Saturday, April 25, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Details revealed in 1952 Alaska crash

By
From page B10 | October 14, 2012 |

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — In November 1952, Airman Isaac Anderson sealed the envelope on a letter to his bride. “I will be getting on a plane for Alaska in two hours. I love you, take care of my son,” he wrote.

Airman Anderson and

51 other passengers and crewmembers aboard the C-124 Globemaster II en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, from Washington state would never reach their final destination.

A search party was dispatched to the crash location and a portion of the aircraft’s tail was spotted, but harsh weather conditions and the austere Alaskan environment thwarted efforts and necessitated the suspension of the recovery effort.

The C-124 crashed into Mt. Gannett, less than 40 miles from its final destination. The wreckage then tumbled down the mountain in an avalanche coming to final rest in a glacier, burying all evidence of the crash that had occurred as well as the hope to recover the service members, declared as missing in action.

It would be a month before a letter with details of the crash would be delivered to the next of kin, Airman Anderson’s wife. She always thought he was going to walk back through the door, so she never remarried.

Nearly 60 years later, Airman Anderson’s granddaughter, Tonja Anderson, retells her grandfather’s story, saying it’s always been a family legend. Because her father didn’t grow up with his father, the legacy was carried on in pictures.

“I’ve always held on to the letter; I’m going to find out what happened,” Anderson said.

As a promise to her grandmother before her death in 2001, Anderson picked up her search efforts to find the missing C-124 and answer the question, “how do you land on the glacier and not go back?”

In June 2012, while on a routine training mission, an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk crew spotted bright yellow debris on the stark white landscape of the ground below.

Low passes of Colony Glacier revealed what seemed to be aircraft debris, including shredded metal, life rafts and possibly a portion of landing gear.

Joint Task Force-Alaska was notified and activated and sent a team out to the glacier to take a closer look. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was then contacted and a team was dispatched from their headquarters at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The JPAC team recovered material evidence such as life support equipment from the wreckage and also possible osseous material from the glacier. The team completed its investigation and recovery operation June 26 and the collected evidence was transported to JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory for further analysis.

Based on the material recovered, a positive correlation between the wreckage and the 1952 crash of Airman Anderson’s C-124 was made.

Tonja Anderson heard about it on the news.

“I screamed, I cried, I called my dad at work and told him ‘they found grandpa’s plane’,” she said.

After learning of the teamwork of the Alaska National Guard, JPAC and JTF-Alaska, Anderson decided to make the trip to Alaska to see for herself all that went into the effort, dubbed Operation Colony Glacier.

“I wanted to see for myself what it took for the 1952 search party to get there, what it was like having to stay the night, and, importantly, why they abandoned the search. You see it on paper, but until you visually see it … I have more respect for it now.

“I just hope I can explain to the families when they have questions,” Anderson worries.

“We don’t understand, because we are just family members, what took place and why the military made the decisions they made. Now that I’m here and I can see it I can get them to understand,” she said. “If it’s hard now, I know it would have been hard back then.”

For Anderson, her visit to Alaska and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was about closure.

Along with a summer 2012 timeline of Operation Colony Glacier, vintage artifacts recovered from the glacier – including a celestial navigation chart, Morse code card, and survival equipment such as rations, cooking pot and M1950 stove, fishing and desalination kits – as well as personal items such as a boot heel, uniform button, and a hockey puck were on display for Anderson.

“This makes it real for me,” she said. “I can’t believe all that is still intact, it’s just priceless being able to touch some of the stuff that was on the plane with them.”

She thanked the “Alaska National Guard, Joint Task Force, and JPAC, for taking the time to go back to the glacier and bringing it home, so we can finally get closure after 60 years.”

She says she understands now the necessity to abandon the search all those years ago.

“When you are a family member and you are reading about it, you don’t truly understand about it being inaccessible. I wrote letters every day. When I pulled out some of the emails and letters I wrote, I realized I was very mean, and it was just because I couldn’t understand. How do you land on the glacier and not go back?” Anderson said. “Now that I’m here and I can see it; I truly understand.”

In her journey, she’s met 20 to 30 families of the 52.

“At this point in my life, I’m prepared even if they don’t find one piece of my grandfather, I have closure,” Anderson said. “If they can bring something back to the other families, I’ve done my job.”

Airmen Anderson would be proud of his granddaughter’s efforts.

“It’s no longer a family story; it’s real now.”

Air Force News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • RichOctober 14, 2012 - 9:11 am

    Why isnt there any effort to recover and identify the remains of the 55 victims? Where there any findings as to why the Globemaster flew into the mountain?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Transportation leaders point to need for funding changes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Together to remember children lost to violence

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
‘Cinderella’ carries on despite theater flood

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
3 letters to Vacaville may cost $100,000 to answer

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Church offers free Southern Gospel concert

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Summer Spare the Air season set to start

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 23, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

San Francisco Catholics deeply divided over archbishop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Colleges starting to offer brewing courses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Hate crime charges for homeless beating suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Supreme Court ruling keeps sex offender registration in place

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

SFPD to pay for settlement of wrongful termination suit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
16 students injured when school stage collapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Thousands march to mark anniversary of Armenian massacres

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Man ordered to stand trial for kidnap, rape charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Nuclear launch officers charged in drug case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Rubio looking to gain support in Iowa

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hep C, HIV cases spike throughout Indiana

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama uses hospital funds to help push for Medicaid expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hawaii raises smoking age to 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Gray should have received medical treatment

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Italy police arrest nine terror suspects in sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Yemen rebels ordered to pull back

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

US completing review of hostage policy following drone strikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Chaos in the primaries

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A8

 
Joy of baseball back in my life

By Deon Price | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: April 25, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Daughters’ ex is determined to turn their children against her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

.

Entertainment

Seriously silly, Monty Python reunites for a weekend tribute

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

SCC baseball team wins to claim share of BVC title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1, 2 Comments

 
Ynoa, Butler send Rockies to 6-4 win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vikings fall to Jaguars 4-3 in 8 innings

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
After working OT in NBA playoffs, Curry, Rose can earn rest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Swafford, Weekley atop Zurich Classic leaderboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano wins pole at Richmond, his third of the season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Usain Bolt: Gay’s reduced doping ban sends wrong message

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Scott Dixon is chasing IndyCar wins leaders, not spotlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ducking the spotlight, some stars decide to skip NFL draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Garber: MLS plan in 6 months to expand beyond 24 teams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dortmund, American Pharoah vie for favorite in 141st Derby

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harden, Howard lead Rockets to 130-128 win, 3-0 lead on Mavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Olympic sailing events may be moved from Rio’s polluted bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Canadian Henderson shoots tournament record for LPGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bowyer and Stewart looking for good runs at Richmond

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oregon wins distance medley relay at Penn Relays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodell: LA projects viable for bringing back team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Former Buckeyes teammates Cook, Sindelar top Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Signups for Saturday, April 25, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B3

.

Business

Wynn Resorts shareholders: Elaine Wynn won’t return to board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Ford recalls 390,000 cars to fix door latches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Winners and losers of the demise of the big Comcast deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
What could McDonald’s do to fix its business?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Durable goods orders up, but business investment falls again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Harley recalls nearly 46,000 motorcycles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comcast abandons Time Warner Cable bid after gov’t pushback

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Cheaper fuel has airlines soaring to record profits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 4/25/2015

Ask a Designer: decorating with spring pastels

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1 | Gallery

Real estate transactions for April 25, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage slips to 3.65 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3