Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46D tail number 154042
Date: 04/29/1975 MIA-POW file reference number: 2042
Incident number: 75042910.KIA
UTM grid coordinates: YR560980
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: 2042, USMC in Vietnam, 1973-1975 P:201 ()
Summary: Crashed into the sea on approach to USS HANCOCK after having flown a log and exhausting night SAR.
Loss to Inventory
P CPT NYSTUL WILLIAM CRAIG BNR
P 1LT SHEA MICHAEL JOHN BNR
The official USMC history provides the following: A CH-46F from the HANCOCK flown by CPT William C. Nystul and 1st Michael J. Shea crashed into the sea on its approach to the ship after having flown a long and exhausting night sea and air rescue mission (SAR). Amazingly, the two enlishted crewmembers survived, but the bodies of the pilots were not recovered. The cause of the crash was never determined, but crew inexperience and unfamiliarity with the mission may have been factors. CPT Gerald L. "Gerry" Berry, a HMM-165 CH-46 pilot, related the flying backgrounds of this crew. "CPT Nystul had just returned from Pensacola fixed-wing instructor duty and had about 20 hours of refamiliarization in the 46. His co-pilot was 1LT Shea, a CH-53 pilot, who had had gotten approximately 25 CH-46 hours with us in Futema before deploying." Normally, ships carrying helicopters do not use a SAR helicopter. Instead they assume that all airborne helicopters are potential SAR aircraft during helicopter flight operations. The HANCOCK, accustomed to fixed-wing flight operations where an airborne SAR helicopter is mandatory, did not modify its procedures. However for an operation of this size (Operation FREQUENT WIND), a designated rescue helicopter provided the task force with the capability of responding instantly to any airborne emergency and thus extended its options.
This record was last updated on 11/07/2013
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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