Sunday, November 30, 2008

Irvine Ranch Conservancy: C-135 crash site

(Continued from 11-28-08...) The second leg of our Irvine Ranch Conservancy tour took us to the site of Orange County’s worst air disaster.
At 1:35 a.m. on June 25, 1965, under fog and light drizzle, an Air Force C-135A transport jet, (see contemporary photo above), took off from MCAS El Toro. (The C-135 is the military equivalent of a Boeing 707.) The plane was en route from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey to Okinawa, with another scheduled stop at Hickam AFB in Hawaii. Aboard were 71 Marines on their way to Vietnam, along with 12 U.S. Air Force crew members.
At 1:46 a.m., about 4 miles from the control tower, the jet disappeared from radar. For reasons unknown, the pilot did not (or could not) make a planned left hand turn and flew directly into Loma Ridge. The plane was destroyed, killing all 83 people on board.
.Navy sailor Steve Bedunah was scheduled to take the flight as far as Hawaii. However, a family emergency waylayed him. He arrived at El Toro just in time to see the plane heading down the runway. Seconds later, he saw a huge orange fireball. "I was supposed to be on that plane," he said in a 2005 O.C. Weekly interview, "I've spent 40 years trying to live that down."
Here you see Greg from KOCE-TV filming Mike Bornia, Chris Epting, and Maria Hall-Brown at the crash site. It was fitting (although unplanned) that we visited this site on Veteran’s Day. A group called Project Remembrance is planning to put a stone memorial here in the near future.

The jet was about 1,150 feet up and traveling at 300 mph when it impacted the hill, scattering wreckage and bodies across at least a mile. The bodies and all the large plane parts were recovered after the crash, but small bits of the jet are still strewn everywhere. Although mangled in the crash, many metal parts are still in remarkably good condition after 43 years of exposure to the elements. Just last year, a readable set of dog tags were found in the brush.
It turned out that our traveling companion Jim had once been part of a search/clean-up crew after a different MCAS El Toro crash on the Irvine Ranch. He had some very sobering tales to tell that I won't relate here.

Update (11-3-2013): Chris Hoctor sent me the following message and list:

"For the benefit of your readers, this is the complete list of the crew and passengers based on everything I could find (all 84). Many little details added, a number of names, middle names, and places corrected here. Some missing rank, could not find that."

The twelve crew:
Pilot:  Capt. William F. Cordell, JR., 27, GA
Copilot:  First Lt. John A Zietke, JR., 27, MI
Copilot:  First Lt. Gary M. Rigsbee, 23, CA
Navigator:  Capt. Jacques G. Senecal, 32, CA
Navigator:  First Lt. Robert H. K. Shannon, 29
Flight Engineer:  S/Sgt James E. Burns, 29, IL
Load Master:  S/Sgt Bobby L. Calhoun, 28
Flight Engineer:  M/Sgt William H. Meredith, 34, KY
Flight Engineer:  T/Sgt Marlin W. Tatom, 41, MI
Load Master:  Airman 3/C Elwood C. Van Nole, Jr., 19
Flight traffic specialist:  Airman 1/C Charles A. Reives, 23
Cadet Gary L. Zimmerman, 20, class of 1967, Air Force Academy

