Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West



On August 28, 1944, Lt. Angelo J. Alesandrini departed from Pocatello Army Air Base in P-47D  #42-28270 at about 12pm. He was assigned to Training Section E of the 265th AAF Base Unit, and was part of a 5-plane flight headed to the Aberdeen Gunnery Range north of the base for air-to-ground gunnery training. During his third practice run on the target, Lt. Alesandrini pulled out of a dive at about 250 mph and his propeller struck the ground. Unable to maintain altitude with bent propeller blades, he was forced to belly-land in a flat area north of the range. The aircraft skidded nearly 1/2 mile over brush and lava rock, shredding the bottom of the Thunderbolt, until finally spinning around backwards and coming to a stop. Lt. Alesandrini emerged from the cockpit uninjured. The accident review board concluded that a 20 mph tail wind was a factor in the accident.

Lt. Alesandrini completed his training and was sent overseas to the European Theater in the last months of World War II. From his base in Italy he flew 81 combat missions, attained the rank of captain, and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Air Medals, and two Battle Stars. He reportedly kept a pet garter snake around his neck for good luck. Angelo passed away in 2006 at age 82, in Illinois. The airframe of #42-28270 was trucked away in August 1944, but the trail of wreckage it left behind in the Idaho desert remains after 72 years. Site visited 10/27/15. Special thanks to Craig Peck and Les Howell for help with locating this site.


Photo of Lt. Alesandrini is courtesy of his son, Joe Alesandrini.


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