Tuesday, December 26, 2017

in South Carolina a B-25 was raised from Lake Greenwood in 1983, due to some smart political maneuvers... and the Navy Reserves who didn't mind having something interesting to do

The Greenville Army Air Base of WW2 was an auxiliary of the Columbia AAB, and while practicing low-level bombing runs over Lake Greenwood on D Day 1944, an instructor pilot swooped a little too low, and when the propellers touched the water, he had to ditch.

Daniel Rossman, who eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel but was a student pilot at the time, went down with it.

"I was in the left seat, the pilot's seat," Rossman said from his home in Roswell, Georgia, where he is retired from business and the Air Force Reserve. (he died in 2014, 4 years after this interview)

"But I wasn't flying it when we ditched. Our lesson plan for that day was emergency procedures for the pilot, what happens if you can't get the gear down, if you can't get the flaps down, if you lose an engine.

"We did an hours worth of single engine operation landings, flaps and gears," recounted Rossman. "By then everybody's pretty hot and bothered, and they said 'well, we've had enough of that. Let me show you what low level's going to be like when you get to combat.' And away we went. That's how we wound up at about 4:30 in the afternoon coming down Lake Greenwood. It's hard to gauge your altitude over water. We were too low."

Five men on the plane swam to safety. Two were injured, including Rossman. He said his chin was cut and required 24 stitches, although he was more concerned about how much grief he and the others on board might get over the plane's loss.

Rossman said he went on to fly combat in the Pacific during the rest of the war. "I liked the B-25 very much," he said. "It was easy to fly. It was an airplane that had a reputation for bringing crews back. It would take a tremendous amount of damage."

(Dan's civilian jobs included engineering and program management positions at Piaseki Helicopter Corp. and General Electric (Re-Entry Division), both in Philadelphia. During his 29 years at GE, Dan's expertise was instrumental in several high profile space programs, including the Corona, Viking and Mariner programs. Dan retired from GE in 1983.)

June 6, 1944 - Col. Dan Rossman's account of the downing of GF-2 in Lake Greenwood, South Carolina from Cayce House of Cats on Vimeo.

The aircraft was declared unrecoverable by the Army Air Force. After 38 years lost under the waters of Lake Greenwood, Mat Self was reading Air Force Magazine in August of '82, and ran across a letter requesting a B-25 to place in the National Air and Space Museum. One had been in Lake Greenwood since being ditched on D Day, 1944, so Mat contacted Sen, Thurmond’s office as well as the Air and Space Museum.

In the following month, it was determined that the cost of restoring an airplane that had been in the lake would be too great for the Air and Space Museum. But in conversation with Sen. Thurmond’s office, it was decided it might be possible for a Navy Reserve unit to try to come down for a weekend drill and locate this airplane. Sen. Thurmond followed up with the U.S. Department. of the Navy, which passed the request on down to its mobile diving and salvage units. (Commander) Frank Wood volunteered his naval diving unit to come and try to locate the airplane.

From that point forward, the plane passed through a succession of owner groups, and ultimately was returned to Columbia, specifically to the Curtiss Wright Hangar at Owens Airport.

The Curtiss–Wright hangar was built in 1929, when Owens Field was the Columbia airport. As the area’s primary operating terminal until the 60s, Owens Field ushered visitors, including some notable ones, into the Richland County area. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhardt, Jimmy Doolittle, along with Glenn Curtiss all walked through the Curtiss–Wright Hangar.

those blue tubes are 55 gallon drums  provided by the local oil company, for getting aired up and floating the plane while supporting it longitudinally

Securing ownership and accepting stewardship of the B-25C Mitchell Bomber was the new organization’s prevailing initiative. The aircraft is now undergoing cosmetic and stabilization restoration thanks to various grants and donations, especially that of the Richland County (SC) Conservation Commission

Columbia, SC may be the only place in the country where a training plane used by the 345th is still in existence and on public display. Maybe someday the serial number (Tail Number) for this aircraft will be recognized in a photo from CAAB.

http://www.345thbombgroup.org/July%202015%20newsletter.pdf page 5


  1. Replies
    1. thanks! I stumble across it when looking for more images of the Lake Murray B-25... simple good luck! Finding the photos without captions what a lot damn harder though, and Rossman's first hand account of the day? Damn that took hours to find! But it was really necessary, especially after posting the Lake Murray story with it's first hand account. I mean, these two stories are going to be sequentially read every time any one ever looks through the archives!