Worst Airship Disaster in History: USS Akron
The Akron was a flying aircraft carrier designed to provide long-distance scouting in support of fleet operations of the United States Navy. The crash killed Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics and a leading figure in America’s rigid airship program. Along with 73 of the 76 men on board, and two additional men were killed when the Navy’s J-3 blimp crashed during a rescue mission to search for Akron survivors.
This beautiful document was given to Sergeant Joseph Forsythe of the New York police, for the rescue efforts and heroism shown in going out on a dangerous and stormy day to search for any survivors of the Akron. He and a Sergeant Joseph Forsythe were sent to help search for survivors of the downed Navy dirigible, Akron. Then a Navy airship AJ 3 involved in the rescue effort also crashed offshore. Although they did not find any survivors from the Akron in their search, he did spot and save 5 crew men from a smaller air ship the AJ 3. The AJ3 crew crashed off Beach Haven, April 4. The two recovered a five-man crew in their amphibious plane. Unable to take off in the 8-foot waves and strong winds, Kafka taxied the plane to shore. For his heroics, Sergeant Joseph Forsythe received the Navy Medal, a citation from the Secretary of the Treasury and this certificate from the Ligue Internationale des Aviateurs, a prestigious group of world-famous fliers, signed by Charles Lindbergh and others, below is a partial list..
Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles Kerwood, Harry A. Bruno, Clayton Night,, Shirley J. Short George W. Haldman, Frank Hawks, Roger Q. Williams, Alexander Petrovsky.
Click to see actual video of the AJ 3 going to search for USS Akron survivors: Video