Pipeline Workers Find WWII Plane Wreckage Near Watsonville

Pipeline workers unearthed the wreckage of a Navy dive bomber that crashed in a field during a Central Coast training flight in 1944.

The workers were digging a pipeline trench for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency on farmland when wreckage was discovered
six feet down near the Pajaro River levee east of Highway 1.

Archaeologists for the agency unearthed more plane parts and bone fragments and determined it was the wreckage of a Navy plane that crashed Jan. 14, 1944.

Old photos of the area show the crash site, now a mushroom farm, was once the location of a military airfield and tower.

A Navy accident report showed Ensign Delbert Crammer Goodspeed
and Radioman Robert Henry Paulson died when the Douglas SBD-5
Dauntless dive bomber crashed during a training flight.

Goodspeed and Paulson were assigned to Navy bombing squadron VB-18, which had arrived at Watsonville Airport the previous October.

The airport was leased by the Navy during World War II and was returned to the city after the war.

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