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Otis Memorial Park

Otis Memorial Park has a rich history.

Otis Memorial Park was dedicated in July, 1969 to honor the men and women who, while on active duty at the Otis Air field, Camp Edwards, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, or Joint Base Cape Cod, never returned home safely.

Otis Memorial Park currently has twenty memorial plaques and stones. Once at the top of the walk way please move clockwise around the reflecting pool and fountain. Below is a listing and short description of each memorial.

Explore and engage with the history images below.

#1 — OCAC PAST PRESIDENTS’ MEMORIAL

At the foot of the entrance to the park is a stone installed by the Otis Civilian Advisory Council noting its Golden Anniversary 1940 – 1990. It lists (in memoriam) the names of OCAC Presidents who have passed.


#2 — FROM THESE HONORED DEAD

On your right at the head of the walkway is a larger stone from the citizens of Massachusetts. Using heartfelt words the plaque states clearly, “the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our nation owe a debt of gratitude to those who in performing repeated yet never routine missions made the Supreme sacrifice [so] that freedom might live, grow and increase its blessings.

This memorial received its impetus from the tragic events here recorded but no record of dates, events or even the names of the men and women involved can bear adequate witness to the significance of their
sacrifice and its meaning for mankind.

It was the lot of these men and women to make the supreme sacrifice not in the heat of battle or in the course of some spectacular deed of individual heroism, but rather in the carrying our of the frequently repeated though never routine missions essential to the security of their country and the preservation of democracy.

They, indeed, gave their lives that freedom might live, grow and increase its blessings. In our time it had become the destiny of many to serve in the armed forces of their country, in time of peace and the destiny of a growing number to lose their lives in the prevention rather than the prosecution of war.  In a larger sense, therefore, this memorial speaks to us not only of the men and women whose names are here set forth, but also of the continuing unheralded, yet essential, sacrifices made and still to be made by all who accept their responsibilities to duty, honor and country.


#3 — THE COAST GUARD STATION SALEM – NOW (CGASCC)

From 1940 – 1961 the US Coast Guard had a station in Salem Massachusetts. The memorial honors those pilots and crewmen who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty while stationed in Salem. Their ranks and names are listed on the plaque. The USCG Salem station was incorporated into (CGASCC) Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod.


#4 — THE FIRST (HOMEY CRASH) EC-121H “WARNING STAR” CONSTELLATION

On March 2, 1965 the 551st AEW+C (Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing) celebrated its 10th anniversary. During that time the 551st Wing accumulated 350,000 hours without an accident involving personal injury or a fatality. On July 11, 1965 all that changed when a “Super Constellation” with 19 crew members ditched in the North Atlantic. Sixteen men died and three were rescued.


#5 —  THE 60TH FIGHTER INTERCEPTER SQUAD AIR CREW

Three lives were lost in two separate crashes. The first occurred on March 21, 1968 resulting in Captains Toffel and Utz being killed. The second crash occurred on December 5, 1969 taking the life of Captain Rossomano.


#6 —  THE SECOND (HOMEY CRASH) EC-121 “WARNING STAR” CONSTELLATION

On Veterans Day, November 11, 1966 a second Homey, 64 ditched approximately 125 miles East of Nantucket Island while on an active air defense mission for the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing (AEW+C) with a crew of nineteen aboard. There were no survivors.


#7 — THE LIEUTENANT COLONEL WESCOTT MEMORIAL

This is a tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Clifford D. Wescott, for his 28 years (March 16, 1954 – May 15, 1972) as Commander of the Permanent Training Site for the Massachusetts Air National Guard.


#8 — THE THIRD HOMEY CRASH EC-121H ‘WARNING STAR” CONSTELLATION

Sadly, there was a third tragedy which struck the 551st AEW+C on April 25, 1967. Fifteen crew members were killed when their plane was ditched approximately one mile off the shores of South Maddeket Beach on Nantucket Island.


