Blue Angels Crash Relics Wash Up on BeachMarch 10, 2009 at 7:46 am | Posted in News | 3 Comments
Walking on the beach near her Alabama home last October, Debbie Harris found a small piece of partly melted metal. It was the emblem of a US Navy fighter squadron, and it had once belonged to Commander Robert Nicholls Glasgow, a Blue Angels pilot whose plane had crashed in the area almost exactly fifty years before. Bringing her find — which was probably once part of a cigarette lighter — to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, she met museum director Bob Rasmussen, a retired Navy captain and former Blue Angel himself. In fact, Rasmussen had been flying with Glasgow the very morning of the latter’s fatal crash. Small world, eh? But the coincidences got even deeper. Last month, Debbie Harris found yet another relic on that same beach: Glasglow’s dog tag, his name clearly visible despite fire damage. The day she found it, February 17, was Glasgow’s birthday.
During an orientation flight in October 1958, something went awry and Glasgow’s plane crashed into a vacant house at Fort Morgan, near Mobile. Newspaper articles at the time reported that he had a wife and four children. Harris, the beachcomber, is searching for his descendants, to whom she would like to give her finds.
“I was walking along there and looked down and I saw this and went, ‘Um, oh my gosh,’ ” Harris told an AP reporter. “It was like one of those magical moments. I stood there and the sun was setting and I held this in my hand and I said, ‘No one has touched this since it was around his neck, and I’m touching it.’ It was real emotional.”