by Emmett R Smith
Here is an earlier article in which I described an Air Force fighter crash in my neighborhood in South Minneapolis, when I was nine or so. As I recall, it was in 1958:
Now go to Google maps:
Or, better in order to just cut and paste the following Minneapolis address, open a second tab and then bring up Google maps. One way or the other when you bring up the main screen showing North America, in the search box type in, or cut and paste this address:
5830-46th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When you click and bring up the map, next click on the “satellite” button and zoom in a bit on the balloon marking 5830-46th Av S. It is (usually!!??!) the seventh house down from the North, on the West side of the street. It is approximately at the fourth of four oddly larger, rectangular and incongruously crowded 1960 vintage hip-roofed ranch houses, built amid the dinkier postwar Levittown Cap Cod bungalows. These are the four houses built to replace those destroyed by the F-84 jet fighter stall and crash described in “The Duel of the MiG-15 and F-86.”
Now pan right, just across the avenue and the “Military Hwy” service road beside it. On the East-sloping bank just beyond is where the Morris Park Elementary kids (not us Minnehaha School guys!) flew the box kite right into the transport fan jet, described in the post below:
The old Air National Guard jet base was just to the Southeast, as I recall about where all the vehicles are shown standing around in the parking lot in your satellite photo, at the West end of the “Fort Snelling Military Reservation.”
In the mid 1950s, where the military service road today runs parallel on the East side of 58 Avenue, there was a wide sandy space toward the South end of the block, where cars could be parked across the street from the houses. At the brow of the slope just before the parking area was a Wurzburg type radar station, in its hut painted with big red and white squares. Later, there was a chainlinked fence to keep us kids out. This didn’t appear though until after the other kids (from Morris Park School) crashed the transport with their kite, and it was still a good spot to watch the monthly Air National Guard practice alerts and scrambles, and crash drills. Pop would drive my best friend, Mark Bergquist, and me out there on a Saturday around eleven or noon, and we’d watch the planes streak into the air. Then, before the fence was ever up, Mark and I would go down the hill past the radar station, to explore. Sometimes a “two-striper” would yell out of the open door of the radar hut where he sat on a stool reading a comic book, “Hey, you little dinks…oh, just be careful!” He knew the dried up slough below had its attractions.
There was a burned out blue jet airframe down there in the reeds. I think I remember that it was a Navy hulk. From time to time the Air Force would set it on fire, and the fire trucks and ambulances would all do crash drills, and go speeding out there from inside one of the hangers with sirens and foam and everything. Mark and I would climb all over the airframe when there were no fire drills going on and while keeping an eye out for any MPs, just in case any of the radar men had called them, and being pretty serious little boys we naturally wondered how many times “they burned up real guys in there?” For really good training purposes we meant. From this, naturally, you can imagine my later disappointment to have missed seeing for myself the crash into the houses across the street….
Now just think about this one (EXCEPT if you like to fly, or have to for work or whatever. Then for Heaven’s sakes don’t read any more, STOP right here, DON’T scare yourself, scram, Beat It, Go AWAY! Repeat three times, “Mr Natural IS an old goat & DOESN’T know what he’s talking about! Mr Natural is an OLD goat & DOESN’T etc…!):
People have been flying around now for about a hundred years, give or take. As you can see from the satellite picture above, you wouldn’t have a clue what went on, why those four oddball houses are so out of place? Except that I told you about it. People just love to re-build, as Oprah says “move forward,” fuhgeddaboudit! This is all part of our Nice Warm Fuzzy American Historical Coma which we are trying so hard here at Bodwyn Wook to wreck for everybody. So…just how many planes do you think probably have dropped straight down from out of the air, right smack dab onto the very spot where you are sitting all nice and snug tonight like a boxelder bug on your butt in a corn bin and reading this? Phooey to that! What’s even worse is now that people are even more dumb then they used to be, this flying around in airplanes is even an sillier gamble.
Nope, unh-uh, it’s just not for me. Oh, sure, one of these days I expect to own and fly an ultralight, but that’s a whole different basket of bluejay feathers, and plus I won’t be depending on some other booby to fly the darn thing…!
[Emmett R Smith all text-rights reserved 20 March 2009]