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At 10:22 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDST) on July 11, 1965, EC-121H serial number 55-0136, Homey 63, crashed and was destroyed 100 miles north of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Of the 19 members aboard the aircraft, 16 were fatalities. The survivors included one of the two navigators aboard, 1st Lt Bruce E. Wither, Surveillance Technician A1C John N. Puopolo, and Radar Technician A2C David A. Surles. The aircraft and its crew were assigned to the 961st Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Squadron, 551st AEW&C Wing and were participating in an active air defense mission over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft commander for the flight (1st Lt Frederick H. Ambrosia/961st AEW&C Squadron) briefed the aircrew and completed a normal pre-flight clearance form for the mission. At 9:58 PM EDST, the pilot, Captain Murray L. Brody reported reaching his position and proceeding to 15,000 feet. At 10:17 PM Captain Murray reported his No. 3 engine was on fire and prepared for ditching. At 10:21 PM he reported the plane was at 200 feet and ditching. After that--complete silence. The aircraft impacted the water very hard. Poor visibility and weather conditions hampered the search and rescue efforts. The three survivors were rescued after nearly 12 hours in the water in life jackets. Crew members that perished include: 1Lt Frederick H. Ambrosia, Aircraft Commander, Capt Murray J. Brody/Pilot, 1Lt Thomas Fiedler/Copilot, 2Lt Ira J. Husik/Navigator, Captain Edward N. Anaka/AFROTC Observer, Captain Michael R. Barbolla/AFROTC Observer, TSgt Gilbert T. Armstrong/Flight Engineer, TSgt Eugene J. Schreivogel/Flight Engineer, SSgt Raymond M. Washam/Radio Operator, SSgt Francis J. Griffin/Radio Operator, SSgt John L. Howard/ADP Technician, A1C George R. West/Surveillance Technician, A1C Charles K. Sawyer/Surveillance Technician, A2C William E. Howe/Radar Technician, A3C Charles J. Podiaski/Surveillance Technician, and A2C Charles H. Williams/Navigation Technician.
December 14th, 2010
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