Topics - C47 Crash
Mt. San Gorgonio, California
December 1, 1952

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Most recent update to this page: February 6, 2020



It was during the night and during a blinding snowstorm that a C47 Dakota crashed on December 1, 1952 in southern California.  The plane crash, 1,000 feet below the 11,499 foot peak, took the lives of 13 men aboard the craft.  Some 75 military and civilian aircraft joined in a massive search and rescue effort, but sub-zero temperatures, downdrafts and crosswinds, and swirling snow stopped their attempts.  One of the Sikorsky helicopters involved in the rescue attempt was demolished due to weather conditions.  It was not until April of the next year that the bodies were recovered.  Participating in the rescue efforts were any number of brave men, particularly SSgt. Don St. Germaine, A1C Carl Poole, Capt. Fred Adams, Capt. Lud Tucker, and Maj. Andrew McVicars.

There is an excellent source available to readers interested in learning more about the plane crash and the rescue efforts.  Written by author Craig Therson, it can be found on the Internet under the title, "Owed to Marvin Greenlee".  It is a story about personal bravery and government seizure of the crashed Sikorsky, which was private property.

What happened to the downed Sikorsky?  According to Therson (and the helicopter's owner, Marvin Greenlee), "...the remains sat on the tarmac at El Toro while the litigation ensued. In his court affidavit, Greenlee states he believed the HRS was made airworthy again in 1959. The aircraft history card for BuNo129037 proves this incorrect as it remained "stricken" and was never reinstated. I think the truth is likely somewhere in between with components probably being reused in other HRS/HO4S helicopters."

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  • Capt. George Bingham (pilot)
  • 1st Lt. Robert Germer (co-pilot)
  • M/Sgt. Ronald Rominger (Flt. Engr./radio op.)
  • CWO Raymond H Ward (USAF)
  • A/2C John C Lawson (USAF)
  • A/3C Franklin R Whitt USAF)
  • PFC Wayne E Adams (USMC)
  • TN Felix S Roseman (USN
  • PFC John F Hartman (USMC)
  • PFC Carleton Yow (USMC)
  • PV2-E2 Arthur Dowling (US Army)
  • PVT-E2 Waitman McCallister (US Army)
  • PV2-E Robert L. Pope (US Army)

Biographies of Fatalities

Adams, Wayne Eugene

Pfc. Adams was born April 28, 1935 in Los Angeles, California.  He is buried in Visalia Public Cemetery, Visalia, California.

Bingham, George F.

George Bingham died on his 32nd birthday.  He married in 1950 to Marietta L. Levy Bingham (1917-2002).  Both are buried in Graceland Cemetery, Rowan, Iowa.

Dowling, Arthur

Pfc. Dowling was born August 30, 1933 and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio.

Germer, Robert

1st Lieutenant Germer was born November 26, 1923 in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, a son of Frank Francis Germer (1893-1968) and Ella Ada Holsinger Germer (1900-1999).  His baby brother, Frank Francis Germer II, was born and died in 1922.  Robert married Martha Strickler Greider Germer (1922-1962).  Martha later married Jacob Rife Corll.  Robert and Martha are buried in Mount Joy Cemetery.

Hartman, John Frederick

John was born May 22, 1931 and was from Maryland.  He is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California.

Lawson, John Clifford

Airman Lawson was born March 25, 1931 in Pennsylvania.  He is buried in Highland Park Cemetery, Highland Hills, Pennsylvania.

McCallister, Waitman W.

Pfc. McCallister was born July 31, 1931, a son of Brusie W. McCallister (1902-1985) and Lee Esta McCallister (1904-1974).  His brother was Wattie D. McAllister (1922-1977).  Waitman is buried in Sansom Cemetery, Garretts Bend, West Virginia.

Pope, Robert L.

Robert was born April 6, 1933 in Indiana.  Listed on his tombstone are Clyde Pope (1919-2000) and Gladys M. Pope (1912-1986).  He is buried in Park Cemetery, Greenfield, Indiana.

Rominger, Ronald Coy

MSgt. Rominger was born February 15, 1923 in Watauga County, North Carolina, a son of Dewey Admiral Rominger (1898-1955) and Florence Rose Tester Rominger (1897-1961).  He was married to Georgia Ward.  His siblings were William Dow Rominger (1925-1996) and Bonita Rose Rominger Hill (1926-1986).  Ronald is buried in Piney Grove Methodist Cemetery, Rominger, North Carolina.

Roseman, Felix Salvadore

Felix was born September 13, 1931 in Kentucky.  He is buried in Beech Grove Cemetery, Springfield Township, Ohio.

Ward, Raymond H.

CWO Ward was born March 15, 1915 in Utah.

Whitt, Franklin Roosevelt

Airman Whitt was born February 9, 1934, son of Joe and Sarah Edith Tipton Whitt.  He is buried in Union Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.

Yow, Carleton B.

Pfc. Yow was born May 7, 1933.  He and his widow, Barbara Ella Yow Knight (1938-2004) in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Cypress, California.


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