Baltimore, MD Air Force Hero Killed, Mar 1953


A Piedmont, U.S. Air Force officer, who flew 80 missioins overseas as a World War II fighter pilot, was killed when his twin engine bomber crashed on its approach to a Baltimore, Md., airport.
He is Lieut. Col. HARRY E. McAFEE, 35, son of Mrs. Harry E. McAfee, Sr., of 69 Manor Drive, Piedmont, Calif., credited with being the first pilot to land on newly captured Japanese airfields of Saipan and Tinian during World War II.
Also killed in the crash in a driving rain last night were Lieut. Col. R. C. BRITTINGHAM, JR., 34, and Tech. Sgt. ROY A. KELLY, 34.
The officers were assistants to the chief of staff of the Air Research and Development Command with headquarters in Baltimore.
COL. McAFEE had been transferred to Baltimore about two weeks ago from Wright-Patterson field in Dayton, Ohio.
A graduate of Piedmonot High School, the officer enlisted in the Air Force while a student at the University of California. He and his wife were at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack which started the war in the Pacific. His wife, JEAN, was evacuated and spent the remaining war years at the McAFEE home in Piedmont.
McAFEE went on to win the distinction of being the first pilot to set his Thunderbolt fighter down among the shell holes and bomb craters of Ushi airfield on Tinian.
On Saipan he led Marine landing parties by flying specially marked planes over landing craft to direct them ashore to the island's narrow beaches. He once had to parachute into the sea five miles off shore but was picked up by a Navy patrol an hour later.
Even as a U.C. student he attempted to join the Chinese forces fighting the Japanese, but was persuaded to return to his studies. He returned to U.C. while still in the Air Force after the war and was graduated as a bachelor of science in physics in 1948.
Surviving are his widow and four children, SHERRY JEAN, 10; HARRY E., JR., 7; MARY ANN, 6; and SUSAN JILL, 3. He also leaves his mother and a sister, Mrs. Richard S. Allen of Mountain View.
The Air Force said the B-25 crashed in low visibility while attempting to land at Friendship International Airport. The Air Force said the plane was on a "routine administrative flight" on its way back from the Air Force Missiles Test Center at Patrick Field, Fla.

Oakland Tribune California 1953-03-26