From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Williams '60

Date of birth: December 16, 1937

Date of death: December 27, 1962

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1960 Lucky Bag:


From USNA '60 Memorial Site:

Another tragedy struck the class before the close of 1962, with the loss of "JC" WILLIAMS. "JC" was killed on 27 December 1962 as a result of the abortive deck launch of his F-3H Demon from USS Roosevelt (CVA 42), presently operating with the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. He leaves behind his widow, Janet, and son, Christopher James, born 26 December 1962. We regret that "JC" did not have the opportunity to achieve the two most immediate and cherished goals, which he stated to us only two months ago: to see his baby and fly the F-4H. And we all join Janet in the mourning of our dear friend and classmate, "JC" Williams. Shipmate, February 1963


From Find A Grave:

John was born December 16, 1937 in Riverside, CT, but grew up with his parents and sister at 146 Melrose Place in Ridgewood. His father was Director at Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River. An Eagle Scout, John graduated from St. Peter's Prep School in Jersey City in 1955 where he won the Honor Pin and was active in a classical literature club while playing football three years, basketball two years and track two years. He was also class secretary. He then attended Holy Cross College before receiving a Senatorial appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, entering June 25, 1956. Known as Bear, J.C. or Big City, he played lacrosse for three years and was on the 1960 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association national championship team. There is a seat dedicated to him at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

His favorite hobby was driving sports cars and he was president of the Automotive Engineering Club. His varied interests included skin diving and Coleman Hawkins. He graduated in 1960 with the ambition of flying the fastest airplanes and the goal of becoming a test pilot in the new space age. He earned his "Wings of Gold" in October 1961 after training at Pensacola, FL and Kingsville, TX. His first plane was a McDonnell F3B Demon jet fighter with Fighter Squadron 14 at Cecil Field Naval Station near Jacksonville.

He was lost at 9:35 in the evening of December 27, 1962 when the Demon he was piloting off the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Midway class aircraft carrier, plunged into the Mediterranean and exploded 30 seconds after takeoff on a night intercept training mission. Three other planes in the exercise had been withdrawn prior to take off. Visibility was seven miles in scattered skies and slight sea but there was no visible horizon, a key element in judging altitude. His Demon began a shallow climb until approximately a half mile off the ship and then began to descend, hitting the water a mile from the ship with the afterburner still operating. The plane disintegrated upon impact and sank in 1,600 fathoms of water. Search and rescue operations, including a motor whale boat, scoured the debris area. Only his helmet was recovered.

John's first child was born the day before the accident.

Some additional information is at F-3H Demon ejection history, including that he was a member of VF-14 Tophatters.

Class of 1960

John is one of 28 members of the Class of 1960 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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