Richard Dwaine Stocker
The text below was provided by John Herndon firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also see the web sites Lost Back End Crew and U.S. Naval Air Station, Port Lyautey
On 05/26/1966 after dark an EA-3B Skywarrior (BUNO 142257) belonging to VQ-1 launched from NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines on an Emergency mission to cover unusual activity going on in Vietnam.
VQ-2 had crews on temporary duty operating jointly with VQ-1. At the time VQ-2's EA-3B Buno 146453 electronic back end was out of service 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. The aircraft was manned-up and launched.
During climb-out the EA-3B encountered a typhoon and severe turbulence then suddenly had a rare, double flame-out of both engines at approximately 15,000-18,000 feet. The aircraft lost all of its instruments. When the aircraft started dropping like a rock, the pilot activated the 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 campanionway and refused to bail out, the navigator could not get past him to bail out, and the pilot was still fighting the controls and trying to recover power. By this time the plane had descended to approximately 8,000 feet, bouncing all over the sky.
Suddenly the pilot was able to re-light the engines. The pilot pulled the navigator and plane captain back to their seats. Both engines started back up and the pilot returned the aircraft to NAS Cubi Point, Philippines.
The crew remarked that it was very erie, 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 that 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 on 05/31/1966, five days after the bail out. He had been dead for approximately 8 hours. The other crewman were never recovered. ATR3 Richard Hunt was schedule to rotate back to VQ-2 in Rota, Spain within a week or two of this accident.
These men lost their lives in service to our country:
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 the determined efforts of Stephanie Loper (Richard Hunt's niece), the DoD has corrected this oversight.
Their names were added to the Wall on Memorial Day 2012.
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