Shreveport, LA Bomber Explosion, July 1955
BARKSDALE STRATOJET CRASHES EARLY TODAY.
FOUR KILLED AS BIG BOMBER EXPLODES AFTER TAKE-OFF.
Shreveport, La., July 24. -- (AP) -- Four airmen from Barksdale AIr Force base died when the B-47 Stratojet bomber crashed and burned on take-off shortly after midnight at the Barksdale Air Force Base.
Names of the four airmen killed were identified this morning as:
Capt. J. B. BOSSIER, 25, aircraft commander, a native of Newport, Ark., whose wife and two children live in Bossier City.
Capt. L. R. CASTLE, 23, pilot, a native of San Angelo, Texas, whose wife and son live in Bossier City.
Capt. C. J. DeJUNG, observer, 33, of Patzau, Wis., whose wife lives in Shreveport.
Airman First Class J. H. WELLER, crew chief, of Dodson, La. His wife and three children live at Homer, La.
The huge bomber took off from Barksdale Air Force Base at Shreveport about midnight on a routine flight mission. Its destination was not disclosed. The crash occurred about 12 miles east of Shreveport.
Witnesses said the plane appeared to have exploded with great violence in mid-air and crashed in a ball of fire to the ground. The explosion lighted up the area for several miles, and the concussion was felt as far away as seven miles.
Wreckage was strewn over a 5,000 foot area.
Air Force officials today were checking the wreckage in an effort to determine the cause of the accident. It was the second such crash of a Barksdale bomber since the Stratojets were based there recently.
Lieut. Col. John Spalding, Second Air Force public information officer, said sheriff's deputies searched for two hours before locating the site of the burning plane in heavy rains. The deluge had made it impossible to get heavy recovery equipment to the scene and only the bodies had been recovered at 4 a.m.
The crash was first discovered by a plane which had taken off moments after the ill-fated one.
Officers said the plane apparently never gained altitude after taking off. The six-engine bomber was taking part in night training maneuvers and several other Barksdale-based planes already were in the air.
Four men were killed last May 31 at Barksdale when a B-47 crashed shortly after takeoff.
Ruston Daily Leader Louisiana 1955-07-14