WASHINGTON, September 28, 1912:
Two more lives were sacrificed to aviation at the United States Army Aviation Field, College Park, Maryland, today when an army aeroplane fell thirty-five feet to the ground instantly killing Corporal Frank S. Scott and so seriously injuring Second Lieutenant Lewis C. Rockwell that he died a few hours later. Hundreds of people, including fellow army officers, breathlessly witnessed the accident.
Lieutenant Rockwell had started up with Corporal Scott as a passenger to make a test flight in his trial for a military aviator's license. They had been in the air about eight minutes, ascending to a height of five hundred feet, then gliding down, had gotten within thirty-five of the ground. At this point the aviator turned the machine upward again and something went wrong. Instantly the aeroplane buckled and crashed to the ground.
Scott was hurled several hundred feet from the machine while Rockwell lay a few feet away from him. Brother officers found Scott lifeless. Rockell, his head buried partly in the earth, still showed signs of life but was unconscious. He was rushed to a hospital. He never regained consciousness. Brother officers who witnessed the accident were at a loss to account for it.
Captain Charles DeForest Chandler, commanding officer of the aviation school, immediately convened a board of inquiry to make an investigation. The board will meet next week.
A single utterance of Lieutenant Rockwell probably brought death to Corporal Scott and saved the life of Captain Hennessy. When Rockwell was about to start aloft, Captain Hennessy requested that he be taken along as a passenger. Lieutenant Rockwell replied: “No, You're too heavy.” And Corporal Scott was selected to accompany the Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Rockwell was regarded as a most careful aviator. Three weeks ago he received his certificate as a civilian pilot.
Lieutenant Rockwell was the fourth commissioned officer of the United States army to meet death in an aviation accident. The death toll levied through accidents of the United States army now totals six.
Lieutenant Rockwell's home was in Cincinnati. He was almost twenty-eight years of age. Entering the United States Military Academy in 1903 he graduated and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1907. He was assigned to the Third infantry and afterwards was transferred to the Tenth infantry, from which he volunteered his services in the Aviation Corps.
Corporal Scott was attached to the Signal Corps of the army.”
ARMY AVIATOR KILLED
Lieuenant Call Drops 1,000 Feet, Breaks Both Legs And DiedInstantly
HOUSTON, Texas, July 8, 1913 – Lieutenant Loren H. Call of the Second Division, U.S.A. Aero Squadrom, dropped nearly 1,000 feet at Texas City this morning and was instantly killed. More than 200 soldiers watched the practice flight in which he was engaged. It was supposed that the aeroplane struck a current of warn air that tilted the machine, and the biplane, a six-cylinder Wright, came crashing to the earth. When the machine tiltefr Call was thrown forward off the seat, clutched the forward rail and, with his body swinging free, came down with the machine. When within a hundred feet of the ground his hands relaxed their hold and he fell clear of the biplane.
He struck feet first breaking both ankels adn tearing open the right thigh. His chest was crushed and his skull fractured. Death was instantaneous.
General Carter, in command of the Second Division, has appointed a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the accident. Only yesterday Lieutenant Call made a flight of twenty-five miles in twenty-five minutes. He was born onJune 30, 1888, and was appointed Second Lieutenant of Coast Artillery from Kansas on September 25, 1909. He was promoted to a First Lieutenancy on July 10, 1911, and at his own request was assigned to aviation duty during the present year.
Lietuenant Call's death makes a total of nine fatalities in the Army and Navysince experiments began with heavier-than-air machines in 1908. Eight of the fatalities occurred in the Army, while the Navy has lost only one officer.
The first commissioned officerof the Army to lose his life was Lieutenant Thomas H. Seldridge of the Signal Corps on September 17, 1908. He made ashort flight aout Fort Myer, Virginia, with Orville Wright. Lieuetnant Seldridge was instantly killed and Wright was seriously injured.
Lieuenant George E. M. Kelly, the second Army officer killed was buried under the wreckage of his biplane at San Antonio, Texas, on May 10, 1911.
Lieuenant Leighton W. Hazelhurst, Jr., of the Seventeenth Infantry, and Al Welch, a professional aviator and instructor, were killed at the Army Aviation School at College Park, Maryland, on June 11, 1912, while putting a new Wright machine though its final tests.
Paul Peck, another instructor at the Army Aviation School at College Park, was killed in Chicago on September 11, 1912, while attempting a flight in the face of a strong wind.
The deaths of Lieutenant L. C. Rockwell and Corporal Frank Scott on September 28, 1912, increased the list of Army fatalities to five.
Lieutenant Rex Chandler of the Coast Artillery Corps lost his life on April 8, 1913 when the hydro-aeroplane in which he and Lieutenant Lewis H. Brereton were flying plunged into San Diego Bay. Lieutenant Brereton was rescued from the water badly hurt.
The seventh Army officer to lose his life was Lieutenant Joseph D. Park on May 10, 1913 when the militarty biplane in which he was flying crashed against a tree in Olive, California.
The first fatality in the Navy occurred on June 20 last, when a hydro-aeroplane in which were Lieutenant John H. Towers and Ensign William D. Billingsley collapsed while manoeuvering over Chesapeake Bay. Atit dropped Billingsley was thrown out headlong to his death. Lieutenant Towers saved himself by clinging to one of the uprights between the planes when it struck the water and was rescued by a launch.
ROCKWELL, LEWIS C
DATE OF DEATH: 09/28/1912
BURIED AT: SECTION WSIDE SITE 2326
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard