Fairchild AFB, WA Bombers Collide, Sep 1958


Spokane (UPI) -- A midair collision of two B52 bombers near Fairchild Air Force Base Monday night claimed the lives of 13 of 16 airmen, the AIr Force said today.
Twelve men were killed instantly when the two eight-jet planes crashed and burned in a field three miles from the base.
The other victim, Captain ERNEST C. MARKER, Spokane, Wash., commander/pilot, parachuted from the crash but died at the base hospital early today.
The 12 victims already identified were:
Captain HOMER W. CRUMP, Monterey, Calif.
Major THEODORE HELD, Reedsburg, WIs.
Staff Sergeant AUBREY R. MOORE, Birmingham, Ala.
First Lt. JOHN M. CORK, Page City, Kan.
Captain ROY L. GEORGE, Cisco, Tex.
Lt. Colonel ANDREW B. CREO, Spokane, Wash., 327th Bomb Squadron Commander.
Staff Sergeant DAVID G. ARCHER, Spokane, Wash.
Captain RUSSELL H. SNOW, San Antonio, Tex.
First Lt. JOHN R. BLACK, St. Petersburg, Fla.
First Lt. REGINALD FRAZIER, Spokane, Wash.
First Lt. GERALD M. LIMBURG, East Amherst, N.J.
Captain DONALD R. STAPLES, Turner, Mont.
Capt. DAVID D. BIRDSELL, co-pilot, Spokane, Wash., who also parachuted from the crash, was reported in very serious condition but two others who leaped, Staff Sgt. LOWELL W. YOUNGER, tail gunner, Stockton, Calif., and Second Lt. WALTER N. McGUIRE, electronics warfare officer, Spokane, Wash., were reported in very good condition.
Col. Donald Hillman, commander of the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild, said both the swept-wing giants were on routine training missions and were practicing landings. He said the collision occurred
"during or on their final approach to the base."
An eyewitness, Laren Smith, said one plane went into a steep dive after the crash and the other tried vainly to gain altitude.
Richard Russell of Airway Heights, a community near the base, said he was sitting down to dinner when he heard one plane overhead.
"I looked out the window and saw one circling and I said 'something's going to happen.' I ran for the door and by the time I got outside I heard the crash," he said. "I saw three parachutes."
Another witness said he also saw three parachutes immediately after the crash. He said one plane lost part of a wing which fluttered to earth.

Redlands Daily California 1958-09-09



We are dedicating a memorial to these two crews at Fairchild AFB on Sept 8, 2017.
Contact base protocol for info/invitation.


My father was Maj. Walter N Maguire and flew for many years after the collision. He retired after 27 years active duty and passes away in 2008.

I was stationed at the base at the time

I was an instrument technition Airman 3rd class. I was in the barracks when someone came in and said every one in your fatiqes and get on the bus out side. Wish l could tell you the time frame this was after the plane went down. I believe it was right after as they wanted a wide area policed up around the crash site. The civilians would be in there getting any thing they could pack off. One thing l remember is seeing a helmet and when it was picked it up there was a head in it and no l was not the one that picked it up. I am still having bad dreams about that it was so terrible.

1958 b-52 crash at Fairchild AFB

I was ten years old and playing football in my front yard on the air force base when my friends and I saw the two planes crash. We saw 5 or 6 parachutes coming down and at least 3 were on fire. The men did not have a chance. The expolsions and the colors cannot be comprehended unless you saw it for yourself. This was a true disaster. Later that winter I cut my face open snow sleding and had to go to the hospital and get stitched up. I saw Capt. Birdsell in a full body cast trying to get well.