From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

James Steele '54

Date of birth: August 26, 1930

Date of death: May 28, 1959

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1954 Lucky Bag:


From Index-Journal of Greenwood South Carolina on May 29, 1959, via Gen Disasters:

Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) - Fire at sea followed the crash of a Navy jet plane aboard the aircraft carrier Essex on Thursday. The pilot of the plane was killed, and an airman on the carrier deck burned to death.

Three men were critically injured and 18 hospitalized with minor burns or injuries.

It took nearly an hour to put out the flames that spread when the plane cartwheeled across the deck.

Six planes were destroyed or damaged. The carrier had considerable damage to its rear elevator, upper deck compartments and electrical wiring and equipment.

LT. JAMES C. STEELE, pilot of the jet, was waved off after a low approach but his right wing dipped, caught a parked aircraft and his plane then cartwheeled across the deck, followed by explosions and fire, the Navy reported.

STEELE and his plane went into the water and were lost. His widow is the former Wilma Moore of Harrodsburg, Ky., and his mother is Vera C. Steele of East Longmeadow, Mass.

The aircraft was a FJ-3M Fury of Fighter Squadron (VF) 62. He has a memory marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

Class of 1954

James is one of 37 members of the Class of 1954 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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