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TBM-3Q BuNo 91350

A HAPS survey crew came across this wreck site during a routine search at Barbers Point.  This accident occurred during a Sunday morning four ship formation takeoff at Barbers Pt NAS on 9-17-48.  It appears that the pilot, Ensign Webster, in the last aircraft of the formation was caught by wake turbulence from one of the aircraft ahead of him.  He was not able to recover from a  low altitude unusual attitude and struck the ground in a near vertical dive.  We have not been able to find a photo of Alvin Seeley, the third crew member aboard.   HAPS will place a granite memorial Marker at Kalaeloa after appropriate permissions are attained.

Photo from In Scale and Detail, Vol. 53, available at: Squadron Signal Publications by Bert Kinzey

This TBM-3E was off the USS Essex, CV-9.  The white radome of the APS-4 radar is visible under the right wing.  The rear turret was removed when the 3Es were converted to the 3Qs and used for electronic countermeasure warfare after the war.

TBM Article by David Trojan, HAPS Contributor   


Background Information on crew and aircraft below

This was scanned from a newspaper article

This was also scanned from the newspaper

The 1944 date was very helpful in determining crash date.

Official Navy Report

Front Page of the Star Bulletin

Advertiser account

Star Bulletin Photo

R-2600 Engine

The armor behind the pilot's seat

Note Seat Belt Buckle Bent from impact

Turret Remnants

Oxygen Tanks

Oxygen Blinker

APN-4 Radar Mount

Radio Altimeter Faceplate