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William Flynn '58

Date of birth: May 14, 1936

Date of death: December 21, 1960

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1958 Lucky Bag:


From VP Navy:

VP-7 Neptune Crashes at Sea

VOL 2 No. 94
U. S. Naval Station, Argentia, Newfoundland
December 30, 1960

The search for missing crew members of the Patrol Squadron SEVEN P2V Neptune that crashed into the sea off Cape Race, Newfoundland last week has been discontinued, and search units have returned to normal operations. Authorities at the Atlantic Barrier Force headquarters here made the announcement on Tuesday, December 27 after an extensive air and sea search had failed to reveal any further sign of the missing plane or its crew. The Neptune disappeared on Wednesday morning, December 21, not long after it had taken off from Argentia to take part in a fleet training exercise.

Two bodies of crewmen and several pieces of the plane were recovered on the first day of the search, but further efforts to locate other crewmen proved fruitless.

In making its announcement that the search had been called off, Barrier Forces headquarters said that there is no longer any hope that any of the nine men might still be alive. Even with the most advanced protective clothing, which the crew had, survival in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic could be measured only in hours.

The men whose bodies were recovered apparently died of exposure. They were Stillman Schulze, Jr., AT1, of Lincoln, Neb. and Don O. Voland, AMS2, of Belleville, Ill. Both bodies have been returned to their homes for burial.

The other victims, members of Crew No. 3 were LTJG Billie M. Wertz, Brunswick, Me., Pilot; LTJG David Hardy, Lynnfield, Mass., Copilot; LTJG William T. Flynn, Orange, N.J., navigator, and crew member George P. Smith, AD2, Brunswick, Me., Daniel R. Carlson, AT2, Beloit, Wis.; Lee Calvin Ashburn, ADR3, Utica, Ohio; and Rocco S. Sallesa, AO1, Watertown, Mass.

Rear Admiral R. B. Moore COMBARLANT expressed his sympathy for the families of the victims, and praised the ships and aircraft that aided in the search operations. He termed their work "outstanding and in the highest traditions of rescue at sea."

The Canadian Department of Transportation icebreaker WOLF, the United States Lines freighter SS AMERICAN CLIPPER, the Newfoundland trawler BLUE FOAM, the U. S. Coast Guard cutter ESCANABA, and a Lancaster bomber of the RCAF Rescue Coordination Center, Torbay joined Navy and Coast Guard aircraft from Argentia in the search.

Even as the announcement of discontinuation of the search was being made, memorial services for the crash victims were being conducted at the two Naval Station, Argentia chapels.

Early Tuesday morning, Father E. F. Fallon, Catholic Chaplain, celebrated a requiem high mass in the Catholic Chapel, and later in the morning, services were held by Chaplain G. E. Thomas in the Protestant Chapel.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

William graduated from Our Lady of the Valley High School in 1954. He was active in athletics and was president of the senior class.

He was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James A. Flynn, four brothers, Jim, Bob, a Marine lieutenant, Dick, a senior at the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, and John.


From Victor Bell via email on May 7, 2018:

I went through flight training as a Naval Cadet. I met Bill Flynn in June 1959 as we were doing Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLP). He and I were in the same flight of 7 aircraft to the carrier on June 18, 1959.

We got to NAS Corpus Christi about the same time August 1959. I was the only NavCad in class of about 30. All the rest were Ensigns or Marine 2nd LT. We had to pair in twos to fly in the two pilot twin engine aircraft. Bill picked me so we flew the next 4 months together almost every day. Every morning he would drive by my barracks & pick me up. He was funny, very friendly and easy to know, plus he was smart. We became close friends. On Friday afternoons we would have a few beers at the O’Club. He was a good friend of John McCain because they were classmates. John would join us for a beer. Once the 3 of us were sitting in a booth having a beer and Admiral came in. Now the Admiral was god like to a NavCad so I was shocked when he joined us. After a while the Admiral & John left and Bill told me that John’s dad was the Admiral’s boss.

Because Bill was Naval Academy, he got a better assignment when we got our wings. He went to VP-7 flying the PV2 and I to Newfoundland flying the WV2 on the barrier. Bill did deploy to Newfoundland and on one of those times I met him at the Officer’s Club for dinner & walked up hill to BOQ. He told me he had a 1:30 briefing and I’ll see him when he returned. He was the junior pilot on that A/C and was navigator.

I found out next morning they were overdue and we began a search. He was a great guy and I think of him everyday. Victor Bell, Captain US Navy Retired

Related Articles

His company officer was William Leftwich, Jr. '53.

Class of 1958

William is one of 28 members of the Class of 1958 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.