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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 110082
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic P51 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
North American A-36A Apache
Owner/operator:303rd BSqn /84th BGp USAAF
Registration: 42-83732
MSN: 97-15950
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Warner Robins Army Air Depot, GA (KWRB) -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Warner Robins, GA (KWRB)
Destination airport:Warner Robins, GA (KWRB)
Paul Joseph Fergen was born on 29 April 1918 in Parkston, South Dakota. He went to high school in Parkston and graduated in 1935. He was a very talented athlete. He was a quarterback for the football team and played as a forward for the basketball team. fter high school he went to the colleges of Madison and then Brookings.

Paul J. Fergen then joined the Armed Forces on November 1, 1941, at Omaha, Nebraska. He trained to become an Army 1st Lt. After earning his wings and commission, Lt. Fergen was an instructor pilot for the A-36 Apache, the dive-bomber version of the P-51 Mustang, and was stationed at Warner-Robbins Field, Macon, Georgia, serving with the 303rd BS, 84th FG Paul married Jeanne Mattison on 12 July 1942, in Georgia.

On 11 January 1943, Lt. Fergen, while engaged with a cadet in a training flight over Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia, noticed his plane, the A-36A 42-83732, was malfunctioning and successfully landed at Warner-Robbins Field.

The next day, 12 January, Fergen went into the air once again with the same plane which had supposedly been repaired. The take-off, into the west on the East-West runway, appeared to be normal in very respect, the airplane having obtained flying speed midway the 5,000-foot runway from which point a gradual ascent was made, the engine sounding smooth during the entire take-off.

Two or three minutes later, the airplane was seen directly east of the field at an altitude of approximately 400 feet, the pilot having called the twoer was emergency landing instructions. The crash alarm was sounded and at this time when the airplane, headed west on final approach, was seen to be leaving a trailing column of smoke while descending. When it was approximately 150 feet above the ground, flames could be seen coming from the left side of the engine.

The pilot made a normal descent toward the edge of the East-West runway until the flames, having grown in magnitude, enveloped the entire nose section at approximately 50 feet. From this altitude the airplane nosed down sharply and hit the runway, bounced into the air, winged over on its back and crashed at 1019 hrs EWT. It was totally destroyed and Lt Paul Fergen was gravely injured. Although rushed to the hospital, Paul died two hours later.

His remains were returned to South Dakota by train, accompanied by two Air Force officers, and he was buried in the cemetery at Parkston. The entire town, filled with Paulís friends and family, grieved his death. Lt. Fergen left behind his pregnant wife.

Investigations revealed that the fire was caused by the failure of a fuel line from the port wing tank to the engine.


"Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945. Volume 1, January 1941-June 1943", by Anthony J. Mireles. ISBN 0-7864-2788-4

Related books:

Revision history:

04-Sep-2011 04:08 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
11-Apr-2015 01:03 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Narrative]
22-May-2017 08:24 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
04-Feb-2020 12:10 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]
11-Aug-2021 17:33 Anon. Updated [Time, Operator, Operator]
11-Aug-2021 17:35 Anon. Updated [Operator]

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