On 8 July 1982, LCDR Barkdull was serving as an instructor pilot aboard a Beechraft T-44A turboprop of the Naval Air Training Command in Corpus Christi, Texas.
His aircraft and another T-44A collided during a training mission approximately 2 miles south of the Cabaniss Field auxiliary landing site. Both pilot instructors and 4 students were killed, with the planes coming down in a grain field.. They were flying VFR at the time of the accident. Other details as to cause not know as of this writing.
Those lost were:
From Squadron 31:
Lt. Thomas A. Vonnegut (Honolulu, HI) (Instructor Pilot)
Ens. Cary P. Jones (Gainsville, FL) (Student Pilot)
Ens. Joseph F. West, Jr. (Graham, TX) (Student Pilot)
From Squadron 28:
LCDR Curtis R. Barkdull (Warner Robins, GA) (Instructor Pilot)
Ens. Robert B. Barnett, Jr. (Lauderhill, FL) (Student Pilot)
Ens. Jeffrey A Edwards (Raleigh, NC) (Student Pilot)
LCDR Burkdull began serving in the Navy on 20 June 1972.
He left a wife, Pamela, at his death.
LCDR Barkdull was interred in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, Eureka, California.
Earlier, then Lt. Barkdull served as a pilot aboard the USS Kittyhawk (CVA-63) during WESTPAC Cruise 30 May 1979 - 25 February 1980 with VAW-114.U.S. Navy Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron. Possibly flying the E-2C Hawkeye.