I did see this wreck first hand. I had just gotten out of school, went home,changed clothes, stepped out the front door and saw the P-38 coming down in a flat spin. When it hit I could see the fireball come up above the trees. Jumped on my bike and headed to the river. When I got there, one other person was at the site. Fire was floating in the surface from burning fuel. The plane had just hit about a half of a block from the mouth of the Tongue into the Yellowstone.
Soon other people started to gather. I remember that Bert Clark and Red Lyman went out in a boat and got the pilot out. Dead of course.
My Dad at that time worked at the sales pens, and said that they saw something come off the tail section. A lose of rudder athority could be a cause for the flat spin.
At that time there six P-38s being kept at the airport. They were being used for sizemographing.
My Mother who worked at the Hawley Hotel said that the pilots were staying there. Seems to me that they were all from a Texas oil company.
This is the way that I remember it. Others may have a different story. 1952 was a long time ago.
[This message has been edited by Jay (7/25/2013)]