Hurley, WI Air Force Bomber Crash, Feb 1961


Hurley (UPI) -- An Air Force B47 jet bomber carrying four crew members crashed in the heavily wooded Hurley-Ironwood area late Friday while on a practice bomb run, Air Force officials said today.
A Civil Defense radio network said two men parachuted from the plane before the crash, but Forbes Air Force Base at Topeka, Kan., home base of the plane, said this could not be confirmed immediately.
The two million dollar plane was attached to the 40th Bomber Wing at Forbes.
The plane disappeared from the radar screen at the radar base in Ironwood, Mich., sister city of Hurley, at 10:18 p.m. About 20 planes -- Piper Cubs, helicopters and cargo planes -- began a search of a wooded flowage area southwest of Hurley.
This morning the Duluth Air Force Base reported search craft sighted the wreckage of the bomber in "the general Hurley-Ironwood area." Air Force planes came from Duluth and Minneapolis to join the search.
Sheriff James Thomas of Iron County said earlier an all night search of an area of some 10 square miles about five miles southwest of Hurley had failed to produce a trace of the plane.
A spokesman for the Strategic Air Command headquarters at Omaha, Neb., confirmed the plane was missing in the Hurley area and said it was on a practice flight.
The crash was first reported by a youth who telephoned the sheriff's department and said he had seen a flash of light in the sky which looked like a falling plane.
Minutes later the Air Force's radar bomb scoring site at Ironwood, called the sheriff and said a plane might have crashed into the flowage, a cut-over hardwood logging area into which the Montreal River has overflowed.
Men from the Air Force unit aided the sheriff's department in the search, along with a National Guard unit from Hurley. The early stages of the hunt were stymied by snow drifts which choked the road leading to the suspected scene of the crash.

The Daily Telegram Eau Claire Wisconsin 1961-02-25



Hurley, Wis. (UPI) -- An Air Force B47 jet bomber carrying a crew of four on a practice bombing run crashed Friday night in a snow-covered densely forested lake flowage area 10 miles southwest of here, the Air Force said today.
One of a score of search pilots spotted the wreckage this morning and said he saw no sign of life. A Civil Defense radio network said two men may have parachuted safely before the crash, but the Air Force said this could not be confirmed.
Air Force officials identified the crewmen as:
Capt. JAMES P. JARRETT, aircraft commander, Bandana, N.C.
1st Lt. CHARLES F. WEISE, pilot, San Francisco, Calif.
1st Lt. THEODORE H. STALMACH, navigator, Miami, Fla.
1st Lt. GARY H. HANIFY, Toledo, Iowa.
The $2 million plane, attached to the 40th Bomber Wing at Forbes A.F.B at Topeka, Kan., and part of the Strategic Air Command, disappeared from the radar screen at the radar base in Ironwood, Mich., sister city of Hurley, at 10:18 p.m. CST.
About 20 planes, Piper Cubs, helicopters and cargo planes, took part in the search, along with nearly 50 men equipped with snow shoes and flashlights on the ground.
Once a pilot spotted the wreckage, the men on foot began pushing through waist-deep snowdrifts toward the crash scene.

The Herald Provo Utah 1961-02-26


B-47 second crash May 2, 1961 - My story

It just so happens that I am the son of Capt. Johnny T. Hill, Sr. who indeed survived the crash that day. We were stationed at Forbes AFB in Topeka, KS. I was about 10 years old at that time but can still remember the base commander and the Chaplain pulling up in front of the house flags fluttering from the front fenders of their car. Mom screamed, "he isn't, he isn't" which was met with, "we don't know yet" and then she fainted and I was just speechless, all of the families knew what this likely meant. Hours later after many visits from wives and neighbors, and lots of food, we received “the call” which was picked by her best friend and then handed to mom….it was good news for us as you know. I am, of course, honored to see this memorial posted and for the efforts of the community of Hurley, WI. We plan to visit the sight ourselves next summer. God bless you all!

John T. Hill, Jr.

Last one to talk with B-47 crew

I was an Airman First Class stationed at the Ironwood Radar Bomb Scoring site on Norris Hill. That horrible night in February, 1962 still haunts me. I was the bomb plot Controller that night responsible for assigning Bomb release times and communicating with the bombers. All planes call in at their IP (initial point - like Eau Claire or some other distant city) and call again at 50 and 25 miles from their bomb release point. This time they failed to call at 25 miles. Our radar lost them at that point. I kept calling, but no response. Shortly after someone called our site and said one of our bombers just crashed. Many months later to crash investigators determined that an engine pod mounting bolt fell out causing the engine to shift askew and the plane to go down. God bless them.

Thanks.just returned from

Thanks.just returned from Ironwood,Hurley past weekend. A fine museum at former train station just west of town. The attendant there was very interested in some info and or pictures of det 12. I have some pictures and am in touch with two former airmen from there. Keep in touch please. B K

WE came across the Memorial

WE came across the Memorial in Feb 2015 and were very pleased with it. We told other groups about it and many visited it.

Crash site

My friends and I were talking about the crash and we were able to find the memorial on our Atv's. We were able to find the gps coordinates to get us to the site. It was cool to see and they did a great job of preserving the area and explaining the history. I am aware of a second crash but I am not sure if there is a memorial for the other site.

b-42 memorial

We happened upon the memorial while atv riding near Island Lake. You guys did a great job on it. From one proud American to a group of others, Thank you.


One crashed on Feb 24th the

One crashed on Feb 24th the other May 2 1961 they crashed roughly 3 -5 miles (as the crow flies) apart

Dale Rasmussen

I am a member of a committee who is building a larger memorial to honor the men killed in both B-47 crashes here in Hurley in 1961 in which Dale Rasmussen perished.

Hurley, WI B47 crash May 2, 1961

stu, do you have an article for the other crash that year. Dale Rasmussen died in the May crash.

Thank you.


2nd B-47 crashes over Ironwood-Hurley in 1961

May 2, 1961 another B-47 went down over the Ironwood-Hurley area. Electronic bombing was monitored from a trailer in Ironwood by the USAF. Two men survived the second crash but sadly two men were killed.