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rtepak6

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 #1 

The topic of Gene Devlin’s 1964 Thunderbirds F-105B crash at Hamilton AFB came up this weekend, and I was wondering if anyone knows the exact location of the crash site, and if it is accessible.

One source put it near the “nuke storage dump” (?), while another had it crashing in town.

 

I guess the important question is has anyone located the site and if so, is anything left.

 

Dale

CheckSix

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 #2 

Well, I have written a story about what happened - http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/Thunderbirds_F-105_crash_site.htm

 

But I have been unable to pin-point the crash site, as according to witnesses, the bulk of the wreckage from this midair disintergation ended up on the runway.

 

When I tried to get the crash report from AFSC, they were unable to locate the file.

 

Regards...

 

 


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rtepak6

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 #3 

Thanks for the info. In fact, I just finished reading your excellent write-up on the crash. Somewhere I seem to recall seeing a couple of grainy black and white photos of the fire being put out, but can't seem to recall where they were located.

It's been a number of years since I was last out to Hamilton AFB, but I understand the area is slated for development into homes (or at least a major portion of the old base). If the crash site is pinpointed and it is determined to have been on or near the runway, does anyone know if this area is still accessible?

 

Dale

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 #4 

During my research of this accident, I was unable to lcoate any photos, as local press coverage was focused more on the loss of Pacific Airlines #773 only a few days earlier (one of the earliest acts of domestic air terrorism)...

 

A 'virtual wreck hunt' using Google Earth did not net anything obvious.

 

But I will renew my research efforts on this... 


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F5G

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 #5 
Go to google earth.find Hamilton hangers..follow the hangers north & just to the left there is a barren area (hill) between the home..that was where they used to store the ammo..along the lower side they had under-gorund bunkers, they be may be filled in now..how do I know..I was stationed at Hamilton & used to play cards game with of the guys in the bunkers during the summer.

Terence
Bitemore

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 #6 
I witnessed the crash of Eugene Devlin's plane.  I was stationed at Hamilton AFB 1962 -1965, and was standing outside the barracks in front of the Airman's Club with a few friends.  We heard the Thunderbirds approaching and looked up in time to see what appeared to be a mid-air collision between two of the planes.  I cannot be certain about that, but as we stood there watching, it looked as though the one aircraft was headed directly toward where we were standing.  Suddenly, although aflame and clearly on fire, the one with the worst damage lifted enough to clear the hill (known as WAF Hill) where we stood and so over he went, into a nosedive onto a runway below.  That was Eugene Devlin's plane.  The next day, we heard a few details, but I will spare you those, unless you want to hear them.  Suffice it to say, they are gruesome.  I recall looking at a photo of Gene and crying... he died saving those of us on the hill, because he could have bailed out but did not, thus preventing the plane from crashing directly upon us, but sealing his own doom.

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bitey
F5G

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 #7 
What you refer to as WAF hill we used to call it Cherrie Hill..
I was Hamiliton (1955-1959)
Terence

Reg

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 #8 
The question of crash location came up and I can only add that I was stationed at Hamilton when this happened but off base on this day.  The next day we did a very thorough pick up of all the wreckage, putting bushel baskets of small debris onto a truck.  The wreckage was partially reassembled as part of the accident investigation in the hangar next to the base shops were I worked.  All of Gene's personal effects, helmet, boots, etc., where on a work bench in the hangar.  Most debris ended up off the north end of the runway.  Two enlarged photos taken from a movie clip showed the plane separating into two pieces and the cause was determined to be structural failure.  Hope this is helpful to those interested.
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