Nebraska Historical Marker: BT-13B Valiant and P-47D Thunderbolt Crash, 1944
Nebraska Highway 41, north of Milligan, Fillmore County, Nebraska
View this marker's location 40.510226, -97.38521
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On May 10, 1944, an instructor pilot and a student pilot were flying a BT-13B "Valiant" aircraft back to the Bruning Army Air Field after a training session. At the same time, a P-47D "Thunderbolt" fighter, whose pilot had been conducting individual training, was returning to the same airfield. Neither pilot was aware of the other aircraft's presence and both planes were far from the airfield control tower. After both aircraft made simultaneous turns, they were suddenly headed directly toward one another at a high rate of speed. A midair collision occurred at approximately 4,000 feet, causing both aircraft to spiral toward the ground. The BT-13 crashed on the Frank Stych farm, approximately 3 miles west and 2 miles south of Milligan. The P-47 crashed on the Fred and Dorothy Stych farm, approximately 3 miles west and 3 miles south of Milligan. The P-47 pilot, F/O John Dobony, was killed. Both pilots in the BT-13 bailed out. The instructor pilot, 2nd Lt. Frank W. Mrenak, survived, but the student pilot, 1st Lt. William D. Jaeger, lost his life.
See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.