Boca Raton in Palm Beach County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Boca Raton Army Air Field B-34 Crash
The Boca Raton Army Air Field (BRAAF), established in 1942, included land bordered by Palmetto Park Road to the south, Dixie Highway to the east, Yamato Road to the north, and Military Trail to the west. It totaled 5,820 acres and was home to 100,000 soldiers and civilians over the first 5 years, at a time when Boca Raton only had 700 residents. Built in just 4 months at a cost of $12 million, the base had 800 structures and was in full operation from 1942-47. Its primary function was to train soldiers to operate and maintain airborne radar, which was then top-secret technology. On May 12, 1944, a U.S. Army Air Corps B-34 bomber on a training mission crashed on take-off from BRAAF. The flaming wreckage came to rest at what is now North University Drive and FAU Boulevard at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). All 9 men on board died, one of the worst disasters in Boca Raton history. In 1947, a Category 4 hurricane destroyed much of the base. That same year, it was decommissioned and its size reduced to 1,200 acres. In 1962, the field was split up with 1,000 acres for FAU and 200 acres for the Boca Raton Airport. BRAAF’s former
1st LT William H. Carson - Pilot, S. Carolina, age 23
1st LT Jacob M. Buie - Student Radar Operator, Florida, age 22
1st LT Thomas A. Lamont - Student Radar Operator, New York, age 27
1st LT John J. Lominac - Student Radar Operator, N. Carolina, age 25
1stLT Benjamin P. Sibley - Student Radar Operator, Mass., age 27
S SGT Frank L. Bursaw - Radio Operator, Missouri, age 31
SERG John S. Safieko - Radar Instructor, Wisconsin, age 25
PFC Norman R. Steiner - Student Engineer, New York, age 20
PVT Robert E. Locke - Aerial Engineer, Ohio, age 22
Erected 2019 by Thomas R. Wood, Rosita B. Wood, Susan Gillis, Sally J. Ling, Boca Raton Historical Society, U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Florida Atlantic University, and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-1083.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Disasters • War, World II. A significant historical date for this entry is May 12, 1944.
Location. 26° 22.471′ N, 80° 6.001′ Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boca Raton FL 33431, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Floresta Historic District (approx. 1.7 miles away); Boca Raton Town Hall (approx. 1.8 miles away); Sanborn Square (approx. 1.8 miles away); The Barefoot Mailmen (approx. 2 miles away); F.E.C. Railway Depot, Boca Raton (approx. 2.3 miles away); The Sanborn Wall (approx. 2.6 miles away); First Zion Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 4 miles away); Branhilda Richardson Knowles Memorial Park and Historic Cemetery (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boca Raton.
Also see . . . Lockheed Ventura. B-34 Lexington in USAAF service (Submitted on June 9, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2021, by Jay Kravetz of West Palm Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 374 times since then and 136 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 7, 2021, by Jay Kravetz of West Palm Beach, Florida. 6. submitted on June 9, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.