#9 — THE TEXAS TOWER NO. 4

As part of the US air defense strategy were several towers built in the ocean much like off-shore oil rigs. These structures called Texas Towers worked hand in hand with the 551st in processing early detection of weapons headed to the United Sates. Texas Tower 4 was located in New Jersey. On January 15, 1961 fourteen officers and airmen from the US Air Force and fourteen civilian technicians from the 4604th Support Squadron perished at sea when the tower collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean.


#10 — THE AMERICAN DIVISION (Yankee Division)

Dedicated in 1976 (no doubt as part of America’s Bicentennial celebration) the plaque states, “the American Division expresses an everlasting tribute to all who served with and for the American Division”.


#11 — FRANCES FORTUNE GRIMES – WASP MEMORIAL

On May 25, 2023 a stone and plaque were placed in honor of Frances Fortune Grimes a WASP (Women Air Supply Pilots) stationed at Camp Edwards O”s Airfield. The plaque aptly describes the work of WASP and in particular Ms. Grimes. She was killed on March 27, 1944 when the A-24 Dive Bomber she was piloting stalled and crashed afer takeoff.


#12 — THE LISA ANGELICA TRUBNIKOVA MEMORIAL

Members of the US Coast Guard were saddened when on February 5, 2015, Lisa Angelica was killed by a gun. “Lisa touched the hearts of all who knew her. Her absence is a silent grief, her life a beautiful memory.”


#13 —  551ST AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING AND CONTROL WING (AEW+C WING)

“Dedicated to the men and women who supported or flew RC121D and EC121H based at O”s Air force Base, Cape Cod between 1954-1969.  Fifty of our group made the ultimate sacrifice. Videre Est Parari”.  The English translation is “ to be seen is to be prepared”.


#14 — THE US AIRFORCE AND NATIONAL GUARD MEMORIAL

“Dedicated to the tremendous contributions made by individuals through the years to build the Air Force and make it the powerful force it is today”. This plaque marks the 50th anniversary 1947 – 1997.


#15 — THE SARGENT MAJOR FREDERICK B. DOUGLASS MEMORIAL

Sargent Major Douglass was stationed at the Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon as part of a multi-national peace keeping effort. On Sunday morning October 23, 1983, Hizballah terrorists drove two trucks full of explosive into the barracks killing 221 Marines. Sargent Major Douglass was one of the casualties.


#16 — THE CAPTAIN ALAN J. LAVOIE MEMORIAL

Captain Alan J. Lavoie was a fighter pilot with the 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Massachusetts Air National Guard where he served from December 10, 1971 to June 6, 1983. The quote on his plaque reads “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for a friend.”


#17 — THE HEROIC CREW OF IH-3F CGNR 1432 MEMORIAL

A crew of five Coast Guardsmen left Air Station Cape Cod at 3:14 AM on February 18, 1979 to MEDEVAC an injured fisherman. The conditions for the MEDEAV were perilous. High winds, with thirty-foot seas and snow were the presenting conditions facing the crew when they located the fishing ship approximately 260 miles Southeast of Cape Cod. On the third attempt to get the basket onto the ship an engine failure resulted in the helicopter crashing into the seas. Four of the five crew members were killed. The lone survivor was the flight mechanic rescued by the ship.


#18 — THE PELLAND AIR STRIP MEMORIAL

This stone is in honor of the sacrifice made by 1st Lieutenant Gilbert B. Pelland, a pilot for the 101st Fighter Squadron with the Massachusetts Air National Guard on August 25, 1949.


#19 — THE COLONEL FRANK P. WILLIAMS MEMORIAL

Colonel Williams was the organizer and Commanding Officer of the 101st Medical Regiment for the 26th (Yankee) Division of the Massachusetts National Guard. Dr. Williams had the distinction of being the Surgeon General of Massachusetts from 1913-1932. The officers and enlisted men of the 101st presented this plaque in his memory


#20 — THE DeVALLES FIELD MEMORIAL

This plaque was presented to those who served by the Portuguese American Civic league of Massachusetts in honor of Father John E. DeValles D.S.C. who served as Chaplain for the 104th Infantry A.E.F. 1879-1920.