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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Von Miles Liebernecht, Captain, USAF (KIA)June 21, 1934 – October 10, 1968
Tail No.: 58-1845 Model: HH-43B Date of Loss: 10 Oct 68 Unit: 38th ARRS, Phan RangCountry of Loss: SVN Call Sign: Pedro 44Pilot: Von M. Liebernecht (41W-40)Co-Pilot: Donald Brooks (41W-38)Firefighter: Millard Bledsoe (41W-38)Firefighter: Emmett Orr (41W-42)Jim Henthorn Page 12 12/20/2007USAF Helicopter Crew Losses – Vietnam WarMedic: Angel Luna (41W-41)
Notes: crashed at Phan Rang AB as a result of control problems, control surface hit blades, which caused blades to separate.Additional Notes: On 10 October 1968, at approximately 2037 hours an HH-43B helicopter (Call Sign Pedro 44) SN 58-1845, assigned to Detachment 1, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Phan Rang AB,Republic of Vietnam, crashed and burned while on an emergency intercept mission. A B-57 aircraft had declared an in-flight emergency and Pedro 44 was scrambled with the fire suppression kit (FSK) to standby for the emergency landing. During the landing roll out of the B-57, Pedro 44 entered a left hand climbing turn as if departing the area for return to the alert pad. Almost simultaneously, and without any radio transmission, thehelicopter crashed and burned inflicting fatal injuries to all five aircrew members. Firefighting equipment and medical assistance, already on hand for the B-57 emergency, responded immediately to the scene, extinguishing the fire within 15 seconds and immediately removed the crewmembers from the aircraft.
(TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE ACCIDENT REPORT DATED 18 OCTOBER 1968 BY LT. COL.ROBERT M. FOSTER)WHAT HAPPENED : The primary cause of this major aircraft accident was material failure of the azimuth bar to “L” crank rod. This caused an in-flight disintegration of the rotor system and loss of aircraft control.Additional Note: Millard Bledsoe and Emmett Orr were Firemen, Angel Luna was a Medic – contributed byGary Pruitt 4/30/2006
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