PDA

View Full Version : Info About a 1977 Helicopter Crash



MrTeeTyme
06-21-08, 10:36 AM
I apologize if this is the wrong forum for this question.

I'm looking for information about a helicopter crash my brother, Lance Cpl. Steven Bowman was killed in. From what I remember it was a CH53 helicopter crash on Oct. 20 or 21, 1977. I believe it was in the Philippines. It killed 24 of the 37 onboard.

Does anyone remember this and know where I can find more information about it?

Thanks.

John

rb1651
06-21-08, 01:38 PM
I hope this is what you were looking for. I googled CH-53 Helicopter crash Oct. 1977.

- ACCIDENT DETAILS

Date: October 21, 1977
Time: 10:30
Location: Mindoro, Philippines
Operator: Military - U.S. Marine Corps
Flight #: ?
Route: ?
AC Type: Sikorksky CH-53 (helicopter)
Registration: 157139
cn / ln: ?
Aboard: 37 (passengers:? crew:?)
Fatalities: 31 (passengers:? crew:?)
Ground: 0
Summary: After lifting a water container the aircraft began rotating until control was lost and contact was made with the ground, shearing off the tail rotor and a large portion of the tail assembly. New engines were installed in the CH-53s to increase the power of the main rotor and on a whole to make the helicopter more powerful. However, it was soon evident that the tail rotor could not balance the increased power created by the main rotor. Under certain conditions the aircraft would become unstable and lose directional heading. Sikorsky warns of these conditions. To compensate for the mistake that had been made, Sikorsky designed and tested a bell crank system to stabilize the rear rotor. After seven years, this helicopter was still not retrofitted with the bell crank system. Gross weight of the container exceeded the lifting capacity of the helicopter. No restrains used by the passengers.

Sources
Return to Home Page

Copyright © Richard Kebabjian / www.planecrashinfo.com

MrTeeTyme
06-22-08, 10:26 AM
Thanks Ron.

I didn't see that link when I googled it.

Some of the details are a little different than I remember. We were told initially that there were 13 survivors. I was aware of the engine/rotar problems and the Navy pilots began documenting those issues in 1969.

Sikorksky did accept some responsilbility for it and compensated the families.

John

lightning
08-09-08, 11:52 AM
John-
My Name is Glynn J. Jacobson. I was a LCPL in your brother's platoon. I knew your brother. He was a good man and you would have been proud of him. I was in Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 9th Marines which I believe was the same platoon as your brother LCPL Bowman. I was one of the survivors of the helicopter crash that you are inquiring about in 1977. I have the original report of the crash and would be more than happy to speak with you or send you a copy of this report. I will send you my phone number and email if you would like - It would be great to speak with you -
:usmc:

thewookie
08-09-08, 12:20 PM
John-
My Name is Glynn J. Jacobson. I was a LCPL in your brother's platoon. I knew your brother. He was a good man and you would have been proud of him. I was in Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 9th Marines which I believe was the same platoon as your brother LCPL Bowman. I was one of the survivors of the helicopter crash that you are inquiring about in 1977. I have the original report of the crash and would be more than happy to speak with you or send you a copy of this report. I will send you my phone number and email if you would like - It would be great to speak with you -
:usmc:

Wow.


That is pretty amazing that you found this thread, absolutley amazing.


Glynn, would you mind filling out the rest of your profile, please.


Semper Fi

lightning
08-09-08, 12:41 PM
Yeah it is amazing - my wife found it when she was looking something else up! She told me about it right away and I couldn't believe it !!!!! I updated my profile and I should have mentioned that I go by the name of Jake instead of Glynn. Glynn is my birth name, but everyone calls me Jake.

sscjoe
08-11-08, 08:23 AM
That was during Operation Fortress Lightening. I was assigned to MWSG- 17, TAD out of Iwakuni, we assisted with recovery on Mindoro.

lightning
08-11-08, 05:19 PM
That was during Operation Fortress Lightening. I was assigned to MWSG- 17, TAD out of Iwakuni, we assisted with recovery on Mindoro.
Joe -
Would you happen to have any pictures or information of the aftermath of the crash? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Jake

sscjoe
08-12-08, 09:40 AM
Hi Jake- Sorry I don't have any photos for you. You guys had been evac-ed before we got to the site. I think it might be a comfort to you and all the families, that we had Chaplins, of every faith, blessing all the remains at the 1st MAW area. There are details of what we saw that I do not feel comfortable in relaying to you. These are not good memories for me and although it's been over 31 years I still think of BLT 3/9. God Bless.

lightning
08-12-08, 11:12 AM
Joe-
Thanks for replying. My wife is typing this for me as I am a little computer illiterate.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about the crash and all my friends and comrades that were lost. I have been living with this for over 31 years and still have issues not only medically but emotionally as well.
It has not been easy, but as I was trained a Marine, I have been able to survive.
Would you like a copy of the report I have? Let me know -
Stay positive - God Bless
Jake

sscjoe
08-12-08, 12:19 PM
Jake, I have sent you a PM. Thanks Brother

MrTeeTyme
08-16-08, 10:13 AM
Thanks for the replies Jake and Joe.

Sorry for my delayed response. I've been very busy as I just got married two weeks ago and that planning was consuming my life.

Jake: I will reply to your email soon. I would like to talk with you and will call you soon. I'm also planning on moving to another state within the next few weeks so life has been hectic.

I apologize if I resurrected any bad memories for anyone. I was 18 and serving in the Navy when this happened and I don't recall my family getting any sort of report of the events. All I recall us being told was the official mechanical failure of the helicopter with regard to known issues with the rotor control.

Again, thanks.

Ed Coryell
09-11-08, 06:46 AM
I was a Hospital Corpsman (ship's company) aboard USS NEW ORLEANS at the time of this crash. I remember helping care for some of the survivors (we did triage and first aid on the hangar deck), and also watching over the remains of many of those who didn't make it. A few of the other Corpsmen - including my best friend, who was an OR Tech - went ashore to help with the recovery, and later worked with the doctors and dentists to identify the remains. Everyone aboard - Navy and Marines - were shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy. I didn't personally know anyone who was on the chopper, but we were all affected by the loss, and it's one part of my Navy career that I'll never forget. Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your brother.

Ed Coryell, HMCS, USN, Retired

chibon
09-15-08, 11:45 PM
Hello! Sorry to butt in, but I was loafing tonight and accidentally caught your question of seeking info about a chopper crash in 1977 in P.I. I'm newly joined and I might have some additional info, if any, that might help a bit.

lightning
10-06-08, 12:45 PM
Does anyone know if those in the crash were eligible for Purple Hearts?

september 23
10-16-08, 10:52 PM
My husband was killed on that crash also and I have done a lot of info and research on that day. I was published into The Congressionsl Record in 1986 about the events that took place on October 21, 1977. It is haunting when you don't know exactly what happend. please email and I will be glad to share any info I have.
gloria anderson-goss

september 23
10-16-08, 11:08 PM
My life was changed forever that day and now it is so long ago I thought no one would remember. Still getting over the shock of finding this, and a survior too. just unbelievable. if any are interested would be glad to share what I know about this day. thank you. gloria

ameriken
10-23-08, 05:05 PM
Semper Fi everyone, I just found this site today, and saw this thread.

I was in Subic Bay with Bn Supply, H&S Co, 3/9 when it happened.

I knew 2 who were on board, a big Hawaiian or Samoan guy (cannot remember his name) whom I pulled mess duty with in Camp Schwab, he was killed in the crash. The other was Michael Kane. I flew with him from Ft Hamilton in Brooklyn to SC and on to Parris Island, where we were in boot camp in the same Platoon (185). Kane survived the crash. From the way I remember it, he was injured (broken arm or leg), but somehow managed to get to a top of a hill, met someone there (rescue team?), saluted and said "I'm a gunji mutha f-----r, sir!"

The explaination I heard after it happened, is the 53 was fully loaded with Marines with full combat gear and alice packs, and in addition the 53 was carrying a water buffalo via cable below it. The cable snapped, whipped back up at the tail rotor, causing the 53 to lose control and rotate, ejecting several Marines out the back, and then subsequently rolled down a hill.

After it occured, I was ordered to Mindoro (nervously via 53) for the sole purpose of banding what was left of the 2 turbines and tail rotor stem to a couple of pallets. I believe those were the largest and/or most recognizable parts left of the accident.

My heart goes out to everyone who lost a Marine on that flight.

Semper Fi....

Ken Maddis

PS: Kane......you still around?

Phantom Blooper
10-24-08, 04:24 PM
My life was changed forever that day and now it is so long ago I thought no one would remember


I also was not there I was with F2/3 in Kaneohe,HI.

But please take these words to heart as I remember that incident.

As long as there is one Marine left on the face of this earth they will always remember their fallen brethren and comrades. The Marine Corps is a brother and sisterhood.

Even though we may have not met ALL the Marines from 1775 to present day we mourn for and memorialize ALL our brothers and sisters if only in our hearts.

We sit in bars and we stand at memorials and hoist a toast to the lives of our heroes and comrades.And shed the tears for ALL of our Marines...brothers and sisters.

Rest assured that it may seem like the burden at times is heavy and no one remembers....and this this last may be true on dates...but we will always remember our fallen comrades from every clime and place in our hearts and until our dying breath...and then we will go through the gauntlet on the streets of gold and meet again!

God bless the United States Marine Corp,ALL of our fallen heroes and the United States of America!:flag:

september 23
10-31-08, 11:20 AM
:flag:In memory of those lost and injured on October 21. 1977

(based on govt report, if any errors please correct)

CREW HMH Ė 462

Crapse, John L., Capt
Gehardt, George M., Capt.
Casey, William Sgt.
Anderson, Charles, Sgt.

PASSENGERS Ė USMC Alpha

Aguirre, F R LC PL
Baker, A R LC PL
Bauer, J R PFC
Bennett, R N C PL
Bowman, Steve R LC PL
Brinkley, K W PFC
Dicag, A R CPL
Ernsberger Jr., L H CPL
Fitspatrich, M L LC PL
Hallam, O or O,Hallam CPL
Jones, B I PFC
LaFferre, M A PFC
Layne, H L LC PL
Quiane, M L LC PL
Schwartz, K K PFC
Smith, D G SGT
Suda, A LC PL
West, J L LC PL
Wright, D A PFC

PASSENGERS Ė USMC Bravo
Holman, E C PFC
Workman, J F SSGT
Jacobson, G J CPL
Morris, E J PFC
Fernald D G LC PL
Hancock, D G LCPL
Hathway, A W PFC
Kane, M PFC
Lane, E N PFC
Criega, R S LCPL
Ward, G J PFC
Perry, R G PFC


PASSENGERS Ė USN
Baxter, W C HA

Dolan, S R HN


Exercise Fortress Lightning, October 21, 1977

lightning
10-31-08, 11:31 AM
Hi Gloria - Thanks for that - that is really nice. You said you were published in the Congressional Records - ? Would you have a copy of that? We would really be intereste d in seeing it -

Thanks

ameriken
11-01-08, 12:48 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do the manifest Gloria, I know it must be difficult, as it is difficult to read. My gut is wrenching as I read it. I am saddened that even looking at the list, that I cannot remember the name of the Marine I served on mess duty with, however I think it was Suda.

I hope we can keep this thread alive from time to time and I hope that some others who may have known them may find this thread and add to it.

lightning
11-10-08, 08:42 AM
Happy Marine Corps Birthday everyone -

sscjoe
11-10-08, 09:23 AM
Happy Birthday to you also Alexis and Jake.

JohnEaceHunt
11-10-08, 10:38 AM
Not Hardly, No. It was not downed by Combat, or enemy action. If that was the case I would rate several, other than the Combat Purple Heart I recieved when shot down by Gooks in Vietnam.

cryingeagle58
11-29-08, 03:05 PM
hello, i just found this site, while looking for something on the Fuji fire of oct 19 1979, and now i find this thread on the chopper in p i, i was there also, our com was India co 3/4, and was on the USS New Orleans.....our company was on another ridge and we saw the whole thing, it too has stayed with me , and then the fire in Mt Fuji.....i have such a bad case of ptsd, that has really messed up my life, for years....


semper fi to all my brothers
Dave:usmc::flag:

fox one
12-16-08, 05:10 PM
I came across this when i was going through some of my Marine records, and i came across the memorial service that we had on the USS Duluth. I googled Capt. J.L. Crapse and this board came up. I have looked into this a couple of times and could never find anything. I was in Fox 2/3 in the field at the time of the crash and could see it in the distance. As i remember the op ended after this. We had a Memorial service aboard the Duluth:
Invocation- Chaplain L.J. Rector
Scripture Readings- 1st LT V.P. Neshyba, USMC- 1ST LT Dossett USMC
Remarks- LT COL H.M. Nelson C.O. BLT 2/3
Memorial Meditation- Chaplain F.P Burchell
Prayers- Capt L.H. Grimes JR. C.O. USS Duluth
Hym "Eternal Father"
Gun Salute
Taps- PFC J.H. Groat
I'm so glad that this has not been forgotten and God Bless all the people that were involved in this.:flag: Cpl Fimon RR

jpetito
01-02-09, 04:14 AM
My husband was killed on that crash also and I have done a lot of info and research on that day. I was published into The Congressionsl Record in 1986 about the events that took place on October 21, 1977. It is haunting when you don't know exactly what happend. please email and I will be glad to share any info I have.
gloria anderson-goss

I was searching about the internet, thinking of the past, when I ran across your note. I have published a short story for young people (I am now a middle school teacher) based on my experiences there on that October day.
You can find it in the blog section of this website as an attachment.

Please forgive me for mistakes in names and unit designations- the original story was written before there was so much access to what is now common information. Any official information you could add that would correct my account will be greatly appreciated.

The story is graphic in such a way as to hold the attention of middle school students and portray the sacrifices we made, and our young people continue to make every day in our current world.

Respectfully,

Joe Petito E-5

jpetito
01-02-09, 04:25 AM
Thanks for taking the time to do the manifest Gloria, I know it must be difficult, as it is difficult to read. My gut is wrenching as I read it. I am saddened that even looking at the list, that I cannot remember the name of the Marine I served on mess duty with, however I think it was Suda.

I hope we can keep this thread alive from time to time and I hope that some others who may have known them may find this thread and add to it.

Please see the attachment titled Mindoro Island on the blog side of this website for a personal account of October 21st.

I appreciate corrections

jpetito

jpetito
01-07-09, 01:02 AM
I apologize if this is the wrong forum for this question.

I'm looking for information about a helicopter crash my brother, Lance Cpl. Steven Bowman was killed in. From what I remember it was a CH53 helicopter crash on Oct. 20 or 21, 1977. I believe it was in the Philippines. It killed 24 of the 37 onboard.

Does anyone remember this and know where I can find more information about it?

Thanks.

John

John-

Please see the website: all military . com for more personal stories and references to official documents on the Ch-53 crash in the Philippines. I have also posted a personal story on the Blog side of this website titled Mindoro Island

None of us have forgotten, nor will we ever.

Joe.

use2busmc
01-12-09, 10:27 PM
I too was on Mindoro the day the CH-53 went down.Exercise Fortress Lightning was a ''Full Scale Amphibious Landing on Mindoro Island''
I served with another Marine who has chimed in on this thread,sscjoe.
We arrived via the USS Juneau-LPD 10 from Okinawa.I will never forget that sad day.I have a few more things to add to this discussion,but do not feel it is appropriate to discuss here.
God Bless The Hard Chargin Marines who Died That Day!


