Topics - C-54D Crash
September 6, 1950

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Most recent update: 1/30/2020

A C-54D aircraft (tail number 42-72583) crashed shortly after takeoff on September 06, 1950, 4.5 miles northwest of the Itami Air Base in Japan.  Two minutes after takeoff from Osaka-Itami Airport, while in initial climb, the four engine aircraft went out of control and crashed seven kilometers from the airport. The plane had 11 occupants, all of whom died in the ground crash. The names of three fatalities have not been found by the KWE at this date.  Anyone wishing to add more details about the plane crash and bios of the fatalities is welcome to contact Lynnita.


  1. Danna, 1Lt. Salvatore - pilot from the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron, USAF.  Born July 27, 1924, he was a son of Joseph Danna (1881-1943) and Frances Danna of Monroe, Louisiana.  He was survived by his widow, Margaret Evelyn Hensley Danna.  He was the brother of Leon Danna (died 1991), Nick Danna, Anthony Jack "Tony" Danna Sr. (died 2/13/2011), Rose Danna Ambrosio, Angelene Danna Shambro, Frances Danna and Mamie Danna Russell.  He is buried in Duncan Municipal Cemetery, Duncan, Oklahoma.
  2. Emery, Frank Whitney II - from Los Angeles.  War correspondent with the International News Service.  He was born in 1927, a son of Charles Goodwin Emery (1899-1955) and Blanche Chisholm Emery (1878-1986).  Not long before the plane crash, Emery and fellow war correspondent Randolph Churchill (son of Winston Churchill) were wounded on the front lines of Korea.  Emery was on the staff of the Los Angeles Examiner before joining the Army.  He then went to work on the Army's Pacific Stars & Stripes.  After receiving his discharge in 1947, he joined the International News Service in Tokyo.  When the Korean War broke out he was in charge of the INS Bureau in Manila.  Among his survivors was his younger brother Marshall, who was serving in the Army in Korea at the time of Frank's death.
  3. Hanlin, 1Lt. Frederick Willis - member of the 6147th Tactical Air Control Squadron, 6147 Tactical Air Control Group.  He was returning to Korea with equipment he procured in Japan.  He was born January 12, 1921 in Portland, Indiana.  In 1942 he married Virginia Carol Juillerat, and they had two sons, Don and Hugh Hanlin.  In 1956 she married Manon W. Felts.  Carol died August 26, 2018, and Manon died in October of 2010.  Lt. Hanlin is buried in Green Park Cemetery, Portland, Indiana.
  4. Inouye, Kenneth - cameraman with International News Service.  A 22-year old Japanese-American from Wen, New York, he was returning to the Korean War front when his plane went down.
  5. McAllister, TSgt. George Lewis - flight engineer
  6. Nelson, Lt. Robert James - Born September 6, 1921, he was originally from Minnesota.  He was married to Carolyn Jere Simmonds Nelson (1924-1963) of Columbus, Georgia on September 09, 1944.  His sister was Marjorie "Margie" Nelson, who married Gordon Miller and lived in Escondido, California.  His nephew is Gordon Miller Jr.  During World War II Lieutenant Nelson served with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne.  He and Jere are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Robert and Jere were parents of three daughters, the youngest of which, Bonnie, was born in 1948 in Sendai, Japan.  Bonnie told the KWE:

    "Dad was born in Esterville, Iowa, but his family settled in Hastings, Minnesita, where other family members lived.  My dad requested to be regular army because he hoped to make it his career. He was denied several times due to World War II limiting full-time positions at the time. I don’t fully understand or know all the particulars about that.  My dad was promoted to rank of Captain posthumously. However, my mother didn't want that rank on his tombstone because she felt anyone who knew him wouldn't know him as Capt. Robert James Nelson, from Minnesota, 1st Lt. 187 ABN INF 11th Airborne Division, it says on his tombstone (killed) World War II, but he was not fully enlisted during WW II. It's complicated. Mom didn't want to cause problems and so she left it as is. Forgive me if I'm rattling on. My dad, Bob, was born September 6, 1921 and died September 6, 1950.  My parents and older sister had been stationed in Sendai, Japan (American Occupation) 1946 - 1949. My sister Jan and I were born while in Japan 1947, 1948. With rumors of war in Korea, we were brought back to the States and before we could move into housing my Dad would return to Japan with his division. It was a chance for promotion and hazardous duty pay increase. My mom moved into Benning Hills, GA just off Post. Dad's division was sitting at Itami Air Force Base, Osaka, Japan when they asked for a volunteer to help escort the media out of Japan.My Dad's name wasn't on the manifest so it took time before they would get the news to Mom. There has been confusion over the date of his death due to time difference in Japan to America. Mom went by the Western Union telegrams she received for the date. The plane crashed after take off. I was 2, Jan was 3, and our older sister Lee was 5 when Mom got the phone call. Dad lived 28 years and died on his 29th birthday, leaving a young mother of three in Columbus, Georgia. Mom also lived a short life. She learned a few years later she had cancer. I was about 9 or 10. Our meager Army-Officer benefits and health care was a blessing, but unfortunately, after numerous surgeries and treatments at Martin Army Hospital in Benning and Walter Reed in DC, Mom passed away after a courageous battle in 1963. I was 15. She was buried right next to my Dad in Arlington. Her parents are buried two rows behind them. Needless to say, my sisters and I could write a book. We've been separated since her death, with little communication over the years. But we each turned out well because of family and friends and are very resilient. Our parents would be proud.  My husband, Norman, and I live in Crestwood, KY, just outside Louisville. We will celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary in June. Blessed with three beautiful daughters, wonderful son-in-laws, five grandsons, two granddaughters, and one great granddaughter. Look for Bonnie Nelson Brown on FaceBook."

  7. Rosecrans, Charles Dukwell Jr. - Born February 13, 1920, he was the son of Charles D. Rosecrans Sr. (1886-1958) and Ida Keliiwahinenoikala Hussey Rosecrans (1891-1936).  Charles Jr. was a photographer/writer with International News Service.  He is buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.  During his career he covered World War II in the Pacific almost from the start to the finish.  He was married to a Japanese wife.  He was a great grandson of the Civil War Union general William Starke Rosecrans.
  8. Witmer, Lt. Col. Lavern G. - Army staff officer in Tokyo who was traveling to South Korea.  He was born March 04, 1906 in Iowa, son of A.O. Grant Witmer (1875-1949) and Grace Jane Mock Witmer (1875-1953).  He married Beatryce Jones (1905-1961) on June 22, 1927 in Pella, Iowa.  She later married Allan Ramsey Shepherd (1892-1968).  Lavern graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from Iowa State College in 1927. He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.



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