Info About a 1977 Helicopter Crash - Page 21
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  1. #301
    could someone answer my question re John Crapse page?


  2. #302
    Quote Originally Posted by cmgc1 View Post
    could someone answer my question re John Crapse page?
    Are we talking about facebook or find-a-grave ??


  3. #303
    someone said they had posted on his page..what page?


  4. #304
    It could be either" find-a-grave.....or facebook. Type in his info on both and see what happens.


  5. #305
    thank you...have checked find a grave but will check FB


  6. #306
    Marine Spouse Free Member
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    Hi I am gloria Anderson and I think I called you after the crash but not sure. I would love to talk to you and see how you are if you are interested


  7. #307
    Marine Spouse Free Member
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    For our archives:
    My belief that no one could sue was proved false by info from this website but pretty much everything else was true to my knowledge at the time. My own small part of the history and information of what happened on our shared day:

    Congressional Record, June 20, 1984


    The Human Costs of Defense Department Oversights
    Hon. Edward F. Feighan of Ohio in the House of Representatives
    Wednesday, June 20, 1984


    Mr. Feighan:
    Mr. Speaker, we are all too familiar with the astronomical economic costs of waste, fraud and abuse in the Defense Department. Tales of $400 hammers and $1,000 wrenches don’t even raise an eyebrow anymore.
    But we must not forget that shoddy work and slipshod testing methods also carry tragic human costs.
    Nearly seven years ago, Sgt. Charles Anderson and thirty fellow soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash over Mindoro Island in the Philippines. The crash occurred because of a design defect in their helicopter that had been discovered ten years earlier, but was continuously overlooked by the Pentagon.
    In order to make sure that oversights like this don’t happen again, Sergeant Anderson’s wife-Gloria Anderson-has written a poignant story describing the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death. It is an informative and insightful article, and I commend it to all my colleagues.

    Why Helicopters Don’t Fly and Young Men Die
    by Gloria Anderson

    I have been hiding from helicopters for six years now. I censor all movies and television shows that might contain a helicopter scene. When I hear the unmistakable drone of a helicopter overhead, I cover my ears and pray for the moment the sound diminishes and I can breathe easily again. However, sometimes I get caught off guard. I will be carelessly watching television, when one of those “Join the Army, Air Force, Marines” commercials will appear. Before I have time to dart out of the room, there it is - a giant helicopter silhouetted against the sky. The purpose of this advertisement is to entice young men to join in on the adventure and excitement. However, the helicopter scene before me represents no vision of adventure - only a dark, ominous, specter of death, looming out of the sky, waiting to claim its next victim.
    Perhaps you are wondering what is the root of this fear? Is some diabolical fiend roaming military helicopters waiting to stalk lives? The answer is no, it is not that simple. My fear arises from what I know about helicopters and then transcends into an even greater fear of what I suspect about helicopters.
    It all started with my marriage, on September 23, 1977, to Marine Sgt. Charles W. Anderson. It was perhaps the greatest day of my life. Having been previously married and the mother of a young son, I had thought happiness passed my life by until I met Chuck.
    The three of us were very happy. It was a sad, rainy day when my son, Sam and I took Chuck to the airport. He had to return to Okinawa to complete the remaining six months of overseas duty. We had been married one week.
    On October 8, Chuck called and told me he was going on a special two week training mission that was to take place in the Philippines. He did not want me to worry if the mail was slow during this period since he wrote me every day. However, the mail was slow. I still received letters from him for over a week after I was notified that he was one of thirty men killed in a helicopter crash at Mindora Island in the Philippines on October 21, l977, just four weeks after we had been married.
    What seemed like the end of my life slowly began to evolve into a long search to find out why my husband was killed. It was the least I could do for a life that meant so much to me. The Marine Corps promised a full report. The “report” arrived several months later. It consisted of one sentence stating that Chuck was killed in a helicopter crash. Somehow I felt I deserved a little more explanation than this. My whole world was deteriorating before me: Sam couldn’t concentrate at school, I could hardly get through a day of work without breaking down and sobbing at my desk. I would come home from work and Sam, trying to be too grown up for his eight years, would wear something of Chuck’s and try to act like him to compensate for our loss. Our lives were shattered and the only explanation we could get was one sentence.
    I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. My inquiries into the “accident” were met with polite warnings to drop the whole matter. I began to doubt myself. Perhaps I was becoming too paranoid because I just did not want to accept my husband’s death.
    Not knowing what to do next, I turned to what was left of my best friend, my companion, my husband, - Chuck’s letters. I reread all of them hoping for some sort of clue or answer to tell me what to do. It was in a letter he had written to me in May, before we were married, that I found what I was looking for. His letter reads as follows:
    “Gloria, I’m the operations chief, the NCOIC of a CH 53 Squadron...Well this may sound good but it’s really a mess - the squadron lost 4 aircraft here in the past six months. All crashed with pilot mishap killing all crew. What a mess. AS you can guess I’m not going to fly unless I really have to.”
    I never realized the significance of this statement before. How could there be so many crashes in a non combat time period? I knew then that I had a right to know what happened. No matter how long it took, I was going to find out.
    The following summer, an attorney form San Francisco contacted me and asked me to join in a class action suit against Sikorsky Aircraft, the manufacturer of the CH-53’s. A little leery of this unexpected visitor from out of town, I employed a local firm to investigate the accident.
    Three years had already passed since my husband’s death, when the law firm turned over their finding to me. The following of which I will relate to the best of my knowledge.
    During the late 1960’s, a new engine, the T G4-GE-4l3 was installed in the CH-53’s. The purpose of this was to increase the power of the main rotor and on a whole to make the helicopter more powerful. However it was soon evident that a mistake had been made. 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. In a letter dated May 20, 1970, to Naval Air Systems command, Sikorsky warns of these conditions: Hoover at high gross weight, hover at altitude, and maximum power climbs.
    To compensate for the mistake that had been made Sikorsky designed and tested a Bell Crank System to stabilize the rear rotor. They requested that all aircraft be equipped. Seven years latter my husband and several other young men were destined to be killed aboard a CH-53, without a bell crank system installed, while trying to attempt a maximum power climb.
    With the information released to me, which consisted of various correspondence between and within the Navy, Marine Corps, and Sikorsky, concerning the crash, I have been able to reconstruct certain notable events leading up to and including the tragedy at Mindora as follows:
    The Large Number of Previous Crashes

