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Richard D. Smith
Major, United States Air Force
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NEW U. S. JET BOMBER FALLS; 1 DEAD; 2 HURT

TUCUMCARI, New Mexico, December 16, 1958 - A supersonic, four-engined B58, one of the nation's newest classed of bombers, crashed Tuesday near here.  The pilot was killed and two other crew members were injured.

The big delta winged plane was on a test flight from its home base at Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas.  it was the first crash of a Hustler bomber, which travels more than twice the speed of sound - between 1,400 and 1,500 miles an hour.

The pilot, killed in bailing from the plane, was identified as Major Richard D. Smith, 40, of Columbus, Ohio.  Injured were Lieutenant Colonel George A. Gradel, 37, of Fort Worth, the navigator, and Captain Daniel J. Holland, 38, also of Fort Worth, defense systems operator, whose mother, Mrs. Esther Stretch lives in Shelbyville, Illinois.

Gradel and Holland both parachuted and were flown by helicopter to a hospital at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico.

Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 24 October 2007

RD Smith Gravesite PHOTO October 2007
Photo By M. R. Patterson, October 2007