Posted by: blueridgetreks | November 8, 2008

B25 Mitchell Plane Crash on Sharp Top Mountain

My wife and I visited the Peaks of Otter area near Bedford, VA on Nov 1, 2008. Prior to going I requested a friend send me the GPS Lat/Lon coordinates for a B25D Mitchell Bomber that crashed into Sharp Top Mountain in 1943.

B25 Mitchell

B25 Mitchell

Out of respect to the 5 crew members who died in this crash and surviving family members I will not publish the coordinates of the crash site. It is public knowledge that the wreck is on Sharp Top Mountain but there is no established trail. At one point in our hike up to Sharp Top Mountain we bush-whacked off the side of the mountain about 1000′ to the crash site using my GPS for guidance. It was pretty steep terrain but we eventually found the site.
B25 Engine

B25 Engine

B25 Wreck

B25 Wreck

B25 Wreck, part of tail section?

B25 Wreck, part of tail section?

B25 Wreck

B25 Wreck

It was an eerily peaceful site even in the midst of knowing what destruction and loss of life happened there over 65 years ago. It reminded me to pray for our troops who are still “In Harm’s Way” today and to pray for their safety. My friend who gave me the coordinates asked if I would place a new flag on the memorial that is cemented into a boulder in the midst of the crash site, I was more than glad to oblige.
B25 Memorial

B25 Memorial

For those who think the price of freedom is without cost, this crash site should be a solemn reminder that it is not. Another reminder is the town of Bedford, less than 3 miles as the crow flies from the crash site. Bedford lost 19 young men on D-Day, more than any other city of a comparable size in the USA. A National D-Day Memorial was established in Bedford in 2001 to commemorate their sacrifice. For an interesting write up on this crash site use this link.

After visiting the crash site we continued our hike to the top of Sharp Top Mountain to see some of the most beautiful views in Virginia. I believe we will be coming back to this part of Virginia in the Spring when the Mountain Laurel is in full bloom. For more photos of this hike visit my webshots site.

View of Flat Top

View of Flat Top

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Responses

  1. What a privelige to be allowed at such a hallowed place! I have friends who camp in Europe at various battle fields, and the thought of being in the company of such history, such bravery humbles me. BTW, I enjoy your blog a great deal!

  2. Thanks again Bryce for sharing your hiking experiences with us. The B-25 crash site reminds us that not all the WW2 deaths occured in Europe. It is sad to think that the price of freedom takes such toll. Sadder I guess to observe the conflict for space and resources continuing to take its toll in human lives around the world.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. Nice post.

    S

  4. beautiful pictures, but do wish you would post gps, this is a historical site all aviation buffs in sound physical shape should visit. I’ll find them eventually

  5. I was stationed at the

    air force Station a little further up the parkway and never knew of the wreckage, I plan on going to see it later this year. I lived in the town of Bedford and never knew of the history.

  6. I have been scouring the web to find the location of this sight and the fact that everyone is so secretive about it makes it frustrating but oh so exciting to search for. Myself and two friends will go looking for it tomorrow morning. As our first venture off the path in search for it with no real solid direction I doubt we’ll find it but I am crossing my fingers!!

  7. I was at the crashsite today. 4/10/10. We saw wreckage scattered down the mountain for more than 100 yards. We found both of the engines (about 50 yards apart), landing gear, peices of the aluminum, and the propeller housing. It looked as if people have gone up there with tools over the years and stripped off parts from the motors as much as they could which is sad, but it was a great experience just to have found the crash site and to see a peice of history.

    • My wife and hike sharp top often. Wish we had the coords to the crash site to pay our respects.

  8. On Memorial Day 2001 this lost B-25 crew was honored at the Lynchburg Airport. Pilot Larry Kelley flew in his B-25 “Panchito” to support the ceremony. Search http://www.ragwingsandradials.com
    to see the man who made made this event truly memorable. An exhibit at the Bedford Museum shares the story of the five brave Army airmen who were nearly forgotten for 58 years.


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