Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter or Tiltrotor Squadrons


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Incident Date 19810212 HMH-462 CH-53A - BuNo 153727 - - HMM-164 CH-46E - BuNo 157666 - - MidAir during landing MCAS Santa Ana

Eibach, Robert J. Cpl Crew HMM-164 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12
King, Lawrence J. Capt Pilot HMM-164 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12
Long III, Charles V. Maj Co-Pilot HMM-164 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12
Pennington, Gregory J. Cpl Crew HMH-462 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12
Styvaert, Paul G 1stLT Co-Pilot HMH-462 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12
Howard, Jackson R Capt Pilot HMH-462 MCAS Santa Ana 1981-02-12

News Article

Tustin, CA Helicopter Collision, Feb 1981

Tustin, Calif. (UPI) -- Marine Corps officials Wednesday released the names of six Marines, including two from Pennsylvania, who were killed in a fiery collision of two helicopters and a lone survivor who walked away from the crash.

A Marine spokesman said a CH-46 Sea Knight was on a landing approach to the Marine Air Station Tuesday when it collided with a CH-53 Sea Stallion that was hovering above the landing strip with a 500-pound load slung beneath it in a harness.

The dead were trapped in the burning wreckage of the helicopters which plunged to the ground and burst into flames.

Killed in the Sea Stallion were:
Capt. JACKSON R. HOWARD, 33, Salt Lake City, pilot of the aircraft.
1st Lt. PAUL G. STYVAERT, 26, Upland, Calif.
Cpl. GREGORY J. PENNINGTON, 19, Fremont, Calif.
All were members of Squadron 462.

Members of Squadron 164 killed in the second helicopter were:
The pilot Capt. LAWRENCE J. KING, 30, Pittsburgh, Penn.
Major CHARLES V. LONG III, 34, Urbana, Illinois.
Cpl. ROBERT J. EIBACH, 23, Scranton, Penn.

Lance Cpl. JOSE M. RIVERA, 21, Brooklyn, N.Y., was treated for lower back injuries at the Navy Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., where he was in stable condition. He had been able to walk away from the crash. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Source: Tyrone Daily Herald, Tyrone, Pennsylvania, 1981-02-12 Posted July 5th, 2010 by Stu Beitler
Submitted by: N/A, 20110802

Personal Recollection

I still remember it like yesterday, I was on duty that evening, walking outside towards the fire trucks, I looked up and saw them collide. I was the turret operator, we responded immediately, the flames were so hot it was hard to put the fire out. We later got out looking for survivors. The site and smell was awful. I still think about it and it's the year 2015.

Submitted by: Veronica Griffin, Crash crew turret operator, 20151108

Personal Recollection

I worked the night shift in the airframes section in hangar 2. We were in the shop when suddenly the building shook; our first thought was that it was an earthquake. We ran out of the shop into the hangar. The maintenance control supervisor informed us of a possible crash. That was over 30 years ago and it is still a vivid memory; terrible loss of six fine young men.

Submitted by: van winslow, Member of HMM-164 at the time, 20121021

Personal Comments

I was a LCPL (6821) assigned to H&HS. Some friends and I were just leaving the barracks to go see a movie. I believe the time was late afternoon or near dusk. As we were walking out of the barracks we head a loud explosion and saw a fire ball/flash around/over the big hanger. At that point all heck broke loose as MPs, etc., responded. We could not get near the crash site.

Next duty day, at the base ops building, we could see the helos down in the field. I remember them staying there a long time as the investigation was underway. I believe they later put a memorial on the base for the victims. Since the base was BRAC'd, I wonder what became of it.


Submitted by: Richard Price (MGySgt Ret), Personal Recollection, 20150505

Personal Recollection

There was a plaque there back in the mid 2000's. I worked for a company that did the roof structure for what was to become a cafeteria. I drive past the area once in a while when driving for Lyft and look for the plaque. Not sure if it's still there. Would like to take a picture of it to show my Mom. I still have Larry's military issue sleeping bag and a handful of his belongings.
(424) 246-6477

Submitted by: Matthew Langford, Larry King was engaged to my Mom, 20170622

Personal Recollection

I just came home from Iwakuni that day after being PCS, I arrived at Orange County Airport, my Dad and Brother came to get me. I lived in Tustin, and had been Stationed at MCAS(H) Tustin were I worked at Base Ops Flight Clearance from 1977 to 1979.

I met Captain King when he was a Duty Officer at Base Ops; I got to know him, he started his Marine Corps Career as a 0311 Grunt during Vietnam. He was one of the last Marines in Vietnam, and on his last patrol, they were ordered to patrol down a road, but to stop at a specific location and go no farther, he was a Corporal at the time, but his Sergeant gave him an order to proceed farther and he refused; he didn't want to be the last Marine to Die in Vietnam; he told me he was never charged.

Captain King never forgot he started as an enlisted-man, he was Cool, one of the nicest officers and one who always had your Back.

While serving at Base Ops at EL Toro during the 1st Gulf War, one of the ATC personnel had a recording of the last Transmission from one of the birds just before impact, he didn't know one of those who were lost was my Friend Capt King.

I miss Captain King, the 30 days these Officers have to do as Duty Officers at Base Ops, you get to know them pretty well. "Semper-Fi"

Submitted by: Ted Bisson, I knew Capt King, 20180922

First HAnd Witness

I was on duty in the motor pool right across the street from where the helo was picking up a load. I was standing right at the gate when all of a sudden the other copter came around the hanger just as the other one was lift up. Right before my eyes I watched them collide.

The ch-46 didn't have a chance it just dove right into the ground and burst into flames. The ch-53 broke in half and I saw the lone survivor jump out before it hit the ground. Crash crew went into action but the trucks were so loaded with water that they bogged down in the mud and could not get the full force of the water on the fire.

The next morning I along with other heavy equipment engineers took our 10,000 lb. forklifts through the mud and lifted the wreckage to get the victims out. I will never forget the site I saw as the bodies were still smoking and their flight suits melted to them. I was 21 years old Lance Corporal from WES-37 EL TORO then and now I am 53 and it still haunts me to this day.

Submitted by: richard sutherland, I was there on duty, 20130206

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