Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | May 26, 2018

Memorial on Palomar for 12 Airmen

memorial to the 12

Memorial Day is much more than a time to gather with family and friends over a three-day weekend.  It was established as a time to remember those who perished defending our freedom while serving our country.

The timing couldn’t have been better to complete the memorial as a tribute to 12 young Navy men who gave their all over Palomar Mountain.  Two planes collided in 1944 over what is now the Conifer Road area. Thanks to the developer Phil Boczanowski who preserved the pieces from the wreckage and Mike LaPlant who purchased land where the planes rested.  A few weeks ago I posted a Tribute to the 1944 Airmen.  J. Harry Jones with the San Diego Union Tribune messaged me for contact info to write his beautiful story that was published today: Memorial pays tribute to WW II Navy crew that died over Palomar Mountain 

Below are notes from Phil and Mike with a little more information:

From: Philip Boczanowski

I finally finished the enclosure for the crucifix that was sent by one of the crash victim’s nephews.  He was older and within days of dying from cancer and wanted the crucifix taken from the Church in Wisconsin and placed on site as a final wish.  The UT is coming up to do a memorial weekend article honoring these unfortunate men who paid the ultimate price.  Come by from time to time to say a prayer and/or place some flowers in the holders.



From: Mike La Plant

Here is some information regarding the plaque and how it came to be.

There has been the wreckage on Palomar since the initial crash. A gentleman was contracted by the Navy to pack out any remains and whatever was requested.

The parts currently at the site are from the general and same specific area where they currently reside. I was presented a letter that was left outside the gate from a gentleman who is involved in “Project Remembrance”, a group that honors fallen or lost souls from military air crashes. A nephew of one of the airmen contacted Mr. G. Pat Macha, an author and person who documents these types of crashes and leader of Project Remembrance. The group knew there was a crash on Palomar Mountain in that basic area, but were not quite sure exactly where. This raised my interest to find out more about the crash parts that were located on my property.

We contacted Project Remembrance in November of 2017. They visited the site in January of 2018. They brought copies of the Naval crash reports, newspaper articles regarding the crash and interestingly, a crucifix that was dedicated to the airman noted above by his parish when he left for war.

I decided to have a plaque created to honor the fallen as a remembrance. We placed it at the site in April of this year.

Kind regards,

Mike LaPlant

Now, let’s all enjoy our weekend, wherever you are in this beautiful country, enjoying our Pancake Breakfast and backyard barbecues in the land of the free because of the brave.

Bonnie Phelps


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