Incident Date 19690107 HMM-165 CH-46A 152552+ - Crash, Instrument Meterological Conditions
Jacobs, Vincent Lawrence 1stLT Co-Pilot HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-01-07 (vvm 35W:048)
Hobart III, Glenn Edward Sgt Crew HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-01-07 (vvm 35W:048)
Ford III, Glenn Jesse 1stLT Pilot HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-01-07 (vvm 35W:047)
Fleming, PAul Dennis Sgt Crew HMM-165 MAG-16 1969-01-07 (vvm 35W:047)
Covington, William Lee LT (USN) Passenger 30th NavalConstructionRegmt 1969-01-07 (vvm 13E:120)
We received notice at the squadron ODO desk that Glenn and Vince had lost radio contact heading SE of Chu Lai over the South China Sea and disappeared from radar heading in a SE direction. The SAR missions flew for a couple of days with no result. The aircraft was found over a year later. The crash site was intact, aircraft and bodies. Glenn and Vince had evidently lowered down when they realized they were heading out to sea with no radios. They made their way back to land, but crashed into the mountains West of Chu Lai. The aircraft and crew were Lady Ace, HMM-165.Submitted by: Terry M. Curtis, Operations Duty Officer, HMM-165, 20030821
I was supposed to be with Glen on that flight when they crashed into a mountain. Vince, my room mate on the ship, took the flight because I had been out since day break and he did not have a flight that day. It was supposed to be an easy, afternoon mail run. However, they never came back. We think they were misdirected by a radar controller, but we don't know for sure.
HMM-165 was aboard the Tripoli during the fall of 1968. I don't remember the exact months. We operated from it for three months as did other H-46 squadrons. We went ashore at Marble Mountain from the ship and remained there until the squadron was pulled from country. It was while we were at Marble that Glen Ford and Vince Jacobs were killed in the mountain crash. Their flight was just a routine run to Chu Lai for mail and passengers bound for Marble. It was a very cloudy day and they had to be radar vectored back to Marble. That was when it happened. Glen was a quiet guy, very friendly and easy to be his friend. He was very capable; that was why we had to believe that he was misdirected into the mountain. Vince was a typical New York Italian. He to was easy going and a good friend. He liked to laugh and have a good time. They were greatly missed.
Possible Passenger Aboard
On 7 January 1969, Lt William L. Covington, USN, of the 30th Naval Construction Regiment, DaNang was listed as missing. He was also listed by the Navy as a helicopter passenger from DaNang to Chu Lai. It is unknown what flight he was on, or with what branch of the service he was flying.
On 16 September 1977, he was classified as KIA with body recovered.
The narrative for the flight said "crashed into mountain during bad weather on a routine flight between MArble Mountain and Chu Lai for mail and passengers."
After research by Ken Davis of The Virtual Wall and others, there is strong circumstantial evidence that Lt Covington was on this flight as a passenger. All of the other flight losses on that day were Army, and away from the region. The Navy coded the loss as hostile, although that had to be a guess if he was missing. Location also had to be a guess if no site was known. There was no mention of additional bodies on the recovery, but the bodies were not located until 22 September 1969, well after the incident. They werereported as significantly deteriorated, but intact. Prior to the discovery on land eight months later, it was assumed to be a loss at sea.
The body of Lt Covington was listed in the Casualty Report as recovered by the Navy, but there is a possibility that the body was not identified until after additonal tests confirmed same sometime after the loss and prior to 16 August 1977.
It will, therefore, be assumed that Lt Covington went down with this flight until further evidence surfaces.