Letter to the Editor: Resident reflects on ‘A history mystery in Mullica Hill’

Kevin Malloy offers his thoughts on The Sun's story about a possible World War II-era airplane crash in Mullica Hill.

Editor’s Note: This letter to the editor was sent to the Mullica Hill Sun by resident Kevin Malloy.

I read with great interest your excellent story on the Mullica Hill WWII aviation “history mystery.”   I’m a private pilot, own/fly a vintage 1946 small plane, and have studied aviation history for more than 50 years. Thanks for your very thorough research and clear writing!  Here are a couple thoughts in case anybody is interested.

Though “this crash never happened” seems an inaccurate memory by the late Mr. Allen, it’s still interesting to wonder what might be a motivation for some kind of secrecy. (To me that strong of a statement by an Army Air Corps officer seems unlikely because the mere fact that a crash occurred shouldn’t need to be secret. In WWII, training crashes happened all the time, all over the U.S.)

But maybe there was some piece of then-secret gear on board — or operational plans, such as invasion details for North Africa, Italy or France. Or maybe the configuration of the plane needed to remain non-public. Early in the war a key fighter, the P-51 Mustang, had an engine change that massively improved its performance. Or perhaps the identity (or even gender) of the pilot needed to be shielded. I say gender because early in the war two groups of women civilian pilots were organized (WAFS and WASP, later merged) to ferry planes from factories to shipping points. There was significant opposition to this until these wonderful pilots showed their audacity and amazing skills. In theory, any of these could’ve been possible reasons to keep townspeople away, apart from common decency and safety.

Anyway, thanks to Mr. Adkins for highlighting this and The Sun for researching and writing it so well.  It would be nice if this fascinating, fun mystery could be a way to launch a kid-friendly local aviation history display for the library or historical society. I would be happy to support that with some models, photos, posters, etc.  Aviation is a great source of STEM learning.

Kevin Malloy