Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ralph W. Gehringer, Captain, USAF (Fallen)1961 – August 14, 1987
UH-60A #81-23647Pope AFB, NC.14 August 1987
A UH-60A #81-23647 Black Hawk helicopter (Call sign “Hawk 47”) assigned to the 55th ARRS at Eglin AFB, FL., crashed near Pope AFB, NC. Aug. 14, killing its four crew members.
Dead are: Capt. Ralph Gehringer, 26 from Tacoma, WA., aircraft commander; Capt. Jeffrey Stevens, 26, Billings, MT., instructor pilot, and SrA. Jeff Beseke, 21, Alexandria, MN., flight engineer. All were assigned to the 55th ARRS.
The fourth crew member was Maj. Kenneth Reinhard, 42, from Cibolo, TX., a helicopter pilot and an air operations officer from Detachment 2, 23rd Air Force at Fort Bragg, NC. Maj. Reinhard was being given his ‘fini’ flight as he had retired from active duty that day.
The UH-60 helicopter and its three Eglin crew members had been at Pope since Aug. 11 for training. The helicopter departed Pope Aug. 14 at 3:30 p.m. EDT on a training mission to Andrews AFB, MD.
The helicopter crashed in a heavily wooded area on Fort Bragg, about four miles north of Pope AFB. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Air Force has nine other UH-60A Black Hawks assigned to the 39th ARRWg at Eglin AFB. The helicopters, in standard Army configuration, are used for search and rescue operations.
The UH-60 can carry a crew of three and up to 14 passengers and six litters or internal or external cargo.