Hickam AFB, HI
15 Jan 1985
Tragic Loss 15 January 1985
On 15 January 1985 an HH-53C helicopter, tail number #68-10355, call sign “Arris 01”, from the 6594th Test Group crashed while attempting a shipboard rescue mission 540 miles north of Honolulu. The helicopter crashed onto the ship’s deck and starting a deck fire. All seven crew members were killed:
- Pilots Capt. David D. Mason, Capt. Steve Pindzola, and 2Lt. Russell Ohl
- Flight Engineers SSgt Kyle D. Marshall and SSgt Daniel R. Reihman
- Pararescuemen SSgt John R. Gilbert and Sgt Robert A. Jermyn
All seven made the ultimate sacrifice in keeping with the motto of air rescue, “That Others May Live.” The helicopter crashed when it suffered a main rotor blade structural failure and the tail broke off while the helicopter hovered above the commercial ship, “Asian Beauty.”
Captain Mason had been married only a few days and returned early from his honeymoon to volunteer for the flight. A memorial plaque in honor of the seven crew members is located in the yard of the chapel at Hickam Field.
For more information, see the publication of the Hickam Field annual reports.
From the “New Mexican”, Santa Fe New Mexico 1985-01-17
CREW WAS TRYING TO RESCUE SAILOR
Honolulu (AP) — The Air Force said Wednesday it would set up a panel to investigate the fiery crash of a helicopter that killed six men and left a seventh missing and presumed dead during an attempt to evacuate a sick sailor from a cargo ship.
The HH-53 helicopter crashed into the deck of the 620-foot Panamanian-registered Asian Beauty on Tuesday about 540 nautical miles northeast of Honolulu.
Two bodies were returned to Honolulu by a second helicopter that had accompanied the one that crashed. The four others were to be transferred to the Coast Guard cutter Munro, but the plan was called off because of the condition of the bodies, said Coast Guard spokesman Brice Kenney.
The crash set off a fire aboard the ship that burned out of control for an hour, said Coast Guard spokesman Bob Jones. The wreckage of the helicopter remained strewn across the decks of the Asian Beauty on Wednesday.
“We still don’t have any idea (of the crash’s cause), the details are sketchy,” Air Force spokesman Sgt. Paul Chute said Wednesday. “A board of officers will convene to investigate the accident.”
An Air Force new release said ocean swells at the time of the mishap were 20 feet with 15 knot winds.
The ill sailor, identified as a 27-year-old British man diagnosed as suffering from internal bleeding, was reported in stable condition Wednesday, and was to remain aboard the Asian Beauty until it reached Hawaii, Chute said.
The men aboard the helicopter that crashed were identified as Air Force:
Staff Sgt. JOHN ROBERT GILBERT, 38, of Advance, N.C., a para-rescueman
Staff Sgt. KYLE DWANE MARSHALL, 34, of Waxahachie, Texas, a flight engineer
Staff Sgt. DANIEL R. REIHMAN, 29, of Riegelsville, Pa., a flight engineer
ROBERT A. JERMYN, 24, of York, Pa., a para-rescueman
Capt. DAVID D. MASON, 30, of Springfield, Mo., aircraft commander
2nd Lt. RUSSELL H. OHL, 28, of Vista, Calif., co-pilot
Capt. STEPHEN PINDZOLA, 37, of Dover, Del., the pilot.
The Air Force said it was unclear which one was the missing man.