Next to our building at the Black Hills Airport is the Sperber-Christel Memorial. It’s dedicated to the memory of two men who died in a plane crash in 1994 and also honors the more than 100 CAP members who assisted in the ten-day search.
Eugene J. “Gene” Sperber, Jr. and William “Bill” Christel were on a flight from Wisconsin to Idaho when they went missing following a stop in Aberdeen, South Dakota, for fuel. CAP aircrews flew over 150 sorties covering more than 45,000 miles in search of the plane. The wreckage was eventually found by one of our aircrews on a ranch southwest of McIntosh on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
The Sperber and Christel families were clearly grateful for the selfless service of CAP search and rescue volunteers since they had this memorial placed at our Squadron. The tragedy doubtless affected our members who participated in the mission.
“We feel like we know the family members even though we have not met them. Our sympathies go out to the Sperbers and the Christels,” said Lt Col Gordon Higgins, South Dakota Wing Chaplain and Lookout Mountain Composite Squadron member.