F-86A-7NA s/n 49-1221:
On March 17, 1956, four aircraft took off at approximately 1pm on a local aerial gunnery mission . . . only two returned.
F-86A Sabre, of 115th FIS CA (Van Nuys) ANG, was lost after a mid-air collision with fellow F-86A, s/n 48-160. The accident occurred on the bombing range a few miles south of Colfred, AZ, during an aerial gunnery training mission (attacks on a towed target) from Yuma AFB. The pilots of both fighters were killed; 1/Lt William Clark Modes (aircraft 49-1221) and Capt. William O’Wesney (aircraft 48-160).
Report excerpt: “Both aircraft exploded at the time of the collision and wreckage was scattered over approximately ten square miles.”
Note: We found this crash site by complete accident while on our way to find a TF-104G Starfighter on the Yuma Bombing Range. We found the nose and cockpit only on that day. This site was entirely untouched, except for a young rattlesnake who had made the Sabre his home. In wreckchasing, you can't possibly ask for better luck than stumbling across this beautiful treasure.