my dad was at fort knox kentucky around 66 67 . he tells me of a 2 or 4 helicopter crash in a power demonstration that he seen. is there some where out there i could find more info on this . thank you very much.. my dad had origonal news paper printing of this but lost it . i have looked everywhere and cant find any info on this
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2006 22:11:59 GMT -6 by ozzymary
There was a mid-air collision of two Hueys on 28 MAY 67 at Ft. Knox while demonstrating for West Point cadets that killed 9 and injured 10. Go to www.armyaircrews.com/huey.html and scroll down to that date.
If you want a news article, let me know and I'll see what I can find.
Here's what I found on several different websites about the stats:
A total of 4,869 helicopters were lost by US forces in Vietnam. The US Army's Hueys took the biggest part of these losses, a total of 2,591. Interestingly, only 1,211 Hueys were lost in combat, while 1,380 were lost in operational accidents.
I, too, along with my wife, was in the crowd on the day the rotors of these to aircraft made contact and crashed. I was a Spec4 and was given two tickets to this "Fire Power Demonstration." It was on the Sunday before Memorial Day on a very hot afternoon in late May. The event opened with ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK coming over the loudspeakers. I am unsure of the number, but I think it was 5 M60 tanks came up over the berm in front of us firing down range. There may have been some APC's as well. Then two Air Force Thunderchiefs (I think) buzzed the crowed and dropped napalm out in the valley. It was deafening. We could feel the heat as the wind carried it in our direction.
An LOH may have preceded them, then the two UH1B's appeared in the distance. There was a slight flash when the rotors collided, then one crashed on its tail, while the other crashed on its nose. The one crashing on its tail immediately burst into flames; only 1 GI survived. In the other one, there was only 1 fatality. All of the survivors were injured. There is additional information about the heroism demonstrated that day by the survivors on this site for the 3/17Air Cavalry unit from which the choppers flew. northwestvets.com/spurs/317honor.htm
The crowd was in shocked, realizing immediately that this was NOT part of the show. All medical personnel were called out of the crowd, and dispatched to help the wounded. But, any survivors were aided by those still able in the two two aircraft. A chaplain said a prayer and the crowd was dispersed. We returned to the OD Army buses and returned to the area on the post where we had parked. It was a somber ride. The memory of this has been seared in my mind for 47 years.
I was a staff car driver for show director Col. Krampitz, went to a number of rehearsals in prep for the show. The two helicopters came out of a deep valley flying side by side towards the grandstands, they were to fly over the grandstands circle around to the front of the grandstands and land like they did at an LZ in Vietnam. As the show opened they were approximately 100 to 150 yards from the grandstands when the rotors of the helicopters hit one came straight down and the other landed on the tail.
I heard a number of the infantry men on the helicopters were Vietnam vets, which made the tragedy even worse that it already was.
They did redo the show at a later date the copters opened the show again but they flew parallel to the grandstands. This is my memory of a very tragic event in Fort Knox, something very difficult to witness.
I was an MP at Ft Knox, back from Nam about 5 mos. Two previous Sundays they had practice runs. 2nd weekend was with people in the stands, soldiers, etc. Third week was with the Big Shots. We noticed on the two previous shows that the Hueys got close. The third week they touched rotors. One on it's tail,and solders could jump out, the other dropped and went in a ball of flame. The crowd at first jumped up to applaud as part of the show. We immediately realized situation and I tore up an MP vehicle getting out there. Fst Sgt Carr praised me for that! We had to stay all night with them as they were burning. Magnesium or alum. It burned white hot all night. In morn. the Pathologist started pulling bodies apart. Surprisingly there were IDs between the bodies. We had a new shavetail Lt. FSgt made him come up close to the scene! Just as he got there, the pathologist lifted a body. The back of his skull fell off, and where he had been cooking all night, the brain segments were like elbow macaroni! They spilled out with the sound, just like Krafts Mac and Cheese. I think of that every time I pour them out. The Lt ran off puking and FSgt said "You little S.O.B!" ( he used the full words!)
Hi In the 60's As member or the 158th Army Band I played the Fire Power Events events at Ft Knox. This was a life changing event for me. I thought there was a lot of Press on an off the Post but I was unable to find anything about this accident until 2014. Is there any records invitations, Duty Orders, Post Articles' that were Printed about all participants and Guest that attended this demonstration? Thanks Bob Vandivort
I was at this Demonstration with my first husband, who was also a helicopter pilot. His family had come from Michigan to visit and we thought this would be a great show for them to see, otherwise he might have been flying that day! Instead we were all in the Grand Stand! We saw the two helicopters come up over the hill, the action, music and tanks were thrilling,... then the rotors hit and a big piece of one rotor flew off!! We weren't sure it was real for a few seconds! But it didn't take long to realize, it was NOT part of the show, when the choppers seemed to fall, almost in slow motion! (Maybe that was because we were all in shock!) All I remember after that was the crash, flames and a few figures running away from the burning wreckage!! I heard some explosions as the fuel caught fire, and the black smoke was billowing in the wind. Everyone in the stands was in shock!! We couldn't believe what was happening. Then we were told to board the buses to be taken back to our vehicles! We knew our next door neighbor was flying that day, but we didn't know if he was in the show!! My husband stopped and called to find out if our neighbor was in the show.... and he was indeed the pilot on one of the downed helicopters, but they would not confirm which one. Unfortunately he died that day!! It was awful, and we could not tell his wife when we got home!! We were sick about it, and I have never forgotten it! I don't remember, any more, how many were injured or died that day! But I believe each helicopter carried a full complement of soldiers plus crew! It was the worst Tragedy I have ever seen!! Not many months later my first husband was sent to Vietnam, as a Huey Pilot, but luckily he came home safe and sound, again! Unfortunately many of our friends from Helicopter training did not!! So, to me, ALL VIETNAM VETS are HEROES and deserve our Greatest respect as Heroes!! (They didn't choose to be sent there! They followed orders, as Soldiers do! In my book that makes a HERO!) NEVER FORGET!
