Little Rock Air Force Base, AR Cargo Plane Crash, Nov 1971


Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (AP) -- An Air Force C130E Hercules cargo plane lifting off for a training mission, crashed and burned here Friday, killing 10 of the 11 crewmen.
It was the worst air tragedy in terms of lives lost in the history of the base.
Col. Richard J. Gibney, commander of the 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, said cause of the crash was unknown.
An investigating board was convened soon after the crash. It is headed by Maj. Gen. David I. Liebman, vice commander of the 12th Air Force.
The four-engine aircraft, loaded with 40,000 gallons of fuel, was 8,000 feet down the runway and 200 feet in the air when it plummeted to earth to the left of the runway and burst into fire.
S. Sgt. LOUIS F. HRIBAR, 30, of Jacksonville, the plane's loadmaster, was riding in the tail section and apparently was thrown from the plane by the crash. He was the only survivor.
HRIBAR suffered severe burns, however, and was flown to Brooke Army Hospital at San Antonio, Tex., for treatment.
Gibney said HRIBAR told authorities he knew of no malfunction prior to the crash. The wing commander also said no communication from the pilot to the base tower indicated a malfunction.
The crew was composed of instructors and trainees. The trainees were being shown the C130E systems before being sent to Southeast Asia for duty, Gibney said.
The aircraft was scheduled to fly to Ft. Campbell, Ky., to drop a 8,000-pound load module in a mock combat drop and then fly back to the Little Rock base.
Gibney said that after leaving the ground, the plane apparently went to the left and the crew probably was correcting the line of flight back to the runway when the plane fell.
The fire scorched an area about 200 feet by 300 feet.
The aircraft turned slightly sideways on impact ant the wreckage was scattered over an area of more than a block.
The dead were identified as:
Capt. LAURANCE F. ASHER, 31, of Port Washington, N.Y., an instructor navigator.
M. Sgt. ORVILLE D. GEARHART, 39, of Aberdeen, S.D., an instructor flight engineer.
Capt. JAMES B. RAYCRAFT, 26, of Los Angeles, Calif., an instructor pilot.
2nd Lt. MICHAEL W. HODGE, 24, of Salem, Ill., a trainee from Lauaghlin AFB, Tex.
1st Lt. DAVID C. MOURLE, 24, a trainee from Robbins AFB, Ga.
T. Sgt. EMORY V. McKEE, JR., 35, of Dover, Del., a trainee flight engineer.
Airman 1st Class DAVID M. BLOOMBERG, 22, a trainee from Lexington AFB.
Maj. PAUL S. FRIEDLER, 34, of Sacramento, Calif., a trainee pilot.
2nd Lt. WILLIAM R. GAMBOE, 23, of Lexington, Ky., a trainee pilot.
S. Sgt. WILLIAM H. DINTLEMAN, JR., 32, of Hampton, Va.

Abilene Reporter-News Texas 1971-11-14


I was there.

The airplane flew directly over me as I walked from the flight line to the office. The pilot was a hero to keep it from crashing into the parked airplanes and personnel. It only flew about three to four seconds after clearing me. I think about it almost every day! RIP Brothers! (The airplane had 40000 pounds of fuel on board instead of gallons).