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
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."
To add information to this page, contact
- 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,
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.
Pfc. Dowling was born August 30, 1933 and is buried in
Hillcrest Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio.
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,
Lawson, John Clifford
Airman Lawson was born March 25, 1931 in Pennsylvania.
He is buried in Highland Park Cemetery, Highland Hills,
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,
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,
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,
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.