My 2016 Trip to Alaska

This morning I got chance to meet the team going out on the glacier. What an amazing group of men. Team, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work you all put in on bring our men home.

 

 

 

 

 

Attending the services of Airman Thomas Condon

 

20160525_144921

I remembered when I received an email in 2011 from John Condon. He stated he was the nephew of Airman Thomas Condon and was hoping to get some information about the crash. He had been doing some research and came across the facebook page. I was very happy to provide as his father William Condon (brother of Airman Condon) was coming to visit and he wanted to share it with him.

When I heard the news that Airman Thomas Condon was ID and coming home there was a smile on my face. Another set of siblings lived long enough to see their brother make it back home to his true final resting place. On the 25th of May Airman Condon made his way home to Waukesha, WI.

Walking into St. John’s Catholic Church, I stood in line to greet the family, and I looked around at all the people that came to welcome him home. Row after Row was filled with people. In the last row was the daughter and her family of PVT Kittle. Kittle died on the plane with Airman Condon and Airman Anderson. This was a special moment for me because PVT Kittle’s home coming was the 1st service I attended in 2014. I stepped out of line and give Ms. Linda a hug. It meant so much for me to see them there. All these men died together aboard the C-124 and after their death their families has become somewhat of a support system for each other.

When it was my turn to finally meet his brother William and sister Marian, all we could do was smile at each other. Even if no other words were said we were all glad to see each other. At the end of the service a brother and sister walked behind their older brother casket with smiles of joy.
It is always nice to hear a little about the airman and their life before the crash. Airman Condon was a little funny because the story was told he loved to work on cars, tractors, etc… but once they did the math he was only 10 or 11 years old when he found his passion. lol

I want to thanks Ruben Garza with Airforce Mortuary Affairs, Staff Sgt. Mario Super for escorting Airman Condon home, Fr. Bustos with St John Church, Tuscan Hall Banquet Center for allowing the family to gather and tell the wonderful family stories, John Condon for allowing me to attend and witness this all.
“Memorial Day this year is especially important as we are reminded almost daily of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the armed services make to defend our way of life.” — Robin Hayes

Airman Thomas Condon, you have come home to your family close to Memorial Day and it holds true to Robin Hayes Quote. Welcome home Sir and Thank You for making that sacrifice. ~Tonja Anderson

 

 

20160525_115341 20160525_115226 20160525_131230 20160525_134615 20160525_140156 20160525_140225  20160525_144935 20160525_231719 20160525_135706

 

 

After 64 years, Airman Thomas Condon is being laid to rest

 

 

JEFFERSON — After more than six decades, a Jefferson woman’s brother, who died in an Alaska military airplane crash during the Korean War, will be laid to rest.

 Airman 2nd Class Thomas Condon was among 52 servicepersons who perished Nov. 22, 1952, when the Douglas C-124 Globemaster in which they were flying crashed into Knik Glacier 50 miles northeast of Anchorage, Alaska.

Condon, 19, was the brother of Marian (Tom) Atkinson of Jefferson. His remains, identified through a DNA match in March, will be buried with full military honors on Wednesday, May 25, in Waukesha.

The heavy-lift cargo plane — affectionately nicknamed “Old Shaky” because of the racket from its big piston engines — was heading from McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Wash., to Joint Air Force Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage and had passed Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska south of Prince William Sound when it disappeared with its 41 passengers and 11-member crew.

With giant bay doors under its nose, the Globemaster was the largest cargo plane in the American airfleet back then, the sole aircraft able to transport a tank, bulldozer or 200 soldiers. On this flight, it carried 52 men, mostly Air Force and Army personnel and at least one from the Marine Corps and one from the Navy.

Historians have said that the weather was inclement and the crew was flying blind. As it traveled above the Chugach Mountains, only minutes away from its destination and apparently avoiding many peaks, the massive airplane suffered a malfunction and began losing altitude.

At about 4 p.m., the captain of a Northwest Orient Airlines passenger plane picked up a distress call. He reportedly deciphered a scratchy radio signal over his headset that said, “As long as we have to land, we might as well land here.”

The airplane then struck the mountain.

