Cold Mountain, NC Bomber Crash, Sep 1946


Brevard, N.C. (AP) -- A remote mountain cove today yielded the fate of an army B-25 bomber that crashed near here Friday killing its five occupants, including Major General Paul B. Wurtsmith, temporary commander of the Eighth Air Force.

An army ground rescue party reached the scene of the crash yesterday after picking its way at the rate of a mile an hour over two miles of rugged mountains. The plane had sliced off tops of trees for 100 yards before crashing into the side of Cold Mountain in a densely wooded cove about 200 feet below the summit.

William Huber, district ranger for the Pisgah National Forest, in which Cold Mountain is located, said the plane had burned after crashing.

Wreckage of the plane, which had been unreported since Friday at 11 a.m., was discovered early Sunday. En route from Selfridge Field, Detroit, to McDill Field, Tampa, Fla., it had aboard, in addition to Wurtsmith, Lt. Col. F. L. Trickey, Tampa; Lt. Col. P. R. Okelbloom, Tampa; M-Sgt. Hosey W. Merritt, Geneva, Ala.; and S-Sgt. Hoyt W. Crump, Tampa.

The Rock Hill Herald (Rock Hill, SC), 16 September 1946


Five World War II heroes were killed when a B-25 bomber crashed on Cold Mountain on Friday, September 13, 1946: Major General Paul Bernard Wurtsmith (the youngest general in the Army Air Force), Lieutenant Colonel Fred Logan Trickey Jr., Lieutenant Colonel Paul Richard Okerbloom, Master Sergeant Hosey William Merritt, and Staff Sergeant Hoyt Woodrow Crump. Doris Rollins Cannon's book Cold Mountain Bomber Crash: The Enduring Legacy (Edwards Brothers, 2005) contains a complete description of the crash and biographical information about the five men and their families.