5 US Boys
a.k.a. Lee Ranch Cemetery, a.k.a. Joneta Cemetery, a.k.a. Mary Lee Cemetery
Submitted by Wayne Kuykendall, by Kathe and by Charles Barnum
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Transcribed by C. W. Barnum
Albuquerque Journal; Wednesday October 21, 1941
Forced Landing Wrecks Ship: Attempting a forced landing at 1:15 a.m. after one engine of their attack trainer had gone dead was given here Tuesday night as the cause of the crash and explosion near the Lincoln County village of Lon in which two Air Corps officers and three aviation cadets were killed Tuesday. The torn bodies of the flyers were returned to a mortuary here late Tuesday night. Col. Frank Hackett, Commander of Albuquerque Air Base, announced the names of the dead:
Second Lieutenant W. H. H. Carpenter 28, Rothville Mo.
Second Lieut. G. W. Jones, 22, Hasting, Neb.
Cadet E. B. LaRouche, Dallas.
Cadet K. C. Manchee, Dallas
Cadet M. Marantz, Brooklyn
From Kelly Field: The Army flyers from Kelly Field, Tex., left their home one Monday night on an Observation and navigation training flight, and stopped briefly at Albuquerque Air Base.
The time of the crash near Lon, about 30 miles south of Vaughn, was set definitely at 1:15 a. m., Tuesday. The Army officer who inspected the crash said three wristwatches were found amid the scattered wreckage.
All stopped within 10 minutes of each other. He said the plane exploded when it struck a ridge some 300 feet higher than the valley over which the craft had been circling, and the gasoline tanks exploded. Wreckage was strewn over a two-acre area. The sound of the plane’s remaining motor awakened J. J. Kennon, postmaster at Lon, as the ship circled his house three times in searching out a landing place.
He got out of bed, he told investigators, and was just finishing dressing when he heard the crash.Although the scene of the wreck was five miles from Lon, Kennon said he saw the flare of the explosion.
The countryside, there is level plains, and the plane struck one of the few rolling ridges. Bodies of the two officers were found first and for a time it was believed the cadets might have landed safely with parachutes, but this was found incorrect, Col. Hackett said.
Bodies Badly Mangled: The bodies of the flyers were badly mangled, and were scattered over a wide area, apparently by an explosion, State Policeman Frank Mann reported by late Tuesday to Capt. Nichols of State Police here. Mann said the wreckage indicated the explosion occurred when the explosion occurred when the plane hit the ground, and that it did not catch fire. The crash State Police said, occurred during a moderate storm over the area. Although the search for the flyers began at dawn, ground crews from the Air Base and State Police did not reach Vaughn with the bodies until nearly dusk.
Left Here at Midnight: The flyers were with eight other places which left Kelly Field, San Antonio, Tex. Monday night on the training flight. One plane turned back to San Antonio because of motor trouble, but the others made the flight to Albuquerque successfully. On the return flight, two ships were forced down at Santa Rosa because of unfavorable weather. Six planes reached Kelly Field safely. Weather conditions were good when the ships left Albuquerque about midnight, Said Col. Hackett. The Storm in the area where the wreck occurred must have been largely local, and it must have been severe.
The bodies were brought to the Strong-Thorne Mortuary here. Officers awaited orders for forwarding them. An investigation will be held as soon as possible, the officer stated. The wreck occurred far from, any surfaced road, and about five miles from the town of Lon. State Police and Army men toiled in the mud across difficult for several hours to reach the scene. Members of the Army detachment remained at the scene for a time after the bodies were removed to determine if the wreckage of the AT-6 plane can be salvaged. Wreckage Scattered Far: The plane struck the ground at a steep angle and gouged a 3-foot pit where the motors first struck.
State Policeman Mann amplified his report, saying the explosion scattered wreckage and pieces of the bodies over an 800 square foot area. There was no general fire, although pieces of the wreckage were found smoldering. The Explosion was so terrific that it wrapped small pieces of metal around stems of grass in some places and mowed it off in others. Mayor R. M. Kranawitter of Vaughn told the Associated Press first reports of the explosion were brought to Vaughn by Charlie Mustella, mail carrier.
Transcriber's note. Parts of the bodies were buried at Lon Cemetery. A deteriateing stone marker is still in place. My hope is that the marker could be replaced with a proper Military Marker.