A member of the Fairbanks Civil Air Patrol and a member of the 10th Air Rescue Squadron, according to an Associated Press report from 1952, first identified the wreck six days later.

After returning from the site, the civil air patrol lieutenant — then-University of Alaska President Terris Moore — told reporters that the plane “obviously was flying at full speed” when it struck Mount Gannett, the elevation of which is 9,100 feet. The airplane appeared to have slid down the cliffs and exploded, throwing wreckage across several acres.

At the time, the tail was intact enough for identification. However, the wreck quickly sank deeper into the glacier, and by the time a rescue team was able to hike there, there was no trace of it.

The Alaska News reported in 2012 that Douglas Beckstead, historian for the 673rd Air Base Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, reviewed copies of the official reports on the incident.  ~By Christine Spangler

 

To read more: http://www.dailyunion.com/news/article_41afd06a-20f3-11e6-aa4c-ab7e37155c92.html?mode=jqm

 

Franklin County soldier’s remains returned home after being found in glacier

 

FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – A mystery buried in an Alaska glacier has been solved for a Franklin County family as the remains of a U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant were discovered in a field of snow and ice.

Sgt. Leonard Unger died more than six decades ago in a military plane crash. On Thursday afternoon his remains were carried by a white hearse down the interstates toward his final resting place. About two dozen Patriot Guard members escorted the airman.

“It was horrible. It was horrible. We didn’t know what to think,” said Theresa Boland, Sgt. Unger’s sister.

She won’t ever forget the day Sgt. Unger died. Theresa was his baby sister, he was the oldest of eight children; she the youngest. She has fond memories.

“He would get in the car and take me for a ride and that was a big thrill for me,” she said.

The joy turned to sadness in November 1952. Unger was riding in a C-124 Globemaster along with 51 other people, when the plane crashed into Mount Gannett in Alaska. Grief gripped the family as they prayed for a miracle that never came. Their pride in him only grew stronger.

“He was a great inspiration for all of us. We loved him very much,” Boland said.

To read more: http://fox2now.com/2016/05/19/franklin-county-soldiers-remains-returned-home-after-being-found-in-glacier/

 

 

 

 

A/2C CONRAD N. SPRAGUE 1929 – 2016

CONRAD-SPRAGUE-Obituary

A/2C Conrad Neil Sprague (Bud) August 30, 1929 – November 22, 1952 Conrad was unfortunately taken from his family on November 22, 1952, when the C-124 he was operating in crashed into the side of Mt. Gannett, just east of Anchorage, Alaska, taking the lives of all 52 service members on board. Bud, born in Sequim, Washington was the son of Marvel Newell Sprague, Sr. and Jessie Winifred (Scott) Sprague. He married Dorothy Jean Sprague (Burns) on July 21, 1947. Bud was blessed to have three children, Denis, Christopher, and Constance Klien. Unfortunately, Constance was born six weeks after Bud’s death.

 

 

To read more: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tribnet/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=179922481

Final resting place

 

After almost 64 years after the military plane Marvell’s Bateman Burns was aboard crashed into a mountain peak near Anchorage, Alaska the airman second class was laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Garden in his native Phillips County. On Saturday approximately 75 family and friends of the family gathered at the cemetery

 

To read more: http://www.helena-arkansas.com/article/20160425/NEWS/st_refDomain=www.facebook.com&st_refQuery=/

GBW: What is your true character?

Editor’s Note:  If you have been reading, you know my grandfather was killed in 1952 but only found in 2012 and then buried in 2015.  None of that would have happened without the efforts of today’s guest blogger.  I am honored by her fight.  She has worked tirelessly to ensure all 52 service members who perished on that fateful November day are brought home

 