    My husband wrote of four fatal CH-53 crashes within six months, in a letter to me in May. A USMC correspondence refers to the Mindora crash as “In the wing alone this is the second helicopter crash within three months.” Since the Mindora crash occurred in October, I can only conclude that within a ten month period there were six fatal CH-53 crashes. I can not prove that these were all related, however it seems obvious that the absurdity in this high number is enough to raise suspicion. Also I cannot help but ask myself if and how many other crashes could there have been that I never heard of?
    The “Near Miss” incident two weeks prior to the crash
    This is directly quoted from the writing of my husband’s commanding officer. It speaks for itself:
    “The entire CH-53 community must bear the blame for this oversight (failure to install the bell crank system). Pilots will readily admit the seriousness of the problem and can relate numerous “hairy tales” of near accidents related to loss of tail rotor authority. One such tale relates that a squadron aircraft, less than two weeks prior to the mishap (Mindora), attempted to lift tow fuel elivets, after computing that HOGE capability existed. Tail rotor authority was lost by the aircraft while still within ground effect on the deck. The relative acceptance of this deficiency in the CH-53’s performance capability is evident in the fact that the incident was not documented.”
    The Crash
    On October 21, 1977, my husband was one of two crew members along with two pilots to participate in a training program in the Philippines. Their mission was to fly a CH-53 to a hill, pick up 33 infantry men, pick up an empty water trailer, take off and deliver the crew and cargo to another location. This maneuver called for a “maximum power climb” which Sikorsky had warned of seven years earlier. True to their prediction, shortly after lift off the helicopter began to lose directional control. It slowly started to rotate in mid air. The crew tried desperately to lessen the weight. For a moment there was hope that they might come back into control, then being in such a mountainous region, the tail of the helicopter hit a tree and broke apart. The helicopter then started to fall uncontrollably for 400 feet. It impacted the jungle and burst into flames.
    Therefor it was an accumulation of poor planning, errors, negligence, mishaps, and possible lost lives, spanning almost a decade , that went into the making of this tragedy at Mindora. The only answer I have been able to come up with as to how such a lack of responsibility to human life was allowed to continue for such a long period lied in the fact that no one was legally responsible. When Sikorsky issued their letter of warning to the Navy in May of 1970, they were no longer liable in the eyes of the law. The government wasn’t liable because a serviceman is not permitted to sue the U.S. for injuries or death sustained in the line of duty. Therefore everyone was off the “hook.” That is everyone except people like my husband who were dead and people like myself who were left over. I wonder how many of us there are?
    To further complicate the situation, I became aware of another problem. A friend from my husband’s squadron kept in touch with me for a few years. He was thoroughly convinced that the crash at Mindora was due to pilot error and had nothing to do with mechanical defect whatsoever. I would think that by now some of the people involved would have at least questioned pilot training if they refused to believe in anything else to explain the plague of helicopter mishaps. The legacy continues.
    The Navy, in a panic after all the causalities at Mindora, issued orders to install the bell crank system on all remaining aircraft. I do not know if or when this was ever carried out. However, I could not help but notice that, after the fact, four out of eight CH-53’s developed operational difficulties during the mission to rescue the hostages being held in Iran several years ago. The cause of these difficulties somehow got dropped during the shuffle of events. Later the hostages came home free on an airplane. All the men who flew on one of the CH-53’s (to rescue them) were dead.
    During the six years since Chuck’s death, there still seems to be a lot of helicopter crashes. I know because of the pain I feel each time I read or hear of one. The reason, the kind of aircraft, the number of people killed, all vary. The worst of these news reports is one that I read on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 1, 1984. To quote directly from the opening sentence that appeared in the newspaper, “A design problem in Bell Military helicopters maybe responsible for 231 deaths since 1967, but remains largely uncorrected even though the army discovered it ten years ago.” I read this with a numbing realization. That it was the same story over again with a few changes. Instead of the Marine Corps, it was the army. Instead of the manufacturer being Sikorsky, it was Bell. Ironically, more military men have been killed in peace-time helicopter crashes than in Beirut. Somehow this senseless slaughter must stop.
    I can still remember my husband, tall, confident, and proud. There was always something so special about him that when he wrote to me in one of his last letters, “I guess I never, ever, will get over falling so completely in love with you.” I can not help but reply to a person that is no longer there, “I guess I never, ever, will get over how carelessly your life was tossed away.”