Jim

usmc 5811

1976-79:flag:

sscjoe
01-13-09, 07:58 AM
Jim, send me a pm.

sfrisby
01-29-09, 01:40 PM
I was googling things in my Marine past and came across this about the chopper crash in the Phillipines in 1977. I was a Machine Gunner in Weapons Platoon, Lima Company, 3/9 and fortunately for me I was in the half of the M60 Section that didn't fly farther inland to that hill. We (Lima Co.) were desingated the agressors on Mindoro and had spent 2-3 weeks on the island acclimating prior to the "assault" by the 4th Marines. Toward the end of the exercise, I remember looking inland and seeing a plume of black smoke. I knew it couldn't be good. Rumors flew on casualties and that evening a number of us flew up to the hill and delivered some supplies do what we could to help-we spent that night on the top of the hill. For whatever reason, the CH53 went out of control, crashed, rolled down the hill (very steep and vegetation covered) and caught fire. The guys from my section/platoon were: Sgt Smith, Cpl Ernsberger, Lcpl Hancock, Lcpl Layne and Lcpl Fernald. Sgt Smith & Cpl Ernsberger didn't make it-the others did. Fernald was the best man in my wedding. That happened a long time ago. I think about them frequently-Good Marines all!

sfrisby
01-29-09, 01:42 PM
I was googling things in my Marine past and came across this about the chopper crash in the Phillipines in 1977. I was a Machine Gunner in Weapons Platoon, Lima Company, 3/9 and fortunately for me I was in the half of the M60 Section that didn't fly farther inland to that hill. We (Lima Co.) were desingated the agressors on Mindoro and had spent 2-3 weeks on the island acclimating prior to the "assault" by the 4th Marines. Toward the end of the exercise, I remember looking inland and seeing a plume of black smoke. I knew it couldn't be good. Rumors flew on casualties and that evening a number of us flew up to the hill, delivered some supplies and did what we could to help-we spent that night on the top of the hill. For whatever reason, the CH53 went out of control, crashed, rolled down the hill (very steep and vegetation covered) and caught fire. The guys from my section/platoon were: Sgt Smith, Cpl Ernsberger, Lcpl Hancock, Lcpl Layne and Lcpl Fernald. Sgt Smith & Cpl Ernsberger didn't make it-the rest did. Fernald was the best man in my wedding. I think about them frequently-Good Marines all! 37 total, 24 dead.

wellergl
01-29-09, 02:01 PM
My husband was killed on that crash also and I have done a lot of info and research on that day. I was published into The Congressionsl Record in 1986 about the events that took place on October 21, 1977. It is haunting when you don't know exactly what happend. please email and I will be glad to share any info I have.
gloria anderson-goss

Gloria - I'm very sorry to hear about your husband. Myself & members of my unit, Charlie Co 3rd RECON, were some of the first on the scene that terrible day in October 1977. Before the first helicopters could land at the site of the accident, we repelled down & cleared a small area on the crest of a hill where the rescue helicopters could land/hover. We were also involved in the rescue efforts throughout the day. If possible, I would like to get a copy of the information you have concerning 21 Oct 1977. Thanks very much, Gary (wellergl@verizon.net)

MAP
02-15-09, 04:11 PM
Hello Gloria and my fellow Marines. I just happened upon this site by accident. I was looking up info about the USS Schenectady LST 1185. I was there that fateful day. My name is Michael Parker. I was a machine gunner in Wpns Plt Kilo 3/9. I was with the first crew choppered for search & rescue. That day is forever etched in my mind and the details are like it was yesterday. I'm at a loss what to say but I am willing to answer anyones questions if I can. MAP

MAP
02-16-09, 08:27 AM
I was googling things in my Marine past and came across this about the chopper crash in the Phillipines in 1977. I was a Machine Gunner in Weapons Platoon, Lima Company, 3/9 and fortunately for me I was in the half of the M60 Section that didn't fly farther inland to that hill. We (Lima Co.) were desingated the agressors on Mindoro and had spent 2-3 weeks on the island acclimating prior to the "assault" by the 4th Marines. Toward the end of the exercise, I remember looking inland and seeing a plume of black smoke. I knew it couldn't be good. Rumors flew on casualties and that evening a number of us flew up to the hill and delivered some supplies do what we could to help-we spent that night on the top of the hill. For whatever reason, the CH53 went out of control, crashed, rolled down the hill (very steep and vegetation covered) and caught fire. The guys from my section/platoon were: Sgt Smith, Cpl Ernsberger, Lcpl Hancock, Lcpl Layne and Lcpl Fernald. Sgt Smith & Cpl Ernsberger didn't make it-the others did. Fernald was the best man in my wedding. That happened a long time ago. I think about them frequently-Good Marines all!
Gentleman, I never thought I would be able to talk to Marines again who were there. I was there as well. Sgt. Smith was the last one we recovered. We knew he was there and in the end they hauled in a block & tackle to lift the remains of the tail section. It was a terrible day and there is much about that day that has always haunted me. The truth of that crash is yet to be recorded. I was a machine gunner in Wpns Plt. Kilo 3/9 and was among the first group to land at the top of the hill for search and rescue. I saw things I never want to see again but most important, Me and three other Marines were singled out by a Major I had never met. I believe he was with the Air Wing. He was wearing a flight suit and was questioning the eye witnesses there. The primary witness was the Marine who actually attached the water buffalo static line to the hook at the bottom of the chopper as it hovered over him. I was there as he described the incident in full detail to the Major. What I have read so far is far from the truth. I don't want to hurt anyone or open up old wounds and maybe I have already said too much. As for Sgt. Smith...I will never forget the prior Sunday before the operation...several Marines, myself & Sgt. Smith among them, attended Catholic Mass down by the beach and at the end of Mass Sgt. Smith pulled out his harmonica and played a tune that gave me goosebumps. If any of you would like to discuss this in more detail I can be reached at parkerma@new.rr.com. Semper Fi my friends.
Mike

maxxhotrodd
02-24-09, 02:58 PM
I was with 3/9 81's platoon. We were left at Subic Bay. I talked to some of the guys 1-2 days before they left. A lot of them went to ITS with me at Pendleton. The names and faces grayed over the last 31 years, but the years immediately following were haunted by dreams and memories. I have a chilling picture of my buddy Mark standing next to a water buffalo on the Juneau. We never got a full list of those who perished. And I found out over the next few months a number of buddies I would never see again.

MAP
02-24-09, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the reply Mr. Max,
Let me know if you would prefer a different form of address. Anyway, it is always good to hear from a fellow Marine particularly one that I have served with. I have also been fortunate enough to have heard from sscjoe (Joe) and ameriken (Ken). What a pleasure and honor to communicate with all of you.

I was there my friend and I have shared; privately, some details of that day with the two of them. I do have some pictures of memorabilia I saved from that day. But I would prefer to limit detail and specifics to a different venue. I would like to see the picture you have of the water buffalo. My best friend (now brother-in-law) was with H&S 3/9 and was also on the Juneau but was actually at Subic Bay during the time of the crash (were my brother also happened to be stationed with the Marine Barracks Duty). If you or anyone else would like additional detail that I am aware of I can be reached personally at parkerma@new.rr.com and am willing to share what I know. Thanks Max...
Semper Fi
Mike

september 23
02-26-09, 03:00 PM
Hi,
Have not visited this website for many months and thank you for your messages to me. Also thank you for your tremendous rescue effort and as obvious it has not been easy for many of you. I hope I am not intruding since I am not a Marine and all but if my husband were still alive he would be here sharing his memories of Mindora so instead here are his own words in letters to me. I think some of you might be interested in this written history of the days leading up to October 21, 1977. Also thank you for the undulgence of letting me share a little of a great Marine, my husband, Sgt. Charles Anderson, with you.

October 14, 1977 (USS Duluth)

Well love, Iím still here in the South China Sea. We are nearing what is referred to as the strait of Mindoro. So we are nearing the exercise area. From what I guess they are going to off load the ďgruntsĒ tomorrow. We will fly to our base camp the following day.
You can sure tell that we are heading south because it really is starting to get hot. Iím glad the area that we are working out of is air-conditioned or it would really be a mess. But in comparison to the USS New Orleans this boat is nice. I still canít stand it, ha ha, but itís so much better than what we were stuck on before.

October 15, Chuck

We are in the first part of the exercise. The grunts are all being put ashore today. The bay that our ship is in is really hectic. There must be twenty huge ships in it. Then hundreds of small landing craft, making assault waves on the beach. In the air, of course helicopters, flying all over the place dropping supplies and inserting troops into key locations. Itís really an impressive sight to watch all of this going on.
Oh yes, Iím working hard up in my air-conditioned office. Ha Ha. Wait till tomorrow when we off load the boat - gulp! Then all the work begins and all the long hours start. Today was kind of nice because I got to sleep in until almost 10 oíclock. We got up at five but all the aircraft had taken off by six. The only three people here were Lt. John McAfee, Cpl. Williams and myself. So after we picked up the classified messages we all decided, hell why not get some extra sleep? Hon, I must have needed it because I put my head down and I was out like a light, zap! The next thing I knew when I woke up it was 10:10. I got up and came up here. Well, Sweetie, I better close this letter up. I sure hope everything is going OK at home for you. If you have any problem or need anything let me know Ok, Hon? If anyone bothers you or anything let either myself or somebody know OK dear. Well, I got to go for now. Take care of yourself and Sam, think of me and say a little prayer for us.
All my love,
Your hubby,
Chuckie

October 15th late and 16th, Chuck
Hi Sweetness,
Iím writing this letter late tonight because Iím really sure the way things are going that my free time it going to be very minimal or in other words very little. Iím the only troop with a clearance of secret or higher so I am the only one who can type out the classified messages. Sweetheart, there is a whole bunch of them. I did three tonight and itís weird because I swear weíre the only people who are up on this whole ship. Oh well, war is hell.
Hey, you know what we almost forgot? I have been over here five months, so five down and seven to go. Next month at this time it will be half over. Heck, Hon, before we know it, Iíll be home.
We still have not received any mail since we were on ship. Itís most probably back on the isle of Oki, the tropical paradise for nuts, ha ha.


October 16, Chuck


Well, doll, howís it going today back in the world? Iíll bet a hell of a lot better than here....although Iím not going to yap and yap about it. So Sweetie hereís some news I thought I Ďd relay to you. Thereís a chance of an aircraft going into Cubi Point. If one in fact goes Iíll try to get on it and make a run to Olongpo City..... about one mile from the air strip and do some Christmas shopping.
So Iíll send them home to you and you could wrap it., ok ok. Because of the mail taking as long as it does and all, you will get them around Thanksgiving time. At least you will have them for Christmas in time.
Hon, I donít know if I ever told you about Lt. Watson? Well, anyway, heís a really swell guy, in fact the really nicest man Iíve met in quite a while. He came in and talked to me before and he asked me about you and Sam. What our intentions were and we just talked about military life in actuality. He was the son of a sergeant and his father still is in the Marine Corps. He was telling me about his personal experience being a dependent in the military. Some of the good and bad things that goes with it. He suggested to me that you and I both read a book titled, ďThe Great Santini.Ē The author is Pat Conroy. He said it is so real it made him either laugh or almost cry because it truly relates to actual situations that we have or will have in the future. So I told him I would relay it on to you. He said itís in paperback so you should have no problem finding it.

October 17, Chuck
Hi Hon,
We are now established on shore on the island of Mindoro. Right now Iím sitting in a field tent. I am going to try to tell you about what has been going on here so far and whatís going to happen and just how it is on the island.
We landed in a water buffalo pasture. There must have been fifteen of them around the area when we landed. Weíre about 500 feet from the beach and it makes it really nice as far as being able to go swimming is concerned. Honey, itís more funny than anything that you could ever imagine. Here we are dumped in the middle of a pasture. Itís in the afternoon so we tried to put up the tents we were going to live in. Sgt. Waterhouse and I shared our tent. Honey, it was more like a group of small boy scouts trying to do something. One couldnít fine the tent pegs; another couldnít get his rope in the hole to string it, all the while, people stepping in water buffalo ****. Ha ha. Gloria I wish the news teams could have seen this. The nations finest fighting force at its finest hour. Well, old Waterhouse and I got our tent set up within 10 minutes (the first ones done only because we used the same kind of tent in boy scouts.)
When they finished and all the gear was stored away we set out to locate the sick-minded people who planned this operation, ha ha. Actually we tried to get a hold of the supply people so we would get a water trailer, cots and food (C-rats) and also three cases of beer for all the hard work we did. Honey, you could really tell that there were air wing personnel here. By 7 oíclock we had a full swing party going and the HMH-462 Heavy Haulers were all set up.
I really donít think the Commanding Officer was very impressed when he landed here at night. I was the taxi director. Iím not really qualified to direct in a aircraft but how are you going to learn if you donít do it, so I did. He kind of laughed when he seen who it was. I did OK and I got them to land without hitting another aircraft so every aircraft that comes in Iím out there doing my thing.
Now listen to this (All true--no bull****, or water buffalo ****, ha ha). We almost had mail today but when the jeep was on its way over it was hit by a large truck. Someone thought the mail was suppose to go back to Futenma Air station in Okinawa so they sent it back. It has since been taken care of and we should have it in the next hour or so.
Now for the big laugh. Here we are and no one has been paid yet so they sent a message to the ship asking where the pay officer was. This is what they told us. He was going from boat to boat paying the Marine detachments. When he got off our helicopter on board the USS Juneau he fell overboard the side of the ship right in the ocean. He held on to our checks because his suitcase was handcuffed to his wrist. Well, our checks are hanging up and drying along with about 4000 more aboard the USS Juneau. They said that we could have them tomorrow. The only problem is that there is no place to cash them. As soon as we get a flight in to Cubi then Iíll get a money order and send you my complete paycheck because I wonít need any while Iím here.
Iíll write more later I got to go now.
October 18, l977
Hi Sweetheart,
Just a few words to say Iím doing great out here in the field. When they briefed us for this I really think they make it sound a lot worse than it is. I really havenít been bothered by mosquitoes at all, but there are a lot of flies and bugs. The weather thus far has been really good. The temperature is in the mid 80ís and it rained about 20 minutes the first night we were here. Aside from that itís just been beautiful, the sun bright and no cloud cover at all.
We finally got MAIL today and I got a whole bunch of mail from you. Thanks honey, you will never know how good it feels to get news from home. Honey, thank you for caring like you do. It may sound silly but the love you send in each letter means so much

Lunchtime:
October 19, Chuck
Hi Wife,
Just a few words to say Hi and that Iím doing great out here in the field. Honey, to tell you just how good we have things set up, the Mag-36 Commanding Officer referred to us in a brief as the four hundred sixty second MASH! Ha Ha. Wait until you see the photos of this place. We really have it nice here. But from what I heard itís not too great a few miles from here. So far they have ďmedically evacuatedĒ 17 Marines due to snakebites in the hills.
Supposing today they will get our pay checks to us. Right now nobody has any money. We are in a combined effort to scrap enough cash to keep soda and ice in the camp. If ever we do get our checks today Iíll try to send most of my check. Go and try to put most of it in our ď no touch boat accountĒ whoops I meant our ďno touch bank accountĒ gulp! Ha Ha.


October 20, l977
HI Hon,
Well, itís the TWENTY FIRST time I killed a fly this morning and I ďgot my limitĒ so I figured I had better write to a few lines. The beauty of this place is rapidly wearing off. When you eat nothing but C-rations for a week you would know what I mean.
Itís not so bad at first but when everyone gets constipated and canít take a bowel movement, if you know what I mean, ha ha, it gets rough. But weíre hanging in there.
Someone suggested water buffalo steaks but the commanding officer quickly put a stop to that threat. Here I thought I would open up my own ďBrown DerbyĒ ha ha.
Another bright suggestion was to have a water buffalo rodeo, so cowboy Charlie, ha ha might have his big chance tonight.
I wrote Sam a little letter so he should be receiving it in the mail. I stuck a packet of cocoa mix in it. He should get a big kick out to that.
Hey honey, did you ever get the flowers I sent you. I hope so. Also I sent a money order for 100 dollars. So you should have got that by now. Last night I went to bed early because I just was all tired out and felt yuck! I woke up about 5:30 this morning and felt great so I just might try going to sleep early again tonight. Well honey, I know this was a crazy letter but I thought I would at least write to let you know whatís been happening.
My lovely wife, I love you with all my heart. Be good and say a little prayer for us tonight.
All my love
Chuck
XXXXXXXX

October 21, l977
Hi Hon,
Iím standing in the post office at Cubi Point and writing this. Hereís some money $125. 00. Try to save some OK
Love ya,
Chuck

ameriken
02-26-09, 08:17 PM
Gloria, I am speechless reading the letters, and speechless that you even shared them. Thank you. And you are always welcome here!

september 23
02-26-09, 09:08 PM
Thanks Ken, it was a leap of faith.

ameriken
02-26-09, 09:21 PM
I am sure that anyone here who was connected to that tragedy will appreciate them and I hope it encourages others to share their stories. Semper Fi!!

DocGreek
02-26-09, 11:40 PM
32 Years! I don't know you, Gloria and you don't know me. Because you are so troubled about that incident, and your personal loss, I'll lite a candle, for you, and your sweetheart...tomorrow, at Church. My prayers, for your healing, and finding some closure, will be heard. God Bless, and know that I hope you find some peace, and solace......DOC

MAP
02-27-09, 07:51 PM
Gloria,
I never had the honor of meeting Chuck but I did have the honor of knowing others who died that day. You and Sam cherish those letters I'm sure. Thanks for sharing them with us. The privilege is ours.
Semper Fi,
Mike

rb1651
02-27-09, 09:50 PM
Gloria, although I was not there, I want to thank you for sharing some very personal memories of your Marine. I want you to know that you to know that you are a part of our Marine family, and you will always be more than welcome to come here and spend time with us.

