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The Crew Chief Who Stole A C-130E

by John M. White |

Lockheed C-130E HerculesIn May of 1969 Sargent Paul Meyer stole a C-130E from Mildenhall, England and subsequently crashed in the English Channel. Rumor flew insisting that he had been shot down by US Air Force fighters, that his body parts had washed up on shore along with many other rumors. None were true.

May 23, 1969

At approximately 0655 Central Europe Time Sgt Meyer did, without authorization, taxi and take off from RAF Mildenhall, England, C-130E aircraft number 37789, which subsequently crashed in the English Channel. Sgt Meyer is still missing and presumed dead of injuries sustained when the aircraft impacted the water. The official findings and recommendations were as follows:
"1. PRIMARY CAUSE. Other personnel. The Assistant Crew Chief made an unauthorized taxi and takeoff, subsequently lost control of the aircraft and crashed into the English Channel. Sgt Paul A. Meyer acted alone in committing this highly irrational act and was not intentionally assisted by any other individual."
The report goes on to state that "Sgt Meyer was under considerable emotional stress throughout the period of TDY to RAF Mildenhall. This TDY began on 26 Feb 69 and was to continue until completion of the 120 day rotation. He was married wight weeks before being deployed and was under constant pressure by his wife, through inference, using any reason necessary." The Air Force worked to help with his problems and it appeared things were under control; however, clearly they were not.

The Incident Report

You can see the entire incident report here. An unfortunate, and expensive, incident for sure. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!

About John White

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