The Duncan Banner

Homepage

August 11, 2013

Pilot’s family celebrates 60th anniversary of Duncan landing

DUNCAN —

It was Aug. 11, 1953, when a dangerous electrical storm and rainstorm was over Duncan. In the air, a six ton U.S. Air Force T-33 jet, piloted by a scared 23-year old man, had to make an emergency landing. 
Luckily for Lt. Domenick Marrara Jr., and co-pilot Lt. Robert G. Grandchamp, they spotted the beacon light of the Duncan Municipal Airport. 
Only one problem. On that night 60 years ago, the airport was barely more than a grass strip landing, not really equipped to accomodate an incoming T-33 jet at 120-mile-an-hour speed.
The pair were in flight on their way from Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colo., to Perrin Field in Sherman, Texas.
Marrarra was still in training, but knew they wouldn’t make their destination. 
Over the years, his daughter, Peggy Neilson, said he has shared the story many times. Today, they will celebrate the 60th anniversary of that emergency landing in Duncan. For Neilson, she said there are many people to thank for her father being alive. 
“He attempted to get above the storm, but it was so high and he needed to put the plane down because he would not make it to his destination,” she shared by telephone earlier this week. “It was a St. Elmo fire that knocked out their instruments.”
Neilson said her father had picked up a weak signal of an air strip, “and rattled the windows of the Halliburton Air Field hoping someone would realize he was in trouble. Those Halliburton employees astutely and quickly came to his aid, lining their cars along the tiny landing strip so he would know where to go. It was a miracle that dad didn’t crash at the end of this airstrip which was built for small aircraft and not a T33 jet!”

Text Only
Local News
Features
Sports
Education
Opinion
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014