I'm sure that I speak for all of us here in saying that if there is anything that we can do for you, just let us know. As a family, we will take care of each other.

september 23
03-04-09, 03:32 PM
Gloria, although I was not there, I want to thank you for sharing some very personal memories of your Marine. I want you to know that you to know that you are a part of our Marine family, and you will always be more than welcome to come here and spend time with us.

I'm sure that I speak for all of us here in saying that if there is anything that we can do for you, just let us know. As a family, we will take care of each other.


Ron, thank you very much, my husband, Chuck, was also part of HMX-1 and a recipient of the Presidential Service Badge before he was he was assigned to the HMH in 1977.

TKap77to79
04-04-09, 11:33 PM
I was a 'Squid' JO on a hill overlooking the crash site, with BLT 2/3's HQ Co, part of Lt Col Nelson's Bn. Capt. John Crapse had been our roommate aboard USS Duluth the night before the landing as the Okinawa Marines were chopped to Duluth as part of BLT 2/3's landing support Helo Det. We were near the end of the Ex, when we saw a high column of black smoke. It was a shocker as just before everything seemed normal. Over the years I have read various post incident reports in NavAir mags. It was a hot day, high altitude and a heavy load. It reminded me that even in peacetime ops, USMC training is hazardous and we are fortunate to have the men and women of the Corps.
-- CAPT, USN (Ret)

jpetito
04-16-09, 04:18 AM
To TKap and all-

I am in need of photos of the crash site area or a link to GoogleEarth with a specific location to add factual data to my story Mindoro Island, posted on the blog side of this website.
Any help from eyewitnesses and S-3 planners I would be grateful for.

Joe Petito E-5 1975-1979
jpetito@teacher.tusd.org

mosteve57
04-16-09, 08:24 PM
I was with the 31st MAU and was bumped from the Helicopter that did the Med evacuation of the injured from this mishap. I will never forget that event, or my bothers who went down that day.

mosteve57

ameriken
05-20-09, 08:50 PM
bump

ameriken
05-24-09, 08:18 PM
This Memorial Day weekend, I want to dedicate a post to our Brothers lost and wounded in peacetime during Operation Fortress Lightning on Mindoro Island, Oct 21, 1977. Semper Fi Marines, we miss you all! :flag:



:flag:In memory of those lost and injured on October 21. 1977

(based on govt report, if any errors please correct)

CREW HMH – 462

Crapse, John L., Capt
Gehardt, George M., Capt.
Casey, William Sgt.
Anderson, Charles, Sgt.

PASSENGERS – USMC Alpha

Aguirre, F R LC PL
Baker, A R LC PL
Bauer, J R PFC
Bennett, R N C PL
Bowman, Steve R LC PL
Brinkley, K W PFC
Dicag, A R CPL
Ernsberger Jr., L H CPL
Fitspatrich, M L LC PL
Hallam, O or O,Hallam CPL
Jones, B I PFC
LaFferre, M A PFC
Layne, H L LC PL
Quiane, M L LC PL
Schwartz, K K PFC
Smith, D G SGT
Suda, A LC PL
West, J L LC PL
Wright, D A PFC

PASSENGERS – USMC Bravo
Holman, E C PFC
Workman, J F SSGT
Jacobson, G J CPL
Morris, E J PFC
Fernald D G LC PL
Hancock, D G LCPL
Hathway, A W PFC
Kane, M PFC
Lane, E N PFC
Criega, R S LCPL
Ward, G J PFC
Perry, R G PFC


PASSENGERS – USN
Baxter, W C HA

Dolan, S R HN


Exercise Fortress Lightning, October 21, 1977

7th Comm Bn
05-25-09, 02:01 AM
I was one who took part in Operation Fortress Lightning in October 1977. I was a LCpl stationed with HQCo. 7th Comm. Bn. (Camp Hansen) Okinawa at the time. My unit was part of the exercise. We embarked from Buckner Bay, Okinawa, on 6 October aboard the LST-1195 USS Barbour County and arrived on Mindoro Beach, Phillipines two weeks later. It was the first full day of the exercise when the tragic accident occurred. The word we received back at the CP area where I was assigned to maintainence of the AN/TRC telephone van, was that the helicopter filled to capacity with Marines and carrying a water buffalo (water tank) on a cable was unable to power up sufficiently to clear the mountain. I don't know how accurate that description is but that is what we were told that day. It was very tragic, but the exercise, naturally, went on to a successful conclusion, although with a cloud hanging over it the entire time. I will never forget the Memorial services held on the ship when we reboarded and had gotten underway to return to Okinawa.

I didn't know any of the men who died, personally, but my heart goes out to the families of those young men. All these years I had thought it was 29 men who died that day, but by the accounts I have read here, the actual number was 31 killed. For me, this Memorial Day, 31 short years later, will be dedicated to the memory of those men. Semper Fidelis. You are not forgotten. :flag:

MrTeeTyme
05-25-09, 09:10 AM
I want to thank everyone for sharing this part of my brother's life with me. He was not only my brother, he was my friend. We were not allowed to open his casket, and that made it even harder to believe what had happened. Your stories have helped me put to rest any of the crazy conspiracy theories that have gone through my head over the years

Steve was very proud to be a Marine and proud to serve our country. Being Steve's brother means more to me than my own service in the Navy. He and others on that chopper that day, along with their families, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

I thank all of you for your service to our country.

Happy Memorial Day!

John

smurphy
06-09-09, 07:57 PM
Hello brothers & sisters, I can't tell you how many times I think about that day. I was there a member of lima 3/9, in hello teams being brought out because we were the aggessors. I will never forget our plt cmdr's flipping a coin to see who would get on that bird. My company co was capt james murray, plt. Sgt rameirez, my name back then was leon jefferson (personal story). I will nerver forget sgt smith he was a short timer ready to go home, baker I used to drink beer with at the prince club in hanoko? outside of schwab. Lima was deployed on the uss alamo after many grinding months of trainingon the rock...for which we one the honor title of raid company. That's what put us so deep in that hell of an island. I still see their faces, it launched my career in life after getting out I went to A&P school , did private contracts all over the world, I did 2 years privately flying medevacs during desert storm.So so much from a single event a very long time ago. I can't tell you how much I learned as a young man from those true men of 3/9. I have to stop now, I am new here and would like to contact frisebe. God Bless you all
Stephen Murphy

jpetito
06-09-09, 08:18 PM
Stephen-

Thank you for the note and the remembrances of comrades.

I am interested to know if you have any maps or notes of the exact location of the CH-53 crash, photos of the hill location, or photos of the training exercise.

Feel free to contact me here: jpetito@teacher.tusd.org

Thank you for putting your pink self out there for all of us.

Joe.

ameriken
06-10-09, 11:43 PM
Welcome to Leatherneck, Murphy. Thanks for your post, glad to meet another 3/9 Marine, especially one who was connected to that day.

smurphy
06-10-09, 11:59 PM
Thanks ken, I can't believe I am talking with brothers of that era....way too cool. You know I watched that bird load and I was one helo team away from getting on it.... It came down two a coin toss between the plt cmdr's....and that's know b/s I would like to anounce the need for a reunion of all who we're connected to that day!! Let's put it togeather we can even do it at my ranch here in texas

ameriken
06-12-09, 05:51 PM
It'd be a great idea, however reunions are difficult to put together, especially with so many scattered across the US. I'd be open to it if more would chime in on it.

BTW, did you know a PFC or LCpl Michael Kane? He survived the crash, and I think he too was with 3/9. He and I signed up with the same recruiter and went to boot together. I saw him back on Oki after the crash and that was the last I heard of him.

brian1125
08-20-09, 07:21 PM
Hi, my name is Brian I was in your brothers platton, and knew your brother very well. He was so great I miss him, I too would be intrested in learning more. Also if it is not to presumptous I have lost all my photo's of my time with these guys. Would love to be able to get a photo of Steven. I was on that mountain and took the 1st chopper down, was on the beach when this happened. Your brother was so well liked, I will always cherish our friendship your brother and I had. My e-mail address is brian1125@verizon.net if you would be intrested in getting in touch.

brian1125
08-20-09, 07:43 PM
Hi my name is Brian Mrozek I was on that mountain with you. It has been so long and I remember so many of those guys, would love to get a reunion together. Do you remember PFC Alan Hathaway he survived and we ended up at Quantico together.

brian1125
08-20-09, 07:51 PM
Hi, Im new to this to, I would be intrested in any info you may have as I was there that day. We never really got answers. Brian

brian1125
08-20-09, 07:56 PM
Hi,Gloria would love it if you can share with me about that day. How do I do that Im new to this site.

cryingeagle58
08-20-09, 08:04 PM
I was there with Ico 3/4 saw the whole thing. and have been having nightmares ever since. I had pictures, but have long since lost them over the years, which for me, was a good thing. I WISH I STILL HAD THEM.

because of the crash, and along with the Fuji fire in 79, i have a really bad case of PTSD I am trying to get behind all the death and destruction, that i had to go thru, in a peace time no less.

Gawd i hope the men and women in Iraq, come thru their ordeals better than me. God Bless them all

Semper Fi , Forever.
:usmc::flag:

brian1125
08-22-09, 10:57 AM
Jake hi would you be able to get me a copy of what you have Thanks Brian

sscjoe
08-26-09, 11:36 AM
Mindoro Islandhttp://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs125.snc1/5375_1111615151486_1260091242_30282852_4619456_n.j pg (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30282914&id=1260091242&op=1&view=all&subj=90396659549&aid=-1&oid=90396659549)

LPD-10 USS Juneauhttp://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs125.snc1/5375_1111621111635_1260091242_30282870_250241_n.jp g (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30282914&id=1260091242&op=1&view=all&subj=90396659549&aid=-1&oid=90396659549)

ameriken
08-26-09, 12:16 PM
Another shot of what I believe was the Juneau headed from Oki to Fuji. I think I took this pic from The Alamo LSD33.

I was on the Juneau as we went from Fuji down to Subic in Sept 1977.

http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=673&pictureid=5254

sscjoe
08-26-09, 01:49 PM
http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs125.snc1/5375_1111615111485_1260091242_30282851_3212082_n.j pg (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30282852&id=1260091242&op=1&view=all&subj=90396659549&aid=-1&oid=90396659549)http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs145.snc1/5375_1111615031483_1260091242_30282849_1325454_n.j pg (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30282851&id=1260091242&op=1&view=all&subj=90396659549&aid=-1&oid=90396659549)

brian1125
08-26-09, 09:38 PM
sscjoe thanks for posting the photo's Brian

bensallen
10-06-09, 02:14 PM
I just found this thread, in fact just found this site. I was a radio operator with 9th Mab (controllers of Op Fortress Lightning) I was on radio watch when that chopper went down. There was some confusion as to whether it was "part of the training" or a real crash for a few seconds.
Now as to the rest of this I have nothing other than the memories and what I was told happened. I was told that there were 2 CH 53's, one loaded with your brother and the others and one empty. I was told the pilot of the empty one radioed the other one to tell him to leave the water buffalo (trailer) and he'd get it. The other one said he could manage. It was a bit too much for the helicopter and when he lifted out of ground effect he lost lift and the tail rotor struck the mountain. I was also told that there was a MSgt or something like that who was throwing people out the back as the chopper tumbled down the mountain but I don't know if that's true either.

bensallen
10-06-09, 02:23 PM
Hello Gloria and my fellow Marines. I just happened upon this site by accident. I was looking up info about the USS Schenectady LST 1185. I was there that fateful day. My name is Michael Parker. I was a machine gunner in Wpns Plt Kilo 3/9. I was with the first crew choppered for search & rescue. That day is forever etched in my mind and the details are like it was yesterday. I'm at a loss what to say but I am willing to answer anyones questions if I can. MAP



I just posted on here but I too went to the island on the "skinny D"

ameriken
10-06-09, 02:26 PM
Welcome bensallen. About a month ago, I spoke with another Marine in 3/9 who was on that flight, and he said the centrifugal force of the rotating chopper was throwing Marines out the rear, he was one of them and I think those thrown out were the only survivors.

jpetito
10-19-09, 12:01 AM
See the Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=10715&uid=156185791023#/group.php?gid=156185791023

sscjoe
10-19-09, 08:38 AM
Thanks for the link. I just joined that group.

september 23
10-19-09, 09:54 AM
My thoughts and prayers to all of you who have been touched by this event as the anniversary approaches. Don't know if it will work but sent a picture in memory of my husband Sgt. Charles Anderson in this email.
God Bless
gloria 8278

ameriken
10-19-09, 10:06 AM
Gloria, you always leave me speechless and in tears. Even moreso now that you have put a face to it. Bless you!!

sscjoe
10-19-09, 12:30 PM
Glad you were able to download and post a picture of your husband. Glad I could help.

jpetito
10-20-09, 06:24 PM
In commemoration of October 21st, we remember.

See the Facebook group Mindoro Island to connect.

MontezumaCpl
10-20-09, 07:13 PM
Thank you for posting, Gloria.

We Remember them all today.

Semper Fi.

ameriken
10-21-09, 10:14 AM
Remembering all our lost brothers 32 years ago today. Semper Fi :iwo:

7th Comm Bn
10-21-09, 11:35 AM
In Remembrance of my fallen brothers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in training for the defense of our nation in Operation Fortress Lightning - Mindoro Beach, Republic of Phillipines - October 21, 1977.

Although I didn't personally know the Marines and Sailors who lost their lives on that mountainside that swelteringly hot and humid day - I was there as part of that exercise - and I'll never forget the pall that tragedy, that took place on our (my battalion's) first full day of the Marine amphibious brigade exercise, cast over the remainder of the operation.

My unit (HqCo., 7th Communications Battalion- 3rd MarDiv) had arrived the day before with Task Group 76 aboard the USS Barbour County LST-1195 after leaving Buckner Bay, Okinawa on (or about) October 13th.

As a LCpl, I was a Telephone & Switchboard Repairman (2811). Having been trained for maintanence on one of the high-tech (at that time) TRC vans, I was assigned to the CP area to work inside the Communications (telephone) van. Leading up to the events of October 21st, my most vivid memory of Mindoro is that it was hot! The day we arrived, and all through that night, it was so hot and humid that I remember sweating just laying in my cot that first night trying to get some sleep. We had a tent, you know, with the mosquito netting around your cot. The mosquitos were huge malaria-carrying buggers.

I remember being awokened that morning by the screaming sound of Harriers low-flying directly above our tents! Man...it sounded like they were about 1o feet above us! That got the juices flowing...

When we stepped out into the sunlight...it felt like it was instantly 100 degrees plus! and 100% humidity...sticky. Fortunately for me, the van I worked in was air-conditioned! It had to be designed that way to keep the printed circuit boards cool.

We had barely gotten started, it seems, when we heard the explosion and saw the tuft of smoke rise above the mountain. Then the news of the crash came down to us, and that lives had been lost in a helicopter crash. A pall came over the whole CP area as grim-faced Lieutenants, Captains, Warrant Officers, and Colonels seemed to instantly have more in common with Sergeants, Corporals, and Privates.

But more than a pall...a comraderie...a resolve overcame the men taking part in that Operation...A resolve to rededicate ourselves to a man to complete that mission successfully...to do the best we could do at whatever was our assigned tasks. To not let the sacrifice of those men's lives be in vain. We grew up that day...and we bonded as a unit.

When we were back on board ship after the mission was completed, there was a moving memorial held on the parade deck for the men who lost their lives on Mindoro.

My prayers still go out to their families and their fellow Marines, Sailors, and friends. They died as Marines...serving their country...
I pray you can take solace in that.
Godspeed to those men...
And Godspeed to you.
:flag:

rphwa
10-21-09, 11:07 PM
This is what occurred on Oct. 21st, 1977 to the best of my recollection. The exact events are clouded by the passage of time (32 years) and the fact I was a 19 y.o. kid who was probably in a mild state of shock at the time. I will omit some things out of consideration for the family and the survivors, but will tell this to the best of my ability. I will be happy to answer any questions and would be equally happy to find out from any survivors or rescuers who where there what happened. I have one picture of the helo pad they cut out on the ridge above the ravine where I was and will post that along with this story.

