Is there a place on popasmoke or elsewhere that tracks aircraft accidents and those who were lost in them? I was assigned to MARTD NAS Alameda from Feb 1971 thru June 1975 as an active duty member of the I&I Staff. The reserve squadrons assigned at that time were VMA-133 flying A4C Skyhawks and HMH-769 flying CH-53A Sea Stallions.
The frst week of July in 1974, I was a Corporal, and the reservists of HMH-769 were sent TAD for training at NAS Fallon, Nevada. On 26 July 1974, a CH-53A departed Fallon enroute to our home base at NAS Alameda, and broke apart mid-air after slinging its blades as a result of a "Jesus" nut failure near a roadside rest stop outside of Vallejo, CA, killing all 6 Marines onboard the aircraft. Cpl. McHunter Lee Tipton was one of those who died, a fantastic Marine and friend of mine, after replacing me on the flight at the last minute before take-off. For 38 years, I have woke up every day and thought of the first six Marines, and the one who gave me my life... I do not recall the bureau number of the aircraft, but I believe the side number was 483.
Over the years, I participated in two other aircraft accident investigations (as a documentary photographer) and shortly after the Storm (during April 1992) I retired after 22 years service as a Gunnery Sergeant. If there is a place online to honor these Marines, I have the names (both active duty and reservist), dates and locations. SEMPER FI.
My purpose in this life is not to be carried to the grave in a beautifully well preserved body with no nicks and dings; but to skid in sideways at 100+ miles an hour, slam worn out by the good things I've tried to accomplish and screaming "HOLY SMOKES!! WHAT A RIDE!! 'Nuf sed.
Roger D. "Doc" Smith
Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (Ret.)