ALLEN R. GLENNY, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Allen Glenny '74

Date of birth: April 25, 1952

Date of death: April 17, 1980

Age: 27

Lucky Bag

From the 1974 Lucky Bag:


Loss

VP50 crash Glenny74 Conroy77.jpg

From The Washington Post on April 18, 1980 and quoted on VP Navy

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa--A U.S. Navy plane crashed yesterday outside a historic bayfront hotel after snagging aerial tramway cables during an Independence Day show in the capital of this U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

The Navy in Honolulu said seven persons died in the crash, including all six crewmen of the plane. The seventh victim was believed to have been a tourist.

One civilian, a Japanese man, was critically burned in the 10:10 a.m.--4:10 EST--crash that left one wing of the 250-room Rainmaker Hotel in flames, said Fred Rohlfing, who heads the American Samoa liaison office in Honolulu. Most of the guests were outside at the time to watch the show.

The plane was based at Moffett Field Naval Air Station, Calif. It had just dropped six U.S. Army parachute jumpers over Pago Pago's central square.

Three jumpers were blown off their target and the plane turned, apparently to follow their descent, when it snagged on a cable of the cross-bay tramway, a witness said.

The four-engine P3 Orion turboprop narrowly missed the main square, jammed with an estimated 30,000 natives and tourists here for the scheduled two-day celebration. WebSite: Fleet AW Association http://www.tourohio.com/fleetaw/Memorial/Buchanan.html

The Navy identified the dead as:
LT Allen Glenny, San Jose, Calif, Pilot
LT(jg) Patrick Conroy, Missouri City, Texas, Copilot
Nathan Scates, Milpitas, Calif, Flight Engineer
Stephen Buchanan, Mountain View, Calif, Radar Operator
Thomas Delviscio, Avalon, N.J., Inflight Technician
J.H. Sharp, Flight Engineer

The bodies were flown from the Territory Friday night for burial.

The Civilian who died in the accident has been identified as Robert Burns - a local NASA worker. Kiyoshi Nagai, 35 of Tokyo, was seriously burned in the tragedy and was evacuated to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu - Thursday night for treatment where he was listed in critical condition.

In honor of the dead, memorial services were held on the Fagatogo malae Friday Morning with several hundred people in attendance. Telegrams of mourning poured in from several island nations, including Western Samoa and Fiji, and were read aloud to the assembly.

Church choirs representing several religions sang hymns honoring the dead and fourteen fine mats were presented to local government leaders and to military officials in traditional Samoan style.

The exact cause of the crash is unknown and a Navy investigation team arrived in the territory Friday to probe the ruins. Several witnesses said they heard an explosion and saw one of the plane's engines burst into flames before hitting the tramway cable, which ripped of the aircraft's vertical stabilizer. "I heard a bloody boom, then three seconds later I saw the flames," said New Zealand Yachtsman Stanley Perrott. "It was such a beautiful bloody plane."

Mrs. Robert Japp, who lives near the hotel, said she heard a "tremendous explosion" and said she thought, "Oh my God, they're not doing this for the celebration." Japp said when the plane crashed it cut off the electricity immediately. "All I thought of was that oil tank down below," she said, referring to the island's main oil loading dock adjacent to the hotel. "I didn't try to save a thing" and left the house immediately, Japp said. The crash cut the power to the entire western end of the island but Electric utility workers restored power by 3 PM. Thursday. Telephone service to the hotel was also cut off. One former military pilot who served in the Viet Nam War said the pilot, Glenny, should be commended for avoiding the oil dock and not crashing directly into the hotel. By studying the pilot's last second maneuvers, the Viet Nam veteran said the pilot crashed the plane in the best spot available. Brown said all rooms that were destroyed in the hotel were rented but that most of the guests were at the malae for Flag Day. "It was an accident, you cant help it," Brown said. Several island residents opened up their homes to the travelers whose hotel rooms were destroyed in the blaze. Rescue efforts by the Territorial Fire Department were hampered by the large crowds that flocked to the scene and the department also had trouble with some fire equipment. One fire engine was stalled at the hotel road entrance for about 45 minutes and several fire hoses sprung leaks caused by sharp metal strewn about the hotel area from the crash. The fire was under control by about 3pm.

