The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 17, 2013

Memorial to mark site of 1963 plane crash

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Marianne Schotzko said after detailed reports of the crash were released, it was apparent the crew could not have controlled their craft. Regardless, townspeople were affected by the events of that day.

Schotzko was a junior at Comfrey School, about two miles from the crash.

“The building shook, we heard a loud noise, we ran to look to the north and saw a mushroom-like cloud.” An unsettling sight during the Cold War era, she said.

For weeks afterward, Schotzko observed Air Force and law enforcement in town investigating the site and protecting crash evidence from souvenir hunters.

Recently, as the 50th anniversary of the crash approached, survivors began to make inquiries about the site where the crewmen died.

Their requests sparked Schotzko and her husband, Stan, to spearhead efforts for establishing a monument to honor the airmen. The couple are members of the Comfrey Legion and its auxiliary. Stan is the commander.

The Brown County Veterans Council offered “seed money” to place a plaque at the crash site in hopes that other organizations will add to its $1,000 appropriation.

As of Friday morning, a total of $8,000 had been raised.

“More than 60 organizations and individuals have contributed,” Marianne Schotzko said, pleased that plans can now proceed.

“There are going to be four granite stones,” she said. The committee plans to add information about the crewmen and would like to have their likenesses on the markers.

A dedication ceremony is planned July 14 as part of Comfrey Community Days.

In the meantime, the Schotzkos and other volunteers will continue fundraising. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 24, they will be serving chicken sandwiches and holding a silent auction at the Comfrey American Legion.

Others interested in the project may send donations to: B-47 Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 98, in care of Choice Financial Bank, Comfrey, MN 56019.

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