Upon his return from the European theater, Captain Toppins continued his service as the Commanding Officer of the 602nd Air Engineering Squadron at the Lockbourne Army Air Base of Ohio. On December 10, 1946, he was piloting a B-52 bomber on a routine instrument training exercise. With him were co-pilot Captain Chase Brenzier, Jr., Lt. Ralph Berkes, and S/Sgt. John Smith. During the flight, there was an undetermined problem that caused the bomber to crash near the Air Base, exploding over a 25-acre swath of land. All four aboard were killed.
Captain Toppins was interned at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, leaving behind his wife Lucille, sisters, family, and friends. He also left behind a legacy of historic service that endures to this day.
Read Capt Toppin’s story in Profiles of Tuskegee Airmen.