Remembrance of Elio Argentati

Maintenance Officer, 374th Transport Group


On 9 August, 2009, Mr. Elio Argentati wrote in an email to Mike Perry:


Hi Mike...

I was a maintenance officer with the 374th maintenance squadron and we maintained the 6th and 22nd squadron aircraft which included C-47, C-54, and C-124 aircraft. On the day of the crash I happened to be on the end of the runway. I saw the aircraft start its takeoff roll, As the aircraft lifted off the runway and cleared the perimeter fence, smoke started coming out of the No. 1 engine. The aircraft still managed to gain some altitude as it made a slow left turn and at about 500 feet it seemed to be okay. Suddenly the No. 2 engine quit and the aircraft pan caked into the ground about a mile and a half from the runway.

I had two of my men with me and we immediately headed for the crash site. When we got there it was obvious there were no survivors. The biggest pieces of aircraft were the nose and tail sections. I can't describe to you how horrible the crash site was. There were men still strapped in their seats in the tail section. The pilots were compressed in the nose section.

The debris field was not very large, indicating that the aircraft came in at a steep angle. I took one picture of the crash site, but because remains were scattered in my field of view, I did not think I should take more than the one photograph. If you will send me your home address, I will send you the photo and the article published in the Stars & Stripes Newspaper. Hope this helps some.

Best wishes,


A/C 51-137Crash of A/C 51-137