    May, 7, 1986, Cleveland Plain Dealer
    17 missing in crash of U.S. Marine helicopter
    Tokyo(AP) - A U.S. Marine helicopter plunged into the ocean yesterday about 15 miles south of the Japanese island of Yukushima and no trace of the 17 people aboard were found. ......The CH-53 helicopter reported mechanical problems on a 195 mile return flight from Iwakuni......

    May 15, 1986, Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Crash victim had warned of flaws in copters
    Santa Ana, Calif. (AP) - A Marine killed in the fiery crash of a helicopter had said in a tape recording released Tuesday that flight crews were worried about mechanical defects in the aircraft.
    Sgt. Dulles Arnette, killed Friday with three other Marines in the desert crash, described manufacturing flaws in a taped interview released by a lawyer who is suing the manufacturer of the CH- 53 helicopters.
    Arnette, who was upset at the death of a friend in the ocean crash off San Clemente Island, had agreed to testify in a lawsuit against Sikorsky Aircraft, which makes the copter. .....The Marine Corps has no plans to ground its fleet of Super Stallions.
    January 3, 1987
    Crash-prone copter kills five more
    Brawley, Calif.(AP) - The Marine Corps yesterday began investigating a crash in California that killed the five man crew of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, a big transport that was the subject of a congressional inquiry after a series of fatal accidents. ...
    January, 1987
    Chopper crash costs Marine boss his post
    Tustin, Calif. (AP) - The squadron commander for five Marines killed in a helicopter crash last week has been removed from duty, a Marine Crops spokeswoman said. Lt. Col. Sam J. Ware was removed as commander. “He was relieved for the stated reason of lack of confidence,” she said. She would not elaborate. Records show the Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 465 that Ware and his predecessors commanded has been involved in more crashes and deaths than any other Super Stallion Unit.


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