Tonja with Technical Staff Sergeant Clint Kelly, military escort

his past weekend I had the chance to attend the “Celebration of Life Service” for Airman 2nd Class Bateman R. Burns. Airman Burns was returned to his home town in West Helena, Arkansas. As I pulled up to the cemetery I looked at all the people who showed up to welcome him after 64 years. Some knowing him, some only knowing the stories told about him, and those not knowing him but wanting to show their respect to this fallen soldier.
One by one, family members came up and spoke about the man Airman Burns was. How he treated others growing up and how he acted every time he came home for leave. This spoke volumes to me on the man he was, and the man he might have been.
I had the pleasure of meeting his youngest sister Mrs. Christine “Teenie” Manning. She stood up, turned to the crowd and told a story of their mother’s love. Holding out on hope that he would one day return home. Telling the family maybe he has amnesia but one day he will remember and return home. This is a story I have heard so many times before. My grandmother spent a big part of her life thinking the same thing.
I sat and watched as Nathan Burns (the eldest nephew of Airman Burns) sat up in his chair, slowly bringing his hand up to his forehead; while Airman Kelley presented the flag to him. I could not help but tear up even though I have seen this several times before. A very proud nephew!
I want to thank Airman Kelley for escorting Airman Burns home to his final resting place, Rubin with Air Force Mortuary Affairs for making this Celebration of Life complete, The Robert Darr Post 88 for allowing the family to gather after the Celebration, and Mrs. Vonda Burns for inviting little old me.

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” ~ M.S. Forbes

 

 

To read more : http://heidigdailydose.blogspot.com/2016/04/gbw-what-is-your-true-character.html?showComment=1461757157140

Missouri military men’s remains ID’d, coming home 63-years after Alaska

Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing (left) and Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald

Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing (left) and Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald

 

Remains from two Missouri military men unaccounted for since the 1952 crash of an Air Force plane in Alaska have been identified and are coming home for burial.

Air Force Airman 3rd Class Wayne Dean Jackson of Downing and Army Technical Sergeant Leonard George Unger of Gerald were among 52 men who died November 22, 1952, when the C-124 Globemaster crashed into Mount Gannett in Alaska. Not long after the crash the wreckage was lost. It was rediscovered in 2012 some 16 kilometers from the crash site where it had been carried by the Colony Glacier. Since then military teams have gone to the site to recover any remains and wreckage they could before they are carried into nearby Lake George.

Friday morning the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System contacted members of Unger’s and Jackson’s families and told them remains had been identified has belonging to those men. Those family members talked to Missourinet. Friday morning the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System contacted members of Unger’s and Jackson’s families and told them remains had been identified has belonging to those men. Those family members talked to Missourinet.

Unger’s son Raymond told Missourinet he was surprised.

“It almost looks like you couldn’t find anything there,” said Unger of the wreckage site. “It feels like I’m going to get a little closure.” Unger’s sister, Theresa Bowland, emotionally told Missourinet the identification means a great deal to her.

 

to read more: http://www.missourinet.com/2016/03/11/missouri-military-mens-remains-idd-coming-home-63-years-after-alaska-crash/

The Air Force announced on March 7 2016 the names of two service members who have been recovered from a C-124 Globemaster II

McCord AF

 

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force announced on March 7 the names of two service members who have been recovered from a C-124 Globemaster II that was lost on Nov. 22, 1952.

Airmen 2nd Class Thomas Condon and Conrad Sprague have been recovered and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

On Nov. 22, 1952, a C-124 crashed while en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from McChord AFB, Washington. There were 11 crewmen and 41 passengers on board. Adverse weather conditions precluded immediate recovery attempts. In late November and early December 1952, search parties were unable to locate and recover any of the service members.

On June 9, 2012, an Alaska National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk crew spotted aircraft wreckage and debris while conducting a training mission over Colony Glacier, immediately west of Mount Gannett. Three days later, another Alaska National Guard team landed at the site to photograph the area and they found artifacts at the site that related to the wreckage of the

To read more: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/687334/af-announces-operation-colony-glacier-casualty-recovery.aspx

AF announces casualty recovery of Capt Kenneth Duvall and 2nd Lt. Robert Moon

Capt Kenneth Duvall

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force announced Feb. 19 the names of two Airmen who have been recovered from a C-124 Globemaster II aircraft that was lost in 1952.

Capt. Kenneth Duvall and 2nd Lt. Robert Moon have been recovered and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

On Nov. 22, 1952, the Globemaster crashed while en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from McChord AFB, Washington. There were 11 crewmen and 41 passengers on board. Adverse weather conditions precluded immediate recovery attempts. In late November and early December 1952, search parties were unable to locate and recover any of the service members.

To read more: http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/658909/af-announces-operation-colony-glacier-casualty-recovery.aspx