USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER & TILTROTOR ASSOCIATION - KIA DATABASE
Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter or Tiltrotor Squadrons in Vietnam
641121 HMM-162 Vietnam
Incident Date 641121 HMM-162 UH-34D 150200+ Mechanical failure over water
[CREW] Slack Jr., Richard Don Cpl Crew Chief HMM-162 MAG-16 641121 (vvm 01E:073)
[PASSENGERS] Nipper, David LCpl Passenger D/3rdRECBn 3rdMarDiv 641121 (vvm 01E:073)
NIPPER DAVID : 1863263 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 24 : ATLANTA : GA : 19641121 : Air Loss Crash Sea : Passenger (D/3rdReconBn) : body NOT recovered : Offshore, South Vietnam : 04 : 19400915 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 01E : 073
SLACK JR. RICHARD DON : 1970416 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6413 : 21 : EAST WEYMOUTH : MA : 19641121 : Air Loss Crash Sea : Crew : body recovered : Offshore, South Vietnam : 03 : 19430603 : Cauc : RomanCatholic/single : 01E : 073
I was in the flight the day his bird went down. If my memory serves me, Ross Plasterer was the HAC and possibly Weasel Gentry was the copilot. We were shuttling bags of flour/rice into country from the Sweet Pea [USS Princeton] due to the horrendous flooding from the monsoons and the locals were starving. It was a bright, hot day and I was either -2 or -3. I remember the Mayday call and could see the bird auto rotating, but most distinctly to this day I remember EVERY FEW FEET A BAG OF FLOUR WAS BEING THROWN OUT IN AN ATTEMPT TO LIGHTEN THE BIRD!!!!!!! I have seen that scene over and over and over again. When Ross tried to gently let the aircraft roll on it's side when the blades hit the water it violently flipped over to the other side. I hated that sight. My thoughts have always been of Richard [Slack] who obviously as part of The Team was going to deliver food to starving people--who all of a sudden found himself in a personal challenge of survival...and who chose to stand up and make a difference fully knowing he could and did make the ultimate sacrifice. Submitted by Capt Ansley Horton Submitted by Capt Ansley Horton,
Comment on Incident:
LOSS COORDINATES: N13 42 00 E109 18 00
USS PRINCETON "Bullhorn" - Nov-Dec 1964:
Ten thousand miles away in the United States, two families were notified that their sons had paid the highest price in the aid of the flood victims. On the morning of 21 November, UH-34D helicopter ditched at sea shortly after take-off from PRINCETON [LPH-5]. A passenger, Lance Corporal DAVID NIPPER of Nichols, GA was never found. The competition to get ashore and help with the unloadingwas keen among members of BLT 3/3 [the Marine Battalion Landing Team assigned to the Princeton]. LCpl NIPPER wanted to do his part. He wanted to participate in the activity at the other end. He never got his wish. The pilots of the downed aircraft were rescued uninjured, but the crew chief, Corporal RICHARD SLACK JR., was brought back to the PRINCETON unconscious.
The attribute of valor was highly exemplified by two of 162's crew chiefs, SGT P W MOTT of Springfield, MO and CPL M N ABERNATHY of Cann Valley, SD. Both men risked their lives by jumping from rescue helos into wind-tossed seas to recover CPL SLACK after the ill-fated crash. At the first realization that the helo was going to crash, they lightened the loads of their respective helos by each throwing a ton of flour out the cabin door of the helos in a matter of minutes.
The medical team waiting on the flight deck tried to revive CPL SLACK, but the attempt was to no avail. The sacrifice was great, but the operation had to continue, for there were other lives to be saved - those of the people the two Marines had never met.
In any worthwhile endeavor there are those who cannot be praised too highly - specifically the maintenance personnel and crew chiefs of the helicopters of HMM-162. Submitted by Richard K Hadley, RM1 USN (RET), ships crew
Capt. Ross Plasterer was co-pilot, CWO-2 Frank Washam was A/S commander on this flight; Ross was the more experienced of the two pilots. We were inbound to the beach with 2000 lbs of rice; several A/C behind Washams' A/C.
I heard the original MAYDAY and saw the A/C turn left back to the ship. This placed the A/C to my left side - the co-pilots side. We all saw the rice being thrown out of the A/C to lighten the weight.
After the crash, Washam told me he immediately turned control of the A/C over to Ross. The A/C hit hard. By this time we were past the crash site and continued to the beach as other A/C were providing assistance. Submitted by LEON MOORE, CO-PILOT IN ANOTHER A/C ON SAME MISSION