KIA INCIDENT: 19670831 HMM-262 Vietnam

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

19670831 HMM-262 Vietnam

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Incident Date 19670831 HMM-262 CH-46A 152569+ (ET-35) - Mechanical failure, Disintegrated east of Quang Tri near coast

Moyer, Lawrence Richard Maj Pilot HMM-262 SLF B/USS Tripoli 1967-08-31 (vvm 25E:075)
Merriman, John David 2ndLt Co-Pilot HMM-262 SLF B/USS Tripoli 1967-08-31 (vvm 25E:074)
Laymon, Michael Dignon LCpl Crew Chief HMM-262 SLF B/USS Tripoli 1967-08-31 (vvm 25E:075)
LaJeunesse, Clement Foster GySgt Crew HMM-262 SLF B/USS Tripoli 1967-08-31 (vvm 25E:074)
Engesser, Danny Wray PFC Medevac F/2/3 3rdMarDiv 1967-08-31 (vvm 25E:073)

MOYER LAWRENCE RICHARD : 076178 : USMC : MAJ : O4 : 7562 (H-46) : 30 : CONSHOHOCKEN : PA : 19670831 : Air Loss Crash Land : AircraftCommander : body recovered : east of Quang Tri : 10 : 19360920 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 25E : 075
MERRIMAN JOHN DAVID : 095676 : USMCR : 2ndLT : O1 : 7562 (H-46) : 25 : LAWTON : OK : 19670831 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : east of Quang Tri : 06 : 19420119 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 25E : 074
LAYMON MICHAEL DIGNON : 2171654 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 6320 : 19 : SCHENECTADY : NY : 19670831 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : east of Quang Tri : 02 : 19471122 : Cauc : RomanCatholic/single : 25E : 075
LAJEUNESSE CLEMENT FOSTER : 1487787 : USMC : GYSGT : E7 : 6212 : 30 : SCHENECTADY : NY : 19670831 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : east of Quang Tri : 12 : 19361128 : Cauc : RomanCatholic/married : 25E : 074
ENGESSER DANNY WRAY : 2284542 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0331 : 18 : ROCK ISLAND : IL : 19670831 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19480915 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 25E : 073

HMM-262 Command Chronology

31 August 1965 - During one medical evacuation mission, while the section was on enroute to the USS Tripoli, the lead aircraft disintegrated in the air. Two pilots, two crewmen and one medevac were on board. There were no survivors.

1 September 1965 - At 1035H all aircraft were recalled to the ship when word was received that all CH-46's were grounded.

Submitted by: N/A, 20030826

BLT 2/3 Command Chronology

Operation BELT DRIVE

311315H Company G detached 1st Platoon as Sparrow Hawk to vicinity of downed helicopter at YD 468553

311435H 1st Platoon Company G searched area of downed helicopter and discovered remains of five individuals.

Submitted by: Ken Davis, Researcher, The Virtual Wall, 20070505


by Rick O'Neil, H&MS-16/HMM-361(TAD)/HMM-262, ‘66-‘68

The APP.’s were screaming in the air,
Awakening the dawn
The choppers lined up stem to stern,
Another Viet morn.

The crew chiefs scurried to and fro,
Inspecting every craft
They knew the structure of each plane
Was suspect pylon aft

There was no thought of quitting,
Or turning in the “skins”,
It’s just another danger,
That we choose to keep within.

The pilots did the charting,
The planning and the like,
The crew chiefs and the gunners
Were loading for the strike.

The call came in an instant,
In the same was answered back,
The rotors started turning,
For a Quang Tri med-evac.

The lead took its position,
The chase was right behind,
We didn’t even say good-bye,
Or pay it special mind.

They left the ship and headed West,
Across the China Sea,
The mountains and the jungle
Were upon them 1-2-3.

Mike Laymon was the gunner,
He normally would crew,
But today the Gunney signed along,
It’s what he had to do.

The plane kept to it’s heading,
Major Moyer saw to that
The engines were both screaming
For the Quang Tri med-evac.

As they closed on their location,
The men began to tense
They crouched behind their weapons,
Trusting instinct over sense

They circled their objective,
Not certain they were right,
But Merriman was first to see
The smoke that marked the site.

Lajeunesse was at the ready,
For the scene yet to unfold,
He knew the same for Laymon
As he heard him lock and load

They descended in a spiral,
Their speed was not the lack,
They had no other purpose
than the Quang Tri med-evac.

The trees came up to meet them,
They skimmed across the top
The sense of danger in the air
Would never make them stop.

They flew at 20 feet of height
And only 20 knots
They knew they’d be a target
If the zone was proven hot

While Laymon manned the 50
And the Gunney hustled aft
The ramp was fully opened,
Giving access to the craft

He was carried in a poncho,
Not known if white or black,
They only knew they had to save
This Quang Tri med-evac.

The Marines let down the poncho,
In a gentle sort of way
They touched their wounded comrade
With nothing more to say.

Some said he should not be there
He’s only in his teens,
He heard the people say the same
When joining the Marines.

The Corpsman did his job full well,
He eased the young man’s pain,
The gunners smile, as young as he,
Brought peace within the plane.

His training got him through the bush,
With armament and pack,
He had no way of knowing that
He’s the Quang Tri med-evac.

The throttles went against the stops,
They needed every turn,
To reach the ship for this Marine,
The miles they’d have to burn

The take-off was impressive,
Full collective made them soar,
They manned their guns and stations
Beneath the engines roar

They rose above the treetops
And searched the ground below
They saw Marines dispersing,
In the bush they had to go

They headed for the ocean,
Full speed to get them back
For time was of the essence,
To this Quang Tri med-evac.

Perhaps it was the landing,
Or the thousand made before
Or maybe it was stress induced
By the pitch, the roll, and yaw.

The plane seemed always ready,
And willing for commission
But something just prevented it
From finishing the mission

There was no hint or warning,
No visual or sound
The plane exhausted, fully spent,
Went plunging to the ground.

God had shown them mercy,
So make no doubt of that
They went with no one suffering,
With their Quang Tri med-evac.

There was no joy in Mudville
As the saying goes,
The Tripoli, a silent ship
Was in mourning for our ‘bro’s

The years have passed and dulled some pain,
But we will always know
We’ll always keep them in our hearts
And never let them go

Marines are always faithful,
We shout our “Semper Fi”
We never leave a one behind,
In body, spirit, mind.

Our brothers now in peace they rest,
We’ll take another tact
We honor them in memory
With our Quang Tri med-evac.

Submitted by: Rick O'Neil, H&MS-16/HMM-361(TAD)/HMM-262, ‘66-‘68, 20030815

Personal Recollecton

The cause of this accident was a rotor blade failure. The blade failed almost 100 hours after a repair done by me while with HMM 262. There was bullet damage done to a blade pocket which I repaired. The hole in the pocket was filed smooth and the area burnished. What was not known was the damage that was done by the bullet to the blade spar. Several people involved (myself included) thought the blade was damaged beyond repair, however, the senior maintenance personnel said tape it and fly it. It took 100 hours before it failed.

Submitted by: PD Williams, Airframe Mech, HMM 262, 20100831

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