Near this site, at 1:42 am on January 13th 1964, a B-52 bomber, call sign "Buzz One Four", crashed during a blizzard. The plane, with a crew of five, was armed with two 9-megaton nuclear weapons. Four of the five crew members ejected from the plane. The pilot, Major Thomas W. McCormick and co-pilot, Captain Parker C. "Mack" Peedin, were the only Survivors. The navigator, Major Robert L. Payne, and tail gunner, TSgt. Melvin D. Wooten, died of exposure before they could be rescued. The fifth crew member, radar navigator Major Robert E. Townley, was unable to eject, and his body was found in the wreckage. Many local citizens endured brutal winter conditions to assist the air and ground search teams in the effort to rescue the crew members.
The plane was part of "Operation Chrome Dome", a contingent of bombers that were airborne at all times as a nuclear deterrent. Buzz One Four was en route from Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts, to Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Georgia when it suffered catastrophic structure failure over southern Pennsylvania due to severe turbulence.
This marker is erected in the memory of the crew members of Buzz One Four.
[text on photo] Maj. Robt. E. Townley - 5/3/1921 - 1/13/1964.