Topeka, Kansas: Downed Cold War Aircraft Memorial

Bronze bas-relief plaque of a USAF RB-47 Stratojet shot down by a Soviet MiG fighter on July 1, 1960. According to the plaque, we were spying -- evidently where the Russians didn't want us to.

Palm Park

37th St, Topeka, KS
Palm Park. On the south side of SW 37th St. between SW Jewel and SW Garfield Aves.
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Palm Park plaque.

Downed Cold War Aircraft Memorial

A bronze bas-relief plaque of a USAF six engine RB-47 "Stratojet" notes the story of a Forbes Air Force Base (Topeka) based crew during the Cold War. The plane's temporary assignment to an Air Force base in England ended in disaster when it was shot down by a Soviet MiG fighter jet on July 1, 1960 over the Barents Sea.

Palm Park was named in honor of USAF Major Willard G. Palm. Major Palm and his crew of five were on a mapping mission in international airspace while being tailed by a MiG aircraft. The MiG pilot wrongly believed the USAF six engine jet was on its way to a secret Soviet base in the area. The pilot opened fire on the medium sized bomber, causing heavy damage, while the "Stratojet" returned fire before crashing into the sea below. Major Palm who survived the initial crash is believed to have died due to exposure in the icy waters.

Two surviving crew members were captured and held in a Soviet prison before being released. Major Palm is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The plaque was dedicated by the Topeka City Commission in 1962.

[Phil Pasquini, 01/09/2010]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Chief Drive-In Theatre SignChief Drive-In Theatre Sign, Topeka, KS - < 1 mi.
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Humerus Osteopathic StatueHumerus Osteopathic Statue, Topeka, KS - 3 mi.
In the region:
Oz Museum, Wamego, KS - 35 mi.

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