Dean Martin's Son Lost In Phantom Crash

March 21st, 1987; Dean Martin's son Dean Paul Martin Jr., was scheduled to fly simulated bombing runs with the California Air National Guard.

On departure, permission was given by March Air Force Base ATC to perform a "maximum climb" takeoff. The aircraft was last seen disappearing into a scattered cloud ceiling at 4,700 feet. Radar contact was lost 9 minutes into the flight.

"Dean Paul "Dino" Martin Jr, 35, and WSO Captain Ramon Ortiz were killed when their F-4 Phantom jet flew inverted, into a solid wall of granite between two mountain peaks at an altitude of 3,750 feet, and at an estimated speed of 560 mph. Instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the vicinity of the mountain range at that time.

The crash site was located on Mt. San Gorgonio, also known as "Old Greyback” on the 3rd day of searching in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Eleven years before the crash of the F-4C, on January 6th, 1977, Dolly Sinatra Frank Sinatra’s mother had invited a friend to join her on a Lear jet, provided by son, to come to Vegas for a show. Minutes after the Gates 24 Lear Jet departed Palm Springs, Municipal Airport, it disappeared from radar, and at approximately 8000 feet in altitude, struck an 11,503-foot snowy mountaintop ridge, in the eastern portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness, killing all aboard. The mountain they struck was Mt San Gorgonio. The very same mountain that took the lives of Martin and Oritz... 

Pictured:  Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra posing next to Sinatra's Learjet 23 named Christina II, after his youngest daughter.  (1966)


1 comment

  • Linda Bayer

    I always wondered how Dino died.
    When Dino, Desi & Billy came to Honolulu to perform, my friend and I found out they were staying in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel,we ran over there from Hickam AFB on our bicycles. We ended up casing Dino & Desi into the waters in Waikiki. ❤️

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