|Date:||Friday 7 November 1952|
Fairchild C-119C-22-FA Flying Boxcar
|Operator:||United States Air Force – USAF|
|C/n / msn:||10518|
|Engines:||2 Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20WA|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14|
|Total:||Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19|
|Aircraft damage:||Damaged beyond repair|
|Location:||Mt. McKinley, AK ( United States of America)|
|Phase:||En route (ENR)|
Family’s closure rests on remote Alaskan glacier
Frank Blasi still remembers the last time he saw his brother, Daniel Blasi.
Frank was at a neighbor’s farm in St. Leo, working during the harvest. Daniel had just been drafted into the Korean War and came over to tell his younger brother.
“He cried before he left that day and we all felt he had a feeling he would never come home,” Frank said. “It still bothers me that I saw him crying because I had never seen him cry.”
Growing up on a 160-acre farm in Kingman County, and with 17 brothers and sisters, there was too much to do and little time for tears.
But Daniel’s premonition was right. On Nov. 7, 1952, the 22-year-old died in an Alaskan plane crash aboard a C-119. For years, the family only knew a few details. Mainly, that 19 servicemen, including Daniel, died when the plane collided with the side of Mount Silverthrone around 2:50 a.m.
In August, Frank and Jeanette Blasi found out for sure that is the site of where Daniel died. It took over 15 years of work from their son, Father Leo Blasi, and the help of a total stranger before a piece of evidence was found that was so compelling the U.S. Air Force agreed it was the site of Gamble Chalk 1.
Mr. Terry Mates post about his father that went missing aboard the missing C-119.
My father flew to Korea in a C119. He was flying in a war zone in Korea for 10 months, I believe. He survived the war and came home. A few months later he was flying a C19 in Alaska as a co-pilot (aka Gamble Chalk 1). Long story short they crashed into Mount Silverthrone, peak 5, November 7th, 1952. All 19 veterans were killed. They found wreckage on November 10th, 1952. It was known where the crash was and where the 19 veterans were located. From that point on things really went downhill. The plane eventually slipped down the mountain and today (2019) the debris is some 5 1/2 miles out on a glacier, along with the remains of all 19 killed. In the last 5 years, numerous people have tried to call attention to this, everyone cares but nothing gets done. Two things I want to point out; One of the excuses I have been told is in the 1950’s they did not have the proper helicopters to fly out, but there was studebaker weasel (world war II snowmobile) that could have provided access. Next, the other excuse is that the weather is so bad in Delani National Park, they only have a three-week window per year to go to the crash site. If the weather is so bad there, they should close the park. I do not understand how visitors can go there all summer but the wreckage can only be reached three weeks out of the year. Please understand, I live in Colorado, that is known for mountains and snow. I have been working in the mountains for years, a colorado resident of 40 years. If interested go to Gamble Chalk 1 (https://www.facebook.com/
How a retired geologist discovered a long lost Air Force crash in the Alaska Range
Eldridge Glacier in the Alaska Range, where the debris field from Gamble Chalk 1, a U.S. Air Force C-119 aircraft that crashed into Mt. Silverthrone on Nov. 7,1952, was discovered on Aug. 17, 2016. (Photo by Frances Caulfield)
For more than 60 years, remnants of a wrecked U.S. Air Force plane were lost in the Alaska Range, buried beneath ice and snow on a glacier snaking through a mountainside. And for generations, families had no hope of recovering the bodies of 19 service members killed in the 1952 crash.
The plane — a boxy C-119 aircraft known by its radio call sign, Gamble Chalk 1 — has been found. Retired geologist Michael Rocereta, who spent much of his career searching for, and discovering, oil fields, used his training in glaciology to sleuth out the plane’s movement through the decades as a glacier slowly carried it away from the crash site.
What will happen next is unclear. A helicopter flight to the wreckage is planned for August, to assess whether recovery of human remains is possible. Families of men killed in the flight, like 23-year-old Daniel Blasi of Kansas, hope for closure. “We’re praying that something happens pretty quick,” said Daniel’s nephew, Leo Blasi, of any possible recovery missions.
PFC Daniel Blasi died in the Gamble Chalk 1 airplane crash of 1952. (Photo courtesy Blasi family)
Already the Blasi family has visited the site, along with National Park Service officials who confirmed the location of the plane by retrieving a piece of debris imprinted with the Gamble Chalk 1 serial number.
If it wasn’t for years of volunteer effort and a lucky break, the discovery might have never happened.
‘How could I miss it?’
Gamble Chalk 1 was the first of three U.S. Air Force planes to crash in Alaska in as many weeks in November 1952. The second, Warm Wind 3, is still lost in the Cook Inlet area. The third, a Globemaster, was found on Colony Glacier in 2012. Military officials have been recovering human remains and debris since, sending recovered service members home with full military honors.
Retired geologist and geophysicist Michael Rocereta at Birchwood Airport on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Debris from Gamble Chalk 1, a U.S. Air Force C-119 aircraft that crashed into Mount Silverthrone on Nov. 7, 1952. Photographed Aug. 17, 2016. (Photo by Frances Caulfield)