Olathe, KS Air Force Jet Crashes, Oct 1954

B-47E in flight.jpg


Olathe, Kas., Oct. 30 (AP) -- The identities of three officers killed in the crash of an air force jet reconnaissance plane southwest of here Friday night were announced today. The pilot parachuted but was injured.

Those killed were:
Capt. HASSEL O. GREEN, 32, instructor-pilot, formerly of Newsite, Miss.
Capt. GEORGE H. MILLER, 33, co-pilot, formerly of Burbank, Calif.
Capt. ARTHUR F. BOUTON, JR., 31, observer, formerly of Little Rock, Ark.
All had been living with their families of Topeka, Kas.

Capt. NORMAN PALMER, 32, Rochester, Ind., identified earlier by the air force as the pilot of the six-engined RB47E reconnaissance version of the B-47 jet bomber, was reported in "very good condition" today.

PALMER suffered fractures of the right arm and shoulder after parachuting from low altitude.

GREEN is survived by his widow and a daughter, ROSEMARIE DIANE, 9; MILLER leaves his widow and four children, ANN LOUISE, 9, PAULINE, 6, GEORGE, JR., 8, and ROBERT, 2; BOUTON leaves his widow and two children CLIFTON, 6, and JOEL, 1.

The plane, a six-engine RB47E reconnaissance version of the B47 jet bomber, had taken off from Forbes Air Force Base at Topeka, where it was stationed, just 25 minutes before the crash.

A witness, Dr. Jack Flickinger of Baldwin, Kas., said the burning craft went into a vertical dive at 1,000 to 2,000 feet and plunged straight into the ground.

It blasted a hole 40 feet deep. Dr. Flickinger said burning debris was thrown 500 yards in all directions.

Lt. Allen Oppegard, Air Information Services officer at the Olathe Naval Air Station, said the pilot told medical personnel from the base that the plane went out of control at about 10,000 feet but that he did not know why. The pilot said he did not recall how he got out of the craft.

Salina Journal Kansas 1954-10-31


B 47 crash

I am a aviation history follower. I have been working to find the exact
location of the crash of this aircraft. I first read about the accident in
Earl McGills book Jet Age Man. I did not know the site was a few miles
from my home. My work to find the exact location has taken me about 3
years. I have spoken to the farmer who owns and farms the land.
We have not been able to get to the exact spot due to the muddy conditions.
If possible I may look into constructing a small monument to the crew at
the site. The site is in the middle of nowhere on a plowed field, but it still
would be recognized. Let me know if you or any of the surviving family members
would like to be kept in the loop.

B47 Crash

Norman Palmer was my father and the only survivor of this crash. This accident happened before I was born so I don't how true the things were that he said to me but here it is. He said the plane had malfunctioned due to warping of the wings during flight so that when he tried to turn one way, the plane would turn in the opposite direction and he was not able to control the plane. Just before the plane hit the ground, he used the ejection seat, which was experimental at the time. The seat also malfunctioned and did not go out straight. He hit the inside of the cockpit on the way out, which caused his injuries to his right shoulder and leg. He was seriously injured and was in the hospital for a year and a half. This was his last flight and soon he retired from the Air Force. The B-47 bombers were soon phased out due to so many of these accidents and the B-52 took it's place. He died a year and a half ago at the age of 92.

1954 Olathe Kansas Plane Crash

There is a combined grave at the Military Cemetery in Memphis, TN. I was there for the service honoring these men, including my Uncle Hassell who was the instructor pilot and I have been back several times over the years. To a 10 year old child, the service was very impressive and I can still remember it today.

Arthur Bouton

Hi Joel,

My name is Georganne Guillen. My grandfather, George Henry Miller, was in the same accident that killed your father. You mentioned that there was a combined grave for the crewmembers. I never knew about this. What remains did they ever find? At the urging of the Air Force, my grandmother and her children, including my mother, moved back home the next morning. No further news was ever given to her regarding the crash, or anything else. I found out a few years ago from Mr. McGill that the pilot lived. No one in my family had ever even known that much. Do you know what ever happened to him?

Thank you for any information you may be able to give me. I am glad I came upon this article.

Georganne Guillen

Olathe Crash

Dear Joel,

The night before the crash, Art (your father), Melba, (if I recall her name correctly) your mother, my wife, Ellie, and I (Mac) attended a Spike Jones concert in Wichita. I was the crew copilot and released from the flight by Capt. Green (the IP) after Miller showed up at the last moment, because, in Green's words, "We don't need you McGill, go home." When I arrived home, the crash was breaking news on TV. Needless to say, my wife and I were devastated. By the time we pulled ourselves together to the point where we could do it, we went to your house, just around the corner. By then the chaplain, CO, and neighbors had gathered. When your mom saw me, she turned white as a sheet, thinking that I too had gone down with the airplane.

I've just completed Jet Age Man, commissioned by Helion Books and due for punblication later this year. In it, I chronicle the accident in the section I've titled "The Sweetest Killer I Ever Flew." This morning I came across your post while looking for references to include in the Bibliography. I hope this reaches you and we can correspond. After all this years I still feel deeply emotional thinking about Art.

We called you "Joey" back then.


Mac (mcgilwe@comcast.net)

B47 crash

The date of this actual crash was October 29, 1954. The reason I know this, Arthur Bouton was my Father. The remains of the crew could not be identified, and a combined grave for the crewmembers is at Memphis National Cemetary, Memphis, Tennessee......This particular B47 had some experimental designs on it at the time, so when the crash occured much secrecy prevented the family survivors from getting the complete story...