Melvin Warren EakinsLance Corporal
HMM-262, MAG-39, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
02 December 1945 - 02 May 1969
Panel 26W Line 098
The database page for Melvin Warren Eakins
This is a tribute to Melvin Warren Eakins (we called him Warren).
I was co-pilot on the aircraft that picked up Warren and the other crew and passengers from the HMM-262 helicopter. The two pilots were not only my friends, but both lived in the same 10-man hootch. We also picked up the survivors from the Army Huey. It was a sad day for our squadron, and one that I will never forget.
From a squadron mate,
Notes from The Virtual WallOn 02 May 1969 a flight of four helicopters from C Company, 158th Avn Bn, were assigned to insert a reconnaissance team into an area about 20 nautical miles west of Dong Ha. The flight (2 gunships and 2 troop carriers) departed Camp Evans at about 0800, but upon arrival at the landing zone they were advised that tactical air support was not available and the insertion was aborted. The UH-1 flight began their return to Camp Evans, flying in an easterly direction at about 1300 feet above sea level.
At the same time, USMC CH-46 helicopters from HMM-262 were conducting a supply lift in an unrelated operation. As one of the Army UH-1H's (tail number 67-17596, pilot WO2 J G Mills, 4 crew and half the recon team) transited above the CH-46 landing zone the door gunner observed a CH-46D lifting off and warned his pilot that the CH-46 was about a quarter mile astern and 200 feet below the Huey. WO2 Mills directed the gunner to keep the CH-46 in sight and advise. As the Huey continued, the gunner observed that the CH-46 was overtaking the Huey and apparently would pass beneath it in a starboard quarter to port bow direction. The gunner advised WO2 Mills and passed the contact off to the crew chief, who was on the port side of the Huey. The crew chief could not see the CH-46, which actually climbed through the Huey's altitude on the right side. As it did so, the rotor blades of the two aircraft collided.
The CH-46 pitched up and to its right and the aft pylon separated from the fuselage. The aircraft continued in a right-hand roll until ground impact. The Huey experienced partial control loss and made a precautionary landing about 500 meters from the CH-46 wreckage. Two of the recon team had been injured, but the remaining men set up a hasty defensive perimeter. Another USMC CH-46 landed nearby; its crew checked the downed CH-46, finding no survivors. The CH-46 took the Huey crew and passengers aboard and took them to the Vandergrift combat base. The bodies of the men in the CH-46D were recovered separately, as was the UH-1.
Twelve men died in the CH-46D (BuNo 152559):
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23 Sep 2004
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/14/2004