Provided by Loren Holmes via Alaska Dispatch News
Tonja Anderson-Dell lives in Tampa, Florida, but a good part of her time and attention is focused thousands of miles away — on an Alaska glacier. Like dozens of family members of service members killed in a 1952 plane crash on Colony Glacier she is still awaiting word on the identification of her grandfather’s remains.
In 1952, Isaac Anderson was a 21-year-old Air Force airman on his way to a duty station in Korea when the C-124 Globemaster II he was in crashed into a mountain just above Colony Glacier, about 50 miles east of Anchorage, killing all 52 men on board. His son, Anderson-Dell’s father, was an 18-month-old baby when Anderson died.
Anderson-Dell runs a Facebook group for families of the airmen killed in the crash. She has attended funeral services for many of the 17 service members whose remains or partial remains have been identified. She has spent hours on the phone, talking about how the crash has affected the families left behind. She traveled to the crash site last June to see for herself the recovery efforts of the plane, personal effects and remains of its 52 occupants.
Anderson-Dell said she’s thankful for the work done by the Air Force, Department of Defense and mountaineering crews. But her patience is waning — especially since a jurisdictional shift among the agencies responsible for the recovery effort and DNA testing has delayed by at least six months the identification of the remains found on the ice in 2014 and 2015.
By: Sean Doogan