Civil War Veterans Memorial
Oakland, Garrett County, Maryland
What a busy street corner for such a relatively small town! This memorial area is well kept, but unless you are already parked at a location from which you can reach it without using a crosswalk it will take a few minutes to reach. That leads me to believe there are far fewer visitors than this memorial deserves.
A1C Norman McRobie, US Air Force, was probably on his way to a full hitch in the service. He was 26 years old, married with two young children. He was returning from Tan Son Nhut airfield to Korat, Thailand, aboard a C-47B transport, BuNo 44-76574 along with almost two dozen other enlisted men and officers. Some had been at the VietNam base for a week, working on aircraft from their squadron, and others had been attending to administrative duties, the various tasks and responsibilites that fall to members of every squadron, regardless of their rank.
The old C-47 had been built for service in World War II, had probably been used during the Korean War, and was earning its battle stars in VietNam. The aircraft was tired, and it is difficult to ensure that even the newest and best aircraft won't break down at the worst possible moment. Shortly after take off into dark evening skies an engine failed. The pilot and co-pilot were senior officers with lots of experience and landing with one engine stopped with the props feathered wasn't a big deal. The first approach to landing was abandoned when one of the main gear would not indicate down and locked. That complicated things and required a second approach while the men at the front of the aircraft tried to figure out what was wrong.
The second approach ended with the aircraft crashing into a rice paddy, well short of the runway.
Fourteen other men of Garrett County are listed here. Why not do your part to keep them alive? Research their names and try to understand what their death meant to this small community. Some of these men answered the call to duty in three wars. They deserve to be recognized.