Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ronald Ray Riggs, 1st Lt., USAF (Fallen)February 10, 1934 – September 11, 1959
Ronald was a member of the 4520th Operations Squadron.
Unknown Type Of HelicopterNellis AFB, NV.11 September 1959
Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona)Saturday, Sep 12, 1959, page 3
Grand Canyon Rescue Pilot Killed In Helicopter Crash
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) – A helicopter from Nellis Air Force Base crashed and burned on the desert 20 miles northwest of here yesterday. All three men aboard were killed.
The base said a flight of jets spotted the burning wreckage shortly after noon. There was no explanation for the crash, which occurred on a training flight.
The victims were 1st Lt. Ronald R. Riggs, 25, the pilot; Staff Sgt. Harland V. Mills, 22, and Airman 1/c Terry A. Jones, 20. All lived in Las Vegas.
Riggs had taken part in a numerous rescue missions including the rescue of a Milwaukee couple stranded in the Grand Canyon. Verne Read, 37, Milwaukee department store executive, fell while exploring Elves Chasm in the canyon. He suffered a broken back and fractured skull.
The helicopter piloted by Riggs dropped down into the 4,000-foot deep gorge and landed on a sandbar. It picked up Read and his wife, who had been on a boating-packing trip in the canyon, and took them to a Las Vegas hospital.