It took me over a year to get it, but I requested through one of our state's senators, a copy of the accident investigation into this incident. It is about an inch of documents. Any attempt to provide pictures was rather futile as they had been copied too many times to yield any details. I did not want to see pictures of the deceased, but the position and condition of the aircraft would have been of interest. However, there are copies of the testimony given during the formal hearing to try assess what happened.
There are a lot of redactions (out of respect for the deceased) but two things emerge from the many documents. 1) the pilots had a limited number of hours of flying time after competing their training (at Fort Rucker, I am assuming). 2) they tried to determine who ordered them to fly parallel when the training and operational protocol is to fly in echelon-slightly behind and to the side.
Who was in charge and who issued the orders for the pilots to fly side-by-side and at the exact same altitude is not clearly revealed. It appeared to be a public relations officer who thought it would be more dramatic to have the Hueys split to the left and right of the grandstand. Unfortunately, they never got that far.
Other data and research reveals that there were 5 Soldier's Medals awarded for heroism that day because of the actions of pilots or crew members of the two LOH's and two Huey gunships who immediately landed and rescued survivors from the crashed and burning aircraft. They also flew injured survivors to Ireland Army Hospital which reduced the impact of the injuries by getting them to medical care as soon as possible.
This Memorial Day (2017) will be the 50th Anniversary of the accident. I wish there was at least a plaque or monument to 10 soldiers on Dorret's Run to honor those who died that day--in the service of their country but in a senseless sacrifice. I have never forgotten that day.
Just saw this today in my NY Times feed from their series on Vietnam 67, 50 years later First Person
Stories from the Vietnam, told by the people who experienced it
“The Incident at Dorret’s Run”
It was the Sunday before Memorial Day, 1967. My wife and I were given two tickets to see a fire power demonstration on one of the ranges at Ft. Knox, Ky., famously the home of one of America’s largest gold reserves, less famously — but just as proudly — home to extensive Amy training facilities. As a married Army specialist with little discretionary income, it seemed like inexpensive entertainment on a holiday weekend.
We assembled in the marshaling area where we loaded into olive drab busses headed to the range, known as Dorret’s Run. There was a mix of military and civilian spectators seated in the bleachers that overlooked the range in the distance.
The event opened with “ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK” booming over the loudspeakers. Five M60 tanks came accelerating up over the berm in front of the stands with a plume of diesel fuel exhaust from engines accelerating and firing their main guns down range. The smell of the spent powder wafted over the crowd, to much delight and applause. Then two Air Force jets with a deafening thunder buzzed the crowed, leaving the smell of combusted jet fuel. They circled then dropped napalm out in the valley. We could feel the heat and smell the burned petroleum odor carried on the wind.
Then two light observation helicopters (known as Loaches) approached, splitting left and right of the stands. Then, two UH-1B helicopters (Hueys) appeared in the distance, close together, approaching the viewing area only 150 feet above the ground, with their whup-whup-whup signature sound from the rotors. There was a sudden small flash when their rotors collided, turning at 324 r.p.m. One crashed on its tail, while the other crashed on its nose. One exploded immediately; the other seemed to pause for a second before flames engulfed it.
This was not, we realized, part of the show. Organizers called for help from any medical personnel in the stands. But we all knew there was little they could do. As a pall fell over the crowd, a chaplain said a prayer over the PA system, then we somberly moved toward the busses. No one talked much on the return, not even small talk, just the drone of the bus’s engine. We disembarked at the assembly area, went to our vehicle and drove home. We said little to each other, but we knew we had just watched several soldiers die — for our entertainment.
In the following days there was little information in the post’s newspaper, The Turret. In the Memorial Day edition of The Louisville Courier-Journal the next day, there was a brief mention that there had been 10 deaths and 10 injured soldiers attributed to a “training exercise.” I learned later that only one G.I. survived from the first helicopter, which caught fire immediately; only one died in the other. The soldiers were from the 3rd Squadron of the 17th Air Cavalry Regiment being prepared for deployment to Vietnam.
These soldiers died during the Vietnam War, but their names do not appear on The Wall. But five Soldier’s Medals were awarded for heroism demonstrated that day by the surviving soldiers as well as pilots in other helicopters who immediately landed to help rescue those in the wreckage and transport the injured. Whenever I hear a helicopter, especially the whup, whup, whup of a Huey, I can remember that day and those men. — Patrick J. Nedry served in the Army from January 1966 to January 1969. He is a professor of business at Monroe County Community College in Monroe, Mich.