Incident Date 19670623 VMO-1 UH-1B - 638572 [formerly USArmy] - - HMH-461 CH-53A - 153305 - - Midair during training at MCAS New River
Storbeck, William Walter 1/LT Co-Pilot VMO-1 MAG-26/2ndMAW/FMFLANT 1967-06-23
Buchanan, William Lee Capt Pilot VMO-1 MAG-26/2ndMAW/FMFLANT 1967-06-23
Tresler, Clifford Charles PFC Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Scurlock, Jerry Wayne PFC Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Newell, David George L/Cpl Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Bell, Franklin Leslie Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Bornemann, John Frederick Sgt Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Dennon, Phillip Edward Cpl Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
DeRolf, Bruce Edward PFC Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Parkerson Jr., Milton Jack Cpl Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Smith, Robert Nelson L/Cpl Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Williams, Thomas Lee Sgt Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-22
Ross, Kenneth Graham Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Montgomery, Wayne Earl PFC Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Stadelmaier Jr., Frank Emil PFC Passenger - HMH-461 Vertical Envelopment Training 1967-06-23
Naval Aviation Safety Center Report
I have the Naval Aviation Safety Center report for this accident, news articles, and photographs. In a nutshell here is what happened:
The H-53, with 33 aboard, was descending to the southwest toward the departure end of Runway 23. The Huey, with 2 aboard, took off from the grass adjacent to Runeay 23 and climbed southwest. At roughly 500 feet AGL the Huey climbed up into the bottom of the descending H-53.
The collision tore the main rotor off the Huey. It dropped straight down, struck the ground inverted, and burned. The 2 pilots aboard were killed.
The collison caused major structural damage to the H-53. The pilots lost all tail rotor control, although they maintained main rotor control. The H-53 descended rapidly, spinning, then lost its entire tail pylon, struck the ground, rolled onto its left side, and burned. Of the 33 aboard, 13 survived and 20 were killed.
Per the Naval Aviation Safety Center Investigation No. 70-67, the findings of the board are SYNOPSIZED below:
1. Pilots in both aircraft had relied on the tower controller.
2. The Huey had been cleared to take off, and the H-53 had been cleared to land.
3. After getting takeoff clearance, the Huey pilots hovered over the grass by the runway for about two minutes before beginning to accelerate and climb.
4. On final approach the H-53 pilots could not see the Huey below them, and the Huey pilots could not see the H-53 above them.
5. PROBABLE CAUSE: "Personnel factor in that tower personnel did not continuously monitor the approach of the H-53 in order to take more positive action to prevent the mid-air collision."
6. CONTRIBUTING CAUSE: "Pilot factor" in that the Huey pilot, after being warned, "caution, fifty-three directly overhead," continued to climb.
7. The board noted that the tower controller "did not accuarately percieve the impending conflict until it was too late."
Details are contained in the book, MID-AIR, and the chapter, "Caution, Fifty-Three Directly Overhead."
I remember that day so very well. When I was returning from a training mission at New River around noon when the tower asked me to look in the trees for bodies at the down wind end of the active runway. At midfield on the right side of the runway, I spotted the charred remains of a UH-1E. I am sure the UH-1 cut the tail off the CH 53 then went inverted and exploded in a ball of fire.
The first CH-53A was being delivered to New River. The 53 had 50[?] Marines in the belly to simulate a combat assault for the TV cameras. After searching the trees and finding nothing, the tower asked me to go to Camp LeJeune med-pad to pick up body bags and drop them off at the flight line.
When I returned to the line I learned about Buck and Lt. Storbeck. My wife and I along with the chaplain and Maj. Plamondon went to Diane Storbeck's home to inform her of the accident. I will never forget that day.
As a member of VMO-1 I was assigned as part of a guard detail over the crash site that night. 45 years later, I can still remember the smell of burned flesh although all bodies had been removed by then. I can still see a seat belt buckle with a burned hand still clutching it. I am and wasn't a religious person but I said a prayer for all involved, both victims and loved ones. As a Crewchief and gunner with VMO-2 in Vietnam the following year, I saw nothing as memorable as this.Submitted by: Jim Fry, VMO-1 Member, 20131025
My brother Frank E. Stadelmaier Jr. was one of the Marines killed on June 23, 1967 in New River, NC. Losing my bother was so devastating to my family especially my mother who was a widow. Frankie was one of 5 children and he was not the youngest..