I was 2nd platoon Corpsman for Kilo Co. 3/4, 3rd Mar. Div. We were the aggressors for Operation Fortress Lightning in 1977. We were bivouacked on a hill top about 1300 meters from where the helicopter crash occurred. I did not see the helicopter go down but guys on the other side of the hill started shouting that a helicopter had crashed. I grabbed my Unit 1 and began running along the ridgeline to the top of the ravine where the crash had occurred. My Company Commander was there and he said they were waiting for the fuel tanks to explode before going down. I said we should go down anyway and we started down. It was steep going but it was made a little easier because we were following a creek bed that had formed "steps" that were about 5 to 8 feet high. We had not gone very far down when we began to see fairly large trees snapped off. We apparently went down the way the helicopter had crashed down. Because of our route, we encountered several of the survivors. I'm not sure where the Capt. was/went but I found a survivor who was in amongst the branches of a fallen tree. He was conscious but had compound fractures of the arm and leg. I bandaged and splinted those and then was joined by another Corpsman who I left the survivor with and then moved down the hill.
I next encountered 3 more survivors a little ways down the hill. They were all in about a 15-20 foot area of each other and were on the right side of the ravine in a fairly clear area(rock slide area?). I checked over the first man who was not bleeding and had no obvious injuries but complained of back pain. I tried to get him more comfortable by moving some of the rocks he was laying on. The next guy was a a corpsman who was burned on his hands and arms. He had no other obvious injuries although I think he also complained of back pain. I also checked over another survivor who was just a couple of feet down from him who also appeared to have no obvious injuries but also complained of back pain.
I then moved down the hill a few meters to another (Marine?) who had an obvious chest wound and was probably in shock and was combative and belligerent as I tried to treat him. I dressed his chest wound and tried to calm him down. I can't remember seeing any other rescuers until about the time I was finishing with the last survivor I encountered. I stayed with him until someone brought a stretcher down and I helped carry him up the hill to the ridge top where a helo pad had been carved out of the jungle. I left him there and went back down the hill side. I saw several other corpsman from the BAS and ship's company that I recognized with the survivors I had first encountered. They had bandaged the corpsman's hands and had I.V.'s going. I continued further down the ravine from where I had found the last survivor and encountered a Marine Officer and 2 other marines who asked me to assist carrying a deceased Marine. We carried him back up the hill I had just come down.
Once back on the ridgeline I realized that I had used all the supplies in my Unit 1 and that I was exhausted. I don't know how long I had been at the crash scene but it seemed to me that it was late afternoon or very early evening when I had made my second trip from the bottom. I then made my way along the ridgeline of the ravine and made my was back to the hill top where my platoon was camped.
I was interviewed a couple of months later by a Marine Corps Officer about one of the survivors I had treated. I just told him what I had seen. I heard later that perhaps a tree had fallen on one of the survivors as he was being hoisted out by a helicopter. I never heard anything further.
I was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the citation makes it sound like I did something remarkable or heroic. I just did my job like lots of other people that day. I hope I did something that was of benefit to the guys who survived the crash.

mareagles
10-26-09, 11:28 AM
I too remember that horrible day in Mindoro. I was a Captain Judge Advocate and one of the two claims officers for the 9th MAB, the control group for Operation Fortress Lightning. We had been in the Province of Mindoro Occidental (The island of Mindoro contained two Provinces: Occidental, the western half, and Oriental, the eastern half.) for about 4 weeks prior to the operation performing a MedCap, DentCap and engineering services for the local government. The provincial capital was Mamburao. We were set up outside the town in a tent city.
As claims were submitted by the locals for damages, I would adjudicate and pay. Every few days I would fly to Cubi Point to obtain more pesos. It was unwise to keep too much cash in the field. In fact the day before the incident, I flew from Cubi Point to our LZ on Mindoro on what I was later told was the CH 53 that went down. The squadron (?) number painted on the front of the bird was 00. The crew called it "double nuts". Maybe someone can confirm this.
My recollection is a bit different from some of the other writers. My recollection is that the crash took place just after the exercise had concluded. The flight was an extraction to bring the aggressors out of the field. It was an administrative, not a tactical flight. Some of what I am about to write may also not agree with others' recollections. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these statements, but this is was some of us were told in the base camp by others at the scene. But this tracks with the explanation that the aviator gave in his summary of the accident investigation.
The Marines and corpsmen at the pick up point were divided into "sticks" or helo teams of "X" men. That may have been 10 or so in number. That was standard operating procedure. When the helo landed the officer on the ground (we were told it was a Lt.) sent a helo team aboard. A crew man (we were told that it was one of the pilots) signaled to load another helo team and then another. Then the bird lifted and hovered over the water buffalo. There must have been a Helicopter Support Team (Shore Party) on the ground because I believe they are the ones trained to hook up the water buffalo externally. We were told that when the bird then tried to leave it lost its antitorque capability because it was overloaded for the heat, altitude and humidity conditions at the LZ. It started sliding down the mountainside, throwing out passengers.
I can recall seeing the smoke rise from our camp, a few thousand meters away. Then I recall seeing a number of helos hovering above the smoke like humming birds. I say that because we heard that an injured marine had been propped up against a tree. He was later mortally injured when the tree fell over because of the prop wash of the hovering helos. Another unintended tragedy on the horrible day. I know that there were valiant efforts taken at all levels to care for the survivors and recover the victims with dignity. They were our brothers.
One of the immediate tasks for those who were not involved in the rescue and recovery activities was to determine who was on the bird. A first cut was to determine who was still in the field. I was tasked with the surrealistic job of taking a roll call at our camp. I recall standing in front of a formation of Marines from Kilo and Lima 3/9 with a clip board and calling our names, knowing that every Marine or corpsman who was not at our camp could have been on that bird. I do recall that quick and accurate identification of the survivors and victims was an issue. And I am sure that had an effect on friends and family back home.
A few days later I was fling back to Cubi and I was loaded in a CH 46 for the trip. In the center of the cargo area was one of the engines from the 53, being transported to the rear as part of the investigation. It was a grim reminder of the dangerous profession we had chosen. It was a somber flight to the base.
Thank you for allowing me to add another perspective to this incident. I mention it to fellow Marines and others as a tragic day. But it has been enlightening and uplifting to read the other accounts of those touched by the tragedy.

Keith A Enlow
11-04-09, 05:57 PM
I stumbled onto this site while looking into the days. Anyway I was with 2/3 out of Hawaii, Cpl Enlow comm man for Echo company. We where waiting return to our ship the USS Duluth, in a canyon to the side of this crash. I was taking message traffic and watched the whole thing take place. Its been a little while, however if anyone is interested in my account.

keith@yjdrilling.com

602-696-5734

:flag:ALWAYS FAITHFULL

TheWanderer
11-13-09, 10:22 PM
Thanks everyone, i didn't think anyone else was out there. After 32 years i stll see the faces, and countless bodybags. It was a horrific day i shall never forget.

jpetito
11-14-09, 12:55 PM
Yes, there are a lot of us out here-- see:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=156185791023

Jeff1977
11-24-09, 03:14 AM
butting in... was Jason Robinson in that crash? i'm just looking for him for years.

ameriken
11-24-09, 09:43 AM
Welcome aboard Jeff. Here's the manifest of those in the crash. Good luck finding your friend. Semper Fi :iwo:



:flag:In memory of those lost and injured on October 21. 1977

(based on govt report, if any errors please correct)

CREW HMH Ė 462

Crapse, John L., Capt
Gehardt, George M., Capt.
Casey, William Sgt.
Anderson, Charles, Sgt.

PASSENGERS Ė USMC Alpha

Aguirre, F R LC PL
Baker, A R LC PL
Bauer, J R PFC
Bennett, R N C PL
Bowman, Steve R LC PL
Brinkley, K W PFC
Dicag, A R CPL
Ernsberger Jr., L H CPL
Fitspatrich, M L LC PL
Hallam, O or O,Hallam CPL
Jones, B I PFC
LaFferre, M A PFC
Layne, H L LC PL
Quiane, M L LC PL
Schwartz, K K PFC
Smith, D G SGT
Suda, A LC PL
West, J L LC PL
Wright, D A PFC

PASSENGERS Ė USMC Bravo
Holman, E C PFC
Workman, J F SSGT
Jacobson, G J CPL
Morris, E J PFC
Fernald D G LC PL
Hancock, D G LCPL
Hathway, A W PFC
Kane, M PFC
Lane, E N PFC
Criega, R S LCPL
Ward, G J PFC
Perry, R G PFC


PASSENGERS Ė USN
Baxter, W C HA

Dolan, S R HN


Exercise Fortress Lightning, October 21, 1977

jhenderson
12-02-09, 09:32 PM
if you were 7th comm camp hansen then you know me i am cpl henderson for div adj ncoic every month every comm center had to pick up crypto codes from me at my vault on the hill at camp courtney i was on that exercise and on the uss new orleans

7th Comm Bn
12-04-09, 11:39 PM
if you were 7th comm camp hansen then you know me i am cpl henderson for div adj ncoic every month every comm center had to pick up crypto codes from me at my vault on the hill at camp courtney i was on that exercise and on the uss new orleans

Hey, Cpl Henderson. Semper Fi, my brother! I was a telephone tech, but I never made the trip to the vault. Wasn't there also a electronic calibration shop at Camp Courtney, where they calibrated oscilloscopes and other testing equipment? Or was that Camp Butler? We made a run down there one day to drop off some equipment and pick up some other. It was there I ran into one of my hometown buddies who I had gone through junior and senior high school with! Neither of us had known the other had enlisted in the Corps, and here we were, meeting up with each other halfway around the world; both of us Marines! Maybe you knew him, Cpl. Jeff Stockard...I think he was also a 2811?

Whether or not we ever met face to face, I feel I know you just the same!

The weirdest thing. When that crash happened, one of the things I wondered at the time, was would it ever be reported in the news back in the world. Weird.

dnicholson
12-05-09, 12:33 PM
I just found this group and thread. I was also in 3/4 with Joe Petito and on Mindoro that day. I believe that there were also others killed during Fortress Lightning, a sailor or two on one of the ships and a jet pilot who ejected into the ocean. I don't know if Joe remembers, but we later met two of the helicopter crash survivors on a bus from Camp Hansen to Kadena Hospital. Joe and I jumped with the Okinawa Marine Parachute Club and used to take the bus down to jump on weekends.

Dave

jpetito
12-05-09, 02:21 PM
For those recently searching, see the Facebook page: Mindoro Island October 21st 1977, to connect, to remember, and remind everyone who serve and have served that that service is not in vain.

Jpetito

paul steele
12-30-09, 11:19 AM
Hi Gloria - Thanks for that - that is really nice. You said you were published in the Congressional Records - ? Would you have a copy of that? We would really be intereste d in seeing it -

Thanks
My name is Paul Steele, I was team leader with the recon team sent to the site within minites of the crash and was the first person on the site, I have complete first man on site info and directed and set up all iniatial medical care and site work such as repell lines, evac lines, ect. I personaly free scaled the cliff immediatly upon arrival since the turrain was very steep and administered aid to All survivers and attempted to retrieve those trapped in the wreckage,my 7 man team was there withing 9 minites of the crash and many young men died in my arms , any information that I can provide to any survivors, family or comrads feel free to e.mail me, pmksteele@gmail.com

paul steele
12-30-09, 11:26 AM
My name is paul steele and was the recon team leader sent to the site to begin rescue and recovery, I was on the mountain within 9 minites and freescaled the revine immiediately and my self and my team of 7 went to work on the site with tending to the survivors, many who died in my arms, feel free to contact me pmksteele@gmail .com

paul steele
12-30-09, 07:20 PM
Anyone seeking info on the 53 crash and the rescue and recovery and AA situation can email me at pmksteele@gmail.com . I was the first person to the crash site and free climed directly to the bird with my team from 3rd Recon Btln, Grim Reaper, would be interested in anyone with any connection . Paul M. Steele Semper Fi

ameriken
12-30-09, 07:36 PM
Welcome aboard Paul. I just sent you a PM. Semper Fi

DVDMAC
01-12-10, 01:31 AM
I was assigned to HMH-462 then and was preflighting YF-15 at the time of mishap. All aircrafts were grounded from flight due to mishap. Quick crew assembled for evac to site. Preliminary info was (1) was water buffalo empty as required when debarking to ship, (USS New Orleans) with full packs onboard, gross weight questionable. Downdraft off hill possibly effects forward flight control.

sscjoe
01-13-10, 08:02 AM
My name is Dennis Fernald and too was on the CH-53 that went down on 10/21/77 at about 1030am. I was with Lima 3/9. I would like copies of any pictures that might be available and look forewards to talking with fwellow survivors. I went to Clark Air Force Base with 7 others for treatment and I know that only 5 went to Subic Bay!

I just got onto this site tonight!

Semper fI, Dennis

Dennis, shoot me a pm. I am in contact with L/Cpl Jacobsen

Joe

ameriken
01-13-10, 10:18 AM
Dennis, I had a recent contact with Mike Kane, who also survived. PM me if you want his #.

jpetito
01-13-10, 08:48 PM
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=156185791023



I was assigned to HMH-462 then and was preflighting YF-15 at the time of mishap. All aircrafts were grounded from flight due to mishap. Quick crew assembled for evac to site. Preliminary info was (1) was water buffalo empty as required when debarking to ship, (USS New Orleans) with full packs onboard, gross weight questionable. Downdraft off hill possibly effects forward flight control.

DVDMAC
01-16-10, 06:43 PM
Gloria: Back in Oct, 77 I was a L/Cpl assigned to HMH-462 flight line and deployed with S-1 clerk Sgt Anderson aboard the USS New Orleans. I and CPL Scott were preflighting YF-15 for flight when this mishap happened. I did not have a great deal of time to know him, but I do know he was a Sergeant of Marines. Semper Fidelis.

september 23
01-17-10, 04:58 PM
Gloria: Back in Oct, 77 I was a L/Cpl assigned to HMH-462 flight line and deployed with S-1 clerk Sgt Anderson aboard the USS New Orleans. I and CPL Scott were preflighting YF-15 for flight when this mishap happened. I did not have a great deal of time to know him, but I do know he was a Sergeant of Marines. Semper Fidelis.

wow, thank you so much for letting me know. He was very tall, 6'3' and I always hoped some time I would have contact with someone who remembered him. It is just nice to know. I have the big group picture of HMH 462 "Screw Crew" taken April 1977 with the helicopter in the background. I don't know if everyone got one or if it was something you had to buy. Chuck was very proud of it. Are you in it? Would you like a copy if you don't have it. Let me know. again, thank you, gloria

jpetito
01-17-10, 05:39 PM
Gloria-

Many of us would very much like to see your photo. Please see this link:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=156185791023

Joe Petito

DVDMAC
01-18-10, 12:16 AM
wow, thank you so much for letting me know. He was very tall, 6'3' and I always hoped some time I would have contact with someone who remembered him. It is just nice to know. I have the big group picture of HMH 462 "Screw Crew" taken April 1977 with the helicopter in the background. I don't know if everyone got one or if it was something you had to buy. Chuck was very proud of it. Are you in it? Would you like a copy if you don't have it. Let me know. again, thank you, gloria
Gloria: Yes I have one of those "Screw Crew" photos. I'm located in the third row up and the 7th Marine in from the right. I've got my arms crossed in front. Being that was my first WESTPAC tour, I took some photos of the sqadron and ports of calm. I'd be glad to share with you if you would like. I'm on FaceBook or you can send a message to dvdmac@socket.net. After my tour overseas was up, I got orders to HMX-1. Served on the Green side in the engine shop up in Larsons Gym building. Take the best of care. David

TKap77to79
02-27-10, 10:38 AM
I was there -- I am sorry I cannot remember the HAC's name. Before the MAFLEX landing; he had been a stateroom mate aboard USS Duluth, LPD-6 for one evening before D-Day. I was assigned to BLT 2/3 / 31st MAU, his 53 sqdn augmented our task force -- we were stationed at Kaneohe MCAS, his unit augmented from Okinawa, When the mishap occurred, I was on another hill about 2-3 clicks away and I am afraid I saw nothing more than the smoke from the accident. Later, I heard discussion about how the accident occurred, it was both very hot and humid, there were 39 aboard, 4 crew and 35 pax. I believe the investigation put the cause at loss of lift due to loss of tail rotor effectiveness / main rotor overspeed. My recollection is that 35 of 39 unfortunately perished -- 34 USMC, 1 USN. Years later I read an article us USNAVAIR Approach (or NA News, I cannot remember exactly which pub) that described the mishap in detail. Those lost were not elligible for hearts because we were not engaged with enemy forces at the time.

ameriken
02-28-10, 09:51 PM
Welcome aboard TKap. Joe Petito has a facebook page for anyone who has a connection to that day, you are welcome to join

