Retired Army general dies in plane crash in Maryland
Stars and Stripes July 28, 2023
WASHINGTON – An Army general who recently retired from a post at which he oversaw the service’s network modernization efforts died in a plane crash this week in northeastern Maryland, local authorities said.
Maj. Gen. Anthony Potts, who was also an aviator during his military career, was piloting a single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee on Tuesday when it crashed in Harford County near the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, authorities said. No one else was aboard the plane.
“The wreckage of a single-engine plane was located in an open field in that area,” said Sandra Gallion, president of the Level Volunteer Fire Company based in Havre de Grace. “The single occupant was pronounced dead on-scene. There were no injuries on the ground.”
Officials said the plane crashed in a wooded area at about 7:20 p.m. on private farmland in Havre de Grace, a town located five miles northeast of Aberdeen Proving Ground and 65 miles northeast of Washington. Dozens of first responders were dispatched to the crash site and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause. Officials said there was no immediate indication of what caused the plane to go down.
“We don’t know what happened with the plane. There was no fire on the ground,” Gallion said.
The NTSB said there is no indication that the small plane carried either a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder, which are commonly known as “black boxes.” Most small planes are not required by law to carry the recorders.
Potts, 59, had served in the Army since 1986 and held several commands, including the Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts and Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical – also known as PEO C3T -- at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
As leader of PEO C3T, Potts directed the Army’s network modernization efforts and guided a workforce of more than 1,600 who “acquired, fielded and supported the communications networks, radios, satellite systems and other hardware soldiers require for information dominance on the battlefield,” the service said.
“The network in all its forms is central to everything the Army does,” Douglas Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said in late June when Potts retired from the post. “Maj. Gen Potts’ accomplishments in leading network modernization efforts have provided lasting benefits to the Army.”
The Piper PA-28 Cherokee was first manufactured in 1960 and it’s one of the most produced civil planes in the world. More than 32,000 of the planes have been built in the last six decades, according to Plane & Pilot magazine.
The NTSB said it has requested all air-traffic communications, radar data and weather reports at about the time of the crash and is trying to find witnesses. Also, the agency said it has requested the aircraft’s maintenance records and Potts’ flight history.
When he entered the service, Potts was commissioned a second lieutenant in Army Aviation and was later a rated AH-64 Apache instructor pilot who saw combat in the first Gulf War in 1990. He received several decorations, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Valor Device, and National Defense Service Medal.
“Maj. Gen. Potts completed over 36 years of distinguished service,” the Army said Friday. “The entire U.S. Army is grateful for his service, and we extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to the entire Potts family.”