Passengers killed (alphabetical by last name):
Dwight L. Aldridge, 18, AR
PFC Russell J. Babcock, JR., 19, Tomkins Cove, NY
PFC Roger J. Beiter, 18, W. Seneca, N. Y.
Lance Cpl William B. Breen, 20, Bellefonte, Penn.
Cpl James Harold Brock, 25, Birmingham, Ohio.
Cpl Emerson K. Brown, 24, Kent, Wash.
Lance Cpl John G. Brusso, Jr., 22, Ontario, N. Y.
Cpl George C. Burrow, 20, Norman, Ark.
Cpl Tucker Ross Burt, 24, Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Phillip V. Caraccio, 24
Cpl Paul T. Chapin, 21, Coronado, Calif.
Cpl George E. College, 21, Davisburg, Mich.
Donald A. Davidson, 19, MI
Lance Cpl Douglas D. Everett, 19, Allentown, Pa.
PFC Rosco Ford, 24, Miami, Fla.
Capt Victor M. Girodengo, 28, San Diego, Calif.
Cpl Thomas Barton Gladstone, 25, Largo, Fla.
PFC Dickie L. Glover, 32, Muskegon, Mich.
PFC Gerald Griffith, 18, Jackson, Miss.
Henry D Grimm, 18
Lance Cpl Howard D. Hall, 18, Winfield, Kan.
Lance Cpl Gail K. Haning, 23, Albany, Ohio.
Cpl Charles Harmon, 21, Estill, S. C.
Lance Cpl Robert E. Harvey, 18, Upland, Calif.
PFC Harry R. Hawk, 20, Oberlin, Penn.
PFC Gerald G. Hawkins, 18, Mableton, Ga.
Kenneth J Haywood, 21
Thomas K Heacox, 18
Lance Cpl Danny E. Holder, 18, Nashville, Tenn.
Joseph M Kelly, 18
PFC James T. Kitchens, 19, Madleton, Ga.
Cpl William R. Kittel, 28, Suisun City, Calif.
Sgt James E. Lee, 28, Compton, Calif.
Richard W Leeman, 19
Robert C Lisicki, 23
Cpl Michael J. Mando, JR., 22, Tayler, Pa.
Lance Cpl Brian Elvin Martin, 20, Minersville, Pa.
Cpl James V. Matruski, 23, Johnson City, N. Y.
Henry B McKine, 18, CA
James D Meade, 21
PFC Joseph D Mogelinski, 18, Greenfield, Mass.
Capt Edward M. Morehead, 27, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sgt James C. Moultrie, 18, Moza City, Okinawa.
Cpl Anthony E. Nelson, 22, Wilmington, Calif.
PFC Franklin Newman, 20, Loomis, N. J.
Cpl Rich G. Pacheco, 20, Portland, Ore.
Lance Cpl Enrique Danny Padilla, 20, Santa Rosa, N. M.
Cpl Michael A. Palmieri, 28, Elmira, N. Y.
Lance Cpl Alfred Eugene Peterson, 20, Littleton Commons, Mass.
Cpl Edward P. Ray, 23, no hometown listed.
PFC Robert J. Rhodes, 19, Patterson, N. J.
PFC Ronald Richard Richert, 18, Pontiac, Mich.
Cpl Lawrence O. Rohde, 22, Las Vegas, NV
PFC Gerald W. Ross, 19
Pvt. Robert S. Shedis, 22, Calumet Park, Ill.
PFC Joseph B. Sheppard, 18, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sgt Jackson Sinyard, Jr
Pvt. Gerald Skidmore, 18, Cincinnati, Ohio.
PFC Arthur Slaughter, 23, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Quinton Smith, 22
Theodore Eugene Stark, 24, Louisville, KY
Lance Cpl Charles L. Stevens, 18, Cambridge, Ohio.
Jimmie I. Swink, 26
Lance Cpl James C. Tischer, 20, Hannibal, Mo.
Cpl Timothy M. Treweek, 24, Los Angeles
PFC Lawrence R. Vanness, 19, Rochester, N. Y.
Elwood C Vannote, 19
Cpl Harrison Wallace, 25, Clemens, Ala.
David E. Walsh, 18
Ralph E White, 23, IN
James R. Wilson, 24, IN
William J Wilson, 29, MO
(To be continued...)


Captain said...

They don't always get all the body parts, so anyone who visits any of these sites (and there are books and websites detailing the locations here in So Cal), just be advised of this fact.

During my years in the fire service, I was sent on quite a few crashes in the Santa Ana Mts. and foothills. Out of respect for Chris' site, I too will not go any further in my narrative.

THE DAD said...

I, too, was one of the young enlisted Marines that went up on the mountain that June morning.

The evening before, that MATS plane was parked in the area of H&MS-15 and many of the men leaving for the far east were hanging around that area....

I left work, noticed the men and the plane and thought no more of it.

The next morning as I drove towards base, I noticed several military helicopters hovering near the mountain top and wondered if there was some sort of manuvers going on.............

When I arrived at H&MS-15, I noticed the MATS plane was gone and soon heard about the crash...