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=156185791023

Semper Fi

CplBrian76
03-02-10, 06:38 PM
The October 27th incident has been on my mind a lot the past year. It drove me to research it in order to get some of my questions answered and to just come to some sense of closure if that is at all possible. Technology has certainly made things easier. In just a few hours I found more than I would have thought possible 10 years ago. Here is my story-
In October 1977, I was a Lance Corporal in the Marines. I was an aircrew survival equipment man (parachute rigger) in MWHS-1 stationed at MCAS Futenma on Okinawa. There was a shortage of first mechanics on the aircrews, so I was asked to begin training in addition to my regular MOS. Our squadron of C-117s was part of Operation Bayanihan IV/Fortress Lightning and had been flying in and out of a small gravel airstrip next to the beachhead on Mindoro. At night we flew back to Subic Bay and stayed in a hotel in Olongapo. The Navy airmen had secretly painted busted cherries on the tail of our C-117 after our first night there. I watched the recently released Star Wars film in a Filipino theater with life size figures of Darth Vader and Chewbaca out front the night before. On the morning of the 27th, we were taking a number of passengers to Mindoro. I was in the cabin of the C-117 chatting with passengers. There was a Marine mailman delivering his bag of letters. He said he was from Wisconsin. Me too! He said he was from Appleton. Me too! He said he had worked at a gas station on Meade Street. Me too! It turned out to be Tom Conard who had enlisted just before me, but we didnít recognize each other because our hair had been cut off. Well, we where having a good old time reminiscing about home when the first mechanic motioned for me to come up to the cockpit. The crew was looking out the window, and over the radio I could hear the mayday being broadcast. A plume of smoke arose from the jungle marking the site of the crash. Other helicopters were hovering around the crash trying to blow out the flames with their rotors according to our pilot. I went back to the cabin and prepared the passengers for landing. I told Tom what was happening and returned to the cockpit to land. No sooner had we landed and we were told to pull out the seats in order take on wounded. The airstrip was a single gravel runway with no tarmac and the jungle came right up to the edge. The locals had a DC-3 parked there, and we were told they used it to fly chickens to market (sounds like an Arlo Guthrie song). I remember a small village off the end of the runway and the Marines there told us to be careful as the locals were stealing anything not nailed down. They reported that a jeep had been stolen and that a ransom had been paid for its safe return. We were told to take the seats out of the plane to make room for stretchers. Then we were told to put them back in for ďwalking woundedĒ. Then we took them off and then back on again. I bet those seats went on and off six times that day. Perhaps they just wanted to keep us enlisted guys busy during the wait. All day long we waited and waited for the helicopters to bring in the casualties. Marines came and went from the airstrip all day with scuttlebutt. Having read today the stories from others on this web site, it seems much of it was quite accurate. We were told that a CH-53 had a full load of Marines with their gear and a water buffalo (water tank), which was being lifted externally. The torque caused its tail to rotor brake off. The helicopter went down spinning. It was said that the ramp was down and Marines were being thrown out the back as it spun out of control. We heard that some casualties had been found up in trees, and some where found a half mile from the crash site (an exaggeration?). The reason, we were told, for the long delay was that there was no landing zone nearby. Finally, the helicopters with the casualties landed at the airstrip, and the wounded were loaded onto the C-117, and off we went. I am not sure how many, but I think it was no more than ten. I remember the luckiest guy had two broken legs, and the severity of injuries rapidly increased with the others. One Marine whose feet had been flattened like pancakes, had urgent need of a foot surgeon. The pilots radioed ahead for a specialist. I suspect the wounded Marines probably were given morphine, as most of them were unresponsive. The one who lay next to me sticks in my mind the most. He was a large black or dark skinned fellow. He looked at me and kept saying, ďHelp me,Ē over and over again. I felt totally helpless and just wanted the plane to fly faster. I seem to remember his face being torn off and just hanging by the hair line. I was thankful when we landed- I think in Manila, and ambulances took charge of the wounded. We quickly returned to Mindoro to evac any others that may have come in while we were gone. Tom was still there. He said while we were gone body bags filled with the dead had been brought in and then had been flown out by another C-117 from MWHS-1. It is interesting that he reported many more body bags than what the official body count was. I assume this is because many bags did not contain a whole body. By that time the sun was starting to set and our gunny went to the MPs to ask for security because we were outside the perimeter of the beachhead which was surrounded by barbed-wire. He came back furious, because he had been denied any Marine guards. We were told to arm ourselves with whatever we could find. Being the aircrew survival equipment man, I knew exactly what was in the airplane. Soon we were armed with flare guns, hatchets, improvised weapons, and Molotov cocktails thanks to San Miguel bottles and av-gas. Eventually, a young private with a fake M-16 was sent to guard us. The crew stayed with the C-117 that night. Two slept in the cockpit, one slept on the wing, and another and I slept on the ground next to the wheels. Around one or two in the morning, I was awoken by shouts, and the planeís landing lights came on. I jumped up to see five or six guys diving back into the jungle. The fellow on the wing had gotten up so fast he fell off the wing. The men in the cockpit had been awake and said they had seen the intruders and that they were armed with machetes. The intruders did not come back. We did not get any more sleep. The next morning I cleaned up the blood from the cabin floor. For the next week we flew an incredible number of hours hauling people to Mindoro. My guess is some where investigators. The volume of passengers greatly increased. We were up before daybreak, flew all day long, and then returned to Subic Bay to service our plane, not getting more than a few hours of sleep before taking off again. We tried to catch cat naps whenever we had a chance- like when the plane was being refueled. One of the exciting things that happened right after the crash was that the other planes from MWHS-1 showed up, and we flew in formation. It was the only time I ever saw that happen and remember feeling quite proud. Meanwhile, we all ran out of money and the hotel wanted to be paid. I donít know how it was done, but one night one of the sergeants on our flight crew came in with a typewriter and a stack of blank government checks and typed us up some cash. It was a long week, and I was so glad to get back to Okinawa.
I always wondered if the guys we flew out made it and how they are doing today. If anyone has any news about that I would be appreciative. Hardly a day goes by that I donít think about it, especially now that my own kids have grown up and moved out. I have more time to think these days. One of my sons just graduated from navy boot camp (Where did I go wrong?). I look at him and think, ďThat is how old I was when it happened. And he is so young!Ē Well, that is my story, and Iím sure after 33 years the memory isnít what it used to be. I welcome any comments that could clarify or correct what I remember. When I found this website I was very excited to read the other accounts even though they raised even more questions in my mind. I notice no one has mentioned the role MWHS-1 played in the evacuation. I still own the Leatherneck Magazine which reported on the operation (no mention is made of the crash) as well as the issue of the Stars and Stripes Newspaper which reported the crash.

jpetito
03-09-10, 01:34 AM
It's amazing where we all were, what it was like then, and where we are now.

sscjoe
03-09-10, 06:54 AM
"I always wondered if the guys we flew out made it and how they are doing today. If anyone has any news about that I would be appreciative."

L/Cpl Glynn J. Jacobson(Jake) from Thornton Co, now lives in Omaha NE with his wife, Alexis, and kids. I speak with him a couple times a month

onepunchmar
04-03-10, 12:59 PM
Hello fellow Marine brothers
for some reason, i was thinking of the guys of the Minduro crash and since im not a computer guy, i was told to google it. to my ammazment, there it was. I was there and since my memory is so bad, i can only remember the sadness that spread thoughout the entire battalion. I was H&S Co. 3/9 station out of camp Shwab and if anybody out there remembers, we were in what was called "upper mau camp". I also remember being at the club and the band that was playing stoped and dedicated a song to the guys that pasted and went home. That song was "Color my world" by Chicago. i can remember everyone in that club whish was almost everybody cuase we were orderd to go by out company commander,started to cry. and, still today, after all these years, everytime i hear that song, i remember that day and have to change the radio station or just let it go and remember. it still hurts, now at 51 years of age, no one can relate exept for folks that were there. Thank you, my fellow marines out there who still remember. i thought i was the only one left that even cared.
Semper Fi
Mario Inocencio

ameriken
04-03-10, 02:38 PM
Glad to see you post your memories Mario. Glad we got to talk today about the crash and our Bn Supply memories.

joemk12
05-04-10, 04:29 PM
So the other day while watching the History Channel (or something) with my son (21 years old) some copters where featured and he asked "you where on an LPH, what kind of copter is that?" It was a CH-53 and just like that I was back 33 years on the USS New Orleans on that fatefull day! I was 19 and this was my first cruise, only been on the ship for about 5 months so still a boot. Word got back to the ship that there had been a bad crash and bodies would be flown back the the New Orleans as it was designated the "hospital ship". Later that day I was walking on the hanger deck and there before me was a long row of body bags, it just so happened they were starting to move the guys down to the coolers and needed help so I volunteered (that decision changed my life). We had to carry the guys down several ladders to below decks, and all the while doing this I had this thought that still haunts me today. "Back home the families of these guys are thinking they are safe and sound right now BUT I know they're not". All I could picture was someone driving up to my parents house and telling my Mom and Dad the news, I couldn't shake that thought, I felt almost guilty that I new something that was going to destroy so many lives. The next day the ship had a memorial service on the flight deck for all that perished. A chaplin spoke, there was a gun salute and a bugler played Taps. I got out of the Navy in 1980 and went on with my life then one day watching some war show Taps was played and I lost it in front of all my friends. No one knew what's wrong with Joe? How do you explain something like this to people that have never served overseas or saw what we did???????? This happened a number of times over the years and always triggered by hearing Taps. I would always just try and blow it off but finally my wife asked "what is up". I sat her down and told the story, she is the only person I've every told this to and it will stay that way. Finding this thread and reading all your stories is truely the best therapy I could ever ask for. For the guys that did the recovery work on the beach, my heart goes out to you for what you had to go through. For the survivors of that crash, I hope you all found some peace and are OK today. While carrying those guys down the ladders, I wondered "what's their names?" 33 years later I now know. Gloria, you are the people that got to me most, because I knew something you didn't and it ripped my heart out knowing what you would soon find out. Because of that day I've always looked at life in a different way than most. Sure it changed me but in a good way, each one of those guys that I carried gave me something that no one else ever could, a TRUE appreciation for life and a type of respect that words can't convey for folks that have served and givin the ultimate.

Take care all,

HT2 Joe McCarthy
USS New Orleans
5/7/77 - 10/8/80

ameriken
05-05-10, 12:08 PM
Thanks for your story Joe. You and others have raised one issue that I just realized myself: I haven't talked about this with anyone except those here on this thread.

joemk12
05-05-10, 12:22 PM
I dug up my 1977 WESTPAC cruise book looking for info and not much. They didn't even mention the accident, guess things where different back then. Anyway here's what is listed.

Joe

september 23
05-18-10, 02:12 PM
"Gloria, you are the people that got to me most, because I knew something you didn't and it ripped my heart out knowing what you would soon find out. Because of that day I've always looked at life in a different way than most. Sure it changed me but in a good way, each one of those guys that I carried gave me something that no one else ever could, a TRUE appreciation for life and a type of respect that words can't convey for folks that have served and givin the ultimate."

Dear Joe, was very anxious to get back to the computer to read your story and when I did it was so amazing to me for this reason - I believe the crash took place on a thur., u.s. time. and they did not come to the door to tell me until Saturday afternoon. That morning I got a dozen red roses in the mail from the overseas florist that Chuck sent and the card read, "thanks for marrying me". I kept telling the casualty officer he can't be dead because I just got the roses. It was his silent horrified expression that made me realize it was true. For the longest time I was obsessed with those three missing days. How could he be gone for three days and I could not feel it? If they waited another day, would I have had one more dream day? I was so amazed that you were so aware, at 19 years old, of the time difference to the families. Like so many men who participate in this website, you are one special guy!

Chuck and I had our honeymoon at Niagara Falls. One day he turned me towards a tourist bus unloading a bunch of seniors. He said he wanted us to always do things together and have fun even when we are old, like the people getting off the bus. I said" My God Chuck we are only in our 20's, lets get thru our honeymoon first!. This week on vacation with Jeff and the dog, or my "two" hound dogs as I like to refer to them, I had such a wonderful time I could not help but think that I really did end up having the happy ending that Chuck envisioned for me on our honeymoon.

joemk12
05-18-10, 03:21 PM
Hey Gloria,

Welcome home !!!!!

I often wondered just how long it did take before families where notified, UGH, I can't imagine........ More importantly it's SOOOOOOO good to hear life has taken care of you. Oh and by the way..... YOU'RE the one that's amazing, sharing the stuff you did is pretty awesome, we're just a bunch of guys doing what we do .......

Take care and enjoy !!

Joe

jpetito
05-19-10, 07:28 PM
Thanks Gloria-

You help put the real issues in perspective for many of us, and you have been a great example. We continue.

Joe.

MrTeeTyme
06-05-10, 10:43 AM
Brian:

Are you still around? I tried to send you an email but it bounced back.

John



Hi, my name is Brian I was in your brothers platton, and knew your brother very well. He was so great I miss him, I too would be intrested in learning more. Also if it is not to presumptous I have lost all my photo's of my time with these guys. Would love to be able to get a photo of Steven. I was on that mountain and took the 1st chopper down, was on the beach when this happened. Your brother was so well liked, I will always cherish our friendship your brother and I had. My e-mail address is brian1125@verizon.net if you would be intrested in getting in touch.

RC Nabs
08-07-10, 02:41 PM
I have spent the last two day reading all the posts about that hot and terribly sad October day on Mindoro, back when we were young men. I see that the discussion as pretty much moved from here to Facebook so I will post on FB as well. However, I feel a need, almost a compulsion to post here first. This is where it began and where after years of looking, I finally found a collective point of people with a common bond sharing stories, emotions and information that is so important to us all. This site for me has a very sacred and intimate feel to it, unlike the much more public FB, (altough the FB page is a great idea). Perhaps it is due to the fact that inorder for one to have found this site, requires one to have really searched for or sought out a place to connect. A place to bring, share and rest memories that have touched us all in so many different ways. Each comment, story and rememberance are like bouquets of flowers laid at the foot of a beautiful memorial. Some are single little flowers, all that is left following the unforgiving storms of time which washed away, the fresher more vivid memories. Others such as Gloria's and John's are full and as fresh and as beautiful as the day they first came to life. What a blessing it is to have Gloria, John and others cherish and adore our tiny little contributions, while we few Marines and Sailors are gifted with the sweet scent and beauty of their entire life garden of memories. I am going to write my story and then share it in a seperate post.

Semper Fi.
RC

GptSki
08-09-10, 08:41 PM
I was thinking about this crash the other day. I decided to google it and found this thread. I was stationed with the 3rd Recon Battalion at the time and was on the New Orleans as well. I dug out the pamphlet that I have of the Memorial Service that occurred aboard ship after the crash. It lists the proceedings, but not the names of the fallen. If anyone is interested in a copy, please let me know and I can email a copy.

jeffbiemiller
08-19-10, 01:59 PM
John I was a Cpl across the valley when the 53 went down and it was full of Marines.My squad and i were watching as one marine went on then off then on then off then on then off, It was fun to watch the whole thing. The chopper went up then chained up to the water trailor. When it picked it up the chain broke and flipped up and broke the tail roter. The chopper started going around in circles and couldn't put down for the hill was small and the hill broke away quickley. Thats when I knew it was going to crash,something we got use to. As soon as it hit the trees and fell apart then it wasn't long it exploded. I ttook off running to the sight and was one of the first from 3rd bat 4 marines on sight. Always wanted to know how many made it. I had used my t shirt for bandages and came back shirtless Went back to my unit befor dark. If you find any information on thoes who lived I would I would like that information Jeff CPL USMC 3/4

fullbird
08-26-10, 05:58 PM
Just found this site and discussion when I was researching the crash on Mindoro. GptSki, I was the OIC of the memorial service you mentioned on the New Orleans. I was assigned to H&S Co, 3/4 during that time. We saw the chopper go down from where we were set in on the other side of the mountain. Capt. Falasco, CO K/3/4 was sent to organize the rescue and recovery efforts after the crash and remained there until the last Marine was evacuated. Don't know who was first on the scene, but I do remember everything that happened that day as I was manifested to be on that chopper as a strap hanger to return to 3/4 Bn area. I was then told that it was an aggressor chopper so I got manifested on an earlier CH-46 that was empty. I hadn't been back at the 3/4 assembly area 30 minutes when the chopper went down. Many of the accounts wrt what happened are good, but as I recall, it was a lanyard strap [the kind they use for hauling cargo] that snapped and wrapped around the tail rotor and snapped it off. Not nitpicking, just trying to clarify.

