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Your copy of the "Davis-Monthan Airfield Register" with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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"Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936" is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-2-5.

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See links for Register pilots Nutt and Nelson for other information about the Alaska flight.

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The New York Times, September 24, 1922. "Six Killed in Crash of Bombing Plane at Mitchel Field".

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CLARENCE E. CRUMRINE

Portrait, 1920 (Source: Armstrong)
Portrait, 1920 (Source: Armstrong)

 

Lt. Clarence E. Crumrine (born March 26, 1893) landed once at Tucson, Monday, June 11, 1928 at 10:40AM. He carried one passenger identified as G.R. Marley. Based at Dayton, OH (Wright Field) they were westbound from El Paso, TX, departing for San Diego, CA at noon the same day. They flew a Douglas O-2, 25-403.

Earlier, in July, 1920, Crumrine piloted one of four Army deHavilland DH-4B aircraft from Mitchel Field NY to Nome, AK. This flight became known as "The First Alaska Air Expedition". The group called themselves the Black Wolf Squadron. The total mileage was 4,500, by way of stops at Erie PA; Grand Rapids, MI; Winona and Minneapolis, MN; Fargo, ND; Portal ND; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Edmonton and Japer, Alberta; Prince George and Hazelton, British Columbia; Wrangell, AK; Whitehorse and Dawson, Yukon Territory; and Fairbanks and Ruby, AK. A 1970 account of the expedition published during its 50th anniversary year by the Seattle Times of August 2, 1970 is at the link (PDF 500Kb).

Below, a photograph of Crumrine and a mascot taken at Grand Rapids, MI shortly after his return from Alaska.

Clarence E. Crumrine, Grand Rapids, MI, Ca. 1920 (Source: Armstrong)
Clarence E. Crumrine, Grand Rapids, MI, Ca. 1920 (Source: Armstrong)

The text in the heart painted on the fuselage says, "Fairbanks Alaska's Golden Heart. There's a soft spot in it for you."

Others making the flight were: Capt. St. Clair Streett, Sgt. Edmund Henriques, Captain Streett’s mechanic in aircraft number one; Lt. Clifford C. Nutt, pilot, and Lt. Erik H. Nelson, navigating and engineering officer in aircraft number two; Lt C.E. Crumrine, pilot, and Sgt. James D. Long, mechanic, in aircraft number three and Lt. Ross C. Kirkpatrick, pilot, and MSgt. Joseph E. English, mechanic, in aircraft number four. The crew earned the Mackey Trophy for 1920 for their effort. An image of Crumrine in a group photo taken around the time of the Alaska flight is available here on dmairfield.org. This same photograph, from a different source, is displayed on the Group Photographs page.

In September 1922, Crumrine was involved with an air squadron exercise at Mitchel Field, NY where there was a crash of a large Martin bomber. The news made the September 24 issue of The New York Times (left sidebar). The exercise was commanded by then captain Ira C. Eaker (his name was misspelled "Baker" in the Times). The bomber asended late in the exercise, at about 11:30PM, as part of the regular routine. The field was brilliantly illuminated with spotlights and parachute flares and about 25,000 people were present to watch the spectacle. There was a shallow fog, as well as smoke, over the area. The bomber fell to the ground at a steep angle from about 500'. There was no cause suggested for the crash, as the airplane had been flying normally out of the range of searchlights for some time before the accident. Six airmen on the bomber were killed.

Crumrine also served as the advance officer of the 6th Division for the World Flight of 1924. Follow the link for several images of the World Flight aircraft, pilots and crew. After WWII, in the late 1940s, he crossed paths with Register pilot Lee Willey as they shared command duties at the Topeka Army Air Field, Topeka, KS. Specific mention of Crumrine is found in a news article exhibited as part of the Willey Collection, Military Service.

During the early 1930s he was a member of the 55th Pursuit Squadron that was then based at Mather Field, Sacramento, CA. Below, a 1932 photograph of the squadron. Crumrine appears to be third from left in the back row.

55th Pursuit Squadron, 1932 (Source: Armstrong)
55th Pursuit Squadron, 1932 (Source: Armstrong)

The Squadron flew Boeing P-12s at the time, one of which can be seen in the background. Notice in front of the group ont the ground the "55" and underscore fashioned from machine gun cartridge belts. Ammunition belts also are festooned over the propeller behind the men, and draped over the two innermost bombs to either side. The annotation on the photo says, "The 55th Pursuit Squadron, 1932, Clarence Crumrine."

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THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 10/15/07 REVISED: 07/08/09, 03/11/10, 12/20/12

 
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I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Crumrine and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Thanks to Alan Armstrong for sharing the photographs at left. They are from an album belonging to his grandfather taken
from about 1900 to the 1930s.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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