Helicopter CH-46A 152532


Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46A tail number 152532
Date: 07/03/1967
Incident number: 67070303.KIA
Unit: HMM-165
The station for this helicopter was Quang Tri in South Vietnam
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P 2LT EATON BRUCE HORACE KIA
AC CPT ROEDERER JOHN STEPHEN KIA
CE GSG PHILPOTT HAROLD DEAN KIA
G LCP ALLENDER FRANK ROSS JR KIA


War Story:
The following is from PopaSmoke. The tail number issue has not yet been resolved.

Personal Narrative: I was the copilot on the lead aircraft of a flight of two CH-46A’s that were detached from Phu Bai to Dong Ha for three days. We went up on 6/30 in the PM. We flew 7/1, 7/2 and the morning of 7/3. "Hud" Manning was the A/C in the lead aircraft. Steve and Bruce were the Aircraft Commander and Copilot of the wing aircraft.

On the morning of 7/03/67 during preflight we had a small hydraulic leak in the rear ramp area. We determined that it could be isolated during flight and we could be SAR (search and rescue) bird and let the other aircraft work, hence the mission could be completed. When we stopped for lunch it was determined that we should exchange pilot crews in the two aircraft so that the pilots that worked in the AM could be SAR in the PM.

About 1 1/2 hours after lunch the aircraft came apart and killed the crew of 4. We were able to land and pull Bruce and Steve from the wreckage and take them to the morgue. The fire was intense and ammunition had begun to explode. Therefore, we were unable to retrieve the other crewmembers bodies. Submitted by John C. Jones, pilot, HMM-165

Submitted by John C. Jones, pilot, HMM-165

Official Narrative: Crew lost control of aircraft due to failure of thrust bearing on aft rotor shaft. Cause: Design defect plus maintenance error. Submitted by Ted Read, Squadron Safety Officer, pilot, HMM-165, investigated accident Submitted by Ted Read, Squadron Safety Officer, pilot, HMM-165, investiga

Personal Narrative: I dug out my log books & determined that Roederer's aircraft had to be 152532 because we didn't have any BuNo’s as high as 153xxx. In fact, looking further in my logbook, I learned that 153xxx has to be a CH-46D. We didn't have any "D" models in 165 on the first tour. In fact, we went over with brand-new "A" models straight from the factory. Most of them had consecutive BuNo’s. IN ADDITION, I found 152532 in my logbook on 13 June 1967. (Bureau number of 152532 was confirmed by John C. Jones.)

A short explanation of the cause of the accident: The 46A had a 600 hour aft rotor shaft thrust bearing. When 152532 reached 600 hours the bearing was changed. H&MS-36 replaced it by heating it in a baker's oven to enlarge it so it would slide onto the shaft (Shrink to fit). They overheated the bearing in the oven, destroying its hardness. The new bearing failed after about 25 hours of flight. As the bearing failed the aft rotor started to rise up out of the aft pylon causing Roederer to lose control (ran out of forward stick). Replacement bearings made of a more heat tolerant metal were already in the system but NavAir wanted us to use up the old ones first.

Submitted by Ted Read,

More from John C. Jones:

We had left Ky Ha (Chu Lai) on June 30 to fly to Dong Ha to work through July 3rd. The morning of 07/03 during pre-flight pilot inspection we discovered a small leak in the Ramp Control lever. It would not hamper flight operations but could cause crew or passengers to slip, particularly if the mission turned "sour."

We were the lead aircraft in this two aircraft flight and the decision was made for us to remain at altitude and act as rescue or emergency use only. When we went to lunch at a fire base the discussion changed to "we think we should swap aircraft after lunch so we, Steve and Bruce, could bore holes in the sky and stay cool while you guys work." We joked about it and agreed.

About one and one-half hours later that # 152521 had a rear thrust bearing failure which caused the aft rotor head to separate from the aircraft. We returned to the crash site and the Crew Chief and I were to attempt body recovery. The pilot, "Hud" Manning remained in the aircraft with the gunner to defend us if the need arose.

Capt Manning was able at our direction to move our aircraft closer to the crash and increase the power and rotor wash to allow us to retrieve Steve and Bruce's bodies.

We then took them to the morgue. It was not possible to get to the rear of the aircraft to retrieve LCpl Allender and Gunny Philpott's bodies. When ammunition began to explode I observed what I think was a body being part of the explosion away from the wreckage.

This is an emotional week each year as the anniversary of Bruce's death, July 4th and mine an Carol's Anniversary, July 5th occur. I am a Christian and I know that God delivered me from one aircraft to another, both Co-Pilot positions. I know it was for a purpose but the mental load is a big one to bear. Bruce was a genuinely nice guy.

John C. Jones

This record was last updated on 09/12/2013


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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