There are many issues surrounding that crash that bother me to this day. But, it was a long time ago. Unfortunately, I don't have a roster of those who died that day, but, if you would be so kind, I'd greatly appreciate a copy of the Memorial Service. [acpendleton@msn.com]. Thanks.

Semper Fi
Al

ameriken
08-26-10, 07:52 PM
@ fullbird and jeffbiemiller. Thank you for your thoughts. I thought I was cracking up...when I first made my post on page 2, the memory I had of the incident was as you both confirmed. The cable hauling the water buffalo broke and hit the tail rotor. When I later read the other reports which had to do with the 53 being underpowered, I had wondered if I was remembering something I had never actually heard. So I appreciate the clarification.

Thanks for everything you did that day for our brothers. Semper Fi. :flag:

fullbird
08-26-10, 09:53 PM
No problem, ameriken. Funny how I can't remember what I had for breakfast, by that day, I remember very clearly. Guess because it was the first time I'd seen Marines KIA. I was recording the details for the Bn CO for that incident. Nasty job. Unfortunately, as I indicated before, I wasn't taking down names, just actions and numbers of survivors and those who didn't survive.

For september 23, my heartfelt condolences go out to you for the pain and suffering you endured for the loss of your husband. I am pleased to see that you have persevered and moved on in life. Casualty calls are very difficult events for those who receive the terrible news as well as those who must bear the news.

Since I don't tweet or facebook, I can still be reached here for those who may have other questions.

Semper Fi,
Al

september 23
09-22-10, 06:47 PM
8867

ameriken
09-28-10, 01:35 PM
Thanks for posting such a personal picture Gloria. Knowing that date now explains your username. I wish I'd have known Chuck. Your stories tell of a great guy, husband, and Marine.

Oct 21 has been on my mind again. I remember that time clearly when we got the news, and when I was flown to that beach on Mindoro to prepare those parts of the 53 to be shipped to the rear. I remember going through the personal effects and gear back in Okinawa.

It is so sad that there are so many Marines who died that day who seem to have slipped away into the unknown and unremembered. I pray that more family, friends, and fellow Marines will find this thread or the Facebook page and post a story or a photo about their Marine who gave his life that day.

bbaxter4
10-12-10, 12:22 AM
Wow, it's pretty hard seeing my name on that list, not to mention the others. I was the one Corpsman that lived, Steve Dolan was my best friend. I never did find out how many of us survived for sure. I was pretty sure Smitty didn't make it, he was sitting on the floor. I wound up with some pretty serious burns, a broken leg and three crushed vertebrae. Seems like I was the last man out. Yeah, it still bothers me too. For all you guys that were there and helped, you'll always have my heart felt thanks.

jpetito
10-12-10, 07:42 AM
To BBaxter4:

Thank you, from all of us, and for correcting the record.

bbaxter4
10-12-10, 02:06 PM
CplBrian,
as one who was in the helo, let me clear some things up for you. No one was thrown from the back of the helo. we were spinning around so fast that I remember seeing three or four fall out.I heard later that there were a couple found alive in the trees. Nobody was given morphine, they took those out of our Unit ones (med bag) before we left on float. The reason people looked sedated was from nothing more than shock. I do remember that C-117, it took some of us to Clark and I was scared to death of it, but thankful for you guys. You did a great job evaacing us quickly. I lost track of the rest of the survivors, but I'm here in TN and doing fine. Thank you for thinking of us.

september 23
10-21-10, 09:38 AM
you are all in my thoughts today, God Bless

ameriken
10-21-10, 10:46 AM
And you are too Gloria, as well as the 37 who survived and died 34 years ago today.

We remember you all. Semper Fi.

1976-80usmcdoc
11-01-10, 07:52 PM
It is odd how I came about finding this site. I hope what I have to share is helpful and relevent. I was at the crash site. I was serving w/ 2/3 1st Marine Brigade. I was a young corpsman w/ Echo company. It is very clear to me what I saw and the "numbers" involved. There where 44 men on board, only 11 survived. These numbers where from the crash site. We had no access to any information beyond what we saw and knew. I read the offical report on this blog. Blamed it on new more powerful engine without tail rotor compensation. Word on the ground was upon lifting the water buffalow (watertank), the cables snaped, flug up into the main rotor causing the devestation. Further details are not needed but I would like to add this. I have been married for 23 years and had never shared this with her. Sharing now and feeling the need to reply, my wife asked me how I handled what I had to do. For those who died I could feel no remorse, there was nothing else I could do for them. It was those loved ones far away at that moment who didn't know yet what they where gonna hear that effected me. For those who lost a love one that day, I/we who served that day did all we could do, and I'm sorry.

1976-80usmcdoc
11-01-10, 08:43 PM
I stumbled onto this site while looking into the days. Anyway I was with 2/3 out of Hawaii, Cpl Enlow comm man for Echo company. We where waiting return to our ship the USS Duluth, in a canyon to the side of this crash. I was taking message traffic and watched the whole thing take place. Its been a little while, however if anyone is interested in my account.

keith@yjdrilling.com

602-696-5734

:flag:ALWAYS FAITHFULL
saw your post. Iwas with 1st platoon, ECHO Co. 2/3, Dave "Doc" Morris. Hope you are well

SGT DDS
11-04-10, 10:26 PM
Info About a 1977 Helicopter Crash

I was one of the H&S Co 3/9 Company Armorer when this tragic accident happened back in October 77. We personally knew the Armorers in Kilo Co. as well as their CO. It was a bad time for all those in 3/9 as we lost many fellow Marines that day. We became involved as the H&S Co Armory was located right next to Kilo Co Armory. All of the weapons that were on board had to be recovered and accounted for so we helped out however we could at that time. The story we heard in the Armory and on the Stars and Stripes was the Sea Stallion had a full compliment of Marines on board when it tried to lift off with a full water buffalo (water container) underneath. It was taking off in an area that was against a canyon of sorts. We were told that a wind shier of sorts caused the Helo to rotate and with the added weight of the water buffalo underneath it started to swing into the cliffs. The pilot tried to compensate but the rear rotors came into contact with the cliff. From that point on the details were a bit sketchy as far as what happened. But the end result was that many Marines that day lost their lives. You will be comforted to know that there was a memorial service held for the lost Marines and it was very well attended. I rotated back to the States Nov 8th 77 a week after coming off float and this was one of the last memories I came home with from Okinawa. So we never heard the official details of the accident. But reading the above accident report it seems to be right with what we heard back then.

ACCIDENT DETAILS

Date: October 21, 1977
Time: 10:30
Location: Mindoro, Philippines
Operator: Military - U.S. Marine Corps
Flight #: ?
Route: ?
AC Type: Sikorksky CH-53 (helicopter)
Registration: 157139
cn / ln: ?
Aboard: 37 (passengers:? crew:?)
Fatalities: 31 (passengers:? crew:?)
Ground: 0
Summary: After lifting a water container the aircraft began rotating until control was lost and contact was made with the ground, shearing off the tail rotor and a large portion of the tail assembly. New engines were installed in the CH-53s to increase the power of the main rotor and on a whole to make the helicopter more powerful. However, it was soon evident that the tail rotor could not balance the increased power created by the main rotor. Under certain conditions the aircraft would become unstable and lose directional heading. Sikorsky warns of these conditions. To compensate for the mistake that had been made, Sikorsky designed and tested a bell crank system to stabilize the rear rotor. After seven years, this helicopter was still not retrofitted with the bell crank system. Gross weight of the container exceeded the lifting capacity of the helicopter. No restrains used by the passengers.


When we lose one Marine we all lose a part of ourselves. I am so sorry you lost your brother in that tragic accident 31 years ago. I send my condolences to you and yours. God Bless you all

Semper Fi
Sgt DDS
H&S Co 3/9 Armory
"Nov 76-Nov 77"

september 23
11-11-10, 09:08 AM
To all the vets that visit this sight, thanks. gloria

TheDuck808
11-11-10, 02:10 PM
Aloha!

I have often wondered about this crash as I, too, was there in 1977.
This was on the Island of Mindoro.
I was assigned to the Shore Party platoon, LSU Golf, as an electrician. We were Hawai'i based Marines (1st MarBde) and this was the first WESTPAC deployment of Hawai'i based units in many years.

We had learned of the crash earlier in the day.
As dusk fell a call went out for a floodlight unit and I was sent up with the floodlight to the hilltop were the recovery was being directed.
The floodlight was carried external by a CH-53 and I was on board. The pilot was able to drop off the floodlight but the hilltop was too small to safely land a'53 on... so we flew back down to the LZ and I boarded a CH-46 that was going back up with more supplies.
It was heart wrenching to know that these Marines had perished.
It was known that the 'bird was fully loaded with troops and also carrying a full "water buffalo"externally. What we couldn't figure out is why the crew chief didn't just cut the external load loose.
I have Googled this info before but always came up with zilch.
I am glad to have found this site and to know that so many remember what happened.

SGT Harris USMC 1975 - 80

bbaxter4
11-19-10, 06:51 PM
He did try and cut the buffalo loose, both crewmen dove at the cable and were yanking on it. The buffalo came loose and smashed into the ground but at the same time the tail rotor dug in. That was right before it turned into an E ticket ride, the damage was done. I know this only because I was sitting at the Hell Hole and had a perfect view of everything.

Notyeti
12-05-10, 03:02 PM
I too was there. I came over in BLT 2/3 with Bravo battery 1/12 on the USS Duluth. I was a scout observer out with the infantry. I heard that it was caused by over loading, specifically an external ďWater BuffaloĒ. Either way it was horrible, and the tales from the site were not good. We were sitting across a valley and could see the wreckage and the smoke plume. I think it happened towards the end of field exorcise after it had been extended. Lots of heat casualties. I still feel for those Marines. I now have a son in the Navy and one in the Army. Semper Fi. Rich Woodburn

SNestler
02-02-11, 11:49 AM
Thank you all very much for this thread. Bill Casey was a close friend of mine. I've often wondered about that day, Bill was my deck Sgt. in Tenn. and roomie in Ca. before he left for the Rock. I just joined and found this link a couple of days ago and glad to see these MARINES ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!!
Semper Fi!! Too all Marines and Marine family,
Steve N Cpl. 361 Avi. 75-79

RNeal 2531
03-05-11, 07:19 PM
I was with Radio Platoon, H & S Company, 7th Comm. Bn. during Operation Fortress Lightning. I literally watched that Ch-53 go down no more than a click away from where our LST dropped us off. That particular tragic incident was my own personal reveille call.

Semper Fi brothers....

sscjoe
03-06-11, 12:05 AM
I was with Radio Platoon, H & S Company, 7th Comm. Bn. during Operation Fortress Lightning. I literally watched that Ch-53 go down no more than a click away from where our LST dropped us off. That particular tragic incident was my own personal reveille call.

Semper Fi brothers....

My Brother, please fill out your profile so we can reach out to you.

RNeal 2531
03-06-11, 03:08 AM
My Brother, please fill out your profile so we can reach out to you.

Apologies. It's been a while since I last visited this site. Hopefully my profile is up to date now.

RNeal 2531
03-07-11, 05:57 PM
In Remembrance of my fallen brothers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in training for the defense of our nation in Operation Fortress Lightning - Mindoro Beach, Republic of Phillipines - October 21, 1977.

Although I didn't personally know the Marines and Sailors who lost their lives on that mountainside that swelteringly hot and humid day - I was there as part of that exercise - and I'll never forget the pall that tragedy, that took place on our (my battalion's) first full day of the Marine amphibious brigade exercise, cast over the remainder of the operation.

My unit (HqCo., 7th Communications Battalion- 3rd MarDiv) had arrived the day before with Task Group 76 aboard the USS Barbour County LST-1195 after leaving Buckner Bay, Okinawa on (or about) October 13th.

As a LCpl, I was a Telephone & Switchboard Repairman (2811). Having been trained for maintanence on one of the high-tech (at that time) TRC vans, I was assigned to the CP area to work inside the Communications (telephone) van. Leading up to the events of October 21st, my most vivid memory of Mindoro is that it was hot! The day we arrived, and all through that night, it was so hot and humid that I remember sweating just laying in my cot that first night trying to get some sleep. We had a tent, you know, with the mosquito netting around your cot. The mosquitos were huge malaria-carrying buggers.

I remember being awokened that morning by the screaming sound of Harriers low-flying directly above our tents! Man...it sounded like they were about 1o feet above us! That got the juices flowing...

When we stepped out into the sunlight...it felt like it was instantly 100 degrees plus! and 100% humidity...sticky. Fortunately for me, the van I worked in was air-conditioned! It had to be designed that way to keep the printed circuit boards cool.

We had barely gotten started, it seems, when we heard the explosion and saw the tuft of smoke rise above the mountain. Then the news of the crash came down to us, and that lives had been lost in a helicopter crash. A pall came over the whole CP area as grim-faced Lieutenants, Captains, Warrant Officers, and Colonels seemed to instantly have more in common with Sergeants, Corporals, and Privates.

But more than a pall...a comraderie...a resolve overcame the men taking part in that Operation...A resolve to rededicate ourselves to a man to complete that mission successfully...to do the best we could do at whatever was our assigned tasks. To not let the sacrifice of those men's lives be in vain. We grew up that day...and we bonded as a unit.

When we were back on board ship after the mission was completed, there was a moving memorial held on the parade deck for the men who lost their lives on Mindoro.

My prayers still go out to their families and their fellow Marines, Sailors, and friends. They died as Marines...serving their country...
I pray you can take solace in that.
Godspeed to those men...
And Godspeed to you.
:flag:

I was also with 7th Comm Bn. on board the USS Barbour County during Operation Fortress Lightning. I was a field radio operator (2531) with Radio Platoon, H&S Company back then. The tragedy that unfolded that day has been burnt into my memory for all of eternity. I was amazed to find so many fellow Marines and Sailors who remember that day. God Bless each and every one of you....

Roger, out....

chicagojohn
04-04-11, 04:45 PM
I was in Lima 3/9 weapons platoon before they went on float. I knew Sgt Smith Sgt White, Ernnsberger (who could forget his beautiful girl pinned up on his cubicle)Hancock, Those were my fellow machine gunners. Sgt Smith transferred me out of the platoon when word came that the 4th marines at Hanson needed machine gunners. I begged Sgt Smith at the time to get some one else..I wanted to go on float with my buddies, I trained at CTA and NTA with em I deserved it. Little did I know the sad fate I had escaped at the time. I saw the 53 lose control, saw the water buffalo drop, saw it crash and the plumes of black smoke billowing from the jungle trees. They brought the killed up to my hill for another chopper ride to my ship USS New Orleans LPH they put the bodies in a reefer that served as a temp morgue. I volunteeered for the seven gun salute off our flight deck. I remember it like yesterdat I am John Huttner I was a PFC I picked up lance with 3/4 and CPl later on anyone want to talk : johnhuttner@sbcglobal.net

chicagojohn
04-05-11, 11:20 AM
I apologize if this is the wrong forum for this question.

I'm looking for information about a helicopter crash my brother, Lance Cpl. Steven Bowman was killed in. From what I remember it was a CH53 helicopter crash on Oct. 20 or 21, 1977. I believe it was in the Philippines. It killed 24 of the 37 onboard.

Does anyone remember this and know where I can find more information about it?

Thanks.

John You can contact me at johnhuttner@sbcglobal.net

chicagojohn
04-05-11, 11:21 AM
I was in your brothers unit butwas transferred before the unit went on float. I was on the adjacent hill and watched the crash.

Navgunoff1977
04-14-11, 01:01 PM
Please let me send my prayers to all of you affected by the helicopter crash in the Philippines in 1977.

I was a Naval Gunfire Officer in the artillery battalion 2/12 and we were attached to 3/9 Marine Unit. I was in another helicopter that night as we were in our training mission.

My last memory is standing next to our Unit Chaplain who was a Mormon and a very spiritual guy as we were watching the backpacks and personal effects lined up to go home to the victims loved ones. We prayed that day in the Philippines for each one of the men who were serving their country.

I considered it an honor to serve with the Marine Corps and had developed an enormous respect for the courage and values of the Marines in my Naval Gunfire Support Unit and the men of 3/9.

I have some old pictures that I want to go through if I any are pertinent I can send them on to any of you who may want them.

