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08-19-10, 01:59 PM #121
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
08-26-10, 05:58 PM #122
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. [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Thanks.
08-26-10, 07:52 PM #123
@ 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.
08-26-10, 09:53 PM #124
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.
09-22-10, 06:47 PM #125
09-28-10, 01:35 PM #126
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.
10-12-10, 12:22 AM #127
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.
10-12-10, 07:42 AM #128
Thank you, from all of us, and for correcting the record.
10-12-10, 02:06 PM #129
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.
10-21-10, 09:38 AM #130
you are all in my thoughts today, God Bless
10-21-10, 10:46 AM #131
And you are too Gloria, as well as the 37 who survived and died 34 years ago today.
We remember you all. Semper Fi.
11-01-10, 07:52 PM #132
re:1977 crash Mindoro
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.
11-01-10, 08:43 PM #133
11-04-10, 10:26 PM #134
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.
Date: October 21, 1977
Location: Mindoro, Philippines
Operator: Military - U.S. Marine Corps
Flight #: ?
AC Type: Sikorksky CH-53 (helicopter)
cn / ln: ?
Aboard: 37 (passengers:? crew:?)
Fatalities: 31 (passengers:? crew:?)
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
H&S Co 3/9 Armory
"Nov 76-Nov 77"
11-11-10, 09:08 AM #135
To all the vets that visit this sight, thanks. gloria
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