Incident Date 19680513 HMM-362 UH-34D 150254+ - Mechanical failure, Crash at Sea
Boyd III, Thomas Massie Cpl Gunner HMM-362 MAG-36 1968-05-13 (vvm 59E:016)
The H-34D was lifting off of the hospital ship after just delivering wounded from the field. There was an engine failure. Cpl. Boyd was still wearing the heavy bullet proof vest. He got to the surface once.Submitted by: Tom Warning, HMM-362, Asst Sect Leader E-5, 20030818
Tommy Boyd and I were best friends. We had served together at NAS Dallas, both as helo mechanics. We, in fact, were bunk mates. We both got orders to VN at the same time and were both assigned to HMM-362 in early March, 1968. I was a crew chief and Tommy was my door gunner. At the time of the incident HMM-362 was living and flying off of the carrier USS Iwo Jima; even on the ship we were bunk mates.
On the day of Tommy's death for some reason he had been assigned to another crew just for the day. I was in the second or "wingman" bird. We had picked up wounded from the mainland and were dropping them off on a ship, I think it was a hospital ship - probably the USS Repose, but honestly I can't recall which ship. Anyway, as Tommy's helo was lifting off from the ship's deck, the engine quit. The aircraft settled into the water and the pilot rolled it over onto its left side in order to break off the rotor blades.
The crew exited safely from the cabin door and jumped into the water. The crew were all together at first and then Tommy disappeared. He was unable to swim because his heavy "bullet proof vest" kept his May West from inflating and he sank before anyone could get to him. I remember that I used to try to get him to take the vest off when we flew over water. The rest of the crew was rescued by a boat from the ship. I witnessed this from the air. I remember that it took me several days to understand that Tommy was really gone. His death was so unreal to me. The squadron held a memorial service on the ship a few days latter. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions for you.
I was only 11 years old when Tom died. He was 21, the first born of our family of four kids. I was the youngest. He was a GREAT big brother and he was a very proud Marine who loved his helicopters. I remember one of the times he was home on leave, before he shipped-out to VN, he brought home a model of a helicopter for me. We spent everyday of his leave working on it, getting every detail and decal just right.
My deepest respect and appreciation goes out to those of you who knew him and worked with him. God Bless You! and Thanks!
Please feel free to email me with anything that you'd like to share with me about the brother I hardly knew.
The date on this photo is "April 1968", the month before Tom's helicopter went down.
I'm sorry if this is not the proper procedure for use of the web site but I did not know where else to turn. I left the Marine Corps in 1966 after my tour was completed. My best friend for about two years at Camp LeJeune was Thomas Boyd III. I have been trying to locate him off and on ever since. No luck. Then I found this site. I hope this was not my friend. Tom was from Greenville, South Carolina. I think his MOS was 0341, 81mm Mort. He did complete jump school but the two years we were together he was not a Helo gunner. Do I understand that this Tom Boyd was from Corpus Cristi, Texas? It would sure put my mind at ease if I could find out for sure.
Any help would be appreciated.
YL 8 was red lined, meaning it was scheduled to be returned to the States for a complete overhaul because of hours on aircraft. YL 8 was still in good flight condition and because of this, continued to be operational.
We did offload two serious medivacs, both head wounds, onto the USS Repose hospital ship. After gaining altitude a few short moments, I heard a loud pop and knew the engine had stopped. Tom was wearing the bullet proof vest over his Mae West and it was strapped tightly over the vest. I, Doc Jones and Tom were in the craft when it rolled over onto the cargo door side and we all were in it when it went under the water. I remember being on the outside of the craft while it was rolling underwater along with Doc Jones and Tom.
Later, after the incident, Doc Jones told me that when he was trying to get out the cargo side of the craft, he felt someone standing on his shoulder. It was probably me because the craft was rolling and we were all under water. When I surfaced, Tom came up next and was struggling, trying to stay up due to the bullet proof vest over the Mae West. I remember having only one side of my vest inflated at the time; I tried to get the vest off of him. Because of the weight of the vest and Tom struggling to stay above the water, he grabbed onto me and we both went back under water, sinking. I tried to get the straps of the vest on his bouncer loose but could not get to them because of Tom struggling with me and fearing for his life. When I broke surface again to get air, Tom was gone.
I watched the whole thing when the engine stalled and went down. I was going over the rail of boat to save the men when a Navy person stopped me and said help was already in action. It will be forever enbedded in my mind. The word was all were resuced but one person and they never found the copper afterwards.Submitted by: William Goward, I was a wounded Marine on the ship, 20120605