Viola Man Dies; Ground Jet
WASHINGTON--The controversial F111 military airplane has been
grounded for the fifth time in less than two years in the wake of a
Nevada training crash which killed two pilots, including a former Viola, Ill. man.
The Air Force announced it has grounded its fleet of 223
swingwing jets until it determines what caused the crash that killed Lt.
Col. Thomas J. Mack, 38, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Mack of Viola, and
Maj. James L. Anthony, 35, of Big Spring Tex.
They went down with the $8 million plane Monday during a training
mission at the bombing and gunnery range at Nellis Air Force Base, about
45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
After Air Force problems with the F111, a contract for a Navy
version was canceled last year and a contract for an Air Force bomber
version was sharply curtailed.
Development of the F111 began under former Secretary of Defense
Robert S. McNamara seven years ago. Since then a fleet of the airplanes
has been used in Vietnam, then recalled.
The most recent grounding of F111A jets occurred last month and
affected 89 Air Force planes. The air force said suspension was a result
of a heat-duct leak in two aircraft and one engine undergoing ground
test. Trouble developed earlier in the plane's wing structure and
The plane originally was designed to serve both the Air Force and
the Navy as bombers and fighters. The body of Col. Mack will be taken to
Chicago for funeral services.
He was born near Preemption. He was a 1949 graduate of Winola High
School and attended St. Ambrose College, Davenport, two years. He
entered the Air Force in 1951. He had served in that branch of the
military since then. He was graduated from the University of Utah.
Col. Mack was a member of the 47th Tactical Air Command Fighter
On March 21, 1959 he married Linda Nelson of Chicago in Chicago.
Survivors include his wife; daughters, Kelly, 10, and Karen, 6; a son,
Keith, 8; his parents; a grandmother, Emma Jordon, Viola; sisters, Mrs.
Maurice Conner, Canton, Ill., and Jeanne Mack, Wyoming, Ill.; brothers,
Gerald, Santa Ana, Calif., and James, Torrance, Calif.
(Rock Island Argus - January 1970)