416th Bombardment Group (L)
September 1, 1944, Friday
Aircraft Serial Number (Type): Unknown (Douglas A-20 Havoc)
9th AF; 416th Bomb Gp; 669th Bomb Sq
Reason: Maintenance Accident
Location: Wethersfield/Sta 170
I had an assistant Crew Chief, Arthur O'Hare. He received a fractured skull in a very odd way. Our A-20 came back from a mission and the pilot (I lost pages from my log on A-20 missions and pilots) said the fuel pressure needles stood 1/8 inches apart and he wanted them together (they are in one gauge). I opened the panel on the outside of the left engine to get into the nacelle to adjust the fuel pressure on the left engine to show the same as the right engine. While I was removing the panel, the armament workers were checking the machine guns in the hose and taking care of the bomb bay racks. When the armament men left, I told O'Hare to go up into the cockpit and run both engines to 1600 RPM and then higher to check if the fuel pressure stayed the same. He started the engines and signaled me to up the pressure. I went into the left nacelle and adjusted the fuel pump higher. I came out and signaled O'Hare to check again. He signaled me an OK at 2000 RPMs. I signaled to stop the engines but with that he started to flail his arms. I saw blood coming out the side of his head above the left ear. I tried to get on the wing to stop the engines but the prop blast kept my mechanic, Kenneth Bailey, and me from getting to the cockpit. Finally, it seemed like a long time, O'Hare pulled the throttles off. We were afraid he might start firing the nose .50 caliber guns or take the brakes off and the plane would run over about 50 yards into another airplane. We got him out of the cockpit. On the floor was a 12" blade from a screw driver . The engineering officer checked our 3 tool boxes. We had all our tools, so we were not responsible for the accident. O'Hare was taken to the hospital with a spider web fracture of the skull and we never saw him again. O'Hare was 45 years of age at the time of the accident. He was old enough to be my father, a fine man to work with.
("Fred Stemler Memoirs" (PDF))