My mind went back to the evening before and all those men...hanging around.......and the plane. All gone now.

They asked for men to fly up on helicopters to the site and help with the tasks that needed to be done.........I went up and I do not know why.

Once in the air, circling the site, we were too high to really get a view of what was about to change our lives, at least mine.

Once on the ground, we were immediately, formed away from the crash site.....facing El Toro off in the distance. We wwere told that no one survived and we were there to do a job. Walk...almost arms length apart....from the crest, down a small valley and up the other side. We had to observe, mark areas and once we made our sweep.....we went back and picked up our "men."

Once there, and we saw our first, many changed their minds and went back to base.....we were told, once the helicopters leave...we HAVE to stay and finish our task.

At first, I sortof wished I had not come to the mountain. I was not ready for the sight.....but once we started, I believe every man did what he was suppose to do......and did THE RIGHT THING. With respect....and a silent prayer....BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD.

I recall the media being at a distance....and a couple of negative comments....I won't go into in this posting...not from the Marines...but from some "officials" who were in the area........

There are certain scenes......BRANDED into my brain that I will never the end of the day we had gathered all the men, except one that I recall. He was found the next day. We slowly drove and rode in the USMC trucks down the mountain, full of live and fallen Marines.....and people drive by not knowing what was inside the trucks...

Once unloaded at one of the hangers......I was dismissed and I drove home.

My wife at that time....wanted to know WHY I was covered in blood.

I told her what had happened....

She told me to throw the uniform away.........I refused. I never did......I guess after our divorce she got rid of it. I thought about all the men that were apart of that hurt, but I was PROUD of what we young Marines did that make sure we collected all of our men.

I would love to go back up there, walk that same hill side....BY THE GRACE OF GOD, but aging, health....I will probably never get to go back to the mountain.

I found on the internet, via California Death Indexes, all the men that died on June 25, 1965 in Orange Co........I wish I could contact every family....tell them what I saw.....and how respectful I thought we were, that day in June.



Jim Keith
St. Louis,MO

Anonymous said...

My dad worked on the Irvine Ranch for 31 years and I remember sometime during the 1970's riding with him in his rach truck along a wash in the hills and coming upon landing gear that included a giant tire. He then told me the sad story of that event. I don;t know if it is still out there.

Unknown said...

I had been out late the night before, helping a friend do car repairs. I got home after the crash, but the fires had been put out, so I saw nothing as I drove to my quarters in Trabuco Housing.

I will never forget that morning when I reported to work at the Station Hospital. I was sent immediately to the mountain. I recall seeing a piece of the wing stuck into the ground like a giant had been playing with it and had stabbed it into the the earth like a kid might a pocket knife.

It shined like a mirror in the sun, with "USAF" running up one flat side in big blue letters.

I thought then it would be a fitting marker, but of course the accident investigatiion team took it away to reassemble the wreckage.

I remember the next day, when we all lined up and walked slowly along the line of the crash, looking for the last missing man. We did not find him until some of us went farther than before, by about a quarter of a mile. We finally found him in a narrow crevice.

As I was a Corpsman, I also worked at the temporary morgue, helping with identification process.

It was without a doubt one of the most shocking things I had seen, and as a Corpsman, I had seen a lot. But the overriding feeling I had was a desire to "get it right," to do my best for those Marines and Airmen who could no longer help themselves. Like everyone else, I wanted to take care of them and return them to their families with as much dignity and respect as could be given them; the dead and the grieving.

Semper Fi,

Carl H. Lock

Jim Keith said...

From Jim Keith in St. Louis to CARL LOCK, I would appreciate you making contact with me regarding the June 25, 1965 air crash at El Toro. I have been looking for some Marines or anyone that worked that ground effort for those men that day. I have questions that maybe you can fill in MY missing blanks.
You can contact me via email at jimthedadkeith AT and/or visit our family page at www dot plainlabelfamily dot com. If you are in contact with anyone else from that incident, please pass this along to them as well. Thanks so much.......and for your service helping us jarheads. Jim

Lou "Butch" Babcock said...

45 years ago today. Thanks to you all for bringing my brother (Pfc Russell Babcock) home to us.

