Captain Gerald Adler along with family and friends attended a memorial on Saturday recognizing the crash of a B-52 Stratofortress in the Greenville area. Saturday, Captain Adler was reunited for the first time with medic Eugene Slabinski who dropped out of a helicopter to rescue him.
On January 24th, 1963 the B-52 Stratofortress based at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts was testing how the jet performed in low altitude flights. The idea was to test how a high level aircraft would perform in low level scenarios. If successful they would be used to sneak in under Chinese and Soviet radar.
At an altitude of just over 300 feet, and traveling at 300 knots the aircraft his severe turbulence as it was hurtling towards the Greenville area. In an attempt to a climb out of the turbulence the Pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Dante Bulli pulled up which resulted in the vertical stabilizer being ripped from the tail section of the plane.
Bulli, his co-pilot Major Robert Morrison and navigator, Captain Gerald Adler were able to eject from the plane before the plane crashed into the mountain. Major Morrison died in process of ejecting the aircraft, Lt. Col. Bulli and Captain Adler survived, but in spending 18 hours in subzero weather, Captain Adler eventually lost his leg to frost bite. The men endured the 29 degrees below zero temperatures and over 5 feet of snow before rescuers could get to them.