“Mt. Beacon Eight” remembered in ceremony



TOWN OF FISHKILL – This weekend at the Town of Fishkill War Memorial
Park, a special ceremony was held to honor the “Mt. Beacon Eight;”
the eight were groups of six and two U.S. Naval officers who, in separate
plane crashes, lost their lives within a stone’s throw of each other
on Mt. Beacon during peace-time travels.
Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the crash that claimed the lives of the six officers – Commodore Dixie Kiefer, Commander Dr. Ignatious Zeilinski, Lt. Lloyd Heinzen, Lt. Jr. Hugo “Hans” Kohler, Aviation Machinist Clarence Hooper and Seaman First Class David Wood’s lives.   The other two officers who were honored as part of the eight, Lt. Lincoln C. Denton and Aviation Mate Clinton E. Hart, were lost on September 14th, 1935. This would be the 80th anniversary of their deaths, although, not to the day.
Of those men who had lost their lives, one who stands out in shear historical importance was Commodore Dixie Kiefer, who was a decorated war hero having survived a number of Japanese Kamikaze attacks, despite being injured. He was known to be a truly progressive, as well as inspirational officer. 
David Rocco and his organization, Friends of the Mt. Beacon Eight, set up the event and have even been fundraising for a memorial to be erected, across from the Town of Fishkill War Memorial within the park, in honor of the Mt. Beacon Eight. Rocco said they would also like to have indication of the crash site put up on Mt. Beacon.
“We would like to get the markers put up on the trail site, which should be a little easier to get done,” said Rocco. “The beauty of it is, this beautiful memorial park that Fishkill has here, which very few people knew about, is directly across the sight line from the ridge where the plane crashed in 1945. So, what they want to do, on top of the monument, is put a compass and we have the GPS coordinates; so, you can actually, once we get it done, we have a sight vision from here to the crash site and that’s, I think, a very cool thing.”
Rocco said that they hope to raise at least $1,500 for the Mt. Beacon Eight monument.
Due to the community turnout and enthusiasm of local officials, Fishkill plans to hold a ceremony every year from now on to honor the lives of the Mt. Beacon Eight.
Fishkill Town Supervisor Robert LaColla said the event was a great example of the entire community coming together to honor national heroes who had lost their lives, but many had forgotten about.