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2017-10-05

50 years ago: Apollo astronaut C. C. Williams dies in plane crash

Just four months after Edward Givens drove over the bent of Knapp Road, C. C. Williams had his final flight on this day, 50 years ago, on October 5 1967. He had taken Deke Slayton to Kennedy with a new T-38 plane that seemed to be quite a lemon, making trouble already on that trip. Finding that he was not actually needed at the KSC, Williams decided to return back to Houston, planning a stop at Mobile to tank and to pay a visit to his father in the meantime. He only came as far as the cross on this map marks that plots his intended course.
The investigation of the accident produced the consequence that from then on, every newly commissioned T-38 would be thoroughly inspected before first flying. The decision was well made, and as a result, Williams was the last NASA astronaut to ever crash with a plane of that type.

The crew of Apollo 12 added four stars to their mission batch: Three for each crew member, the fourth for Clifton Williams.

Williams had gained some popularity with the press as the only bachelor drafted at that time. He married after his assignment as NASA astronaut.

His fate including contemporary press releases is recounted in a chapter of our book "The Forgotten Astronauts".