June 1966
The Buckroe Jet Crash
Monday, June 20, 1966,
shortly before 9:00 PM


July 1966
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There has been something on my mind that seems like it never happened -- primarily because there is nothing about it on the internet, plus practically no one I've talked to seems to remember -- and that is the 1966 jet crash in Buckroe. Just wondered if anyone has a "where were you" story regarding this. I remember romping around in our living room on Chesapeake Avenue in Hampton that night, and hearing an eerie "WHOOMPHH!!" as the house shook a little.

We went to the christening of the submarine RAY (SSN-653) at the NN shipyard a day or two later, but I was totally incapable
of enjoying this event, thinking about how creepy that plane crash was.

- Jean Lankes (HHS - '72) of VA - 01/10/07

Thanks, Jean!  My "memory" being what it is, I do not recall this event at all just yet; perhaps it will return
as we continue this dialogue. Having a very close date will help in the search process.

From the site of USS Ray, I found its launch date to be June 21, 1966:
 It took us nearly four years to solve the last such mystery; perhaps this one may be uncovered sooner!


I just read your "Under The Broadwalk" newsletter of 1/11/07 with the
link to the plane crash that occurred during the 12/11/54 christening of
. I missed all of the original newsletter postings
about this, else I could have shed a little light on that mystery. I was
standing on the river's bank and saw the plane disintegrate in mid-air.
Yes, it was a F7U Cutlass (at that time I used to be up on all the
various models of cars and planes) and it was not one of the Blue Angels.
First, part of the left wing fell off, flying up in the air, then most
of the tail section broke off followed by the engine exploding. That was
the visual sequence, but it likely started with the engine blowing up.
I can recall seeing the canopy sailing upward, but don't remember
seeing the pilot eject. The whole sequence took but a few seconds and I was
completely stunned and saddened by it all.

A few years later I was in the Ground Observer Corps where my father
and I used to spend one evening a week watching planes from a little
glass hut on top of the police station in Buckroe Beach. There was a direct
line connected to GOC headquarters in Richmond that we used to report
the heading and altitude each multi-engined plane we saw. One evening a
F-104 Starfighter practice scrambling from Langley AFB flamed out and
crashed in a marshy area near Poquoson. At that time the Air Force crash
rescue vessel was a WWII converted PT boat powered by huge Packard V-12
engines, but the boat's draft was too deep to allow it to get to the
pilot of crashed jet in this instance. I'm not positive, but I believe
the pilot was killed. Not too long afterwards the Air Force got an air
boat crash rescue vehicle that could go 60MPH in 6 inches of water.

- John Patterson ('59) of Northern VA - 01/12/07
Thanks, John!

I recall being on my Third Class Midshipman cruise in the Pacific when I heard of the crash. For some reason I have always thought it was an F-4 Phantom, but I cannot corroborate that. When I returned to NN from that cruise, I think "the guys" told me that the crash site was a residential area on the north side of Pembroke Avenue in the vicinity of the old WVEC studios, which were on the south side of Pembroke, but give you a sense of the area. That is close enough to Buckroe that I can see why the news would call it a crash in Buckroe.

Some quick Googling turned up:

From: http://smg.photobucket.

Seven photos of the crash
Picture by brueger

800 x 618 (104 kb)
Picture by brueger

800 x 590 (106 kb)
Picture by brueger

800 x 620 (91 kb)

Picture by brueger

800 x 622 (101 kb)
Picture by brueger

800 x 621 (90 kb)
Picture by brueger

800 x 600 (93 kb)
Picture by brueger

800 x 609 (79 kb)

From: http://www.buyoutfootage.com/pages/titles/blacktype/pd_nr_titles/pd_newsreels66_005.html
(A sales pitch for newsreel highlights of 1966)


Jet Crash Tragedy:
A mother and her one-year-old son are killed, 44 persons hurt, when one of two Marine jet
bombers which collided in midair, comes down in Hampton, Virginia. 10 homes were leveled.
The four Marine crewmen bail out safely.

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/12/07

David, you are a super sleuth!  Thank you so much!

Strangely, I have even less memory of this now than I did previously.  This would have been the summer just after
my freshman year at Old Dominion.  My daughter suggested this could have occurred during one of those periods
when I had been abducted by aliens.  Yeah, that might explain it.....

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 01/12/07

-Of course, you know that the solution to all this is for me to get to the Hilton Library and peruse the Daily Press
for June and July 1966. I expect that it made the front page.

Stand by ......

 - Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/12/07
Well, of course! Thanks, Dave!

ZOWIE! The Buckroe jet crash didn't remain a mystery very long, did it?!? Makes me feel weird & creepy all over again.
Oops, that sounds ungrateful. Thank you SO MUCH for forwarding this amazing compilation!!! Dave Spriggs is indeed
a super-sleuth; I myself couldn't find a cotton-pickin' thing about the crash on Google.

- Jean Lankes (HHS - '72) of VA - 01/12/07
Thanks, Jean!  You're right; David is quite amazing!

This is from my best friend, Kathy Mooney (Hampton HS '64) - NY

She lived on Whitaker Avenue near where the crash happened.......her grandmother and uncle lived
in the same homes where it happened.

- Gloria Price Woolard (HHS - '65) of FL - 01/12/07
Thanks, Gloria!

It happened in July 1966-- late afternoon.  I was in my bedroom fixing my blinds and heard a very loud noise and looked out the window and saw a skinny mushroom type black cloud of smoke rising up from right where my goggie (grandmother) lived.  I screamed through the house to my mom and dad and said people are dead, people are dead, we tried to phone goggie, but there was no answer -- I ran out of the house barefoot all the way to her houseand luckily her house had not been hit.  When I arrived she was leaning out the door, and all the power lines had been cut.  She was okayhoweveracross the street around the corner a bit, the plane had hit the first house and crossed the street and slid into Mrs. Edwards' kitchen and garage and stopped across Old Buckroe Road into other homes (the ones I used to call matchbox homes because they were square and small and looked like matchboxes)  --  the only deaths were a woman and her infant in the first house struck.  That was a miracle.

My brother (George Mooney, Hampton HS '64) wrote a paper on it for Old Dominion College, but I don't recall if the paper still exists anywhere.  Also he might have sent something to the Daily Press.

For a long time the rest of that summer of 1966, tons of cars would drive through on Lawrence Avenue (the street where Goggie and Uncle Bill lived) to look at the destruction.  Mrs. Edwards said right before the plane hit across the streetshe had been in the kitchen when her daughter phoned her, and Mrs. Edwards walked to the hall to answer it, at which point the plane hit and shirred off her kitchen and into the garage in the back and continued across Old Buckroe Road.  Her daughter's phone call saved her life.

It was very tragic that the Navy pilot had ejected and let the plane go.  

- Kathy Mooney (HHS - '64) of NY - 01/12/07
YOWZERS!  Thanks, Kathy!

The plane crash was a Marine (I'm sure) and I think it was a A6. The pilot bailed out and he thought
it would go in the water between Fort Monroe and the main shore ( Mill Creek), but after he bailed it came
in on Sargeant Street. The plane took out most of Sargeant Street but killed only a few. The nose wheel bounced
about a 1/8 mile and came thru the roof of the bowling lane at Buckroe Shopping Center.

I don't remember the date, but I know it was summer and I think it was 1965.

- Tim Rogers (HHS - '66) of VA - 01/13/07

 Thanks, Tim!

When I mentioned the crash I witnessed from the little Buckroe Beach
"tower" (two stories high!), the crash site was quite a distance away in
a Poquoson marsh and took place much earlier than 1966 - - probably
around 1957 or 1958.

In 1966 I was fighting in 'Nam where some NVA regulars were doing their
best to kill us, so I missed the Buckroe Beach jet crash.

Best Regards,
- John Patterson ('59) of Northern VA - 01/13/07
Thanks, John!  Maybe there's another story there in Poquoson for us!

My husband and I were living on Kingsview Court in Fairfield off Fox Hill Road at the time of the plane crash. My husband
was on the phone looking out our kitchen window talking with his mother. He yelled "Look, I just saw two planes collide!"
I was home, but did not see it, though I heard the noise.

After they let the public view the site, my husband and I went to see the area and took these pictures. I can't remember what street the plane landed in; maybe some others will have more information.

1 2  3

- June Veneris Collie (HHS - '62) of VA - 01/13/07
WOWZERONI!  Thanks, June!

Oh, Bummer!!!

I just returned home from the Hilton Library with copies (20 pages) of all the newspaper reports of the crash over several days. I was hoping to scoop everybody.

Still, I will scan and stitch the images together for you. At least you can see how the local media handles such a local disaster.

ADDITIONAL:  Despite already published recollections ....

 Disregard the crash site info. the articles mentioned Marion and Sargent ... and that would place it south of Pembroke.  The date and time is right from the article the next morning, i.e. 21 June

 - Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/13/07, 6:30 PM
Thank you so much, David!  Super Sleuth you are!

