, Texas

My name is John Teel. I am age 60 and live in a suburb of Dallas called Rowlett. As I awoke today, I had a vivid remembrance of an event from my childhood (that I was not certain was real). I recalled crystal clear images of a night-time air crash scene (outside my then hometown of Bridgeport, Texas), with me in our family car, and my mother and older brother sitting with me. I recalled darkness, small pockets of flame in a farmer's field, lots of flashing red lights and vehicle headlights, and lots of confusion. If this was real, I would have been 2 months shy of my fourth birthday, and my older brother would have been age 10.

I discussed these memories with my wife, who immediately did an internet search and found that this airplane disaster was indeed real. I called my brother Ron to see what he remembered. Ron has very clear recollection of that frightening evening. Our Dad, Reverend Horace G. Teel, had been called by the local police in Bridgeport to come to the scene of the crash, and render pastoral aid to first responders, and to say prayers over the dead. My brother believes we spent almost all night at the scene. Reading about this tragedy on the internet today makes me realize how important these 18 patriots were to the United States, and how they gave their lives in service to America. May God bless the surviving family members of these brave airmen and soldiers.

We just read one artical

We just read one artical about the crash. We would be interested in more info if u would share. We have a connection to the son of jackie l myers who was on the c124.

Humphrey Junior Thomas Air Force

My Grandfather was Pilot and Captain Humphrey Junior Thomas. Scott, I can put you in contact with my Mother if you would like. She was four years old at the time of his death, however.

1958 Plane Crash

My uncle Eugene Insco was a solder on the plane and was only 19 when this happened. I have always been compared to my uncle from my athletic ability and being that I am 6 ft 2 inch. I say this because my father is only 5-8 and mother 5-6. No one other then my aunt comes close to me in height. I have always wanted to learn more about my uncle who passed away before I was ever a dream and I am glad to stumble on to this board. If anyone has additional resources of information about this crash contact me @

C-124 1958 crash

Dear John, my life long best friend is Len B. Lynam. We often talk of his father who was on the C-124. I have been slowly researching this accident. What I'd like to do is have a marker made up of all the victims of this accident placed somewhere near the site if possible. In addition, I have contacted our Michigan senators Levin and Stabbinow for assistance with the US Air Force. I do not know if any memorial has been placed on behalf of these people. I do believe that the victims died in the line of service and deserve recognition for their sacrafice. Feel free to reach me at any time. I belong to the US Air Force Museum in Ohio and they have been rather helpful. But I think the 18 + families should know that ordinary people will not forget. Thanx for any help, best regards, Keith deLap.

1958 Air Disaster, Bridgeport, TX

Just stumbled upon your posts looking for information about this accident. My uncle, Harold Ruggles, was a flight mechanic killed in the collision. My father was in the air force and we were living in Japan when my uncle died (he was my mother's only brother).