In Memoriam

Steve Roseman

Stephen Ray Roseman

Captain Stephen R. Roseman, Class of 1968, lost his life in an aircraft accident approximately 25 miles southeast of Andersen AFB. Guam on 12 December 1974. He was assigned to the 60th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Strategic Wing at Andersen. As a cadet, Captain Roseman was a member of the football team, was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was on the Commandant's List. Following graduation Capt. Roseman was assigned to Williams AFB, Ariz. and later to Minot, AFB, North Dakota. Services for Captain Roseman were held on 7 January 1975 at the Academy Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie and his children Melissa, Michael, and Amie.


Rick Purnell was one of Steve Roseman's best friends in HS...he was a year older, and went to the Naval Academy...and today works for Lockheed Martin in Washington, D.C.

Rick arranged for Mark Torreano and me to meet with Rosie's daughter, Ammie Roseman-Orr when we were both in DC on business at the same time several years ago. It was hard to sit there and talk about the father she hardly knew, but the stories rolled out and she left feeling better for the effort and we have all stayed in touch since.

Since that time, Mark and I have worked to help Ammie get as much info as possible about the B-52 crash that killed Rosie and all but two of the crew back in December of 1974 near Guam, and with some help from Ed Eberhart, we were able to locate the two survivors of the crash, and the e-mail below describes some of the info that has been discovered.

I thought you'd appreciate knowing what happened to old # 35.


Ammie being a lawyer took extensive notes from her conversation with Jack Watson, the copilot on the flight. Here are some relevant facts and my conclusions after talking to Ammie and reading her notes:
1. Aircraft experienced electrical issues prior to takeoff but those were resolved.
2. Nearing the end of a routine training flight Steve did a “star shot” as a training evolution.
3. Doing the star shot required Steve to leave his seat and go to a sexton.
4. Pilots were descending on approach as he finished the shot but they were still above 20,000’ altitude and well south of Guam.
5. Electrical problems resurfaced and the pilot lost his attitude direction indicator (ADI) in the descent.
6. Copilot saw 60 degrees of bank and 30 degtees nose down and they were “coming out of the sky” when the aircraft broke out of a mid-deck layer of clouds.
7. Pilot said I have lost control and ordered bailout.
8. Steve was probably not able to regain his seat to eject during this rapidly deteriorating situation and if he did he likely ejected out of the envelop.
9. Pilot was known to have said he would “never eject” so he rode it in.
10. According to witnesses – the B-52 was within 7-miles of Guam at impact – the aircraft leveled somewhat and hit the water wings level, bounced and then went-in – and that squares with the pilot remaining at the controls.
This is sketchy but it makes a certain amount of sense to me. The long and short of it seems to be that Steve was out of his seat at the wrong time and the extreme attitudes the aircraft got to probably prevented him from getting back to it at the moment of crisis. Without knowing more about the B-52 electrical system it is hard to judge but it seems to me the pilot lost situational awareness at a critical time and an inexperienced copilot was (understandably) unable to salvage the day and/or unwilling to override the boss & take control. So we lost our friend to the classic unbroken chain of cascading events.
Ammie said she is going to FOIA the accident report. I am now super-curious to read the whole thing so I hope Ammie gets the report and lets me read it – if so & I learn anything more I will let you know.
Have a great summer. I look forward to another great game & hopefully continued dominance on Oct 2. Rick

Couple of points on this page. I was in the 60th BMS when this incident occurred, participated in the SAR and discussed it with Jack Watson several months later. First, it’s the 60th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Strat Wing…not the 90th.

Rick’s comment is made without a key piece of information. What Jack Watson revealed in the sim and later in conversation was that the pilot’s attitude indicator failed, but the copilot’s did not. The pilot thought he was flying a normal descent when he was actually in a bank with a substantial nose down attitude in some weather. Jack was head down making fuel panel adjustments required by the Descent Checklist when John Whitley said he couldn’t hold it any more. Jack looked up at his instruments and at the pilots just before he bailed.

All this happened at the end of a mission around 0430.

I liked Steve. He was a good guy for a Zoomie.


Rod Beard

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