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Scott Nelson

Contributor, Dakota Datebook
  • On this date in 1983 a B-52 Stratofortress bomber exploded at the Grand Forks Air Force Base with the loss of 5 personnel. Fortunately, it did not have nuclear weapons on board. That was not the case less than 3 years earlier when on September 15th, 1980, a B-52 on alert status caught fire. Fanned by strong winds, the fire became a giant flamethrower. The crew jumped clear and ran.
  • Standing a few miles east of Richardton, North Dakota, is a modest conical hill with a lot of history. It’s called Young Man’s Butte. Several legends exist to the origin of the name. One of the most plausible came from Rain-in-the-Face, a Lakota Sioux, born near the Cheyenne River in present day South Dakota in 1835.
  • Dan Panko was born on this date in Ukraine in 1895. He emigrated to America in 1906 with his family and they homesteaded in North Dakota. A railroad branch of the Soo Line ran near their homestead and young Dan would hop on the train as it went by, ride a few miles, hop off and run back home.
  • Mary Sherman was born to Michael and Dorothy Sherman on a small farm near Ray, North Dakota in 1921. She graduated from Ray in 1939 as Valedictorian and went on to college at Minot State University majoring in chemistry. When World War II broke out, most men joined the service creating a shortage of chemists and other scientists. Mary was noticed in her chemistry classes and offered a job at Plum Brook Ordnance Works in Sandusky, Ohio. Short on money, Mary decided to postpone her degree and take the job.
  • On this date in 1976, Eldon Joersz of Hazen, North Dakota, broke the all-time speed record for manned airbreathing jet engine aircraft, flying SR-71 Blackbird, Lockheed’s High Altitude Surveillance Jet.
  • 12/19/2017: Edgar Allen was born in Kansas and flew as a bomber pilot during World War 2. When the war ended, he stayed in the Army Air Force and was assigned to the 6th Ferry Group in Long Beach California. Allen spent his time flying various planes around the country, mostly surplus aircraft being disposed of by the Air Force.
  • 10/26/2017: On this date in 1923, Walter Sharbo was born in Williston. He became a fighter pilot during World War 2, flying a P-47 Thunderbolt. Walter served with the famous 56th Fighter Group, also known as Zemke’s Wolf Pack, so-named for Commander Hubert Zemke. Zemke’s Wolf Pack was part of the 8th Air Force and flew air cover for bombers attacking German occupied Europe.
  • 10/12/2017: Clarence lay in his life raft and knew he was going to die. He was only 20 years old.
  • 7/7/2017: Wyman Galbreath graduated from Enderlin High School in 1940. He attended the Wahpeton School of Science where he enrolled in Aviation Mechanics. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. By the spring of 1944 he was piloting a B-17 heavy bomber.
  • 6/13/2017: On or around this date in 1944, Richard Baron from Mandan found himself having a drink with the enemy – a pilot in the German Air Force.