Remembering the past, exploring the present, honoring a pilot from McChord AFB
On May 3, 2017, nearly 37 years after the event, a group of amateur Aviation Archaeologists set out to try and find the exact location of Captain Mark S. "Rock" Van Stone’s F-106 crash site. Captain Mark Van Stone was killed June 24th1980 when his supersonic Convair F-106A Delta Dart jet fighter, serial number 59-0004, crashed near McChord AFB. He was assigned to the 318th FIS Fighter Interceptor Squadron at McChord AFB and only 29 years old when he gave his life for his country. His jet was approaching McChord AFB, but made a rapid, sudden descent and crashed 2.6 miles from the south end of the runway, leaving a debris trail several hundred yards long. It was later determined that during the critical landing phase of the flight, the Central Air Data Computer aboard the aircraft failed and was a major cause of the accident. This was the last crash involving a 318th FIS crew or aircraft before the unit was disbanded at McChord AFB.
The amateur Aviation Archaeologists wanted to determine the exact location of the crash site and determine if anything remained at the site. The jet plane crashed before the use of GPS and modern accident investigation standards. Finding anything from an event so long ago is always difficult, especially in the heavily wooded terrain of the Northwest. Educating the public about the history, the importance of these sites and the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price, is what Aviation Archaeologists do. Armed with copies of the official accident report and the latest Goggle Earth images, the group set out to try and find the exact location. The area of the crash site has changed over the last 37 years and now military vehicles like the HMMWV and Striker use the area for training. Vehicles have driven past the site with passengers not realizing what happened there so long ago.
It was discovered that most of the impact site now lays buried under layers of dirt. Following the flight path through the woods, pieces of the jet plane were discovered. It required the trained eyes of amateur Aviation Archaeologists to spot the small grey painted parts with rivets sticking up through the ground. All artifacts that were discovered were left behind at the site for future generations. A small American flag was placed at the site in tribute and remembrance of Captain Mark S. Van Stone. He and his service to his country is not forgotten!
Dave Trojan, an amateur Aviation Archaeologist said, “Every aircraft accident has a story to tell; it is up to me to discover the facts and fill in the blanks about where they crashed. The discoveries shed light on those who have sacrificed so much to give us the peace we enjoy today.”
For many years the McChord Air Museum's F-106 Delta Dart jet fighter on display, s/n 56-0459, carried the name of Capt. Van Stone as a tribute to the loss of the pilot.
Article/photos JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington newspaper.
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lindel: While I don't have a cheap phone, I DO have insurance on it...should it fall into a outhouse or similar, it can stay there...insurance WILL take care of it.
May 15, 2022 3:53:15 GMT 9
johncarr: I wonder if any one can help me find a friend from Det 2 48fis Robert Puls He was the chute man Got maried while he was at homestead I left the in Feb 73 my Email is [email protected]
Feb 5, 2022 12:14:03 GMT 9
Bullhunter: Yery well said !
Dec 13, 2021 6:14:51 GMT 9
flypapajohn: SMSGT James Gier, USAF Retired, passed away last evening! "The Old Sarge" was one of many great crew chiefs that I had the honor of knowing! Allan John Kelly, Lt Col USAF Retired
Oct 7, 2021 2:40:54 GMT 9
Diamondback: Wave returned, Mike, though different vintage--my grandfather was a Green Dragon around '65-'70ish including Osan; one of the last out of NATO Chateauroux and a lot of that planeload ended up posted at McChord.
May 6, 2021 3:40:17 GMT 9
oswald: what happened to the forum?
Apr 14, 2020 7:41:01 GMT 9
ma1marv: Thank you for this info! I need to get back here more often!
Jan 26, 2020 5:18:54 GMT 9
bobski9933: :-/Hey Sixers, I'm looking for any T.O. that listed weights of MA-1 heavy parts, like Stable Table, Radar Antenna, TR Unit, Magnatron, etc. How much did the "05 hell/door: weigh? How about Ground Service Equipment? for a VA back Disability Claim.
Dec 31, 2019 8:01:39 GMT 9
Bullhunter: Pat Mcgee, I told 3 people how to order your key chains today.
Oct 6, 2019 15:15:34 GMT 9
sand4u: I was a F106 mechanic at George AFB 329th FIS from June 1963 to Jan 1967,swing shift mostly,worked on all the aircraft we had there.
Jul 31, 2019 4:21:21 GMT 9
pat perry: bobdavis Tell Armstrong's son to join Convair F-106 Delta Dart group on FaceBook and post his Dad's info. They have over 5000 members and his chances of finding those who served with his dad are better.
Jun 19, 2019 2:33:35 GMT 9
pat perry: On 12-31-2013 this was posted for LtCol Armstrong, Henry W by his son: I am signing on behalf of my father Lt Col HW Armstrong deceased 1-2-01 Skilled 102, 106, 101, 100 pilot and Cheif or Operations for the QF102, QF106 and QF 100 programs at Holloman AFB
Jun 19, 2019 2:00:59 GMT 9
bobdavis: I met a gentleman on another forum who say my signature F106 photo and messaged me. He said his Dad flew F106's back in the day. He said his name was Hank Armstrong. Did anyone know of him? Thanks in advance. Bob Davis 48th FIS and 4756th ABG
May 9, 2019 5:27:19 GMT 9