Visiting the B52 Memorial Site, Greenville, ME

By Tom Richardson; Videography by Kevin Erdvig

ATV riders, hikers, and snowmobilers in the Moosehead Region have thousands of miles of trails to explore, many leading to spectacular vistas and interesting sites. One of the more somber destinations is the B52 Crash Memorial site, on the flank of Elephant Mountain, just east of Moosehead Lake.


One of the plane wheels.

It was here, in the winter of 1963, that a B52 Stratofortress bomber on a routine radar test mission from Westover Air Base in Massachusetts experienced mechanical failure (the vertical stabilizer detached in turbulence) and crashed, killing seven people onboard. Miraculously, the pilot and navigator survived after ejecting from the plane and spending the night on the snow-covered mountain in sub-zero temperatures! It took the heroic efforts of rescuers to reach and find the missing men the following day.

B52 Stratofortress bomber similar to the plane than crashed.

Today, pieces of the plane wreckage litter the site, which can be accessed by ATV, car, truck and snowmobile when the road and trails are open (logging operations sometimes force trail closures). The site is maintained by the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club, which holds an annual ceremony to honor those who perished in the crash.

A 1963 newspaper clipping announces the accident.