1LT Louis "Lou" M. Cerrotta was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 12/20/1971 at the age of 26.9 from A/C accident
Flight Class 70-24
Date of Birth 01/08/1945
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps
Served in Vietnam with HMM-165 in 71
Call sign in Vietnam WHITE KNIGHT
This information was provided by HMM-165 Book Steve Swaim

More detail on this person: Died with 1LT Steve Dean in the Indian Ocean in CH-46 off the USS TRIPOLI. Later it was learned that the "Jesus Nut" on one of the rotor systems was not troqued correctly. Mike Law added this info on 10/22/2008. Incident Date 711220 HMM-165 CH-46D 154796 Crash at Sea (Indian Ocean) [CREW] Cerrotta, Louis M 1stLt Pilot HMM-165 MAG-16, 3rdMAB 711220 (vvm 000:000) Dean, Steven A 1stLt Co-Pilot HMM-165 MAG-16, 3rdMAB 711220 (vvm 000:000) Miller, Keith R Cpl Crew HMM-165 MAG-16, 3rdMAB 711220 (vvm 000:000) Schnakenberg, Merle R Cpl Crew HMM-165 MAG-16, 3rdMAB 711220 (vvm 000:000) Personal Narrative: It was a perfectly clear night not a cloud, star or moon in the sky. We were wrapping up some of our night minimums and staying current after dark. If you have ever seen a night in the Indian Ocean, it is not like anything else. The water was black, the sky was black and there was absolutely NO horizon. We briefed on vertigo prior the flights. On their third touch and go, they went over the bow in a left descending turn and flew into the water. We searched most of the night and did recover the bodies in the morning. Lou Cerrotta was the HAC and Steve Dean the H2P. Have no idea who was at the controls, but we lost them and the Crew Chief, Keith Miller. Merle Schnakenberg was also a Crew Chief trainee and was in the a/c. Eyewitnesses in pri-fly with the air boss watched it all happen. Not a chance for a radio transmission from them. Submitted by Gary Zimmermann, HMM-165

This information was last updated 08/16/2017

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Date posted on this site: 06/15/2024

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