The Town of Fishkill and the Friends of the Mt. Beacon Eight have announced a ceremony honoring the eight U.S. Navy servicemen who lost their lives in two separate plane crashes on Mount Beacon, in the Hudson Highlands, set for Saturday, November 7th, at Fishkill’s Veterans Park on RT 52 starting at 10:30 am.
The first crash took place on September 14th, 1935. Two Navy reservists, Pilot Lincoln Denton (27) and Aviation Machinist Mate Clinton Hart (28) lost their lives as their single engine bi-plane crashed on Scofield Ridge. Denton a Harvard graduate, was employed as a commercial artist. Hart, a Katonah, NY native, was employed by the NY Stock Exchange. They were making their return flight from Albany to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Hart was married. He and his wife Marguerite had no children.
On November 11th, 1945, (Armistice Day) a second Navy plane crashed on the northwest slope of Mt. Beacon less than a mile away from the 1935 crash. Six servicemen including highly decorated Navy legend Commodore Dixie Kiefer lost their lives when their Beechcraft Expeditor crashed while they were on their return flight from Caldwell, NJ to Quonset Point, RI. The six men traveled to the NYC area on November 10, 1945 to attend an Army/Notre Dame football game that was played at Yankee Stadium. The traditional popular Army/Navy game was just weeks away. The other five men were Pilot Lloyd Heinzen (27), Co-Pilot Hans Kohler (25), passengers Dr. Zielinski (45), David Wood (23) and Clarence Hooper (22). Hooper was married and the only one of the eight men who had children. He had one son and one daughter. Heinzen was considered a “Navy Ace.” Heinzen achieved this status for shooting down eight Japanese fighter planes while in air combat in the South Pacific Theater.
For additional background regarding the life of legendary Dixie Kiefer, Don Keith with David Rocco, published a biography, The Indestructible Man: The True Story of World War Hero “Captain Dixie.” (Erin Press, 2017).
You can also visit the Friends of the Mt. Beacon Eight Facebook page for more information.
The Fishkill Veterans Park is located between the Fishkill Police and Recreation Department buildings.