Helicopter Accidents

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Kirtland AFB, NM
29 Sep 1981

S/N #66-14435

An HH-53B from the 1551st CCTW at Kirtland AFB, NM., crewed by Capt. J. P. Grant, Jr. (AC), Capt. Randy K. Jensen (P), 2nd Lt. Richard J. Wendin (CP), Sgt. Terry O. Chancey (IFE), Sgt. Luis Caraballo (FE) and Sgt. Robert E. Hoon (CC) crashed, at the 6,000 foot level (N35-25-13, W107-20-37) of 11,301 foot Mount Taylor near Grants, NM., as it slammed into the mountain during a combat training mission when a main rotor blade struck a tree and the helicopter impacted the ground during evasive maneuver training.

Following the crash, Capt. Jensen, despite an injured hip and severe burns, managed to pull his flight engineer from the wreckage before he collapsed. He was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal for his actions.

Capt. Grant, 2nd Lt. Wendin, Sgt. Chancy and Sgt. Caraballo were killed in the crash. Capt. Jensen and Sgt. Hoon were burned over 80% of their bodies and Sgt. Hoon died of his injuries on 28 October 1981 and Capt. Jensen died of his injuries on 01 November 1981.


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