On Wednesday January 4, 1984 a US Air Force RF-4C Phantom II disintegrated as it crashed into The Smokies at 450 mph. Killed in the crash were pilot, Capt. David F.Greggs 26 of Montgomery, AL and Navigator, Capt. Scott A. Miller 32 of Irving, TX.
19hours after witnesses saw it crash and explode while on it's way back to Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter, South Carolina from a photo reconnaissance mission. An Air Force Security team with a five man crew arrived to camp over night at the crash site. Col. Jerry Daniel Vice Commander of the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing At Shaw Air Force Base led the recovery mission. My real wonder and curiosity is what exactly were they taking aerial photography of? On whose orders? Did someone else play a part in this accident? Conspiracy.....
Ranger Mike Sharp led a Five member Civil Air Patrol team in the recovery was quoted saying " we literally found the wreckage once we slipped on a piece of metal". Snow had covered the crash site on Inadu Knob near Old Black in The Great Smoky Mountains.
Larry Arrendale a officer with FAA in Atlanta, Ga said there was " no indication of trouble", before air controllers lost contact with the jet at 7:12pm Wednesday. 35 Park Rangers, Civil Air Patrolmen, and Air Force Personnel searched on foot and on horse back for over eight hours Thursday before finding the crash site. The Air National Guard contributed a fixed wing airplane and a helicopter to assist in the efforts. The Fighter jet slammed into the mountain only yards from the famed Appalachian Trail between Inadu Knob and Old Black not far from where Snake Den Ridge joins the AT.
Eyewitness Estelle Jenkins of Cosby, Tennessee claimed Wednesday she heard a jet that sounded like it was in trouble and moments later she heard it burst into a loud explosion.
F4 Phantom II
Top Speed: 1,473 mph
Engine: General Electric J79
Unit Cost: U.S. 2.4 Million
Production: 1958-1981 5,195 units built
Snake Den Ridge Low Gap Trail is a 13 mile loop trail considered to be rated difficult. I would say this is one of the toughest hikes I have been on, 5miles to the crash site at just about a total incline the entire way up to the junction at the Appalachian Trail. Best part is 5miles down haha, by that point if you're doing this all in one day, your ankles are ready to give out on the descent down, every step becomes almost a life or death stumble down the mountain side. This area of The Great Smoky Mountains is for the most part some of better secluded spots to get away from the tourists. The trees in this area of the park for the most part were not logged back in the day so this is mostly a old growth forest you are hiking through. Mainly due to how steep this section is in the Park. Once you are there the wreckage is scattered through out the woods, do some exploring to find most of it and make sure you leave it were was found. Leave only footprints.. this is a sacred site and should be treated like that. Rest In Peace Scott and David, Thank you for your service.
#f4phantom #sumter #363tacticalwing #usaf #smokies #hikedontwalk #historicarchaeology #mikethehikingguide #cosby #Appalachiantrail #blogwriter
Thanks for reading - Mike