Jensen, Randy Kiel

Randy Kiel Jensen, Captain, USAF (Fallen)

November 10, 1949 – November 26, 1981

In Memory of Captain Randy Jensen

Captain Randy Kiel Jensen passed away Nov. 26 at the University of New Mexico Hospital at Albuquerque 8 weeks after he was involved in a helicopter accident near Mount Taylor in New Mexico.

He was a member of a crew aboard a U.S. Air Force HH-53 helicopter known as a Super Jolly Green Giant and was flying a combat search and rescue training mission. Capt. Jensen was the last of the six member crew to die.

Capt. Jensen was born in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, Nov. 10, 1949, to Lavar and Marilyn De Lamar Jensen. He married Barbara Smith of Pleasant Grove on April 11, 1974 and this marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple.

Capt. Jensen’s father was a Lt. Col. in the Army and so he attended school in many parts of the world. He graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School in 1968. He later attended Snow College, Southern Utah State College, and graduated in business administration from Utah State in Logan, where he received his commission as 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force in 1976.

Prior to his service in the Air Force he entered the service of his country through the Army, becoming a Warrant Officer and Helicopter Pilot. He excelled in the performance of his duties while serving in South East Asia. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, 33 Air Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Republic of Vietnam Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal.

At the time the Airmans Medal is pending, this is the highest medal to be given in peace times and will be given for service rendered to a fellow crew member at the time of the accident on Sept. 29, 1981. This recommendation reads: “I recommend Captain Randy K. Jensen, for the award of the Airman’s Medal. On 29 September 1981, Captain Jensen was participating as auxiliary pilot on an HH-53B helicopter during a combat search and rescue training mission. While awaiting his turn to perform low-level maneuvers and observing the instructional techniques of the instructor pilot, the aircraft impacted the ground, exploded and burst in flame.

Captain Jensen overcame the confusion of the moment, freed himself of the wreckage, he found that a dislocated hip limited his movement. At the same time, he heard a cry for help and looked back to find the flight engineer helplessly confined in the twisted airframe.

So truly dedicated was Captain Jensen to the rescue motto “That Others May Live” that despite his own crippling injury and with completed disregard for his own personal safety, he willingly chose to reenter the burning wreckage. He freed the trapped crewmember and then managed to drag himself and the flight engineer to a location clear of danger before physically collapsing from exhaustion.

Captain Jensen’s humanitarian regard for his fellowman resulted in extremely agonizing and severe burns of 80 percent of his own body. For these reasons, I recommend that Captain Jensen be decorated with the highest honors for heroism which the Air Force can bestow in peace-time.”

Capt. Jensen acted as a Pilot Instructor and Flight Examiner while in Okinawa and Albuquerque, New Mexico since going into the Air Force. He was known for his high standard of professionalism and dedication to duty by all who knew him.

Capt. Jensen is survived by his wife Barbara and a daughter, Jill Marie, 5, and a son, Daniel Kiel, 18 months; his mother and father of Sierra Vista, Arizona; a sister Robin of Ogden, UT. and a brother, Stewart, who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed at Fort Bragg, No. Carolina; A grandmother, Lafern Jensen of Spring City; and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ruelon Blaine, also of Spring City.

A memorial service was held in Albuquerque New Mexico on November 30 and funeral service were held at the Olpin Mortuary on Dec. 1st. He was buried at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery with full Military Services.

The Pleasant Grove Review (Pleasant Grove, Utah)10 Dec 1981, ThuPage 18


Randy Kiel Jensen, Captain, USAF (Fallen)
November 10, 1949 – November 26, 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 helicopter that 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

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