Info About a 1977 Helicopter Crash
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  1. #1

    Info About a 1977 Helicopter Crash

    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


  2. #2
    Marine Free Member rb1651's Avatar
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    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
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    Copyright Richard Kebabjian / www.planecrashinfo.com


  3. #3
    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


  4. #4

    1977 Helicopter crash

    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 -


    Last edited by lightning; 08-09-08 at 11:55 AM. Reason: spelling

  5. #5
    Squad Leader Free Member thewookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lightning View Post
    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 -
    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


  6. #6
    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.


  7. #7
    That was during Operation Fortress Lightening. I was assigned to MWSG- 17, TAD out of Iwakuni, we assisted with recovery on Mindoro.


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by sscjoe View Post
    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


  9. #9
    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.


  10. #10
    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


  11. #11
    Jake, I have sent you a PM. Thanks Brother


  12. #12
    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.


  13. #13

    Corpsman

    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


  14. #14
    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.


  15. #15
    Does anyone know if those in the crash were eligible for Purple Hearts?


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