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USS Franklin D. Roosevelt Rotating Header Image

1970 A3 Skywarrior Loss-Ed Turnberger

Submitted by Ed Turnberger , ABE3 V-2 Divn. 1970

Click on image to enlarge

CREW NAMES: KILLED: (3) LCDR Roger Blaine Thrasher, Pilot. LT Thomas L. Walls, Nav. AO1 Floyd Russ Bond, Pax. Note: was on his first A-3 flight returning to Rota Spain to reenlist.

SURVIVED: (1) AMS2 Sam “Rosey” Rozier P/C. Note: Continued his naval career retiring as an E-9.

On 02/26/1970 EA-3B was launching from the deck of the USS Roosevelt CVA-42. The catapult system malfunctioned in mid-stroke, resulting in the Skywarrior “dribbling” off the bow. It was later discovered that the 3rd class that fired the cat got a faulty cat shot indication which he pushed the retract button in trying to stop the launch. This in turn sheared a shear pin, causing the aircraft to go off the cat at the speed which they had reached prior to the 3rd class hitting the retract button. The cat felt normal and strong. A faulty wire was determined to have caused the light to flash. Note: This crash resulted in all cat shot operators to raise their hands once the cat is shot.

Once the EA-3B departed, the pilot was pulling the yoke up as far as possible trying to gain altitude, he turned and asked AMS2 Rozier what was going on? And he yelled cold cat. The aircraft went about 300 yards in front of the bow of the ship and began to cart wheel and break up, the nose of the aircraft broke off. AMS2 Rozier went under the water in his seat, he thought still in the cockpit, after 2 minutes of going down he disconnected his seat harness and shot up fast to the surface. Once on the surface he saw the aircraft and 3 helmets floating, at that time the USS Roosevelt ran over him and the A-3. AMS2 Rozier was swept down the side of the carrier getting cut up from the big barnacles breaking both of his legs, nose and gashing his head deep. Upon approaching the fantail he was worried about the props and thought it was all over but a wake swept him out. He was later picked up by the USS Adams and treated and flown to Naples for hospital care. “Its amazing he survived”.