There were also reports of looting from the hotel as fire workers and volunteers hurled furniture from the rooms in a last ditch salvage effort. Larry Thompson, from Florida, said he saw several trucks laden with furniture leaving the hotel area. Hotel officials are requesting the goods be returned.

A woman from Oregon said one of the plane's engines was "definitely" on fire before the craft hit the cable and speculated that the pilot may have been attempting to land the plane in the harbor. But military personnel said it was too early to speculate about the cause of the crash. Lt. Peter Lindberg, who was an assistant crew-member on the aircraft but wasn't aboard because he "wasn't necessary for the drop," said it wasn't a "standard (emergency) maneuver" to land in the water and doubted the pilot intended to land the craft in the harbor. All six skydivers were reported in good condition, contrary to preliminary reports. The first set of three parachutists landed squarely on the malae but the second group landed on the mountain above the village of Fagatogo, one landing directly on a small taro patch. One jumper said landing on the mountainside was planned and said, "in no way is this jump related to the accident."

Richard Montgomery, chief of advertising for the Honolulu Recruiting Command, said there was "no communication with the plane after the last three jumpers left (the plane)." The plane was based at Moffett Naval Air Station in Mountain View, Calif. The senior officer in command was Army Col. Dave Harrison

From the July/August 1980 issue of Shipmate:

Lt. Allen Richard Glenny USN was killed in an aircraft accident in Pago Pago, American Samoa, on 17 April 1980 when the P-3 Orion aircraft in which he was flying clipped an aerial cable of the cross-bay tramway. Five other crewmen including Lt. (jg) Patrick James Conroy USN '77, and three civilians were lost in the tragedy. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Lt. Glenny at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, with interment at the St. Bernard Cemetery.

Lt. Glenny was appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of Massachusetts and was graduated with the Class of 1974. After flight training he was designated naval aviator in 1975 and was serving with Patrol Squadron FIFTY, based at Moffett Field, Califomia, at the time of the accident. As a midshipman he had been a member of the varsity football team from 1970-73, and was the starting quarterback as a first classman. He ranked fifth in the number of yards gained at the Academy, and fifth in career passing. He also held the Academy record for the highest average gain per play, with an average of 12.7 yards against Air Force in 1973.

On the date of the accident, the Orion aircraft was participating in an Independence Day celebration in the capital of that U.S. territory in the South Pacific. The structure into which it crashed, the Rainmaker Hotel, was the largest luxury hotel on the island, and it was in the old wing of the building that the novelist Somerset Maugham had written the short story and play "Rain." Six U.S. Army parachutists had been dropped by the aircraft and vvere supposed to land in the main square of the town where thousands had gathered for the festivities. Three of the parachutists were off target and the plane had turned to follow their progress when it hit the cable.

He is survived by his widow Sandy, 3487 Madrid Drive, San Jose CA 95132.

Remembrances

From the Fitchburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame:

Thanksgiving morning of 1968 rose dark and gloomy as thousands trudged toward ancient Crocker Field to watch the annual Turkey Day Classic between the Red and Gray and the Blue Devils. There was a hint of the approaching winter in the air as the eagerly awaited contest approached. But spirits in the Raider locker room nearly matched the weather outside. Coach Marco Landon had known, for a day or two, that he would be without the services of his outstanding senior quarterback, Chris Petrides, who had been injured in the week prior to the Turkey Day Classic, and that he was definitely out of the game. Petrides had triggered a high-powered Raider offense which featured the pass catching of Tom DiGeronimo and the running of the Boudreau twins, Richie and Ralph. Now that seemed to be gone, but Coach Marco Landon had an ace up his sleeve and he knew it. That ace was named Allen Glenny.

Allen Glenny had come to FHS with a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding quarterback who could dominate a contest with his passing and running. In his sophomore year Allen had split the quarterbacking duties with Chris Petrides and both QB’s had performed extremely well for the Raiders in 1967. But Coach Landon had decided that he was going to go with a single quarterback in 1968, and his choice was Petrides. Allen Glenny had every reason to be disappointed, but he did not sulk. Instead, when Coach Landon installed him as the Raider’s free safety on defense, Allen played like an All Star. A difficult situation had been handled maturely by the junior quarterback, and now fate would allow Allen the opportunity to show the right stuff.

