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B-52 Memorial Service Activities and Road Closure Timeline

Last Updated on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:07am | Board of Commissioners
A Memorial service being held Saturday, July 12th  beginning at 11:00 AM, will honor the B-52 crew members involved in the crash of the bomber 50 years ago in January, 1964. The service will result in the closure of  State Route 40 east of Grantsville, Maryland for about two hours. The closure will allow a memorial service to be held at the B-52 Monument at Little Crossings, River Road, about a mile east of the town along the highway. The closure is scheduled from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM and extends from the blinking light at New Germany Road to First Street in Grantsville. Visitors to Penn Alps Restaurant and Spruce Forest may  access the village only from the east side of Grantsville (Exit 19 off  I-68) during these times. Guests of the program should not park in the Penn Alps lots. Penn Alps will allow parking for the event  in their overflow lot between Route 40 and I-68. The Maryland Department of Highways has approved the closure. In case of bad weather the event will be held at Avilton Community Center. A flyover by a C-123 is also planned.  
Scheduled guest speakers are Lt. Colonel James P. Brown and Major General (2stars) Melissa Rank. Colonel Brown is Chief of Safety of the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Coraopolis, PA. Colonel Brown, is responsible for flight and ground safety for the unit. He has over 6600 flying hours and is a Command Pilot and Instructor Pilot. He has flown the B-52G as an Electronics Warfare Officer and currently flies the KC-135 Tanker. He holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Management and graduated from Air Command and Staff College and The Air War College. He holds the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal among a number of other decorations.  
Major General Melissa Rank was born in Frostburg, MD and currently resides in Swanton, MD. She was the Assistant Air Force Surgeon General, Medical Force Development and Assistant Air Force Surgeon General Nursing Services, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters USAF, Bolling AFB, D.C. General Rank commanded an Aeromedical Squadron in Southeast Asia as well as a medical operations squadron and two medical groups. She holds a Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster along with many other awards and decorations.
Delegate Wendell Beitzel will present Maryland State Legislative Citations to family members of the crew. A number of other events are scheduled during the day. Exhibits from the crash and experts will be on hand explain the crash scenario and the artifacts at the Avilton Community Center, 8295 Avilton-Lonaconing Road, Lonaconing, MD. Markers have been placed near the monuments of the crew members who died and brochures and maps will available for visitors.
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