THOMAS J. TIERNAN, LT, USN
Birthdate & Date of Loss
|Date of birth:||unknown|
|Date of death:||November 20, 1952|
From the 1947 Lucky Bag:
Thomas Jerome Tiernan
Newport, Rhode Island
We will always remember Tom for his sparkling wit and spontaneous sense of humor. Blue and gold, Tom ls definitely a twenty-year man. He tried hard in whatever field he entered, and we saw the fruits of his extracurricular toil in his elevation to editor of the Log. For three years this human tapeworm was never seen to refuse chow. It became so bad first class year that every time his elbow bent his mouth opened. We remember T.J. for many things, but we only hope he'll remember our chow gave him the energy to quality for aviation. Happy landings, pal.
He was also a member of the Reef Points staff and manager for the crew team.
The Class of 1947 was graduated in June 1946 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.
In the early morning hours of November 20, 1952, a two navy P2V Neptunes from Quonset Point Naval Air Station were taking part in an anti-submarine warfare exercise off Block Island with the submarine USS Piper, (SS-409), and the navy tug, USS Hopi, (AFT-71).
Shortly after 4:00 a.m. the two planes rendezvoused over the Jamestown Bridge in Narragansett Bay, and headed for the operational area about 70 miles off Block Island. One planes was piloted by Lieut. Alvin S. Hibbs, and the other by Lt. Cmdr. Noble R. Kean. (Bu. No. 124242)
Hibbs later told investigators, “Commander Kean was behind me a mile or so, and we carried on radio chit-chat. He said all the other men were in very high spirits over the radio. We arrived at the operating area a half hour later and circled for awhile, and then endeavored to make radar contact with out target. There were two targets visible by radar, and I investigated on while Commander Kean investigated the other.”
Hibbs found his “target” and after making two “runs” on it he tried to contact Kean by radio, but couldn’t. Then the submarine and tug tried to make contact and were unsuccessful.
Hibbs flew over Kean’s last known position and found two smoke lights and debris on the water’s surface. The smoke lights had apparently broken free of the wreck and were automatically activated. The tug arrived in the area and collected some of the debris, but found no sign of the crew.
One of the last to see the missing aircraft was Lieut. Herbert C. Taft, who was aboard the submarine Piper when Kean’s Neptune passed over. “I observed the aircraft going across our bow on his run. I observed no malfunctioning of the aircraft and received no notification by radio that anything was wrong. I followed his flight out for approximately four or five miles.”
At that point the lights on the Neptune, “indicated it was making a right banking turn.”
“Shortly thereafter”, Taft went on, “we heard a dull thud. Because there was no indication of an explosion and no flash, this particular noise worried me, so I went below and tried to contact the aircraft to no avail.”
The cause of the crash could not be determined.
The dead were identified as:
- Lt. Comdr. Noble R. Kean, 34, a native of Evanston, Ill. He was survived by his wife Sarah.
- Lt. Thomas J. Tiernan, 28, of Wickford, R.I.
- Aviation Mechanic 2c John R. Quirk, 27, of Lavelle, Penn. He was married just twelve days earlier on November 8, to Miss Constance Lussier of West Warwick, R.I.
- Aviation Ordnance Man 2c George A. Buehler, 22, of Nekoosa, Wis. He too was recently married on October 4 to Miss Irene Carvalho of West Warwick.
- Lt. Seymour A. Moyl, 26, of Bronx, N.Y.
- Aviation Electronics Man 1c Roland O. Eades, 29, of Indiana.
- Seaman Salvatore A. Coia, 21, of Rome, N.Y.
- Seaman Joseph A. gray, 20, Bronx, N.Y.
VP-7 mishap page has some additional information.
Could not find a memorial marker for Tom. He was survived by his parents; his father retired from the Navy as a Captain.
|Class of 1947|
|Thomas is one of 27 members of the Class of 1947 in Memorial Hall.|
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