THE DAD said...

Dear Lou and all the families of JUNE 25, 1965. I have heard from a number of you now, and with this day being So important in all out lives, I REALLY dreamed / wished that I could be there and travel to the site. Now at 66, so mnay of those men ARE now my age....I hope God blessed you, your families and all the other men up there with me this day 45 years ago. I am SEMPER FI, Jim Keith, St. Louis

Anonymous said...

I have worked on Loma Ridge for the last 3 years, and heard about this horrific crash shortly after starting my job there. Now every year on June 25, I go out at 0135 and say a prayer for the souls still there that I did not have the privilege of meeting, and hope for their peaceful rest, wherever they may be. To the families and loved ones still with us, as long as I am there, your soldiers will not be forgotten.

Jim Keith said...

Hi Terri,

You see often what I hope to see again some day. I'm 66 now, I was 22 when I was up on that ridge.

I have Googled, Map Quest all the availble satalite images I could of the actual site.....and it is so hard to tell.

It looks like the site might be JUST off that new road that crosses that ridge area...
What I do recall was standing on edge of the ridge facing MCAS El Toro when we first arrived....then later, we swept from south to the north side...and we could see the lake, I guess Irvine Lake at the park in East Orange....we walked down from the south down a small valley and up towards the north.

If you get a chance some day...and you feel like you want to....if you have a digital camera, I would love a panarama view of the south ridge around to the north...the area of the site if that is possible. IF it is against the Conservatory rules....PLEASE DISREGARD. Some day, maybe I can come out there and see for myself.
Lord willing.
My repects for what you do.
Jim Keith, St. Louis

Anonymous said...

I have just stumbled on this. I want to say thank you to all who worked on the recovery efforts. My father was the flight engineer. I was only 7 when he died. I have spent my life wondering. My father was Msgt. Billy H. Meredith

William Meredith,
West Hartford, CT

Jeff Brock Vermilion ohio said...

does anyone have all the names of all the Marines and Crew who died thar day
My brother James Harold Brock was a Marine on that flight

jeff brock said...

j.brock at adelphia dot net

Anonymous said...

My father, Lance Corp. Alfred Eugene Peterson, was one of the Marines on that plane. He and my mom were only married 19 days and I am a result of their honeymoon. I am connecting with any family members and trying to find out the status on a memorial for the site. I know so many of you are working to get their names on the Vietnam Wall....thank you. You may contact me at Also, thank you to the many men who were so careful to bring our loved ones home.
Sincerely, Lisa Hollingsworth

desertgirl said...

My. Brother Anthony. Nelson. Was on the plane also. I was 9 yrs old.I've been trying for yrs. To put my brothers name on the wall the men that died on the plane gave there lives for our country too! But they say only men who died. In vietnam. Not right! To I can't hear taps without crying. I also would like to know how I can go to crash site on June 25. Thank-you.

Unknown said...


The Marine Corps has a Historical Branch in D.C. and they will probably be able to locate the passenger manifest. You can locate them at the Marine Corps wensite. Here's the link:

Good Luck,


Anonymous said...

Today is the 47 year anniversary of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of so many servicemen on June 25 1965. We still remember and miss you dad(Sgt. Jackson Moses Sinyard Jr.).

Bryan Sinyard

Jim Keith said...

This is Jim Keith again.....Sept 13th, 2013 I along with the help of Rocky Hewitt, Terri Armstrong, John Boland, Lt. Mike Jansen I was able to visit the crash site (MY BUCKET LIST) JOhn helped locate several small pieces of the wreck and I was mailing them to st Louis ro cut into one inch squares to mount and send to those family members of victims of that date....BAD things is....all the metal pieces were stolen from the USPS box......and pieces of a plane wreck were considered...TRASH and uninsurable. I am sending a letter/package of materials to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens of the Orange Co Sheriffs Dept..PRAYING that it gets there on or before JUNE 25th.....THANKING ALL THOSE THAT HELPED ME....return and pray.
I am SEMPER FI......

Jim Keith said...

