U.S. military to honour Nanton rancher who helped tell ‘real’ story behind fighter jet crash
By Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald June 20, 2011
In the middle of the night on June 9, 1977, a missile-laden fighter jet on a training mission for NORAD crashed almost right in seven-year-old Reid Moynihan’s backyard. The F-106 Delta Dart clipped the treetops in a thick forest of the Porcupine Hills and burst into flames before hurtling to the ground on the south end of the Moynihan family ranch.
Military officials were soon at the scene about 35 kilometres west of Claresholm to clean up after the crash and remove the remains of the young American pilot who went down with his jet. For weeks, no one else was allowed near the site. Locals knew little about why the fighter jet went down in the southwest Alberta ranchland, and the military wasn’t saying much.
Young Reid’s curiosity burned.
“I felt sorry for the poor fellow that died,” recalls Moynihan, now 41. “To me, it wasn’t just some old aircraft. This was an interceptor fighter jet with some guy trained to protect Canada and the United States.”
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