Incident Date 19670107 HMM-362 UH-34D 147192+ - Accidental Grenade Discharge
Mooney Jr., John Howard Cpl Gunner HMM-362 SLF USS Valley Forge 1967-01-07 (vvm 13E:123)
Rhodes, Donald Frank Pvt Passenger A/1/9 3rdMarDiv 1967-01-07 (vvm 13E:123)
Comment on Incident
Submitted by: Bob Skinder, 20030803
John was attached to the squadron from MAG disbursing when we went aboard ship as part of the SLF. Joel Vignere was the HAC. "Fish" Williams was the crew chief. Mike Fulstone writes that he had been asked to give up his set of skins so that Mooney could get his wings. Curt Gray got off the flight for lunch and Mooney replaced him. Joel's log indicates the bird was bureau number 147192 and the LZ was Duck.
There seems little doubt about what happened. They were picking up grunts from the above named LZ. Climbing aboard, a grenade came loose and exploded killing the Marine and Mooney. I seem to remember that a radioman was saved when his radio caught most of the shrapnel. I also remember a personal conversation with the Crew chief who told me that he was standing on the step when the grenade went off. Vignere's summary is the most comprehensive although his knowledge was limited to what he could see and surmise at the time. The crew was picked up by an H-46 and flown back to the Iwo Jima. Either Carl Wheeler or Deac Warner flew the badly damaged a/c back to the ship. Fulstone reports that the ship treated it as if it were an ongoing crash with full alert.
John James Murphy was assigned to BLT 1/9, Task Group 79.5, under Maj James L. Day.
After almost 40 years I have learned the names of the first two KIA's I provided first aid. Deckhouse V was my first operation after 3rd MarDiv returned form Okinawa. I was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Platoon, 1/9 (the Walking Dead), 3rd MarDiv. Mooney, the crewman died instantly. It appeared that he saw the grenade, attempted retrieve the grenade but suffered the full impact of the explosion. It is my opinion that he should be recognized for his attempt to dispose of the grenade.
The passenger, LCpl Rhodes, had the grenade attached to his utility belt via the pin. When as Rhodes boarded chopper,the grenade brushed against the entrance near the bulkhead, fell to the floor of the chopper, armed.
Rhodes suffered a severe wound to his leg (nearly amputated), but eventually died of massive enternnal injuries.
You may contact me at the above address for further details.
I have been married to John H. Mooney's son (also John Howard, now Rosser as the result of adoption by his stepfather) for 23 years. We have 2 daughters who have been raised knowing the story of their grandfather's sacrifice for his country. They have both grown up with so much love and respect for this man who gave his life for his country. I have watched them grow up (they are 16 and 19) to become young women who respect their country, the miltary, and particularly the Marine Corps. My husband also served a tour in the Marine Corps and during that time he located his father's grave in Long Beach, CA. I have watched him come to grips with the loss of his father in this incident and communicate it to our children in a way that has left them proud of their grandfather, understanding the ultimate sacrifice that he made for his country. His short life has made a huge impression on his grandchildren and they have developed a love for the military and their country as a result. Our family could not be more proud of him.Submitted by: Susan W. Rosser, John H. Mooney's Daughter-in-law, 20070227
This is a TEST commentSubmitted by: Walter Beddoe, Cousin, 20181125
Jack [Mooney] and I were very close. He spent the week with my sister, me and my 2 boys before going back to California. I had sent him Christmas presents before the accident and he got all but one, which came back to me. After all these years I still miss him but have our memories. He was a fun person and we had many good times together. Every Sept 13th I honor his birthday in some way. Wish everyone could have known him.Submitted by: Grace Graves III, cousin , 20160925
Cpl John H. Mooney Jr.
Cpl John H. Mooney Jr.
I am the oldest child of John H. Mooney, Jr. I am so very proud of the sacrifice my dad made for our country. I currently live in Virginia where I have resided since 1968. My younger brother served in the Marines to follow in my dads footsteps and now his daughter is due to leave in July of 2012 for her Marine adventure. Jacks middle daughter - Crystene Anne died in 2005 from cancer so John and I are his only surviving children. Anyone having any information please contact me I would love to have more information!Submitted by: Cynthia R. Woodroof, John H. Mooney, Jr was my father, 20120704
I met John when he first arrived in Viet Nam. He told us he wanted to transfer to choppers, get his wings and see some action. If I remember he came back into the Corps because of all the protesting that was going on back home. I know he was liked by everyone.
I met a man one day while I was on appointment. While talking it came up that we were both Marines and had served in Viet Nam. During the conversation it came up about a chopper accident with Marine being killed with a grenade that came off a marines belt while getting on a chopper. As it turned out Dave was on the chopper next to Johns and at first they thought mortars were coming in.
It was a sad day for all when we received the word of John's death, but then for me to come across someone 20 years later, who was there, brought back memories of good times and bad.
I thought of this today, because Dave and I live 5 miles from each other and I will see him today at the school Christmas program for our grandchildren. I think every time see Dave I think of John. I didn't know John very long, but he was a wonderful person.
Just hope this brings good thoughts to all of you and Merry Christmas.