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Pat Shingleton: "The U.S.S. Macon and the U.S.S. Akron"

5 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Friday, February 12 2016 Feb 12, 2016 February 12, 2016 4:15 AM February 12, 2016 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

On February 12, 2012 the "L.E.M.V." or Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle was tested at Lakehurst Naval Facility in New Jersey. This is the same location where the Hindenburg exploded on February 12, 1937. On February 12, 1935, another dergible, the U.S.S. Macon, completed a training mission near Santa Barbara, California.  South of Point Sur, the airship experienced squally weather that intensified. Lt. Commander Herbert Wiley was at the helm and quickly ordered an evasive maneuver to mitigate the compromising weather situation. At that moment a strong gust jarred the airship's fin. With the tail section of the craft in peril, efforts to control it were futile and to save his crew, Wiley immediately gave the order to abandon ship. Moments later it plunged to the sea surface. Fortunately, inflatable vests and rafts assisted in life saving efforts in addition to unusual warm water temperatures for that time of year. Rescue operations noted that all but two of the 83-member crew survived. The U.S.S. Macon's sister ship, the U.S.S. Akron, experienced a similar accident just two years earlier and unfortunately 73 crew members perished. One of the survivor's of that disaster was Lt.  Commander Wiley.


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