Lester Prairie, MN National Guard Jet Crash, June 1956


Lester Prairie, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's third jet plane crash in 12 days claimed a North Dakota Air National Guard pilot, LT. RICHARD J. FROESCHLE, 22, Moorhead, Minn.
FROESCHLE, who formerly was in the Air Force and recently had enrolled at North Dakota Agricultural College, died Saturday as his F94C Starfire jet crashed in a muddy corn field a mile from here.
The crash came only about an hour after the lieutenant and three other jet pilots took off from Fargo, where they were attached to the 178th fighter interceptor squadron. They were to fly to Camp Williams, near Tomah, Wis., for summer training.
Two of the planes turned back because of bad weather, but FROESCHLE and 2nd Lt. Darrel Cornell continued their flights. Shortly before Cornell lost sight of the other plane, he picked up a message in which FROESCHLE said he had a "flame out" (power failure).
That was the last report from FROESCHLE. Moments, later, his plane cut through a power line, shearing off a pole, and then struck a road and landed in the field. The wings and wheels were ripped from the fuselage, and wreckage was scattered over a 500-foot area in the field drenched by rain.
Townspeople here reported the plane wings "fluttered" as FROESCHLE circled before the crash. Witnesses added there was no sound from the engine except for a low whistle.
The "flat angle" at which the plane came down indicated to Air Force investigators that LT. FROESCHLE may have been attempting a forced landing in the field.
FROESCHLE was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Froeschle of Bismarck, N.D., and a graduate of Hazen, N.D., High School. The lieutenant was married to the former Marilyn Worner, Wahpeton, N.D.

The Winona Daily News Minnesota 1956-06-18