MAURICE E. COLLMER, II, LTJG, USN
Maurice Collmer, II '52
Date of birth: March 31, 1929
Date of death: July 27, 1959
From the November 1959 issue of SHIPMATE in the 1952 Class update section:
Maurice Edward Collmer II
It is with deep regret that I report the death of Lt. MAURICE EDWARD COLLMER II in a helicopter accident near Easton, Md., on 27 July 1959. Lieutenant Collmer is a non-graduate member of our class and is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Collmer of Dallas, Texas.
From Hagerstown Daily Mail on July 28, 1959:
Two Killed In ‘Copter Crash During Storm
EASTON, Md. (AP)—A Navy helicopter, flying from New Jersey to Virginia, crashed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore during a thunderstorm yesterday, killing both men aboard.
The six-seat craft was en route from the Naval Air Station in Lakehurst, N.J. to Norfolk, Va. Lakehurst said the dead were Lt. (j.g.) Maurice E. Collmer II, 30, of Dallas, Tex., and Aviation Mechanic Edward R. Aiken, 37, of Pensacola, Fla.
A witness said the helicopter was flying very low when it suddenly dipped and crashed into a cornfield on the Kenneth Fisher farm about nine miles east of here.
The craft was demolished. Rescue workers had to cut away the twisted wreckage to reach the bodies. Fire trucks were sent to the scene from Easton but there was no fire.
It came down about 150 yards from the Fisher house. Mrs. Fisher said she was talking on the telephone when she saw a piece of the chopper fall.
Robert Quidas of Harmony, Caroline County, said he witnessed the crash from the south shore of the Choptank River.
“I saw this helicopter come out of the rain,” he said. “She was flying along and, all at once, went down. It went into a dive and crashed.”
One man who saw the wreckage said, “It looked to me as if the plane came down, bounced once and then crumpled into a ball.”
Lakehurst is the Navy’s major blimp base on the East Coast. The helicopter had stopped at Dover, Del., to refuel and had taken off from there at 11:27 a.m. on the final leg of the flight.
It was to be assigned to a ship at Norfolk for routine utility work and rescue missions.
Lakehurst said the ‘copter was a twin rotor model, designated HUP-2, with two pilot seats and four seats for passengers.
The Navy began an immediate investigation.
Maurice is buried in Indiana.
He is cited as a LTjg in both the newspaper report and on his headstone, which is why he is so listed here.
Memorial Hall Error
Maurice is not listed with his classmates in Memorial Hall. This error was discovered via the SHIPMATE article while researching other losses.