CW2 Charles "Squeaky" R. Getchell was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 03/23/2002 at the age of 56.2 from A/C accident
Pace, FL
Flight Class 67-13
Date of Birth 12/22/1945
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with C/2/17 CAV 101 ABN in 68-69
Call sign in Vietnam Condor 43
This information was provided by Bill Russell, Jerry R. Brooks

More detail on this person: Helicopter accident in the Gulf of Mexico.Captain Charles "Charlie" R. Getchell, of Pace, Florida, died in a helicopter crash offshore in the Gulf of Mwxico, at 7:50 A.M. on the 23d of March, 2002. Charlie had been employed with Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. for twenty years and was highly experienced in many models of single and multi-engined turbine helicopters.

He served two tours in Vietnam, one with a unit in the 1st Cav., which I believe may have been the "Condors".He survived a shootdown, an engine failure and crash into the Gulf of Mexico whereas the A/C sank. Several years ago he was placed on a heart trans-plant list and given no chance to live long without it. He beat all of the odds, regained his medical and went back to flying duties with PHI.

He was a devout Christian and was highly respected by all who came in contact with him. I believe he is now flying escort for God in a Golden Helicopter, powered by the breath of Angels. So long, Charlie.

Jerry R. Brooks, USA Ret.

I met Charlie a couple years ago for a short time. He was quality people. Here's an extract of his obit taken from the Pensacola News Journal:

"Charles R. "Charlie" Getchell, 1945-2002. Charles R. "Charlie" Getchell, age 56, of Pace, died suddenly March 24, 2002, from injuries received in a helicopter accident. He was born in Milton, had resided most of life in Santa Rosa County. Served as a Captain and pilot in the US Army, serving two tours in Viet Nam. He was employed with Petroleum Helicopters Inc., with 20 years service as a Captain/Pilot."

Did not find him listed in the directory, but when I spoke with him I think he mentioned he flew Cobras one tour and was in the 66 or 67 class time. His brother was CW3 Kenny Getchell who is deceased. If you need a hard copy of the obit or other help, please e me. He died taking off from an oil rig when the skid/landing gear caught on a rail and dumped him into the sea. He was found in the helicopter in about 100 feet of water.

From: Ron Hall

Herb Jenssen wrote:

Today at approximately 07:50, at EI 188, Sierra 310, Barry, was attempting to get fuel enroute and therefore Echo 36 had to move from the platform. When Charlie Getchell, Echo 36, attempted to T/O, he wound up in the water and is now deceased. There were no passengers involved. That is really all there is to say at this point.

I will say, however, that PHI (as they always have done in the past) has been excellent toward handling this unfortunate incident. Barry was immediately offered "Grief Counseling" and Charlie's brother, Larry, was flown home on a chartered plane. At last report, Barry is headed home from his hitch. I'm sure the rest of the story will follow through normal channels.

Kenneth and Charles Getchell were brothers. When I graduated with class 68-7 in June 1968 I was sent to Ft Hood to help form up B & C troops of 2/17th Cav 101st Abn... Anyway, when I arrived Charles "Chuck" Getchell was already there as a very senior WO1.. He had been stationed at Ft Hood after graduating almost a year earlier with class 67-13 to help form up D trp 1/1 for RVN deployment.. When D/1/1 was ready to deploy in the Spring of `68, Chuck didn't deploy with his troop because his older brother Ken was still flying in RVN... So, he was held over while we formed up the two 2/17th Cav troops.. He deployed with C/2/17th Cav in March 1969... Anyway, while we were at Ft Hood, Chuck and I shared a house off post... In September, he invited me to accompany him on leave to Milton, Florida because his brother had just returned from RVN... The three of us had a really nice time in Florida and that is where I got to know his older brother Ken...It's hard to believe they both eventually died of helicopter accidents after making it through VN... I think Chuck took a direct commission after his first tour and went back for a second tour... Upon his second return, I believe he was caught up in the early `70's RIF and left the army... He was a great Huey pilot.

From: Bill Russell

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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