The brave men and women in uniform have sacrificed a lot to secure the safety and freedom of this country. The countless heroic deeds that each member of the military experience in their time could probably fill a library’s worth of books, yet there are so many that some get lost in the obscurity of time.
An unearthing of a military plane that crash-landed in the mountains of Alaska in 1952 has finally laid a decades-long mystery to rest. A secret mission involving 52 military men was derailed in the sky. It happened when the C-124 Globemaster II, piloted by 19-year-old William Edmond Mize, Jr, crashed into the side of the mountain.
Eddie and his crew were never to be seen again and the location of the aircraft remained unknown. “Mother even went to Alaska in her last year or two of life,” Rachel Hollbrook, Eddie’s older sister, told WBIR. “We’d always thought that he was still alive.”
The East Tennessee family has waited patiently for many years for answers concerning the disappearance of Eddie. Finally, the news came when the aircraft was finally uncovered in the mountains after an initial search and rescue mission was conducted back in 2012.
The Alaska Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter swirled around the area of the crash site and successfully identified pieces of the aircraft carrier in the mountains. The news was devastating for the family, but at least it brought some level of closure to the tragic event.
“I knew then that he wasn’t just missing that he was really dead,” she said. “It just brought everything back fresh. It was just like the day it all started.” The location of the aircraft wasn’t completely unknown. In fact, it was known that the aircraft’s fuel reserve caught fire, thus resulting in a very dangerous explosion.
That explosion caused an avalanche to topple the wreckage under many yards of snow. While the Air Force attempted a second recovery attempt in 1953, nothing was found.
“It’s like waiting for a funeral for 60 years,” Eddie’s niece, Belinda Davis told the Anchorage Daily News. The uncovering of the carrier has finally laid the family’s worries to rest The news has brought some level of peace to the families of all those afflicted. The turmoil of not knowing how their loved ones ended up has created a turmoil of grief for many decades.
Thankfully, they can finally exorcise these demons and be filled with some semblance of relief after all this time. Hollbrook intends to visit the Arlington National Cemetery to finally visit her brother and pay her respects. At 86, the memories of her brother are still embedded in her mind like it was yesterday.
“Ohhh man, I’ve missed him,” she said.
Among those who perished in the fatal 1952 crash accident are: