70 Years After Crash, CAP Cadets Honor Airmen
On 2 July 2022 eight cadets and three senior members from Dungeness Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol completed the Tull Canyon hike in the Buckhorn Wilderness to the crash site of a B-17. Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer auxiliary of the United States Air Force, places emphasis on three missions: Emergency Services, Cadet Programs, and Aerospace Education.
Flight SB-17 44-85746 was an aircraft returning from a Search and Rescue mission in Canada when it crashed into the Olympic mountains. 70 years later, most of the B-17 wreckage remains, although it barely resembles an aircraft anymore- a measure the park service took to decrease emergency calls from planes flying overhead. The crash is an important part of the Air Force and Emergency Services history on the Olympic Peninsula.
Cadets on the hike were able to increase physical fitness, one of the four pillars of the cadet program, as well as develop camaraderie and leadership. The Cadets each took a turn carrying the unit guidon, a small flag bearing the unit number and CAP logo, to the crash site. The guidon serves as a representation of the spirit of the unit and each cadet, no matter their rank, took an equal part.
In 1952, flight ‘746 was carrying eight crew members. Dungeness had eight cadets on the hike and upon reaching the crash site the Squadron Commander, Madeline Patterson, read the timeline of the accident. Then, each cadet was given the story and account (if available) of the crash. They read them aloud to the rest of the group and everyone was able to learn about the flight crew, causes of the accident, chain of events, and were able to take a moment to honor those who lost their lives during the crash. Afterwards, the unit members were free to explore what remains of the wreckage to see if they could identify different parts of the airplane.
For More Information:
Civil Air Patrol Cadets are youth ages 12-18 who are interested in aviation and leadership. Senior Members are volunteers 18+. Dungeness Squadron has members from Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and Joyce. You can find more information at wa091.cap.gov.