June 20, 1966 is my wedding day.

My wife and I had just finished dinner in Williamsburg, and returned to our Motel for the night. When we entered
the room I turned the TV on and they were doing a story of the plane crash. I do not remember the time or type
of plane/planes involved, but I do remember the plane crashed one block over from my folks' home. I almost had
a heart attack. I tried to call my parents, but the lines were all tied up. We, my wife and I, were just about ready
to leave to go to Buckroe to check on them, when I got through to my mom. She said they were fine and not
to come down there as the police and military would not let us into their area. I think it was around midnight
when I finally got to talk to my mom.

So as you can see it was a night I will never forget. For more reasons than one.

- Jerry Blanchard ('62) of VA - 01/13/07, 10:20 PM
Typhoons forever...

WOWZERONI-RINI!! I'm stunned! Thanks so much, Jerry!

Carol ... sounds like you have all the details!

As for myself ... I was at home that evening (Victoria Boulevard
between LaSalle and Darling Stadium), quite a ways from Buckroe, and the
impact was so intense it shook our house and the storm door actually came
open! Shortly afterwards, we heard all of the sirens heading to Dixie Hospital
down the street. I could see a red and white ambulance (Wythe), green
and white (Phoebus and Northampton), and blue and white (Buckroe Beach)
coming down LaSalle and turning down Victoria, including some I had never
seen before. (Everyone was out by the street looking toward the hospital, and
it looked like all localities were dispatched to this one.) A Navy ambulance
came toward us (turned the wrong way on Victoria) and stopped to ask
directions. We asked what had happened and the driver told us.

A couple of days later at Lively Raceway (slot car track in Fordham
Shopping Center, about a mile from the crash site) I heard more details
.... like how landing gear from one jet went through the window at adjacent
Century Lanes, and how the vivid fireball illuminated the sky. At high school
I heard that a friend was on top of the Ferris wheel at Buckroe at impact.

In 1986 there was a news article about the crash ... somewhere here I
have it, as well as the article on the crash itself. It's incredible that
there weren't more fatalities ... those homes were small and tightly
packed, and quite a number were destroyed.

That area was zoned for Kecoughtan then ... perhaps some of the KHS
readers have more details on that chilling night in '66.

- Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 01/14/07 (message having been delayed in transit by a day and a half...)
WOW!  Thanks, Tom!

We will begin with Daily Press coverage the morning following the crash, i.e. 21 June 1966.

It is very difficult to stitch text images together. The page 22
continuations are in three parts, all clearly labeled. The reader
will have to simply click successive images to continue reading.

Headline Headline - lower right Continuation from Page One Page Three

Page 22 - Top Crop Page 22 - Middle Jog Crop Page 22 - Bottom Page Five - Map of Crash Site

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/14/07, 2:44 PM
Thank you so very much, David! 
I have no idea how you were able to do all that, but I really appreciate all you did to get these pages - and the facts - for us.

We continue with Daily Press coverage on 22 June 1966.

Of interest will be a list of those injured on the page 12 (top) continuation of the article begun on page 3.
The DP noted that Page Three is known as the "second front page".

Page Three Page 12 - Top - Includes List of Injured Page 12 - Bottom Editorial

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/15/07, 10:07 AM
SUPER!!!  Thanks again, Dave!

We conclude with Daily Press coverage on 23 June 1966.

I suspect that there were additional articles in the following months
as the investigation progressed. To find those would take a great
deal more research and would likely exceed the interest of most readers.

Page Three Page Six

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/15/07, 10:10 PM
EXCELLENT!!!  Thank you again, so very much, David!


Most of my research results in fun and nostalgic fodder for the web site. Not this time.

I have visited the crash site thrice in the last four days ... taking digital images and trying to work out the direction of the aircraft and the location of the destroyed houses. There is no evidence that there ever was a crash, but that is to be expected 41 years later. Even mangled trees have had sufficient time to re-grow.

As I was taking the images, one resident came up and asked what I was doing, perhaps fearing that I was a developer preparing to level the neighborhood for condos. When I explained that there had been a terrible military air crash just across the street in 1966, she said that she had heard about it when she moved there. Clearly, the legend has not completely faded. Despite shivering in shirtsleeves on a cold day, she was very interested in my account of the crash geometry, casualties, and names.

Also, I recently had a look at the Norfolk newspapers for the days following the crash. In some ways, that coverage was easier to understand.

