Unsung Heroes of Hispanic Heritage Month: Flight Officer Mel Krupke


They were ordinary people living ordinary lives, until one singular sensation of circumstances conspired with fate to make them UNSUNG HEROES OF HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

Commercial pilot Flight Officer Mel Krupke’s wings iced up on Feb. 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, sending his light plane, carrying Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, crashing into the frozen earth.

Officer Krupke’s fatal crash was immortalized in song as The Day the Music Died.

With one crash, Krupke (1925-1959) catapulted Pacoima pocho Valens into eternal celebrity and helped launch the careers of Hispanic heart throbs Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales.

Photo by Langley.