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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Milligan in Fillmore County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

BT-13B "Valiant" and P-47D "Thunderbolt" Crash, 1944

 
 
BT-13B "Valiant" and P-47D "Thunderbolt" Crash, 1944 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 23, 2022
1. BT-13B "Valiant" and P-47D "Thunderbolt" Crash, 1944 Marker
Inscription.  
On May 10, 1944, an instructor pilot and a student pilot were flying a BT-13B “Valiant” aircraft back to the Bruning Army Air Field after a training session. At the same time, a P-47D “Thunderbolt” fighter, whose pilot had been conducting individual training, was returning to the same airfield. Neither pilot was aware of the other aircraft’s presence and both planes were far from the airfield control tower. After both aircraft made simultaneous turns, they were suddenly headed directly toward one another at a high rate of speed.

A midair collision occurred at approximately 4,000 feet, causing both aircraft to spiral toward the ground. The BT-13 crashed on the Frank Stych farm, approximately 3 miles west and 2 miles south of Milligan. The P-47 crashed on the Fred and Dorothy Stych farm, approximately 3 miles west and 3 miles south of Milligan. The P-47 pilot, F/O John Dobony, was killed. Both pilots in the BT-13 bailed out. The instructor pilot, 2nd Lt. Frank W. Mrenak, survived, but the student pilot, 1st Lt. William D. Jaeger, lost his life.
 
Erected 2010 by Milligan Memorial Committee/Milligan
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Public Library; Nebraska State Historical Society; and Families of the Crewman and Friends of the Community. (Marker Number 476.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceDisastersWar, World II. In addition, it is included in the Nebraska State Historical Society series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 10, 1944.
 
Location. 40° 30.606′ N, 97° 23.108′ W. Marker is in Milligan, Nebraska, in Fillmore County. Marker is on State Highway 41 just east of N Street (Road 24), on the left when traveling east. Marker is center of three Nebraska World War II air training disaster markers at this location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milligan NE 68406, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. B-17G "Flying Fortress" and P-47D "Thunderbolt" Crash, 1944 (here, next to this marker); Two B-24 "Liberators" Crash Near Milligan, 1943 (here, next to this marker); The Blizzard of 1888 (here, next to this marker); Milligan Auditorium (approx. 0.7 miles away); Pioneer Chapel (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Pioneer Chapel and Cesky Bratri Cemetery (approx. 1.1 miles away); Sergeant Leodegar Schnyder (approx. 6.6 miles away); The Ohiowa Auditorium (approx. 7½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milligan.
 
Related markers.
Milligan, Nebraska • WWII Fatal Air Crash Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, August 23, 2022
2. Milligan, Nebraska • WWII Fatal Air Crash Markers
(looking north from Nebraska Highway 41 • center of three Nebraska World War II air training disaster markers at this location)
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. WWII Fatal Air Crashes near Milligan, Nebraska
 
Also see . . .
1. Vultee BT-13 Valiant.
The Vultee BT-13 Valiant is an American World War II-era basic trainer aircraft built by Vultee Aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, and later US Army Air Forces. It was the basic trainer flown by most American pilots during World War II. It was the second phase of the three phase training program for pilots. After primary training in PT-13, PT-17, or PT-19 trainers, the student pilot moved to the more complex Vultee for continued flight training. The BT-13 had a more powerful engine and was faster and heavier than the primary trainer. It required the student pilot to use two way radio communications with the ground and to operate landing flaps and a two-position Hamilton Standard controllable-pitch propeller.
(Submitted on September 26, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is a World War II-era fighter aircraft produced by the American aerospace company Republic Aviation from 1941 through 1945. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns, and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack role it could carry 5-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 lb. When fully
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loaded, the P-47 weighed up to 8 tons, making it one of the heaviest fighters of the war. The P-47 was one of the main United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and also served with other Allied air forces, including those of France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
(Submitted on September 26, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Milligan Memorial Committee for the WWII Fatal Air Crashes.
The members of the Milligan Memorial Committee made every effort to write each airman's story as accurately as possible with the information available to them. It was the committee's goal to put a face and a story with each name that appears on the Nebraska State Historical Markers, while providing historical and factual information to the reader. It was done with respect and admiration of the airmen and their families.
(Submitted on September 26, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 26, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Apr. 21, 2024