With all the names of the injured in the paper, it would be simple to find some of them still living today. I did find an address for one with little effort. Also, one Sargeant Road resident's name in 2007 is the same as in 1966; that home was very near the path of destruction. I even found a likely address for one of the four Marine pilots. However, I cannot imagine contacting any of them and asking for recollections. That would be cruel and painful; satisfying our current curiosity is simply not worth doing that.

So, we must be content with what we can read and see in the photographs. The most distressing thing I read was that rescue operations were seriously hampered by sight seers who clogged roads and loitered in the area on foot, despite orders from civil and military personnel to clear out.

In a way, I can understand why some people chose not to remember such an awful event.
Perhaps they were terrified by the idea that fiery death can fall on you from the sky at any time.

It was a bright and cold day -- perfect for image taking.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Looking NW Across Sargeant Street on Probable Path of Jet Crash; Marion Road in the Distance

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Looking SE Across Sargeant Street at Gallant Home

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 4:35 PM

Looking NW in Probable Path of Jet Crash;
Gallant Home on Right
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sargeant Street Looking to Intersection with Lawrence Street


- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/17/07, 5:11 PM
INCREDIBLE!!!  Thanks so much, David!

Just wanted to say "thank you" to all of the people who contributed memories, photos, scans, etc. regarding
the 1966 crash.... and proving that I didn't just imagine this tragedy. The personal stories were positively hair-raising.

And thank YOU, Carol, for making this possible!

- Jean Lankes (HHS - '72) of VA - 01/18/07
Certainly, Jean!  As tragic as it was, I really appreciated the opportunity to learn all about that.
It was one of those things I didn't know I didn't know. Thanks so much for your original inquiry!

I enjoyed reading the articles and viewing the pictures of the jet crash years ago in Buckroe. I recall it very distinctively even though I was 200 miles away. The reason I remember it so well is that my college room mate Tommy Wampler's family lived on Sargeant Street a couple of houses from the plane crash. I remember him and James Cross, whose parents lived down the street, trying to call home to check on the family. This is the kind of event  you don't easily forget, especially when you have family and friends who are located close to the area. My girlfriend at the time lived on Old Buckroe Road and I was finally able to reach her to find that the plane had crossed Old Buckroe Road a few miles away so she and her family were safe. Definitely some tense moments.

Thanks to all who contributed to recalling this event. It was sad that the plane had to land in a housing development and take a couple of lives, but I guess when you look at the way it went down between the row of houses you realize how many lives were spared had it not landed where it did. 

F.A. Saunders (HHS - '64) of VA- 08/06/08
Thank you, F.A.!

Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem)

- Johannes Brahms, 1865-8
(7 May 1833 - 3 Apr 1897)


II. Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras

Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen.

(1. Petrus 1, 24)

So seid nun geduldig, liebe Brüder,
bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn.
Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet
auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde
und ist geduldig darüber,
bis er empfahe den Morgenregen und Abendregen.
So seid geduldig.

(Jakobus 5, 7)

Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen.

Aber des Herren Wort bleibet in Ewigkeit.

(1. Petrus 1, 24. 25)

Die Erlöseten des Herrn werden wiederkommen,
und gen Zion kommen mit Jauchzen;
Freude, ewige Freude,
wird über ihrem Haupte sein;
Freude und Wonne werden sie ergreifen,
und Schmerz und Seufzen wird weg müssen.

(Jesaja 35, 10)

II. For all flesh is as grass

For all flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth,
and the flower thereof falleth away.

(1 Peter 1:24)

Be patient therefore, brethren,
unto the coming of the Lord.
Behold, the husbandmen waiteth
for the precious fruit of the earth,
and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early
and latter rain.

(James 5:7)

For all flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth,
and the flower thereof falleth away.

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.

(1 Peter 1:25)

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with songs
and everlasting joy
upon their heads:
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

(Isaiah 35:10)


(This page was created on 01/12/07, when Jean wrote us, and the puzzle pieces began to be assembled.)

The Second Movement of Johannes Brahms' "A German Requiem", "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras",
courtesy of http://www.cyberbass.com/Major_Works/Brahms_J/brahms_requiem.htm - 01/13/07

German Lyrics courtesy of http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Ein_Deutsches_Requiem - 01/13/07

English lyrics courtesy of http://www.stanford.edu/group/SymCh/DeutReq.html - 01/13/07

Google Earth Image of Crash Area courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/16/07
Thanks, Dave!

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of http://www.bravenet.com - 08/12/04

Return to NNHS Class of 1965