Helicopter CH-46D 153954


Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46D tail number 153954
Date: 02/16/1970
Incident number: 70021616.KIA
Unit: HMM-161
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 1LT DECRAENE ALAN CHARLES KIA
CP 1LT SAMPSELL JOEL WARREN KIA
C CPL GARRINGER JAN DOUGLAS KIA
C LCP MORIN DONALD WILLIAM KIA
C CPL WIESE ROBERT JAMES KIA


War Story:
 Some details I found in the 2/17 Cav journals concerning the location and search for this a/c. RW http://www.lcompanyranger.com/ ---------------- 00:39 on [70/02/17] it was reported to the 2/17 that a marine CH-46, Call Sign cattle call 08 was on an emergency resupply to hos. ship last known grids ZD 1609 at 16/2300 hrs. 01:20 B Troop notified of above situation sending out Banshee 53 to check weather for poss. early morning search. Basketball 689 will be on station 01:46 Bird from Banshee off this time 02:00 Banshee picking up clouds at 50' fog 7 miles south of Phu Bai 02:22 B47 back Eagle 02:22 from G-3 Marines will request search for a/c tomorrow [B Trp will provide 1 Pnk tm at first light] 08:13 B Trp Pnk tm off to SAR msn 09:10 B 2/17 found downed a/c ZD 132 086 tail number YR 153954 launching ARP to secure 09:30 B Trp blues off to loc. of a/c crash site with 3 body bags with 22 pax 09:50 ARP on ground at ZD 132 086 10:20 ARP recovered 5 bodies from downed a/c 11:30 PZ same as LZ 22 pax LZ green 12:10 cattle call 2 confirms only 5 people on downed a/c ---------------- From information at the HMM 161 web site http://www.popasmoke.com/kia/700216/notforgotten.html Comments on Incident: When I came across this incident on the board and read the names of this heroic crew many memories of 30 years ago came flooding back. This crew was lost at night trying to deliver badly needed medical supplies from Marble Mountain to a unit north of us. At daylight myself, the aircraft maintenance officer and others were dispatched to the crash site to help with the investigation. The H-46 had impacted on top of a mountain in hostile territory; bad weather was a contributing cause. We also were assigned the task of going to Charlie Med at Danang to identify the crew. This was my first time to be inside a morgue of any kind. We had served together with this crew from Quang Tri to Phu Bai and had just moved to Marble Mountain. The loss of these fine Marines had a tremendous impact on HMM-161 at the time. I can remember their memorial service like it was yesterday. They are resting in peace; Semper Fi. Submitted by Leland R. Gilton, Squadron Quality Control Chief. From MAG-16 Command Chronology 171232Z Feb 1970: "While enroute to the USS REPOSE on an emergency blood resupply mission on the night of 16 February 1970, the aircraft which was crewed by 1stLt A. C. DeCreane [DeCraene], 1stLt J. W. Sampsell, Cpl R. J. Garringer, Cpl R. J. Wise [Wiese], and LCpl D. W. Morin crashed into the side of a hill while in inadvertent IFR flying conditions. The crash resulted in the death of all five crew members." 1stLt. DeCraeme [DeCraene], A. C. 010264X/7562 HMM-161 Pilot 1stLt. Sampsell, J. W. 010476X/7562 color=#800000>HMM- color=#800000>161 Copilot Cpl. Garringer, J. D. 2381221/6112 HMM-161 Crew Chief Cpl. Wiese, R. J. 2434663/6212 color=#800000>HMM- color=#800000>161 Gunner LCpl. Morin, D. W. 2459936/61X2 HMM-161 Gunner Occured 13.5 miles east south east of Phu Bai, Thua Thien Prov., RVN." Submitted by John Lane Comments on Incident: Al had just returned from "R&R" at Chu Lai as the Med Evac bid. A call came for an emergency resupply of blood to the med center at Phu Bai. Al and the rest of the crew were tapped because we ( color=#800000>HMM- color=#800000>161) had just moved out of Phu Bai a few months before. The mission left after dark. Coming in off the water, the aircraft commenced a decent into Phu Bai. Apparently they had the lights from Phu Bai in sight and commenced a visual decent. Unfortunately, the aircraft impacted the mountain SE of Phu Bai. According to the accident/aircraft recovery team, they missed clearing the crest by only a few feet. Supposition was that they kept the lights to the field in sight, but neglected maintaining altitude enough for the entire ac to be clear of the mountain. Don Morin was the crewchief and Jan Garringer was the crew NATOPS evaluator. Al was a hard charger who would have gone far, Jody Sampsell was one helluva good kid. Terrible waste of good men. Submitted by Robert H. Quinter Jr., color=#800000>HMM- color=#800000>161, Sqdn Flight Off, Roommate Comments on Incident: As the clerk for the Legal & Awards Office I knew most everyone in our squadron. 1stLt Joel Sampsell was my OIC [officer in charge], 1stLt Alan DeCrane had worked with me on a couple aircraft incidents/investigations, Cpl Jan Garringer was my roomate, LCpl Don Morin had been a roomate in the States going thru Helicopter Mechanics & Gunners Schools and Cpl. Robert Weise had just met me. I believe this was his first month in country and on flight status? That evening Lt. Sampsell came into our office with a 1stLt Charles Sizer. He introduced him to me and said "Phill, show him the ropes of this office. You never know I might not be here tomorrow and Chuck might have to oversee this office. I just received some sounds from my sister in California so I'm going to the hootch to listen to them and prepare for medevac duty tonight.”He left and I showed Chuck around the office. After that on my way to my hootch I stopped and visited for some reason with Don Morin. He was playing cards as I sat and watched and talked with him for a few minutes. I then went to my hootch where I ran into Jan Garringer as I entered. We talked for sometime before he said he had better get ready for Medevac duty. Jan was our top Crewchief who was an all around All-American guy. Tall, blonde hair, always a smile, he liked Elvis' music and was going to extend his duty six months after he took some leave to go home to his sister's wedding. Sometime after midnight (I believe, about 2:00 AM) one of the guys in our hootch who was on night duty in the flight shack came in awakening us and informing us we had a chopper missing. Later that morning we received word that they had crashed at the top of a mountain in bad weather. I saw the photographs later on and there wasn't much left. That evening, myself, the Sgt. Major, LtCol Benny Mann (our CO), and the S-1 clerks got all of their records and personal items together and wrote letters to their families. This had a profound effect on the squadron as evidenced at the Memorial Service. Only God in His wisdom understands, we could only think such a waste of lives that meant alot to us as well as their families in the States! Submitted by Phillip L. Shorter, Squadron Legal & Awards Clerk, Roomate From Randy White ranwhite@jamadots.com August 2003.

This record was last updated on 07/16/2005


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