“LOST BACK END CREW”

UPDATE, 2017
Pensacola, Fl

Home of Naval Aviation
Also the home of LCDR (Ret.) Colin "Pem" Pemberton, navigator of that fateful flight of May 26, 1966, and his wife, Doris.
If if were not for "Pem" keeping safe, for all these years, his logbook of that flight these four heroes names might not have been added to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, "The Wall," in Washington, DC.
On Memorial Day, 2017, their names will be forever remembered on the Wall South Vietnam War Memorial at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Pensacola. (Click here for a Pensacola News Journal article, and here for a recent America's Navy article)
The Wall South is a half-size replica — and the only permanent, unmovable one — of the D.C. Memorial.

Please click here

On Memorial Day, 2012, the names of these 4 heroes were finally added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, aka "The Wall."
That weekend, coincidently the 46th anniversary of the event, many of these 4 brave crewmen's family, friends and shipmates gathered in Washington, D.C. to help commemorate that event. Here are some of the pictures taken on that oh, so memorable day.
Pictures by Kevin Snyder

Pictures by Kyle Hunt

Newspaper article links are toward the bottom of this page.

The Lost Back End Crew
On 05/26/1966 after dark the aircraft launched from NAS Cubi Point, in the Philippines on an Emergency mission to cover unusual activity going on in Vietnam.
VQ-2 had crews TAD operating jointly with VQ-1; the aircraft was a EA-3B belonging to VQ-1, BUNO 142257. At the time VQ-2's EA-3B Buno 146453 electronic back end was down and VQ-2 was tasked with the mission. Some of VQ-2's ECM Operators were out in town on liberty and could not be located. The officers then grabbed 2 ECM Operators who were available, one was ATR3 Rich Stocker who was new to the detachment and one was ATR3 Rich Hunt, a seasoned operator, and the aircraft was manned up and launched.
During climb-out through a typhoon the EA-3B encountered severe turbulence, then suddenly had a rare, double flame-out of both engines at approximately 15,000-18,000 feet and thus naturally "lost all of its instruments." When the aircraft started dropping like a rock the pilot activated the RAT (ram air turbine) to get power to the instruments and initiated emergency engine re-start procedures, but that did not work.
At this point the pilot hit the bail out bell and blew the lower door, ordering the crew to bail out. The back end crew, 3 enlisted and 1 officer, bailed out. The Plane Captain froze in the companionway and refused to bail out, the navigator could not get past him to bail out, the pilot was still fighting the controls and trying to recover power. By this time the plane had descended to approx. 8,000 feet, bouncing all over the sky, when suddenly the pilot was able to re-light the fires. The pilot pulled the navigator and plane captain back to their seats. Both engines started back up and the pilot returned to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines.
The flight navigator recorded in his log book "Lost Back End Crew."
The crew remarked that it was very eerie, heading back to Cubi with the back seats empty, seeing the parachute lanyards and the lower hatch door locked open and roaring in the wind.

Every crewman who bailed out died.
Lt Linzy's Mae West was found. He had written a note on his vest, "We are in the water and OK".
A destroyer found ATR3 Rich Stocker's body on 05/31/1966. He had been dead for approximately 8 hours.
The other crewman were never recovered.
ATR3 Richard Hunt was scheduled to rotate back to VQ-2 in Rota, Spain within a week or two of this accident.

(Above reprinted with the permission of John Herndon from his website http://www.portlyautey.com/ECM-2.htm
)

At that time the Navy and the Department of Defense classified this mission as an "operational" flight, not as a "combat" mission, as it so clearly was.
Now, after all these years, and Stephanie Loper's (Richard Hunt's niece, who never met her uncle) determined efforts, they have corrected this oversight. (Here is the official Department Of Defense notification.)


Twenty - one
My son Richard

by Agnes B. Moyer
Recited by Kathy McGee, sister of Richard Stocker, during our 5/26/12 brunch

When you were but a teen
You longed to be
Twenty - one
And try your own ideas,

Move mountains,
Take the world by storm.
You had joined our Navy on an Aircraft Carrier
And roamed with a reconnaissance crew
Over Vietnam.
One night you called.
"I'm on a mission, Love you Mom."
Then came the telegram.
"We regret to inform you..."
Just a few short weeks before
You had turned twenty - one!

Some of those who attended our commemoration

Family and Friends of the Aubins
Family and Friends of the Hunts
Family and Friends of the Linzys
Family and Friends of the Stockers
Shipmates and Friends

 

Special Thanks to... We would like to give Special Thank You's to those in the link to the left

“LOST BACK END CREW.”

"The words, written in firm, capital letters on the logbook page, are just as clear as they were on May 26, 1966. It was the night before a typhoon. It was a night of hydraulic failure. It was the height of the Vietnam War for naval aviation. It was also the night that “Lt. Linzy, ATC Aubin, ATR3 Rich Stocker and ATR3 Richard C. Hunt bailed out” of an EA-3B Skywarrior and into the South China Sea."
(Click here for the complete Northwest Navy Life article)

Here is one of John Herndon's websites, which was so fundamental in helping Stephanie in her search. John has certainly not been given enough credit for all the work he does on behalf of the Squadrons.

Click here for one of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund articles.
Click here for another.

Click here if you would like to leave a remembrance on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Wall Of Faces page for any of these crewmen, or for any other friend or family member you may have lost

On 3/31/12 the Connecticut chapter of Honor And Remember, in conjunction with Central Connecticut State College and the State of Connecticut, honored native son ATC Joseph W. Aubin in a ceremony and flag presentation.
Click here for pictures of this auspicious event.

Click here for the Meadeville Tribune article, Stephanie Loper's hometown newspaper.

Click here for the Houston Chronicle article

More on the VQ Squadrons


"Eternal Vigilance is the Price Of Freedom"
Wall Of Valor