Helicopter Accidents

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Ellsworth AFB, SD
09 Oct 1971

Information Provided Curtrsey of Bret S. Whitmore, former TSgt, USAF,
28 BW/HO Ellsworth AFB, SD. (SAC/ACC).

Date/Time: Saturday, 9 October 1971, Wednesday, approx. 0730.

Parent Unit: Det. 2, 37 ARRS (MAC), “Thunderhueys”; tenant unit of 44th Strategic Missile Wing (SAC), Ellsworth AFB, SD.

Aircraft: USAF UH-1F (tail number believed to be 66-1214).

Pilot: Capt Norman G. Schuessler [also the lone survivor].

Co-Pilot: None assigned this flight.

Passengers: SSgt Terry L. Wright, Sgt Glen G. Wilson, Sgt David H. Cloe, Sgt Bernard N. Blakes, A1C Larry D. Hughes, Amn Johnny R. Brock (All USAF Security Policemen assigned to the 821st Security Police Squadron at Ellsworth AFB). [All were fatalities].

Location of crash: In an open field approximately 11 miles north of Wall, South Dakota, near the entrance to Minuteman II Launch Control Facility C-1.

Circumstances of crash: The flight was required for the routine change-over of ICBM security personnel. No other accident particulars were listed in the source documents.

(FYI: This crash eventually prompted a 44th Strategic Missile Wing policy change regarding crew changeovers via helicopter. I don’t know the specific wording of the new rules, but following this accident, routine crew changeovers (both missile launch crew and on-site security personnel) would no longer be conducted via helicopter unless winter weather forced roads to become impassable. From that point on, regardless of the lengthy travel times involved, as long as the roads were navigable, all crews were drive a vehicle out and back from the affected sites.)

The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Indiana)
Sun, Oct 10, 1971 · Page 8

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