Skip to Content

Airmen honored 75 years after San Miguel Island crash

75 years after their plane crashed on San Miguel Island, 12 members of a U.S. Army Air Forces Bomber Squadron were honored for the first time.

A ceremony at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Thursday, brought relatives from all around the country to the Central Coast.

A day after the country came together to honor Independence Day, 12 men who died fighting for our freedom, were finally recognized.

“My dad passed away a few years ago and he and his brother were extraordinarily close, absolutely idolized Jinx,” said Gail Yost, wiping away tears.

Gail Yost is overcome with emotion, reading a relic from the past for the first time – a letter written by her Uncle, Noah “Jinx” Yost.

“The stories about this man definitely live on,” said Yost.

Honoring Jinx and 11 other airmen is another first.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to commemorate and honor these men have never had a service and have never been recognized,” said Marla Daily, President of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation.

On July 5th 1943, 12 young aviators based out of Salinas, died in pursuit of a noble cause.

“Somewhere they’re all together, somewhere they’re all enjoying the fact that we’re all here,” said Yost.

75 years ago, their B-24 Liberator was dispatched to find another bomber that had gone missing a day earlier off the coast of Santa Barbara.

They were searching for the “Eddie Rickenbacker,” a B-24 bomber that disappeared during a nighttime training mission.

The wreckage of the “Eddie Rickenbacker” was found inland, ten miles north of Santa Barbara, having crashed due to fuel shortage. The Rickenbacker crew parachuted prior to the crash, with eight members surviving.

“Their wreck was not found for eight months and when it was found, they had thought to be lost at sea but they weren’t. They were dead on Green Mountain,” said Daily.

A twisted propellor blade, salvaged from the San Miguel Island wreckage now sits atop a 10-foot-tall granite memorial.

“25 years after the crash, the propellor blade that we have stayed on the island, it was recovered by the Timor family, sailors in Santa Barbara,” explained Daily.

The blade was then gifted to the Santa Cruz Island Foundation and Daily and her team have been waiting for this anniversary to unveil it.

Paying tribute to 7th Bomb Squadron and bringing some much needed closure for 20 relatives, who traveled from all across the country to be a part of a memorial long overdue. Including 12 nieces and nephews from the Yost family alone.

“I have no doubt that somewhere, dad, Jinx, his mom, dad and his other brothers, none of whom survived survived their 20s, are all smiling,” said Yost.

The memorial will be at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum for the next three years or so and will eventually move to its permanent home at the Channel Islands Center in Ventura, once it’s built.

Believed to be flying in foggy conditions at a 500 foot altitude the search plane crashed into Green Mountain, a gently sloping 817-foot peak on San Miguel Island.

Flight crew of the 2nd Air Force, 34th Bomb Group, 7th Bomb Squadron honored include; Pilot Vernon C. Stevens, Command Pilot Douglas Thornburg, Co-pilot Floyd P. Hart, Bombardier Instructor Justin M. Marshall, Navigator Bose Gorman, Bombardier Noah H. Yost, Engineer Bernard Littman, Asst. Engineer Ralph S. Masterson, Radioman Lyle L. Frost, Gunner Walter O. Eisenbarth, Gunner Lee E. Salver, and Asst. Radioman Henry L. Bair.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Channel 3-12

Email the News Channel 3-12 Team


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content