B-47 crash site memorial commemorates lives lost during Cold War era

By KBJR News 1

June 28, 2014 Updated Jun 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM CDT

Hurley, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- From 1953 to 1964, the Air Force's 40th Bombardment Wing from Forbes Air Force Base out of Topeka Kansas was tasked with flying low level missions.

In 1961, two planes of those planes crashed, on separate occasions, just south of Hurley Wisconsin.

Now, 53 years later, family, friends and veterans are remembering the lives that were lost.

"He was born to fly I think, he was just an AirForce Man," said Robert Rasmussen. His brother Dale Rasmussen served in the Air Force during the Cold War Era and was an evaluator aboard the B–47 Stratojet.

During a low level training mission in 1961, Dale's plane crashed in a heavily wooded area just south of Hurley Wisconsin.

"I happened to be in medical school and my dad called and told me that his plane had gone down and I asked him if he had been killed and he said, I'm afraid so," said Robert.

One other man was killed on Dale's plane that day while two other men walked away. Three months later, another plane crashed around the same area claiming the lives of four airmen.

Now, 53 years later, a memorial near the crash site has been constructed to honor and remember Dale and the other five lives lost during those training missions.

"The original plan was to clear it out and make a nice walking path with one flag with solar lights and then the money started coming in and we built the pergola. We knew about the canopy from the first crash so we went and recovered that," said Curt Myers, who has spearheaded the memorial project.

The canopy of one of the B-47 along with an ejection seat from the aircraft is on display along ATV trail 13C near Island Lake.

The Rasmussen family came to Hurley to celebrate the completion of the memorial.

"These guys have fulfilled my dream. It's a beautiful memorial, its great, it really is. They did what I wanted to do," said Darrell Rasmussen, one of Dale's sons.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the crash site at 1 p.m. on Saturday June, 28.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.