20.12.99: the day I left to have some fresh air

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He added, "We will take every possible step to make sure this particular series of events does not occur" again. Meanwhile, wives of the deceased service members spoke to reporters about their deceased husbands and thanked the military community for its support. It was luck. Seconds later, he heard the engines whine and the bird fell backwards into the cold Pacific Ocean.

I kept getting turned around, I didn't know what was up or what was down. I saw a hole with light coming through and started to swim to that. I broke through the hole , pushed off the helo and came to the surface. Staff Sgt. Michael Archer, who was in charge of readying the Marines for the jump, also spoke about the crash. Archer said he knew the helo was going down. He jumped from it seconds before it hit the water. He broke the surface just in time to see the helo sink.

Moments later, Navy crewmen were rescuing 11 Marines from the water.

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Four of the widows were at the conference. Julie Sabasteanski, wife of SSgt.

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Vincent Sabasteanski, Jean Baca, wife of Cpl. Asis read a statement written by the widows. Two of the widows wrote separate personal statements that were handed out during the conference. Sabasteanski said that her husband was the best friend and father she will ever know. I know there will be many stories told about his life for years to come.

Galloway said her husband had a zest for life and was part of an elite group that protected each other and their families as well.

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He was so kind and gentle. He loved life and made everyone around him enjoy life as well. He was very proud of his family and his life's work," Galloway said. David, I will love you forever. A Tailhook of a Different Kind At its founding on November 10th, , the United States Marine Corps was composed of infantry serving aboard naval vessels and was responsible for the security of the ship and her crew by conducting offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions, and defending the ship's officers from mutiny.

The Marines of yesterday probably won't recognize very much in today's modern Marines, other then their shared spirit and esprit de corps. From helicopters to amphibious tanks, today's Marines carry out a myriad of tasks unimagined two centuries ago. Thus was the setting on December 9th, , when a routine training exercise unlike any possible just 50 years earlier was underway.

The training for the day involved an Boeing Vertol CHD "Sea Knight", an all-weather, day-or-night assault transport helicopter use for moving troops and equipment. At the time, the twin-engined turbo powered helo, used exclusively by the Marine Corps, the Sea Knight had earned a reputation of safe and effective travel of nearly 40 years of service. However, this reputation had been put to the test in recent months.

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A year earlier, there had been two crashes involving Sea Knight helicopters. One killed two sailors in the Mediterranean Sea, and another killed a naval sailor about miles off Borneo. And a survey conducted by an Ohio newspaper found 71 documented incidents over 11 years of leaks or failures of the hydraulic system of the Sea Knight. The "fast rope" rappel to board a ship was part of the Special Operations Command's 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit's pre-deployment workup cycle for an upcoming six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf , and was being conducted as a joint operation with the Navy SEALS, who were in the water aboard their boats preparing to assault from the sea.

As part of the exercise, the Marines lugged assorted weapons and breaching tools, like pound hammers to break down hatches, and pound torches to cut through locks and latches.

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The first of a five helicopter assault, it held half of the 5th Platoon, 1st Reconnaissance Company, of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, also known as the "1st Force Recon". The boarding crew sat on two benches running the length of the helicopter's cabin. The Sea Knight was packed so full, that the First Lieutenant, part of the boarding assault, had to try a sit on an ammunition can. The helicopter proceeded uneventfully to its designated holding pattern several miles directly astern of the target ship, the USNS Pecos. Crewed by 89 civilians working under contract to the U.

A "Henry J. She can carry , barrels of fuel oil at a maximum speed of 20 knots in order to supply needed supplies to frontline naval vessels. At PM. At an initial speed of slightly more than mph and an altitude of feet, the helicopter headed toward the ship.

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When the helicopter was about a quarter-mile behind the USNS Pecos, Corporal Adam Johns, a member of the flight crew, told one of the pilots that the helicopter was "coming in fast. Aboard the Pecos, the chief mate of the vessel, assigned that day as a landing safety officer, saw the helicopter about a hundred yards away from the ship, and began to provide arm and hand signals for the pilots to increase power and altitude.


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But he was dressed in white, not the traditional yellow for landing safety officers, so the pilot, Captain James I. Smith, ignored his instructions.


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  • They continued downward, low and fast. At a routine briefing on the sortie back on the Bonhomme Richard, no one had told them that the designated landing safety officer would be wearing white. Seeing the helicopter coming in hot, a Navy captain, overseeing the operation aboard the Pecos, screamed "Power! No one aboard the Sea Knight heard the instructions, and neither pilot responded. The landing safety officer began to motion frantically that the helicopter was coming in too low.

    At the same time, Johns told the pilots, "Looking good and keep driving it in. Lukehart, who had more than 1, hours of flight time, and Capt.

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    Smith thought that their helicopter was15 to 20 feet above the deck. However, as the helicopter crossed the deck, Johns realized that the aircraft was "losing altitude" and made a call for "power," the first such call that Capt.

    europeschool.com.ua/profiles/wijyhume/tu-ensucia-que-yo-limpio.php Smith recalled hearing. Marine Sergeant Robert Evers, who had been sitting in the left rear of the helicopter, heard a thumping sound at the rear of the helo, and thought it must be the sound of the aircraft landing on the deck. However, in a deviation from standard operating procedures, Sgt. Evers did not look outside the left-side window as the helo descended. If Sgt. Aboard the USNS Pecos, observers watching the landing began to shout into their radio calls for the helo to increase their power. But the crew of the helicopter had no clue that the damage had been done.

    Ensnared on the netting designed to save the lives of those knocked off the ship's deck, Captain Lukehart finally increased the helo's engine output. The front of the Sea Knight lifted skyward, and pivoted about the rear. The helo tilted and twisted to its port side, and plowed downward into the Pacific Ocean below, the rotors shattering as they struck the water.

    At in the afternoon, fourteen miles to the west-southwest of Point Loma, in the Pacific Ocean, the helicopter momentarily floated in the water. However, the design of the Sea Knight is inherently top-heavy. Within seconds, the weight of the two engines pulled the helicopter onto its back, and she begin to sink to the depths below. Those aboard of helo were confused by what had just happened, and scrambled to escape the flooding tomb in which they were now entrapped.

    Some ditched the heavy equipment that encumbered their movement, quickly trying to gain their footing, and find a way out.

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