Grumman F9F Panther Navy Jet Crashes in Atlantic Ocean in 1956
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member fullxr
N 37° 54.109 W 075° 24.454
18S E 464168 N 4195000
Quick Description: Pilot was on a Tracking Operation with a Navy Baltimore-Class Heavy Cruiser, the USS Macon (CA-132).
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 1/1/2013 6:39:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMG1CA
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Thorny1
Views: 8

Long Description:
This plane crash reportedly occurred in the Atlantic Ocean off of Chincoteague Island. The coordinates provided are for the closest place on the island for visitors to pay their respects. The base runways can be see by selecting the satellite map image for the area.

A Tribute to Lieutenant (jg) Alan Montgomery Gunn, United States Navy.

Born in 1931 to Colonel Damon Mott Gunn (US Army Judge Advocate General's office, retired) and Helen Montgomery Gunn, Alan Montgomery Gunn attended Sidwell Friends School in northwest Washington, DC. He was commissioned by the US Navy in June 1954 after graduating from Yale University, and was assigned to the Chincoteague Naval Auxiliary Air Station (now Wallops Flight Facility). He was not married.

On Tuesday morning, April 24, 1956 at 9:45 AM, Lieutenant (jg) Gunn, 24, left the base in a Grumman F9F Panther jet on an instrument flight headed for Kill Devil Hills, NC in a tracking operation with a Navy Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, the USS Macon (CA-132). He was expected to report back to the base as soon as he gained altitude over the water. The plane carried fuel for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Shortly after take-off, the jet is believed to have gone down in the Atlantic Ocean off Chincoteague Island.

Helicopters plus thirty-four planes from four coastal stations were hampered by rainy weather in their search between Elizabeth City, NC, Richmond, VA and Washington, DC. After a $1,000 reward for information was posted by Colonel Damon Gunn, a report of a crash near the station on Tuesday, April 24, 1956 was reported.

Lieutenant Gunn’s body was not recovered. No information was found regarding whether his jet was recovered or the cause of the tragedy.

A memorial service for Lieutenant Gunn was held in the Bethlehem Chapel at the Washington Cathedral.

An "In Memory Of" notation appears on the gravestone for Lieutenant Gunn’s parents, Colonel Damon Mott Gunn and Helen Montgomery Gunn, in Arlington National Cemetery at Fort Myer in Northern Virginia.

To read about the Grumman F9F Panther jet, visit

Information sources:
Web Address for Related Web Sites: [Web Link]

Date of Crash: 4/4/1956

Aircraft Model: Grumman F9F Panther

Military or Civilian: Military

Tail Number: Unknown.

Cause of Crash:
The cause of this crash is unknown. The plane reportedly had 2.5 hours of fuel onboard.

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