The pain, that day the Marines arrived to inform us, took my breath away. And I truly thought my mother was going to die of a broken heart. I am so proud that he and my brother John were Marines but I can't stop the feeling that this was just so senseless.
Camp Lejeune, NC Two Helicopters Collide In Midair, June 1967
Camp Lejeune, N. C. (AP) -- Two large Marine helicopters collided in flight at the nearby New River Marine air facility today and first reports said a number of persons were killed or injured.
A spokesman at the facility said, "We have not determined the extent of casualties. We do know some lives were lost."
The collision involved a HUE-1 helicopter and a CH53-A copter, commonly known as a "Sea Stallion."
The collision occurred over the base at the end of a runway.
Both aircraft were carrying troops.
The Gastonia Gazette North Carolina 1967-06-23
CRASH OF HELICOPTERS.
PARTIAL LIST OF DEAD RELEASED.
Jacksonville, N. C. (AP) -- The Marine Corps has released this partial list of the 22 Marines killed in the crash of two helicopters at the New River Marine Air Facility Friday:
Cpl. FRANKLIN L. BELL, husband of Christina M. Bell, Rt. 1, Jacksonville, N. C.
Sgt. JOHN F. BORNEMANN, husband of Lynn L. Bornemann of Jacksonville, N. C.
Capt. WILLIAM L. BUCHANAN, husband of Carol C. Buchanan of Jacksonville, N. C.
Cpl. PHILLIP E. DENNON, husband of Brenda J. Dennon of Jacksonville, N. C.
Pfc. BRUCE E. DeROLF, son of Mr. And Mrs. Raymond DeRolf, Sr., Michigan City, Ind.
Lance Cpl. WAYNE E. MONTGOMERY, husband of Cindra L. Montgomery, Geiger Trailer Park, Jacksonville, N. C.
Cpl. MILTON J. PARKERSON, JR., son of Mr. And Mrs. Milton J. Parkerson, Sr. Of Springfield, Ore.
Sgt. KENNETH G. ROSS, husband of Peggy C. Ross, Marine Corps Air Facility, New River, N. C.
Lance Cpl. ROBERT N. SMITH, husband of Elanor R. Smith of Jacksonville, N. C.
1st Lt. WILLIAM W. STORBECK, husband of Diane M. Storbeck of Jacksonville, N. C.
Sgt. THOMAS L. WILLIAMS, husband of Pearline J. Williams of Wilmington, N. C.
The Marine Corps said the following men are in critical conditions:
Cpl. GARY P. LINICK, husband of Catherine Linick of Jacksonville, N. C.
Hospital Corpsman 3C CHARLES E. NIGHTINGALE, son of Raymond E. Nightingale, St. Paul, Minn.
Lance Cpl. JAMES J. SPENCE, stepson of John L. Ellis of Kissimiee, Fla.
Submitted by: Alan H Barbour, Historian, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association, 20100914
I was on base the morning of the collision, and later became involved with the investigation while attached to the Provost Marshall's Office, assisting with documentation. This indeed was a sad day for our facility, when the two helicopters attached to MAG-26 collided that morning in midair! Can't remember the exact time; but seems it was mid-morning.
My most vivid memories were of the stench of burned flesh which permeated the air all around the crash site toward the end of the runway.
As best I remember, it seems that 22 of the Marines died almost immediately and a 23rd died while at the hospital during treatment.
As for my person involvement, although very minor; it was the beginning of my lifelong 40+ year career in Law Enforcement! So, I guess this would be considered a major event and turning point in my life, while a very young man.
May God Bless the souls of those who lost their lives that fateful day along with their families and those who were involved in any way whatsoever!
My great uncle David Newell of Weymouth Ma was killed in the helicopter. June 1967 N.C. Crash Iâ€™m trying to find out any info on the accident as possible. His mother my great grandmother didnâ€™t speak much about him or the crash. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you John Ward-DicroceSubmitted by: John Ward Dicroce, Great nephew of deceased, 20180904
It was a sad, sad day in my life when I learned Bruce had been killed
in the New River helicopter crash. Sad is putting it lightly. Did anybody know him?
I was very young and dumb at the time a very special guy went off to the Marines. When he told me he'd be gone for 15 months to Vietnam, I was beside myself as he had been the focus of my life for quite some time. When I learned he had been killed in the helicoptor crash in 1967, my world caved in around me. I still dream about him. He treated me better than any guy has treated me in my entire life and I will ALWAYS have a special place for him in my heart.Submitted by: Karleen S. Malik, Ex-girlfriend, 20120803