Forum Index > Pacific NW History > 1975 Air Force Crash in Olympic NP - Feb. 17
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RodF
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PostThu Feb 10, 2011 2:31 pm 
Olympic National Park News Release

Public Invited to Learn About 1975 Air Force Crash
Thursday, February 17 at 7 p.m


The Olympic National Park Visitor Center (3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles) will host a discussion of the 1975 crash of an Air Force cargo plane in the eastern part of Olympic National Park.

Retired park ranger George Bowen of Hoodsport will lead the slideshow presentation and talk, to be held Feb. 17 at 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Bowen served as the park’s East District ranger from the early 1970’s until his retirement in 1993 and was a member of the search and recovery team following the crash.

Flying southbound over the Olympic Mountains shortly before midnight on March 20, 1975, the C-141A Starlifter carrying 16 servicemembers crashed into Warrior Peak (elevation 7,310 feet), on the northwest face of Mount Constance.

The flight was en route to McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, originating at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and making stops at Kadena and Yokota air bases in Japan.

The crash remains the largest single loss of life in the history of Olympic National Park.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
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Snowbrushy
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PostThu Feb 10, 2011 3:33 pm 
RodF wrote:
The crash remains the largest single loss of life in the history of Olympic National Park.

It would be hard for me to have interest in an event associated with so much grief. But here is a military plane crash high in Idaho's West Central Mountains where some crew barely hiked out and all finally lived another day. Happy ending. The plane which was headed to McChord in Tacoma, Wa. is still there at a pretty alpine lake.

It's alpine. It was an ordeal. The guys barely made it out alive, OMG. Anything is possible in the remote Idaho woods.
It's alpine. It was an ordeal. The guys barely made it out alive, OMG. Anything is possible in the remote Idaho woods.

The story: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMV7Y

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Tigerotor77W
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 7:15 pm 
I'll be sure to take a moment of silence in two days... I can't make it out there, but I'd certainly attend if I were in the PNW.

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RPBrown
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 7:19 pm 
It actually hit on the face of Inner Constance.  There's still a lot of debris laying around up there.

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Schroder
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 9:03 pm 
More discussion earlier in this thread.
It was Warrior Peak. There shouldn't be much left there now - they had half of Fort Lewis & McChord up there in the summer of 1975 picking up the wreckage.

The son of one of the crew is on this forum.

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CP
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 9:33 pm 
Schroder wrote:
More discussion earlier in this thread.
It was Warrior Peak. There shouldn't be much left there now - they had half of Fort Lewis & McChord up there in the summer of 1975 picking up the wreckage.

The son of one of the crew is on this forum.

We have had crews (including myself) hike in this area for decades and none of them have reported any leftover debris.

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RPBrown
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 11:01 pm 
I've been up there numerous times and there's LOTS of debris, mostly smaller parts.  I remember packing out an altimeter, broken up but still recognizable.

If we're talking about the C-141 that crashed near Home Lake it hit Inner Constance.

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CP
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PostTue Feb 15, 2011 11:26 pm 
RPBrown wrote:
I've been up there numerous times and there's LOTS of debris, mostly smaller parts.  I remember packing out an altimeter, broken up but still recognizable. 

If we're talking about the C-141 that crashed near Home Lake it hit Inner Constance.

Yep...that would be the one that crashed in 1975.  When did you find the debris?  Our guys are up there quite a bit usually coming up the Big Quil through Boulder Shelter heading towards Constance Pass/Del Monte ridge and spend time around Home lake.  They spend a lot of time around Inner Constance but then again, they weren't really exploring the area.

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RPBrown
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PostTue Feb 22, 2011 2:06 pm 
CP, when you say "our guys", what do you mean?  Just curious.

The last time I was under the cliff face there was probably 10 years ago.  First time I was in the area was soon after the crash happened.  I've seen lots of debris on every visit, probably 4 times.

Sure the Air Force packed out all the big pieces but the jet essentially exploded, probably descending at 200 to 250 knots when it hit the mountain which resulted in lots of debris.  I remember also finding tattered clothing which included a squadron patch from a jacket sleeve.

My uncle snowshoed up there from the Sunnybrook side and observed them blowing/prying the radome from the cliff face.  He couldn't get any closer than the ridgetop as they were prevented from dropping into the Home Lake basin from military personnel & helicopters.

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Schroder
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PostTue Feb 22, 2011 2:10 pm 
A couple of photos I took when we first reached the crash site. Weather was so bad we couldn't get anywhere near it for the first two days.
Landing gear on Warrior Peak
Landing gear on Warrior Peak
tail near Home Lake
tail near Home Lake

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CP
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PostTue Feb 22, 2011 3:38 pm 
[quote="RPBrown"]CP, when you say "our guys", what do you mean?  Just curious. quote]

"Our guys" are boy scouts from Camp Parsons.  Marmot Pass, otherwise known as the "poop-out drag" is a prennial favorite of ours since the 20's and the crews that go usually wind up spending time between there and the Dose valley.  Del Monte ridge is named after our East Indian cook, Billy Del Monte in the 20's.

That being said, there were not a lot of hikes in the 70's but picked up more in the 80's so perhaps most things had been picked free.

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Snowbrushy
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PostWed Feb 23, 2011 10:06 am 
In the mid-latter 1960's we used to go out of Camp (when we weren't busy on the rifle range), to a lake called Lake Constance. I suppose that that's the "poop-out" because the "trail" goes straight up. A real root-grabber!

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CP
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PostWed Feb 23, 2011 11:07 am 
Snowbrushy wrote:
In the mid-latter 1960's we used to go out of Camp (when we weren't busy on the rifle range), to a lake called Lake Constance. I suppose that that's the "poop-out" because the "trail" goes straight up. A real root-grabber!

Ah yes, Lake Constance.....1.5 miles straight up.  This has only been used as a day or overnight "hike" and we haven't done it in awhile due to the Dose washout.  On the upside, since the washout I think the lake has been less used and has had a chance to recover.  It would be interesting to hear that from anyone who has been there recently and could compare it to 30 years ago.

No, the "poop-out drag" is the Big Quil trail to Marmot Pass; the reason being is that a lot of the hikes usually wound up in low lying clouds towards the pass and just when you think you are reaching the pass you find out there is a lot more to go.

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skiyak777
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PostWed Jul 06, 2011 10:03 am 
Anyone been up to the vicinity of Warrior Peak lately? I am thinking of hiking/skiing in to try to ski the couloir this weekend. Not sure whether it would be better to head up the Dungeness or  head up to Marmot pass via the Quilcene. I've wanted to go up there for a long time. (My dad was on the C141 that crashed there in 1975.)

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reststep
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PostWed Jul 06, 2011 2:02 pm 
This is from the Olympic Mountain Rescue history written by Keith Spencer.

Quote:
The biggest operation in unit history took place in the winter of 1975 when an Air Force C-141 Starlifter crashed into the summit of Inner Constance. Eleven OMR members spent more than 1000 man-hours during the search and recovery under impossible weather conditions. Another 500 hours were expended the following summer as the group participated in the final cleanup. It was a hairy operation involving more than 100 people. Glenn Kelsey was appointed base operations leader. Dave Sicks served as field operations leader. The only way in or out was by helicopter and, because of the weather; there was at least one near collision. Adding to the "pucker factor" was very deep and unstable snow on steep and difficult terrain. Field personnel were forced to climb and reclimb Inner Constance under winter conditions many times during the 10 days the mission went on. There were no crash survivors.

It is on page 9.

Link

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