Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Bureau Of Land Management

BLM Declares Two Military Aircraft Crash Scenes As Historical Sites

Mon, 11 Jun '07

Agency Aims To Educate Public, Preserve Aircraft Remnants

The Bureau of Land Management will officially declare two military aircraft accident scenes as Federal government historical sites during a Flag Day ceremony on June 14. Two plaques will be unveiled depicting the historical significance of each location.

The two debris fields are located within one mile of each other in the Oregon desert, about 25 miles southeast of Christmas Valley. The first debris field contains the remnants of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning that crashed on February 11, 1945 while conducting a World War II gunnery training flight. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Max Clark, age 25, was killed in the crash.

The second contains the remnants of a Navy Grumman A-6 Intruder Bomber which crashed on September 19, 1973 during a low level night training mission. The pilot, Lt. Alan Koehler, age 27, and navigator Lt. Cdr. Philip Duhamel, age 33, were both killed in the crash.

Major components of both aircraft are disbursed across the area and draws frequent visitors.

In response to this increased interest, the BLM's Lakeview District developed a plan for managing and conserving these historical properties. The plan was completed in June 2006. It identified the need for something to educate visitors on the story behind each accident and to protect the integrity of the aircraft remains, according to the agency.

"Designation as a historic site of the Federal government ensures the preservation of these cultural artifacts for future generations," said BLM's Lakeview Resource Area Archeologist Bill Cannon. "Installation of the interpretive plaques will enhance the appreciation and enjoyment for the visiting public."

The BLM manages 258 million surface acres, most located in 12 western states, and administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the lands for public use.



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