Crash @ Udorn 1970

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Bluehawk, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Seeking any information remembered about tragic crash of a disabled aircraft upon attempting to land at Udorn, into a communications hut, with the loss of crew and as many as 6 intel gathering airmen inside the building, on 10 Apr 70.

    There was probably one survivor of the fire conflagration that resulted. We think it might have been the a/c pilot, and the a/c possibly a battle-damaged fighter.

    Am especially interested in determining what kind of aircraft was involved, or anything else recalled.

    Am developing a Remembrance profile for one of the intel guys involved, for Air Force Together We Served.

    Thanks...
     
  2. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    May not be the same incident but a crippled RF-4C (65-0863), pilot Leaphart and Nav Bernholz punched out of their battle damaged ship at Udorn when the ship went out of control on final approach. Both crew injured but survived.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Found this;

    Welcome to VFW Post 10249
    The History Behind the Post Name


    AFTN Memorial VFW Post 10249 in Udorn, Thailand, is named in memory of nine airmen (see names below) killed on duty when a battle-damaged RF-4C Phantom aircraft crashed into the Armed Forces Thailand Network (AFTN) Udorn Radio-TV Station on 10 April 1970.

    AFTN was a subordinate unit of the Armed Forces Radio Television Service (AFRTS), roughly the same type of organization as today’s FEN in Japan and AFFECT in Korea. It provided radio and TV services to military personnel stationed in Thailand, with broadcast units located at all AF and Army bases in Thailand. All stations, each manned by 15-20 personnel, were assigned to AFTN-HQ Korat and attached to the Base Support Group. AFRTS-Los Angeles provided AFTN Udorn with records, tapes, and other operational materials. AFTN was downgraded in later years to a Broadcast Squadron with Detachments.


    The fateful day, April 10, 1970, dawned as another beautiful Thai day. There was little wind, and only a few puffy cumuli dotted the blue sky. At exactly 1302, an RF-4C Phantom code-named Falcon 34 (tail number 65863) departed Udorn RTAFB for tactical reconnaissance of a line of enemy communications in northwestern Laos. Around 1330, after the aircraft climbed out of its first target run, its master caution light illuminated. A check revealed failure of the PC-2 hydraulic system; the pilot declared an emergency and headed back to Udorn. On the return trip the utility hydraulic system also failed. Around that time the navigator reported a hole 3 to 6 inches in diameter just forward of the spoiler in the right wing.


    Official reports and witnesses of the subsequent accident at Udorn say that around 1400 hours the severely damaged recon aircraft began a long straight-in approach after the pilot confirmed with the Flight Safety Officer that he was able to maintain control. The landing was to be with no flaps and with barrier engagement, and on final approach the landing gear and arresting hook were down. At a point about one-quarter to one-half mile out, however, the aircraft began to roll to the right, and failed to respond to controls. The pilot initiated a go-around, but still could not stop the right roll. With total loss of control, the crewmembers elected to eject.
    The out-of-control plane subsequently hit the ground and careened through the housing area, spraying burning fuel in all directions and knocking off part of a 2-story barracks and a couple of officers’ quarters. It destroyed nine buildings and a trailer, and came to a stop after piercing the AFTN Station. The impact and associated fire instantly killed everyone on duty inside the station except one airman who jumped from a window and later died from burns. (For more information and photos of the crash, see “Brass Button Broadcasters,” by Trent Christman, published in 1992.)
    An Ecumenical Memorial Service and Mass were held on 17 April to honor “the nine men of AFTN who died while serving their country.” The Final Commendation of the Memorial Service contained these words from the Bible: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believeth in me, though he may die, shall live; and he who liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.” The nine airmen are forever enshrined in the name of AFTN Memorial Post 10249, Udorn, Thailand.


    TSGT Jack A Hawley, Wakeman, OH
    SSGT James A. Howard, Denver, CO

    A1C Andrew C. McCartney, Lakewood, OH
    SSGT Alfred N. Potter, Forest Grove, OR

    SGT John Charles Rose, Bloomfield, NJ
    TSGT Frank D. Ryan, Jr., Mercer Island, WA

    SSGT Edward W. Strain, Myrtle Beach, SC
    TSGT Roy Walker, Albuquerque, NM
    A1C Thomas L. Waterman, Roanoke, VA
    Story compiled by Tom Elliott (VFW Post 2485)
     
  4. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    Thanks FyboyJ for the story.

    I listened to AFN Radio TV for the three years I was stationed at Pruem AS West Germany. It was a touch of home when you are far away.

    I never knew about these 9 fellow Airman. Now I do.

    Bill G.
     
  5. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    That's the one... thanks. I'm especially grateful to now have the tail #, which had not appeared anywhere else.

    The incident turned out to be memorialized very well, as seen by the VFW Post at Udorn now, and so much other documentation.

    Thanks everyone for the help.

    What I was able to do is gather together in one place all of the references I could find on this... which is nice.

    Link:
    United States Air Force - Together We Served

    Then posted it to the National Air Force Memorial tribute gallery as well, so at least there's a consolidated link to everything else now.
     
  6. Step

    Step New Member

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    I was in the CBPO Special Actions office with I first heard the RIO puch out and then the pilot. Shortly there after, came the boom and shock wave when the RF4slammed into the TV station. My office immeidately glowed bright orange and the I felt the heat from the fireball. I got up and looked out the window to see the fire from the two story barracks. All of us in the CBPO bailed out not knowing it was an RF-4 that crashed, thinking there might still be ordnance onboard.

    I began to run towards the fire but the heat from fire was too intense. We all met up near the chapel to see the hole in the roof from the ejection seat.

    One of the guys in the hootch was assigned to the station and we thought he bought it. Later he showed up to find out he was in town on his day off.
     
  7. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I believe I read about this a couple of years ago in the USAF Friends Journal. It was mentioned in passing as it was just the recollections of someone who was stationed there. Do you need me to dig it out or are you good?
     
  8. Kenn Jones

    Kenn Jones New Member

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    Wow I can't believe I found this thread. I was in the TV studio 5 minutes before the crash. I was submitting an article for our local 621st newspaper called the "Cobra" I had wrote
    number of various articles for it. The blast from the crash was tremendous, I remember diving in a clong ditch. I had taken some pictures of the crash and picked up some scrape metal
    from the 4c but the air police confiscated my film and the 6 inch piece of metal I had from the 4c.
    It was surreal, I can still see the disaster and the smell of flesh will never leave my memory.
    My name is Kenneth Jones Msgt 21 year USAF retired
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    #9 Njaco, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
    Thank you for your service, Ken and welcome to the forum!

    Some pics of Udorn....

    .
    nhp_aerial.jpg udorn_airbase_thailand_kt2d.png
     
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