One of the hardest things I have had to do for this site is put together the story of my uncle, Don Gaston Shofner, and how he was killed flying his P-47 Thunderbolt over Long Island Sound.  It’s a tragedy that altered the course of my family history and my own life.

If the plane had been recovered it might look something like this one, fished out of the Pacific. In Gaston’s case, however, the engine separated from the cockpit. This is also at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.

Gaston’s death wasn’t unique: the USAAF was having all kinds of “growing pains” with its equipment and there were numerous accidents.  These and more are documented in this page from the excellent website of amateur historian Paul Martin on Mitchel Field, where this and much more information on this important place for American aviation are documented.

When I first posted this, I was pretty much on my own.  In the years since then I have been gratified by people such as Bob Contreras, Robin Adair and now Paul Martin on their efforts to keep the memory of this time in American History alive, in an era when the sacrifices of those who went before us are so easily disparaged or forgotten.