Hoon, Robert E.

Robert E. Hoon, Sgt., USAF (Fallen)
August 20, 1957 – October 28, 1981

Grants, NM Helicopter Crash, Sep. 29, 1981
Posted July 9th, 2010 by Stu Beitler

An Air Force helicopter slammed into a mountain during a combat training mission in New Mexico, killing four of the six crewmen.

The HH-53 Air Force helicothat crashed Tuesday near Grants, N.M., killing four, is known as a “Super Jolly Green Giant” and is similar to those used in the aborted hostage rescue mission in Iran. It crashed at the 6,000-foot level of 11,301-foot Mount Taylor.

The two surviving crewmen, burned over 80 percent of their bodies, were in critical condition today.

Kirtland Air Force Base officials in Albuquerque said the cause of the crash was not immediately clear but the craft apparently was trying to make a mesa landing.

Two men guarded the site of the crashed helicopter, which was on a “low-level combat training mission” until recovery operations resumed today.

Killed were:
Capt. J. P. GANT, JR., 31, Meridian, Miss., aircraft commander.
2nd Lt. RICHARD J. WENDIN, Fairfield, Conn., pilot.
Sgt. TERRY O. CHANCEY, 27, Patterson, Ga., instructor flight engineer.
Sgt. LUIS CARABALLO, Bronx, N.Y., flight engineer.
In critical condition were Capt. RANDY K. JENSEN, 31, Sierra Vista, Ariz, the co-pilot, and Sgt. ROBERT E. HOON, 24, St. Louis, the crew chief.

Altoona Mirror Pennsylvania 1981-09-30

Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler.

Contributed by Joel Hart

Sgt. Hoon died on October 28, 1981 from injuries suffered in the helicopter crash described above.

HH-53B #66-14435
Kirtland AFB, NM
29 September 1981

HH-53B #66-14435 of 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.

Altoona Mirror Pennsylvania 1981-09-30

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