God Bless....I just turned 60 years old last month but can remember that day in the Philippines as if it was yesterday.

jpetito
04-14-11, 01:54 PM
Navgunoff1977-
Thank you for your post. You may have known Captain Ferguson, an F-4 pilot and ALO for H&S 3/4, who coordinated aircraft communications at the top of the hill that day.
On those pictures: many of us would be grateful if you were to scan and post them to the Facebook page Mindoro Island.
J. Petito

searay43
04-18-11, 01:29 PM
Hello:

I kind of found this sight by accident while doing a search for this accident, I was also there that day and watched along with my radio operator when the CH 53 and all the men on board crashed on that mountain top. I was a forward observer at the time with 2nd bn 3rd marines attached to fox company, we were on top of another ridge at the time getting ready to move out. My self and the radio operator had moved a little ways down the side of the ridge and were finishing up our equipment check and battery change for the radio. We had a couple minutes to spare before we moved out so we sat down and had a smoke, we were sitting there and we could see on the other mountain top a CH 53 moving into position to pick something up. When the CH 53 started up with the load we could see it was a water buffalo, when the wheels of the tank cleared the ground the tank swung out quite violently; when that happened the nose of the helicopter went into a nose down attitude toward the ground. It was at this point the CH 53 went out of control and to our horror crashed.

The one thing that haunts me about that day was a few seconds before they lost control was our radio came on and someone said either were going down or itís going down. I donít know to this day if there was a radio operator on that CH 53 trying to get a message out or if it was someone on the ground. I do know that after the crash that voice did not come back on the radio. I talked to several other radio operators that day and know one else heard that message. I remember watching the rescue operations for most of the day from a clearing they had moved us to and I also remember the silence and sadness among all the men that day.

20 some years after that day I was at work and met a new guy there when we were outside, we got to talking and found out he was also in the marines during the time I was. Well to my surprise he was one of the survivors of that crash, I believe his last name is ward. He shared some of the story with me and I could tell it was painful for him to talk about so I changed the subject. We didnít get a chance to talk to much after that meeting as the place we worked was so big. We always said hello to each other in passing but never talked about that day again. There hasnít been a day I havenít thought about that moment in time or the men that died that day especially in the last 10 years. I was really shocked and amazed that other people were still feeling the things I do about that day and how many people were brought together. Those men my fellow brothers will always be remembered, and many thanks to the others that shared their thoughts about that day.

Semper Fi

susannaOH
06-10-11, 10:32 AM
Thanks to Gloria for letting me know about this thread.

My uncle, Owen Hallam was one of the Marines who died in this crash. Never had the privilege of meeting him because I was not yet born. Never-the-less he is one of my heroes. If any of you knew him it would be great to hear from you.

brian1125
06-14-11, 10:52 PM
Sorry its been so long checking back on this site, I found a site when I googled from suzzana inquiring of her Uncle she never knew Cpl Owen Hallam. As a young man under Cpl Hallam's command I got to know a great man who became my friend and mentor. I miss him so much, He was just a good man, much wiser and smarter than someone that young. Last summer I started googling cemetaries to try and find my friend. I got lucky and found him listed in a cemetary in Waynsburg Pa. I rode there and as I walked through I thought how am I ever going to find him in this big place, then i noticed the flag and his name. It took me 31 years but I finally visited my friend Cpl. Owen Hallam. While sadness overwhelmed me Especially when I saw he was buried next to his mom who also died very young. I couldn't help but wonder how his family was, hoping they had found peace. I sat there looking out over the hillside at the beautiful view. I have been back a few times since I took my 15 yr old son to visit. We just sat on that beautiful hillside quiet and peaceful. I only knew Cpl. Hallam for a year, but this man in that year touched my life like very few others. God Bless all
Brian
My e-mail change it is brian1125@comcast.net

brian1125
06-14-11, 11:05 PM
John sorry brother my new e-mail is brian1125@comcast.net Hope your doing ok . Shoot me an e-mail when you can.

Brian

brian1125
06-14-11, 11:11 PM
Suzzanna Hi, we spoke briefly awhile back via e-mail. I hope you are doing well, and I hope this site can help you locate more people who knew your uncle. I think about you guys from time to time and just want you know you have a great HERO in your Uncle and aways believe one day you will meet your hero in heaven.

God Bless Brian

leohimes
07-01-11, 02:56 PM
Hey Marines, I was a Ssgt with the screw crew on Mindoro on that awlful day. My heart goes out to all that has to suffer and remember. We were just getting ready to fly back to the New Orleans when the news came. The best i can remember is that the water buffalo was suppose to be empty but it had been full. Before the crew could cut the cargo cable the tail rotor shaft failed. I heard both stories that the YF went into the side of a mountain, and that it went over the cliff. I don't know for i was in camp. Any info can be sent to leohimes@yahoo.com or on Facebook Happy 4th and always remember what we are celebrating:flag:

susannaOH
07-04-11, 08:18 PM
Suzzanna Hi, we spoke briefly awhile back via e-mail. I hope you are doing well, and I hope this site can help you locate more people who knew your uncle. I think about you guys from time to time and just want you know you have a great HERO in your Uncle and aways believe one day you will meet your hero in heaven.

God Bless Brian


Brian, I do remember exchanging emails with you. They have mean't a lot to me. We buried my Grandfather (Owen's father) back in the Spring and I thought of you when we were at the graveside service. Glad you were able to visit Owen's grave.

Hardguy
07-23-11, 10:28 PM
I was there on the flight deck of the USS New Orleans the day 462 lost one. If anybody wants info I will supply what I can which is not much. Former US Marine Sgt "Hardguy" Houston HMM-165 (composite)

Hardguy
07-28-11, 07:46 PM
I still have the newspaper article from the Navy Times.

Hardguy
08-08-11, 11:29 PM
I was there on the USS New Orleans e me at jimhouston@hotmail.com

ameriken
10-19-11, 10:56 PM
Oct 21 is on my mind again. So many years ago, so many lives lost, so many lives ruined. May God Bless them all. :iwo:

september 23
10-21-11, 09:06 AM
It is a comfort to me to have such a wonderful group of people to honor those lost, injured, and those who still struggle on this day and to help each other get through it. You have all been a blessing to me and you are in my thoughts today along with my husband, Sgt. Charles "Andy" Anderson. God bless all of you.

Ironryder54
10-25-11, 05:12 PM
I was there that terrible day in our Corps history, I was suppose to be on that bird but circumstances changed it. I still have dreams of it and those who died as some were friends in my Co. Never forget Sgt. Brown, If memory serves me right he was to be discharged in 30-40 days, Layne was a friend, god was with him that day for he was spared. After all these yrs whenever I see, hear a copter I'm assured to have a dream ( PTSD ), I remember some flipping us off when bording, we were the bad guys so was there longer, 2 showers,many c-rations and crotch rot like no tomorrow, The Corpman gave us dessenex ointment for it, danced around like lil monkeys. I know they all in the Marine Barracks in the sky with Chesty,Dan and Smedley getting ready for the Marine Corp Ball/Birthday, I think alot of you my fallen brothers and know that I will always be Semper Fi !!

Brad9861
11-11-11, 07:38 PM
I was part of the recovery effort as well. I was a SGt with MWCS-18 out of Camp Butler. I was down at the crash site from just about 10 minutes or after the Chopper went down. I was at the site for a very long time...until sometime the next day. The General from 3rd MarDiv frew me off the Mnt top where the Chopper got in trouble in the first place in his Huey. I believe I was the last on out of the recovery. Very tragic and sory for your loss. I may have seen some of the guys when I was on the New Orleans but I did not know any of them.

sjedlane
12-07-11, 12:43 PM
I appreciate the treatment, I was one of the survivors you probably helped. They flew me to you before going on to Clark Hospital.

sjedlane
12-07-11, 12:44 PM
No, purple hearts are only awarded during time of war.

sjedlane
12-07-11, 02:21 PM
I just happened onto this site this morning. Really good to see so much dialogue in regards to this day in my memory. I am PFC Lane, EN. I was fortunate to wake up wrapped around a tree 10/21/77. I've managed to wake up every day since. I still think of my brothers and try and honor them with a good life. I now have a 23 year old Marine Corp E4 son.

I'd be happy to answer any questions or share any info...

Hardguy
12-08-11, 06:34 PM
I remember standing on the flight deck of the USS New Orleans and watching the plume of smoke coming up from the jungle. Anyone who wishes to E me may do so directly at jimhouston@hotmail.com

september 23
12-11-11, 05:20 PM
From all accounts it is a miracle that any of you survived. I hope your injuries were not too bad. Holiday Blessings to you and your family.

Hardguy
12-11-11, 06:41 PM
I was on the New Orleans, I helped transport those that did not survive. Very sad day, very sad.

sjedlane
12-12-11, 07:11 AM
From all accounts it is a miracle that any of you survived. I hope your injuries were not too bad. Holiday Blessings to you and your family.
The injuries were life threatening at the time however, I was as high spirited then as I am now. Happy Holidays to you as well.

ameriken
12-12-11, 01:46 PM
The injuries were life threatening at the time however, I was as high spirited then as I am now. Happy Holidays to you as well.

Lane, I've been trying to remember the name of a Marine that I served on mess duty with that the Camp Schwab chow hall who was killed on that bird.

I think I've got it, but I'm not exactly sure and thought I'd see if you might remember.

From what I remember, he was a rather big guy and I think he was either Hawaiin or Samoan and was a Lcpl at the time. Really good guy. I know those details are sketchy, but does any of that ring a bell? Would you have any pics of the folks in your unit that was on that bird?

I probably met you and every one of those guys at one time or another, since I was the guy who dished out the duece gear at Bn Supply. Sadly, I also had to sort through some of the personal effects of some of them when we went back to Schwab.

Thanks and Semper Fi to you and your son!!! :flag:

motor t sgt
12-17-11, 06:40 AM
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in motor t on or near the beach. We heard about it and couldn't believe it. I think of those guys from time to time. Semper Fi

cesmoot
12-22-11, 06:12 PM
I was there during operation "fortress lightning" in Oct of 1977. I was stationed aboard the USS New Orleans and was a Marine Sgt. newly assigned with Kilo Co. 3/4 under the command of Capt. Felasco. I was also part of the rescue and recovery effort. I was on the ground and saw the aftermath of the crash. Elements of my unit were one of the first to get there. I don't want to share details here, but I recall the Co-Pilot (an African American 1st. Lt. if my memory is correct) survived and was able to walk out. It was a tragic loss that affected us all. I served with Sgt. Matsen who knew many of the 9th. Marines who were lost that day. My heart goes out to you and the families of our brothers who died that day. I know this post was started some time ago. Perhaps you have the answers you were seeking. God bless you. cesmoot@aol.com

Hardguy
12-22-11, 10:15 PM
cesmoot, Thank you for sharing your memories of that fateful day and Merry Christmas......Hardguy

Hardguy
01-03-12, 12:27 PM
No purple hearts losses were not due to enemy action.

Stubblefield
01-14-12, 02:43 PM
I was the chaplain assigned to 3/9. Col. Stableford was the new CO having just arrived a month or two before the crash. I recall he was devastated by this tragedy. Major Willis was the XO. Quite a character who I remember fondly.
I was with many of these young men the Sunday before the crash. We spent the week together in what I recall was oppressive heat. I held a church service in the field attended by many who lost their lives. I recall that the topic of my sermon that day was finding happiness and peace in the moment. I recall quoting a verse from 2 Peter which states that one day to God is 1000 years to men. I then equated that to 1 hour of God's time is 42 years of our time and that it was important that we find peace and happiness now, because no one is guaranteed how much time we will be given in this life. Of course, none of us knew that in just days, some of these wonderful young men would die.
I went to the beach on an earlier helicopter the day of the accident. LIke everyone else, I saw the column of smoke and boarded the next helicopter to the crash site. IT was in steep terrain and I remember the locals helping clear things out with machetes. I will never forget the scene or the heroic efforts of the rescuers. My recollection is that 13 survived of the 37 on board.
Most of us had been together 10 months and were looking forward to going home before Christmas. Mindoro was the last stop of a five month deployment and we returned to Camp Schwab.
I think often of my year with 3/9. Not only were their deaths tragic, but the contributions they would have made to their country and their families are dealry missed.

God bless all of you.
Jim Stubblefield

ameriken
01-16-12, 03:04 PM
Thanks for your post Chaplain, and thank you for your service and for the part you had in their lives, it had to be a blessing for them all. May God Bless you as well.

Semper Fi!

mikeethekane
01-31-12, 10:00 AM
Semper Fi everyone, I just found this site today, and saw this thread.

I was in Subic Bay with Bn Supply, H&S Co, 3/9 when it happened.

I knew 2 who were on board, a big Hawaiian or Samoan guy (cannot remember his name) whom I pulled mess duty with in Camp Schwab, he was killed in the crash. The other was Michael Kane. I flew with him from Ft Hamilton in Brooklyn to SC and on to Parris Island, where we were in boot camp in the same Platoon (185). Kane survived the crash. From the way I remember it, he was injured (broken arm or leg), but somehow managed to get to a top of a hill, met someone there (rescue team?), saluted and said "I'm a gunji mutha f-----r, sir!"

The explaination I heard after it happened, is the 53 was fully loaded with Marines with full combat gear and alice packs, and in addition the 53 was carrying a water buffalo via cable below it. The cable snapped, whipped back up at the tail rotor, causing the 53 to lose control and rotate, ejecting several Marines out the back, and then subsequently rolled down a hill.

After it occured, I was ordered to Mindoro (nervously via 53) for the sole purpose of banding what was left of the 2 turbines and tail rotor stem to a couple of pallets. I believe those were the largest and/or most recognizable parts left of the accident.

My heart goes out to everyone who lost a Marine on that flight.

Semper Fi....

Ken Maddis

PS: Kane......you still around?
This is Michael Kane from the helo crash in 1977. I am new to forums and am looking for a way to contact ameriken. Semper Fi.

ChuckH
01-31-12, 10:12 AM
Click on his name and send either a private message or email..

ameriken
01-31-12, 10:15 AM
Got it! SF

mikeethekane
01-31-12, 11:35 AM
i was on that chopper and im looking for any other marines that were too.
im looking for ssgt john workman/workmen who was my platoon sgt 2nd platoon
india co 3rd battalion 9th regiment 3rd marine div 1977. it would the world to get
in touch with him, i was pfc michael kane, he was on it as well.




(edited thread name to make it easier to read)

mikeethekane
02-02-12, 05:45 AM
My Name Is Michael Kane And I Was A Pfc In 2nd Platoon India Co 3rd Battalion
9th Regiment 3rd Marine Div. I Will Always Remember My Platoon Brothers And
That Day
Not One Day Goes Past That I Don't Think Of It And Feel Sad And Greatly Moved.
However My Sense Of Pride Is Greater In Remembering All Of Those Marines That
Even In A Peacetime Operation Made The Ultimate Sacrifice And Shed Their Very Blood
For Their Country And Their Beloved Corps. Civilians Will Never Grasp The Immense
Gravity Of That Day And How It Touched Forever The Lives Of All Our Brother
Marines Everywhere. I Will Always And Forever Be Touched By That Day And The
Few And The Proud Marines Who On Board That Died So Far Away From Home
Serving Their,country And Corps. I Will Always Be Proud To Say I Knew These Marines
And Served With Them. I Believe That One Day Will All Be Together Again In The Great
Beyond. We Will Be Standing In Formation Tall And Proud And When The Good Lord
Calls Us To Attention Our Covers Will Be Starched. Our Brass Brilliant And Our
Boots Spit Shinned .that Forever The Names Devil Dog . Leatherneck And Jar Head
Will Stand The Tests Of Time. The First To Fight. The Last To Leave Never Quitting Never
Surrendering . Never Leaving Our Dead Or Wounded.
I Was On That Chopper That Day Lifting Off To Go Back To The Ship And Of Instead
Of Returning There We Slipped Into Eternity And The Annals Of Marine Corps History..
Bless You Dear Brothers And Go Easy And Be Well.

Your Devoted Brother
Cpl Michael Kane
Marine, One Each

ameriken
02-02-12, 02:31 PM
Mike, that is beautiful.

Semper Fi to you and all the Marines who were on that bird, and to all their friends, families, and fellow Marines who served with them. Oct 21, 1977 will never be forgotten.

It's been a blessing hooking up with you. Semper Fi.

mikeethekane
02-04-12, 02:25 AM
Holy ****, Seeing The Island Again For The First Time In Over 35 Years And All The
Heavy **** Of That Day Is Flooding Back. Im Cpl Michael Kane, Pfc Kane Back
Then. I Was On That Chopper That Day # 20 If In Remembering Correctly. It Was Some
Pretty Rough Terrain, Patrols Were Tough . I Was With 2nd Platoon India Co
3/9. Thanks Brother For That Pic. God Bless Our Brothers.

