April 9th of 1986

 

 

People ask me why I am so passionate about politics and Constitutional issues.

Why did I get involved with Convention of states anyway? I do it because many have died defending not this country as a hunk of dirt but the Constitution and all of its ideals. Every time we chip away at our Constitution we dishonor those sacrifices.

I wish I could tell you that the following story was only a single isolated incident. Military aviation is not for the faint of heart or the weak of mind.

On April 9th of 1986 I had just returned from a Medevac flight in the cantonment area on Ft Stewart Ga.

It was a warm pleasant evening and I was getting the aircraft ready for its next possible mission. I was standing on the toe of the skid on the left side of the cockpit oh my UH-1V helicopter, I had just hung my helmet up on the pilots hook and was taking a second to admire the setting sun, it was very low on the horizon.

To my astonishment a bright flash went off to the north-west that actually blotted my view of the sun. In an instant a new half sun grew out of the horizon and was getting larger. What seemed like an eternity was probably over in a couple of seconds, I don’t really know, I was mesmerized by it until the shock wave from this event vibrated me to the core. I knew in that instant it was an aircraft accident. A split second later the Wright Army Airbase air horn confirmed what I had already known.

The crash involved a CH-47 Chinook and an AH-1 Cobra loaded for a night fire exercise, they had collided in midair. Both crews where flying with Night Vision Goggles and one can only surmise they just didn’t see each other.

The news was sketchy and anyone with loved ones in the aviation community were pretty upset not knowing who was involved. The only news reports on this was information that 2 air crews were down. Being in the thick of things I didn’t know how upsetting this was to wives and children, friends and neighbors, until the next day.

There were no survivors and the search and recovery of their bodies was long and not pleasant. It is a reminder that freedom comes with a cost and protecting what these men died for, the duty of the living.

Lost that night were the following men, pray for their families, although 28 years ago, these wounds run deep:
CH-47
CW4 Jerry G. Akers [P] CW4 Charles P. Falk Jr [P] SSG Siebert Everetts [FE] SGT Alphonso C. Ferguson [CE] SPC Christopher J. Carey [C] PFC Matthew J. Barker
AH-1s
CWO Donald C. Miller Jr.
WO1 David M. Thomas


 

4 thoughts on “April 9th of 1986

  1. I came upon your blog this morning as I was looking for information on my brother, Jerry Akers. He was killed 28 years ago at Fort Stewart. Periodically, I will search for information as what we received was very limited. Your blog was a great and wonderful surprise. There is very little information on the internet.
    Your blog gave me a personal story of what you saw. I thought the accident occurred in the middle of the night. For years, I did not question what had happened. Nothing could bring him back to his wife and 3 young daughters. He had just returned from a year in Korea and reunited with his family. My mother had recently had heart surgery (in January 1986) and I had gone to MD to stay with her for a week. That is the last time I saw Jerry. He had just reunited with his family (they had stayed in MD with family during the previous year while he was in Korea). They moved back to Fort Campbell in February 1986, purchased a new house and got settled.
    I was 9 months pregnant in April 1986 with my second child living in Raleigh, NC with my husband and young son. I received this terrible news Thursday afternoon April 10. April 13, we had our second son. The funeral was Friday, April 18 in MD.Due to having a C-section, I could not attend the funeral.
    My nieces were 12,6 and 2. My sister-in-law sold the house near Fort Campbell and moved back to MD to be near both sides of the family. She later married a non-military man and has lived a good life. My nieces are successful and married. Together, they have 5 children. My brother had 5 grandchildren.
    These are the facts. But so much more is the pain of losing my only sibling, my parent’s only son and my niece’s father. My sister-in-law was left with 3 young girls and lost the love of her life.
    Yes, the pain is still there after 28 years. i can still see my mother’s face when we were finally able to travel to MD 2 weeks after our baby was born. We lived through Vietnam, Germany for 3 years and Korea twice. It seemed so senseless that he was killed in Georgia. He WAS doing what he loved and that brought me some consolation. He was among the first to use nighttime goggles. Given the importance of how far these special forces have come in keeping our freedom, I am so thankful for what he did. He was and will always be my hero.
    Thank you for writing this blog.
    Teresa Akers Mayo
    Please note that the spelling of our last name is Akers , not Ackers.

  2. Hi Teresa,

    1st thank you for the correction on Jerry’s name, I try my best to get the information correct and it is always welcome to have a hand in doing so.

    Although I did not know Jerry he was a brother in the world of Army Pilots. What happens to one is deeply felt by the rest of us.

    I am so sorry for your family loss. If it is any comfort he died very quickly. I hesitate on giving exact details as I do not wish to offend the sensibilities of these men’s families nor do I want my sight to turn into a gawker’s haven. Please contact me if you wish anymore information and I will share what I know, but it isn’t a whole lot more.

    uh1pilot86@gmail.com

    I never imagined that my simple post would ever make it to anybody’s browser let alone a family member. I am honored that you were able to visit my little corner and to add life to Jerry’s name. Too often we see the sacrifice enshrined in a name and forget they were real people, with real lives, with family that loved them. Feel free to post anything else’s about Jerry you would like. I am afraid though that it may only be you and I that ever see it…

  3. My younger brother Chris Carey was a crewman aboard the Chinook. Its hard to believe it was 30 years ago.

    He wasn’t married and all our thoughts and prayers go out to the Akers’ and other families who grew up without a Dad.

    Chris’s nephew and namesake, Capt. Christopher W. Carey served two tours with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze star for his service. He is preparing for a third deployment next year in the middle east.

    1. Hi Joe,

      I am sorry for your loss. I know it isn’t any easier, for me I can close my eyes and see it vividly to this day. I am working hard to do my part to make sure it wan’t in vain that he died. Please from one warrior to another thank Captain Carey for me. I cannot imagine doing what he is doing with the current rules of engagement. It shows a tremendous amount of self control.

      Best regards

      Scott Williams

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