It is now.....just 48 years and almost to the few minutes that those 84 souls were lost to the heavens. My ealier port mentions some folks that helped me get to the top of Loma Ridge. Terri Armstrong, Lt Mike Jansen and John BALDWIN......not Boland, error and I am sorry. John actually picked me up and carried my near 70 yr old body across a barbed wire fence, I felt weak and embarrassed, he said he was PROUD to do it .

Patricia Spoonamore Kennedy said...

I am so glad to see this page. My cousin James Harold Brock was on that plane that day. I saw where his brother Jeff put an article about it on his facebook page. I have always wondered about this, and it's took this long to get information about this. I was only only 8 yrs old when this happened, but I remember it. I hope Jeff can find more information that he's searching for. Thanks for putting this on the internet.

Patrick Brunner said...

List of men on board from

Crew of 12 on Tragedy Plane Listed.
McGuire Air Force Base, N. J. (UPI) -- Air Force officials Friday identified the 12 crewmen aboard the military transport jet that crashed near El Toro, Calif.:
The commander, Capt. WILLIAM F. CORDELL, JR., 27, lived on the base here with his wife, JEAN.
First Lt. JOHN A ZIETKE, JR., 27, first pilot, lived at this base.
First Lt. GARY M. RIGSBEE, 23, second pilot, lived at the base.
M/Sgt. BILLY H. MEREDITH, 34, a flight engineer, lived at the base.
T/Sgt. MARTIN W. TATEM, a flight engineer, lived at Pine Lane Farm, Jobstown, N. J., with his wife, MICKEY, and one child.
Airman 3/C ELWOOD C. VAN NOLE, JR., 19, a loadmaster, lived at the base.
Airman 1/C CHARLES A. REIVES, 23, flight traffic specialist, lived at the base.
Cadet GARY L. ZIMMERMAN, 20, class of 1967, United States Air Force Academy, lived with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Marlin E. Zimmerman, in Halifax, Pa.
Capt. JACQUES G. SENECAL, 32, a navigator, lived with his wife, HUGUETTE, Bordentown, N. J.
First Lt. ROBERT H. K. SHANNON, 29, a navigator, lived on the base with his wife, DELORES, and three children.
S/Sgt. JAMES E. BURNS, 29, a flight engineer, lived on the base with his wife, LINDA, and three children.
S/Sgt. BOBBY L. CALHOUN, 28, a loadmaster, lived on the base with his wife, WILFREDA, and three children.
Passengers Dead In Crash:
Cpl. TUCKER R. BURT, son of William A. Burt, Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Pfc JERRY GRIFFITH, son of Mrs. Katherine Griffith, Jackson, Miss.
Pfc RUSSELL J. BABCOCK, JR., son of RUssell Babcock, St., Tomkins Cove, N. Y.
Cpl. EMERSON K. BROWN, husband of Nancy B. Brown, Kent, Wash.
Pfc ROGER J. BEITER, son of Richard Beiter, W. Seneca, N. Y.
Pfc. DICKIE L. GLOVER, son of Mrs. Freida Belle Glover, Muskegon, Mich.
Cpl. MICHAEL J. MANDO, JR., son of Mrs. Agnes Mando, Tayler, Pa.
Cpl. ANTHONY E. NELSON, brother of John C. Nelson, 910 1/2 Morine Ave., Wilmington, Calif.
Cpl. MICHAEL A. PALMIERI, husband of Irene Palmieri, Elmira, N. Y.
Pfc ROSCO FORD, husband of Devon Ford, Miami, Fla.
Cpl. GEORGE C. BURROW, nephew of George Burrow, Norman, Ark.
Cpt. VICTOR M. GIRODENGO, husband of Maria L. Girodengo, San Diego, Calif.
Lance Cpl. GAIL K. HANING, son of Rev. M. Haning, Albany, Ohio.
Pfc HARRY R. HAWK, son of Flora M. Hawk, Oberlin, Penn.
Pfc. JERRY G. HAWKINS, son of Mrs. J. E. Hawkins, Mableton, Ga.
Sgt. JAMES LEE, husband of Ardett Lee, 2104 Wayside, Compton, Calif.
Pfc. JOSEPH D. MAGELINSKI, son of Joseph Magelinski, Greenfield, Mass.
Cpt. EDWARD M. MOREHEAD, brother of Anthony Morehead, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Patrick Brunner said...

