Sunday, August 29, 2021

Inadvertent aircraft crashes

Apropos of someone referring to the XB-29's crash into Frye's meat packing plant in Seattle in 1943 . . . 

Although I'm a retired Boeing Engineer, it was only during the last tiny sliver of time I was employed as an engineer that I actually worked for Boeing, it having purchased McDonnell Douglas only a short time before I departed.  Working for Douglas and McDonnell Douglas I was involved in a lot of government proposals in competition with Boeing.  Boeing was always the enemy.  No hard-feeling apparently.  They regularly deposit handsome amounts of retirement money in my credit union account. 

I have no recollection of the XB29 crash in 1943, for reasons you indicate, but even if the newspaper accounts were more forthcoming, I was only nine years old and much more interested in what the Marine Corps was doing in various Pacific Islands. 

A mere ten years after that crash I was in Korea, and for the Marine Corps, and probably the other branches of our military, our equipment hadn't been improved since World War II.  One of my jobs while the Korean War was still going on was to drive a Jeep to the nearby Air Force base, get a copy of their bombing intentions for the evening and return with it to our base in Kunsan.  Someone at the Air Force base was paranoid about sabotage and so had their B-26's located close together in order for them to be more easily guarded.  One evening we saw a brilliant light coming from the direction of the Air Force base.  We soon learned that one of the B-26's exploded for a reason I don't recall (if I ever knew) and because it was so close to another B-26's, that aircraft exploded also.  That went on until all the B-26's were destroyed, and there were no more bombing runs, at least from the Air Force Base in Kunsan, for a while.  I sent a couple of letters back home asking if anyone had heard about the B-26 explosions and no one had.  It was easier to keep secrets back then.

I couldn't remember which bombers exploded, thought they might have been B-29s and so checked Wikipedia:   They apparently had no B-29s there in 1953, only B-26Bs.

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