Helicopter Accidents

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Eglin AFB, FL
8 Oct 1969

S/N 66-14996

HH-53C #67-14996 from the 55th ARRS at Eglin AFB went out of control and crashed 36 miles southwest of Eglin AFB during aerial refueling and crashed in the water. All on board were killed. No other details are available at this time.


Viet Vet Killed in Air Crash

Air Force Capt. Thomas E. Kenny, 29, a native Rochesterian flew 147 helicopter rescue missions while in Vietnam, was killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in the Gulf of Mexico, relatives here were notified yesterday.

Capt. Kenny was the son of Mrs. Ruth M. Kenny of Auburn, formerly of Rochester, and the husband of the former Sandra Mae Lewis of Irondequoit, now living in Fairview, Heights, Ill.

The pilot of another aircraft reported the helicopter “went up in a ball of fire”.

The Air Force reported Capt. Kenny and two other fliers were killed while on a training mission out of Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The helicopter crashed into the gulf 36 miles southwest of the base.

Yesterday, the Air Force said no trace of the men was found and the extensive search by Coast Guard aircraft and ships and rescue craft from Eglin had been called off.

The other men were identified as Capt. Carl W. Oliver of Mary Esther, Fla., an instructor-pilot, and Master Sgt. William T. Lane of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Capt. Kenny, stationed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, was on temporary duty at Eglin.

He was a graduate of Monroe High School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1962 at Hobart College, where he took Air Force ROTC training.

He was sent to Vietnam in 1965 and served a year, during which he flew 37 rescue missions into North Vietnam.

When he returned to this country, he was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base and was transferred to Scott AF Base last August.

While at Eglin, he served in the 48th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron and flew assignments at Cape Kennedy.

Besides his wife and mother, he is survived by three sons, Thomas E. Jr., 8; William B., 7;; and Aaron P., 1; a sister, Mrs. Diane Kemp of Rochester; two brothers, William of Spencerport and Douglas of Fort Myers, Fla., and his grandmother, Mrs. Flora Durnford of Auburn. Captain Kenny’s father, William E. Kenny, a pharmacist, died three years ago.

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