The rest of the list:

Lance Cpl. WILLIAM B. BREEN, son of Rufus M. Breen, Bellefonte, Penn.
Cpl. JAMES H. BROCK, son of John C. Brock, Birmingham, Ohio.
Lance Cpl. JOHN G. BRUSSO, JR., son of John G. Brusso, Ontario, N. Y.
Lance Cpl. DOUGLAS D. EVERETT, son of Donald C. Everett, Allentown, Pa.
Cpl. RICK G. PACHECO, husband of Leora M. Pacheco, Portland, Ore.
Lance Cpl. ENRIQUE D. PADILLA, son of Alfonso Padilla, Santa Rosa, N. M.
Lance Cpl. ALFRED E. PATERSON, husband of Susan F. Peterson, Littleton Commons, Mass.
Cpl. EDWARD P. RAY, son of Beatrice Lu Billebahl, no hometown listed.
Pfc ROBERT J. RHODES, son of Sarah Rhodes, Paterson, N. J.
Pfc JERRY W. ROSS, son of Bern Ross, no hometown listed.
Pvt. ROBERT S. SHEDIS, son of Bruno Shedis, Calumet Park, Ill.
Pfc JOSEPH B. SHEPPARD, son of Edna Sheppard, Philadelphia, Pa.
Pvt. JERRY SKIDMORE, husband of Dora Skidmore, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Lance Cpl. CHARLES L. STEVENS, husband of Linda K. Stevens, Cambridge, Ohio.
Cpl. HARRISON WALLACE, husband of Annette B. Wallace, Clemens, Ala.
Cpl. JAMES V. MATARUSKI, son of Valentine Mataruski, Johnson City, N. Y.
Cpl. PAUL T. CHAPIN, husband of Sharon Ann Chapin, Coranado, Calif.
Lance Cpl. JAMES C. TISCHER, son of James F. Tischer, Hannibal, Mo.
Lance Cpl. DANNY E. HOLDER, son of A. R. Holder, Nashville, Tenn.
Pfc FRANKLIN NEWMAN, son of Charlotte Newman, Loomis, N. J.
Pfc. RONALD R. RICHERT, son of Mrs. L. C. Richert, Pontiac, Mich.
Cpl. THOMAS B. GLADSTONE, son of Mrs. R. Gladstone, Largo, Fla.
Cpl. GEORGE E. COLLEGE, husband of Betty J. College, Davisburg, Mich.
Cpl. CHARLES HARMAN, husband of Jean Harmon, Eatill, S. C.
Sgt. JAMES C. MOULTRIE, husband of Toyo Moultrie, Moza City, Okinawa.
Lance Cpl. ROBERT E. HARVEY, son of Roy Harvey, Upland, Calif.
Pfc JAMES T. KITCHENS, son of Mrs. J. A. Kitchens, Madleton, Ga.
Pfc ARTHUR SLAUGHTER, son of Ethel Slaughter, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Cpl. WILLIAM R. KITTEL, husband of Kathleen P. Kittel, Sulsun City, Calif.
Lance Cpl. HOWARD D. HALT, son of Hazel Grant, Winfield, Kan.
Lance Cpl. BRIAN MARTIN, son of Phillis Martin, Minersville, Pa.
Cpl. TIMOTHY M. TREEWEEK, husband of Rosita Treweek, of Los Angeles.
Pfc LAWRENCE R. VANNESS, son of Alsetsa Rose Wilder, Rochester, N. Y.

Patrick Brunner said...

Interestingly enough, my hubby met up this year with 2 of his buddies from the Marine Corp, who he served with in Vietnam. They talked about this crash, as the three of them were to have been on this flight, but were bumped to another. Very sad, and my heart goes out to those whose loved ones were lost. A big thanks to Rocky Hewitt and others from the OC Sheriff's Dept for helping Jim Keith get to the crash site. Hubby joined the OC Sheriff's Dept and attended the academy with Rocky in 1968, and retired with him in 2002. Great group of folks.

Anonymous said...

My cousin, James Matruski, was on that plane. He and I were close, and I learned about his death on the radio, in Binghamton, New York. He was 23 years old. I'm happy to have stumbled onto this site and have read all the comments. Jim Keith, if you would care to share your memories of that day on the mountain, I would like to hear about them, no matter how painful. My contact information is below.

Cynthia Dickstein

Lisa Peterson Hollingsworth said...

My name is Lisa (Peterson) Hollingsworth. My father, Lance Corp. Alfred E. Peterson, was aboard that faitful flight. I am reaching out to family members and Marines who may have been on duty at that time. I have some information on a Memorial being designed and would like to arrange a hike up to the crash site in June of 2015. I would also like to share pictures, newspaper clippings, and any stories you may have with others. My email address is I look forward to hearing from you!

Unknown said...

My name is Marc McDonald, and I'm with Project Remembrance /, the group that locates old military aircraft crash sites. I recently located Robert Zielke, the brother of C-135 co-pilot Lt. John A. Zielke. Robert seemed a little reluctant to talk about his brother and the accident, which I completely understand. He said he would not be able to be at the monument dedication in June 2015. Depending on how things develop, Robert may or may not be willing to speak with other relatives.

THE DAD said...

Hi Marc,

I spoke with Pat Macha last weekend and jus received a great package of info from him....I was one of the USMC recovery team, and I wonder, to this day, as we get closer to the 50th...WHAT DO I HAVE TO role in the whole affair was NEGATIVE, what I did, what I saw I cannot explain or say......not to the families. Only thing I can offer, is that WE young Marines did our job with respect.....and as Pat may verify, after 50 years, we have DEMONS that we will never be able to escape. I've wanted a memorial for years, now Jordan and your team may bring this to pass....@71, maybe in my lifetime. I plan on being at the memorial.....LORD WILLING. Jim Keith, St Louis

THE DAD said...

I was sortof day dreaming..almost dozing, thinking about Loma Ridge and the upcoming events next week. Fifty years since that fateful day and now looks like I'm going to meet some of the families of the victims.......the men I met those 50 years ago. Then I thought.....Loma Ridge...the crest where the plane clipped and crashed/exploded can be seen for miles in Orange County, especially from the south looking north.......I visualized, a solar powered light comprised of 84 individual LED bulbs, with dusk to dawn sensors.....a light that could be seen at the top of Loma Ridge at the hallowed crash site......a light in the night honoring the 84 souls that lost their lives 50 years be seen by thousands upon thousands through the years into the future......wish it wasn't just a dream.

desertgirl said...

Jim Keith, I am Anthony E Nelsons sister. I was not able to go to June 2015 ceremony. Any information you have about crash I really would like to know. Also I really want to go to crash site. Please let me know if that's possible. I really never got closure as I was 9 and not allowed to go to funeral. Thankyou very much. Ann NELSON

desertgirl said...

My brother Anthony E NELSON was on the flight also.Did not get to go to his funeral as I was 9. I wasn't able to go to ceremony on June 2015. I would really like any information and pictures if you have any. I to want to go to the crash site. As I didn't get really closure of my brothers death. Thankyou very much. ANN NELSON

desertgirl said...

Yes Lisa I too would like to know about how I can visit the crash site. My brother was Anthony E Nelson. I was nine never got closure. I've tried for years to get my brother's name on the wall also was told same thing. He didn't die in Vietnam. But never the less .He died serving his country. Thankyou Ann Nelson 8-05-15.

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Unknown said...

My name is Anthony Medrano and my father Camilo Medrano was scheduled to be in this flight if not for the generosity of a man named Jim. My father was lent $50 from a man named Jim (he can’t remember the last name) to go back home to check on my brother who was just recently born with cerebral palsy. Jim lent my father the money so that my father could check on us before going to Vietnam. My father does not know what happened to Jim. I am eternally grateful to Jim and will always keep him and all on board this flight in prayer. Anthony Medrano-Son of a Corpsman

Unknown said...

My brother was on the plane his name is CPL ANTHONY EDWARD NELSON. I do not know if you remember. But I was told later yes that marines only found his arm. If you remember sir, is that true. I am now 62.