Ridgeway, SC Army Transport Plane Crash, June 1964



Ridgeway (AP) -- Make-believe military maneuvers became grim and tragic reality late Wednesday night when an Army transport plane crashed near Ridgeway, killing seven soldiers and injuring 22.
The casualties were all assigned to Ft. Benning, Ga., and were participating in exercise Hawk Star 1.
The twin-engine Caribou crashed and burst into flames in a farm field shortly after takeoff. An investigation was immediately launched into the cause of the crash.
Of the 21 persons aboard the aircraft, six were killed and 15 were injured. One soldier on the ground was also killed. Seven soldiers who were camping out in the field were injured.
The dead were identified as:
Sp. 5 CHARLES J. BILSKIE, Vincennes, Ind.
Sp. 6 ROBERT W. WEBSTER, Upland, Calif.
Capt. RONALD ESTES, all of Columbus, Ga.
Two of the injured were in serious condition.
They are:
Sp. 5 ALVIN M. CLECKLY, 31, Seale, Ala.
Sp. 5 DONALD WHITTINGTON, 21, Lisbon, Ohio.
The injured were taken by helicopter from the crash site to Ft. Jackson Army Hospital near Columbia. Most of them were treated for burns, cuts, bruised and minor fractures.
Among the other injured was Sp. 5 LEON HART of 907 Crowley St., Hartsville. No other Pee Dee area persons were listed as having been involved last night.
"There were many individual acts of heroism," observed Army personnel at the crash scene.
One surviving occupant, Sp. 5 LEON HART of Hartsville, S. C., said it was WEBSTER'S alertness in turning on the plane's exterior lights and opening the escape hatch which probably kept down the death toll on the plane.
"There was a severe jar, the left wing caught in a tree," said HART. "The plane sort of lifted up its left side and then settled down. It immediately burst into flames, but because the crew chief had been able to get the doors open, we could just jump out."

Florence Morning News South Carolina 1964-06-26


myself an another soldier

myself an another soldier were resting on top of a deuce an a half truck waiting to pull out to a new location when the plane had problems an did a cart wheel an landed up right at the end of the runway. a few men were putting a fence back up getting things back to normal, one was killed an a few injured on the ground. we ran down to the plane which was burning an the blaze was burning high in the air. when we thought everyone was out we saw a man trapped under the wing that was burning. A handful of us tried to rock the wing to get it off of him but vapors blew an we all went flying thru the air. the explosion move the plane off of the trapped mans leg an we were able to get him out but he did not survive the ride to fort lee. We learned later the officer was cwo martin. It was a tragic night for everyone.

more info on crash Great uncle was killed in this crash

My great uncle Charles Doran Martin CWO was killed in this crash. This was 6 years prior to my birth. I would like more info onthis and himm if possible. All of his siblings as far as I know have passed away. I know he is buried at the Natl cemetery in Chattanooga TN