The 1968 Raiders were an outstanding squad which had only lost one contest, a highly controversial game against powerful Nashua. Raider faithful will tell you that the Red and Gray had been robbed by the men in stripes at Holman Stadium, but the Blue Devils were also tough that season. The smaller and quicker Devils were aided by the slippery conditions on Crocker Field and seemed to be hindering to the Raider’s lightning quick offense. But the new FHS quarterback had risen to the occasion. His passing to Tom DiGeronimo was crisp and his running of the option play was Fitchburg’s main running weapon. And Glenny continued to be a force for the Red and Gray defense. His passing and running had laid the Raiders into a 16-14 lead as the clock wound down and Crocker Field held their breath as LHS lined up for a possible game winning field goal. When the Raiders blocked the attempt, FHS had a precious Turkey Day victory and a star had been established. For his efforts on Thanksgiving Day thirty-five years ago, Allen Glenny was named the St. Germaine Award winner which was given annually between the 1950’s and 1970’s to the best Raider on Turkey Day. The back-up, who was never really a back-up, had come through with flying colors. Allen Glenny would win many other gridiron awards during his days at FHS, but his performance on Thanksgiving Day would have to be considered the most memorable.

But football might not have been Allen Glenny’s best sport. When he entered FHS in the fall of 1966 many area sport’s fans knew more about Glenny, the baseball player, than Glenny, the football player. Standing six foot two inches tall and swinging from both sides of the plate, Allen Glenny was a classic baseball player. He simply looked good at the plate and in the field because he was. Allen was a 400+ hitter who hit with power to all parts of the field. Like many switch-hitters, Allen looked smoother from the left side of the plate, but he really drove the ball when he batted right-handed. Many balls that he smacked landed in the bushes in right-center field or found their way into Crocker’s covered grandstand, and a few flew over the roof. Allen was an outstanding defensive player who could scoop the ball at first base or roam the vast expanses of centerfield. During his junior and senior years, he was named to the All Star squads which represented the north county region, but Allen was also picked by the Worcester County coaches as an All Star. When the Raider season ended in June, Allen was an outstanding American Legion player for Leominster and later the Cleghorn Legion. In his senior year, Allen was picked to play in an All Star tournament at Fenway Park.

Allen Glenny’s senior campaign was a blur of Raider touchdowns as the high-powered offense rolled through opponents defenses. The scoreboard at Crocker Field was almost like an adding machine as Glenny marched the Raiders up and down the field. Excellent Nashua and Gardner squads tumbled before the Raiders. College coaches began to inquire about number twelve who quarterbacked the Red and Gray. Schools like Boston College, Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard inquired about Allen who was a high honor student at FHS who would achieve a gold “F” for his academic excellence. But their inquiries would be fruitless because Allen Glenny wanted a Service Academy appointment, and so when the United States Military Academy came calling, Allen jumped at the opportunity.

Following his graduation in 1970, Allen immediately headed to Annapolis, Maryland, to become a member of the Naval Academy’s Class of 1974. He would play four years of football at Navy, establishing many offensive records during his junior and senior seasons when he was Navy’s starting quarterback. This is quite impressive when you remember that it was Roger Staubach’s records that were broken. He was awarded the outstanding player trophy in the Army-Navy game of 1973 which Navy won 51-0.

Allen Glenny had always wanted to be a Naval Flyer and upon completion of four years at Annapolis, he was accepted into the Naval Flight program which he completed successfully. Unfortunately on April 17, 1980, Lieutenant Allen R. Glenny was tragically killed in a plane crash in American Samoa while on a training mission. His family, the Naval Academy and his hometown community of Fitchburg mourned that tragic loss. Today FHS honors its fallen hero with induction into the Hall of Fame.

Related Articles

Patrick Conroy '77 was also lost in this crash.


Class of 1974

Allen is one of 7 members of the Class of 1974 in Memorial Hall.