Jacksonville, NC Military Helicopter Collision, June 1967


Jacksonville, N.C. (AP) -- The in-flight collision of two helicopters that killed 22 Marines was described today by Marine Corps officials as the worst tragedy in the history of the helicopter-troop training program.
Twenty-one of the Marines died in the fiery collision Friday. One of 14 injured died at a hospital hours after the mid-morning crash.
The collision occurred 500 feet in the air. The two craft fell in a small clearing on the wooded New River Marine Air Facility, a base in eastern North Carolina used to train Marines in Vietnam-type helicopter operations.
A CH53A Sea Stallion, a large, fast helicopter carrying four crewmen and 29 Marine troopers, tumbled to earth and burst into flames.
The other copter, a HU2E Huey, had two pilots aboard. Both were killed.
Col. THOMAS TULIPANE, commander of Marine Air Group 26 to which the copters were attached, said the Sea Stallion was coming in for a landing. The troopers were to leave the helicopter quickly and assault a simulated pillbox, a maneuver practiced many times.
The Huey, practicing landings and takeoffs, came up from the runway and smashed into the tail of the troop-carrying copter and both plunged to earth, TULIPANE said. The copters crashed about 1,000 yards apart.

The Clearfield Progress Pennsylvania 1967-06-24