Semper Fi,

Michael Kane

mikeethekane
02-04-12, 02:42 AM
Hey Brother, My Name Is Michael Kane And I Was On That Chopper Too. I Was Flown
To Clark Air Force Base. I Was In A Room With Three Other Wounded Marines . Its
Great To Hear From Another Marine Who Lived Through It. That Day Has Touched
My Life Every Day Since.

Semper Fi,

Michael Kane

mikeethekane
02-04-12, 03:21 AM
Hey Pfc Lane, I Think You Were In My Platoon, 2nd Plt India Co 3/9. Remember Our Plt
Lt, I Can't Renember How To Spell His Name. He Was Hard Corps All The Way. He And
Sgt Mat Came To Visit Me At The Hospital At Clark. Somebody Found My Wallet And They
Both Came To Return It. I Asked Him If Pfc Kevin Schwartzs Made It, He Was In Our
Platoon Too And On Board That Chopper. When I Asked Him About Kevin, He Lowered
His Head And A Tear Came Down His Cheek, He Told Me That Kev Didn't Make It.
He Was Hard Corp And An Officer Of Marines And He Was Crying Over The Loss
Of His Men, His Boys.im Crying Now, It Is Still So Very Hard For Me To Talk About It
And Recall Memories. Im Pretty Sure You Were In 2nd Platoon With Me. If Not
Im Glad You Made It, So Many Of Our Brothers Did Not. Take Care And Go Easy.

Semper Fi,

Michael Kane

bodidly58
02-25-12, 12:13 PM
:flag:As a 'newby' on here, I am still in shock that this has been relived by others, other than me. This has haunted me for going on 35 years, now. I'm saddened by the fact that so many were lost that day, yet still 'gladdened' that those lost are still remembered. Members of my own family did not know about this as I did not relate this incident back home. As a teenager, I had two brothers in Viet Nam, at the same time. I saw the worry on my mother's face on a daily basis and did not want to worry her any more than was necessary. I was aboard the USS Alamo, leaving Okinawa just 5 days after returning from a flyaway to Korea on an 8 week operation with 1/9. Less than a month after Operation Fortress Lightning, I went on another training op with the 1/4 to Fuji. Being the last of 12 in a dirt-poor farming family from Southwest Virginia, it wasn't like I could afford $5.00 a minute to call home on the MARS system, and I faltered heavily on writing home!. I just prayed that no-one at home had heard anything about it. I kept this from them, but have shed a million tears for those fellow Marines over the years. Just recently, I talked to one of my sisters about this. She thanked me for not sharing this with them while there......and wondered why she didn't see it on the news. Ironically, there was a perfectly good explaination for that. Just 4 hours before this crash (around 6 pm East Coast time), a fixed wing aircraft, running low on fuel, crash-landed in a field and into a wooded area in Mississippi, killing four members of the Lynnyrd Skynnyrd Band......Even today, the media picks and chooses what the public wants to hear. And post Viet Nam, lost Soldiers and Marines dying took second page. Some things never change...Semper-Fi!

bbaxter4
03-01-12, 07:05 PM
mike, i had the pleasure of sailing past it again in '82 on my way to the IO. Yes it brought tears to my eyes. If i remember right, you were one of doc dolan's guys.

Rodger Asai
04-07-12, 09:03 AM
Complete Newbie here. Joined so I could add this note and similar ones on other similar threads.
Just wanted to let folks know that there are plenty who may have never met your loved ones - that remember them in tangible ways.
On the Remembrance Rug, symbols 6254 through 6277 were added for the 24 killed in this Helicopter Crash.
Most of my time is spent working on the Rug with little leftover for the social networking stuff.

bodidly58
04-07-12, 09:10 AM
Welcome! I am unaware of the 'Remembrance Rug'. Could you enlighten me? Semper-Fi!

Rodger Asai
04-09-12, 04:15 PM
Thanks for your interest.I put some pictures and a little info about it on a MySpace page (before fecalbook became all the rage) accessible at:www (http://www.myspace.com/rodgersrug).************There's still lots to add to it so I spend most of my free time working on it instead of talking about it.

bodidly58
04-10-12, 08:16 PM
Thanks! I didn't become of computer age until after MySpace was old news! But I did get your addy before it was edited. Thanks, again! Semper-Fi!

Rodger Asai
04-11-12, 11:18 AM
I see I made a newbie-goof (which I completely understand the need for with all the whoring going on these day), but anyone can search on Remembrance Rug and get the location of the info that way - just takes an extra step.

As for my use of the term, fecalbook, it's what we used to call the places (scrapbooks & diaries) where people would store all their sh*t.

sjedlane
05-10-12, 11:12 AM
Hey Pfc Lane, I Think You Were In My Platoon, 2nd Plt India Co 3/9. Remember Our Plt
Lt, I Can't Renember How To Spell His Name. He Was Hard Corps All The Way. He And
Sgt Mat Came To Visit Me At The Hospital At Clark. Somebody Found My Wallet And They
Both Came To Return It. I Asked Him If Pfc Kevin Schwartzs Made It, He Was In Our
Platoon Too And On Board That Chopper. When I Asked Him About Kevin, He Lowered
His Head And A Tear Came Down His Cheek, He Told Me That Kev Didn't Make It.
He Was Hard Corp And An Officer Of Marines And He Was Crying Over The Loss
Of His Men, His Boys.im Crying Now, It Is Still So Very Hard For Me To Talk About It
And Recall Memories. Im Pretty Sure You Were In 2nd Platoon With Me. If Not
Im Glad You Made It, So Many Of Our Brothers Did Not. Take Care And Go Easy.

Semper Fi,

Michael Kane



It's been awhile since I've been on this site. My work keeps me pretty busy but I think of this everyday. My memory is really vague. Not sure if it is out of self preservation or age. I believe I was in the room with you at the hospital. Exiting the helicopter during the crash tore my right ear pretty good and sliced my right knee wide open. Landing around a tree on my right created a pneumothorax and my heart was dislodges 10% to the left and I had a branch penetrating my hip. A few less damaging inguries bit all in all I made out pretty good. I am 53 and still 100% functional with all my mobility and am pretty well fit. Did you have any pictures? All my film burned up with my pack in the helicopter. I was thrown out before the bird came to rest. Good to hear from another brother. My son is now a gung ho marine.

bodidly58
05-11-12, 05:48 AM
It's been awhile since I've been on this site. My work keeps me pretty busy but I think of this everyday. My memory is really vague. Not sure if it is out of self preservation or age. I believe I was in the room with you at the hospital. Exiting the helicopter during the crash tore my right ear pretty good and sliced my right knee wide open. Landing around a tree on my right created a pneumothorax and my heart was dislodges 10% to the left and I had a branch penetrating my hip. A few less damaging inguries bit all in all I made out pretty good. I am 53 and still 100% functional with all my mobility and am pretty well fit. Did you have any pictures? All my film burned up with my pack in the helicopter. I was thrown out before the bird came to rest. Good to hear from another brother. My son is now a gung ho marine.

Good to hear from a survivor! I was on that op as an engineer and remember it all too well. Not a good subject to remember, but those boys will never be forgotten. Semper-Fi!

MrTeeTyme
05-28-12, 08:37 AM
Happy Memorial Day all. Remembering especially my brother, LCpl Steven Bowman, and the others whom gave their life from this accident.

John

september 23
05-28-12, 06:50 PM
With respect and love remembering those lost, family and survivors.

Gulbranson
05-28-12, 09:48 PM
I cant believe i see this after 34 years. I was a l/Cpl in 3rd Plt lima co 3/9 at that time. I remember Cpl Owen Hallem was one of the casualities. He and i were in C Co, 1/5 and went to Oki at the same time . The previous posts have brought back a flood of memories that i did not know i had. Standing in the Valley looking up at the smoke coming over the hills, Finding out it part of L co was on the chopper. I volunteered to go up there with others to pull security on the hill and seeing the body bags being filled with the recovered weapons, The memorial service on the beach later.
May God bless them and their Families

RRicker
08-04-12, 06:33 AM
I checked in to my new shop at HMH-462 at Futima OK the day the news of the crash hit home. A sad day indeed. I was a S/SGT in the QA shop there.

The late 70's were a bad time for Marine Aviation. There were many of these types of crashes, though none as tragic as this. The aircraft we flew were rag tag at times due to post war budget cuts.

In this case, like any other air crash, there were multiple factors at play: the CH53 could over power its tail rotor, and the water buffalo was supposed to be empty.

God bless America, our beloved Corps, and our brothers who perished that day.

MrTeeTyme
08-20-12, 07:35 PM
In Oct 2009 I made an inquiry to the Navy requesting a copy of the official report of this mishap. After a few initial correspondences, I finally heard back from the NavSafeCen today. They offered me the choice of a summary within a few weeks or a full report with all enclosures in 4-6 months. I opted for the full report. I will share it with this forum when I receive it.

bodidly58
08-20-12, 08:17 PM
Wait? You made this inquiry in October 2009? And they got back to you today? To tell you it will take 4-6 months for a full report? Do you suppose they should have had one by now? My guess is, the 'real' story will stay amongst the ranks and the 'official report' will be sent to you...in 4-6 months. There were many variables that could have gone differently that day. A combination of error in judgement and equipment failures...A bad day for all of us there. It would be interesting to see what the official report says about it. Keep us posted MrTeeTyme. Semper-Fi!

sjlibra
08-24-12, 11:12 AM
I just found this story and wanted to add that I knew the Pilot and Co-Pilot of the CH-53. Capt's John Crapse and George Gebhardt and I (a Supply Officer) were all stationed together at HMH-461 in New River, NC in 1975-1976. I was with MAG-15 in Iwakuni, Japan when the crash occured.

Mey they be forever remembered.

Pat
Lt, USMC, 1973-1977

ameriken
08-24-12, 12:41 PM
I just found this story and wanted to add that I knew the Pilot and Co-Pilot of the CH-53. Capt's John Crapse and George Gebhardt and I (a Supply Officer) were all stationed together at HMH-461 in New River, NC in 1975-1976. I was with MAG-15 in Iwakuni, Japan when the crash occured.

Mey they be forever remembered.

Pat
Lt, USMC, 1973-1977

LT, since you knew the Capt, I thought you might like to know there is a facebook group "Mindoro Island" that was set up by another Leatherneck members specifically as a memorial to the crash.

One of the members is Roi Crapse (brother?) of Capt Crapse, just in case you want to hook up. There are also other Marines who survived the crash, were there at the scene, or who were somehow connected to the crash, as well as surviving family members. Here's the link to the group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/156185791023/

Semper Fi :flag:

sjlibra
08-25-12, 04:59 PM
Thank you for the update

Semper Fi

Pat

Andrewebrown
08-27-12, 11:24 PM
I was a sgt attached to HMM 165 aboard the New Orleans. I was a crew chief / mechanic / QA I would be interested in any information you have on the crash I retired as a MgySgt 9 years ago but still stay in touch.
Thanks
Andy Brown

september 23
08-29-12, 02:28 PM
john, I recently transcribed the USMC limited use mishap reports from nov and dec 77. I may have tried to send copies before buy they were too hard to read in the poor condition and age they were in. If you still want them I have them now in a word document. If you still want this info will be glad to send it to you. May have to do it on FB don't know if I know how to do a word document here.

ameriken
10-21-12, 09:47 AM
Remembering all the Marines and Sailors lost 35 years today, as well as the survivors, family, and friends. May God Bless you all. Semper Fi.

september 23
10-21-12, 09:54 AM
In loving memory of Sgt. Charles Anderson and all the men lost or wounded on October 21st, 1977. Sending love and prayers to all touched by this event. Thank you all for being there for me too.

Hardguy
10-22-12, 11:33 AM
35 years ago already since that terrible day.........Hardguy

cab0369
11-26-12, 11:12 AM
I always think of friends lost on that crash, some I knew some I didn't know but still brothers in arms all. I was with wpns L 3/9 and had just been transfered out before the west pac as I had already done 13 months with India co and was on a 6 month extension with Lima. I learned of the news and friends lost later. I remember them and honor them every year. Semper Fi

brother
12-23-12, 07:19 AM
Hi Jake,this is Jack Ernsberger,brother of CPL L H Ernsberger jr. Did you know my brother? He was killed in that crash that terrible day.A marine named Jake came to my fathers house, was that you?

2BitsWorth
03-08-13, 07:47 PM
38 years ago this month I first met then Corporal Anderson . . . a fine Marine to be sure.

I was a slick sleeve Private then, straight out of boot camp and school. We served together for two years at HMX-1.

I remember the day he got that Presidential Service Badge, like a kid on Christmas morning!

Semper Fi

september 23
03-11-13, 02:03 PM
:Your post was certainly worth more than "2 Bits" to me. Thank you so much. I have the Presidential Service badge and yes he was so proud of it. You capture "Andy's" personality so well. Look forward to more "stories" if you don't mind. Thanks for posting on facebook, I don't check this one as much but like to keep it going because it has a great search engine for people who remember and honor the past.

2BitsWorth
03-11-13, 02:32 PM
Gloria - for you, from me for Chuck.

http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIN0Lz5R_kEA7LH7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBvZW Y3Z2dlBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjEyOQ--?p=precious+and+few&vid=da38da2f9770e9a1673363c1023d8d82&l=2%3A58&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DV.49 24202387439899%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DeK 6hENZZB0g&tit=Precious+And+Few&c=4&sigr=11ajgtum9&&tt=b

Some things never, ever, change.

september 23
05-25-13, 02:03 PM
This memorial weekend remembering those lost and injured on October 21, 1977

Rocky C
05-25-13, 03:12 PM
This Marine will never forget...

september 23
10-20-13, 06:14 PM
25981

MrTeeTyme
10-21-13, 05:11 AM
Remembering my brother LCpl Steven Bowman whom gave his life on this day in 1977, and everyone else involved.

I am thankful for the many stories that have been shared here the past five years.

Rocky C
10-21-13, 09:26 AM
Prayers Outbound to all on this day in 1977...

God Bless.

ameriken
10-21-13, 09:18 PM
Been on my mind all day. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone related to Oct 21, 1977. Gloria, thanks for posting your photos with Sgt Anderson, I wish I could have had the chance to meet him.

SNestler
10-22-13, 07:56 AM
Remembering our brother, Rest in peace, Semper Fidelis.

SGT 1979
11-04-13, 06:13 PM
I remember the crash site and the moment of prayer we had during operation Valient Blitz on Mindoro Island in 1980
We came close to crashing ourselves aboard a C130 and had a emergency landing to Clark AFB before taking off and landing at the air strip at Mindoro

Striking 9th Marine Regt from Camp Hansen

september 23
05-26-14, 11:56 AM
Remembering all this Memorial Weekend.

cesmoot
05-26-14, 12:41 PM
Amen... Semper Fi

Rocky C
05-26-14, 04:48 PM
Prayers Outbound as always.

september 23
05-26-14, 05:43 PM
Special thanks this Memorial day to the leatherneck website and the wonderful search engine that has brought so many people together. It is a special comfort to me this Memorial day because this year someone who knew my husband 37 years ago sent this message to me by private email on this website " I was a young cobra pilot serving on the new Orleans when the accident occurred. I have thought about the crash often but never googled it until today. I read all of the posts concerning the crash and yours stood out because you were married to Sgt. Anderson. The details are all there but I want to provide a personal insight about your husband. Our deployment was scheduled to last about 6 months but ended up lasting closer to 8. I was married and had a young son and wife that I missed very much. Sgt Anderson and I had a great relationship and I mentioned to him that I wanted to fly home to surprise and see my wife and kids but I couldn't afford the air fair. Your husband volunteered to loan me the money so I could make the trip. I flew back and had a great visit. When I flew back to the ship I told your husband what a great time I had and how much I appreciated his generosity. I repaid the loan and our friendship continued. The accident occurred a couple of weeks later. He was a great Marine and an even better person. I hope this message confirms what you already know, that your husband was a great man. H.C.

Rocky C
05-26-14, 05:47 PM
My eyes are leaking...

What a wonderful post.



Replies: 226
Views: 69,679


God Bless...

wolf11
05-27-14, 12:02 AM
Brian Mrozek Please contact me I was the Cpl Hall. It has been a long time. I had not been on this for a long time and had talked to Steve Bowman's brother John a few times in the past. I still remember these Marines like it was just yesterday. Call me if you would at *********** or anyone else that wants to talk. I became more at ease with this after talking to John. Thank you John. Sorry for all we lost and for the loved one left behind. Sgt Smith just had a new born he was suppose to meet in Subic Bay when we were to return. He took my place as My Lt wanted me with him on the first flight. This has also not been easy to live with but we all have to keep going and make the most out of life but never forgetting. Semper Fi Marines