Wednesday, September 29, 2021

1948 Bomber Crash Claims the Lives of Three Ga. Guardsmen

 By Maj. William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard


A Georgia Air National Guard A-26 at the 54th Fighter Wing Headquarters in Marietta in 1946. Georgia National Guard Archives.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1948 a Georgia Air National Guard A-26 crashed en route from Marietta Army Base to New York City.[1] Eyewitness statements made to the Virginia State Patrol indicated the aircraft exploded in flight and crashed near Simplicity, Va. Three Georgia Air National Guard personnel were killed in the accident. All three were veterans of World War II.[2] Army search personnel from Fort Pickett located the wreckage of the aircraft which had gouged a 30-foot trench after striking the ground.[3]

Captain Jerome Arnold Klausman, commander of the Marietta-based Detachment A, 216th Air Service Group was at the controls of the aircraft when it went down. Klausman was born June 23, 1918 in Macon to Marcus and Mamie Klausman. Marcus Klausman was a physician who immigrated from Russia. Klausman entered federal service with the Georgia National Guard’s 128th Observation Squadron in 1941 and transferred to the Air Corps in 1942. Assigned to the European Theater he was twice awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He joined the Georgia Air National Guard in 1946 and in his civilian capacity worked as a jeweler. Klausman is buried in Westlawn Memorial Park in Atlanta.[4]

Doctor Marcus Klausman presents the first annual Klausman Trophy
to Maj. William Kelly at Governor’s Day during Annual Training
 in 1950. Georgia National Guard Archives.

To honor the memory of Capt, Klausman the 216th ASG established the Klausman Trophy. [5] The first Klausman Trophy was presented by Dr. Marcus Klausman to Maj. William Kelly, commander of Detachment C, 216th ASG in the summer of 1950.[6]

First Lieutenant William Frederick Scarborough, 24, enlisted in the Air Corps in 1943 and served with the 3035 AAF Base Unit. Upon mustering out in 1946 Scarborough joined the Georgia Air National Guard. His brother, Homer Scarborough, served with the 121st Infantry Regiment during World War II.[7] William is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dublin.

Second Lieutenant William Oscar Colley was a 25-year-old pilot from Elberton who ran his own flight business. A graduate of North Georgia College, he served in World War II as a flight officer and entered service with the Ga. ANG upon discharge from active duty. He is buried in Elmhurst Cemetery in Elberton.

[1] “Air Crash Kills 3 Georgia Guardsmen.” The Atlanta Constitution, Sept. 30, 1948, 1.

[2] “Guard identifies Atlanta Captain in Air Crash.” The Atlanta Constitution, Oct 1, 1948, 1.

[3] “Three Guard Officers Die in Plane Crash.” The Tampa Tribune, Oct. 1, 1948, 1.

[4] “Capt. Klausman Rites Tomorrow; Crash Victim.” The Atlanta Constitution, Oct. 5, 1948, 13.

[5] “Unit News.” The Georgia Guardsman Magazine. July-Aug 1950, 1.

[6] “Awards and Decorations Honor Guardsmen at Camp.” The Georgia Guardsman Magazine, Sept-Oct 1950, 10.

[7] GA-13-MD-GA 1941, 79.

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