|Birth: ||May 1, 1944|
|Death: ||May 18, 1969|
US Marine Corps
VMGR-152, MAG-15, 1ST MAW, III MAF
Location on The Wall - Panel 24W Line 037
On 18 May 1969 a Marine KC-130 was refueling two F-4B aircraft from VMFA-314 near Phu Bai, just south of Hue. As the three aircraft flew in formation, with the Phantoms plugged in and taking fuel, a third F-4B from VMFA-542 on an opposite track collided with the C-130's starboard wing near the #3 engine. The collision destroyed the VMFA-542 F-4, sheared the wing from the C-130, and inflicted damage to the VMFA-314 F-4 which was refueling from the starboard drogue.
While one VMFA-314 aircraft was undamaged and recovered at Chu Lai without difficulty, the second VMFA-314 F-4's two crewmen were forced to abandon their aircraft but were rescued. All eight men aboard the C-130 and VMFA-542 F-4 were killed in the accident:
VMGR-152, MAG-15 (KC-130F 149814)
Major Jimmy D. Sells, Gold Hill, NC, pilot
Major John C. Williamson, Oakland, CA, copilot
MGySgt Carroll F. Hersey, Wolfeboro, NH
MSgt Edmond C. Polenski, Worcester, MA
Sgt Robert A. Bonebright, Freeport, IL
Cpl James A. Cox, Independence, MO
VMFA-542, MAG-11 (F-4B 151001)
Capt John L. Nalls, Washington, DC
Capt Charles W. Pigott, East Providence, RI
Major J. D. Moody (ejected; survived)
1stLt Griffiths (ejected; survived)
F-4B BuNo unknown, landed Chu Lai:
Major A. Gillespie
1stLt V. Maddox
VMGR-152 received its KC-130 aircraft in 1962. By 1965 the squadron, based at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, was maintaining a constant detachment at Danang AB in order to provide in-flight refueling support to the USMC F-4 and A-4 aircraft operating from Chu Lai and Danang. Detachment personnel and aircraft were rotated from MCAS Futenma to Danang.
This may explain why five of the six Marines aboard BuNo 149814 have "arrived in-country" dates of 17 May 1969, the day prior to the accident - this might have been the first operational mission the crew flew following their arrival from MCAS Futenma. There is an alternate possibility, though; in situations where there was a delay in recovering and/or identifying the bodies the "Start Tour" data field was used to store the incident date. That seems unlikely, since all available sources show 18 May 1969 as the date of the accident.
Lena Burial Park
Created by: Pennsylvania Lady
Record added: Jan 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64865699
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Added: Feb. 20, 2013
Added: Apr. 1, 2012
Added: Jan. 29, 2011