Capt. Delozier. (This photo courtesy of Frank Kirchgessner)
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These images are provided courtesy of Mr. Markus Sick. They are photos of the US Army helicopter moments before it crashed, 27May63, while assisting in the construction of the church steeple in Goeppingen. Captain Samuel D. Delozier, and crew chief Sergeant Jonny M. Rogers were killed. In the upper left photo, you can see Co-pilot Warrant Officer Donnald Fentres trying to cut the lines that brought the copter down. He survived but was killed the same month, six years later, in a car crash in the states.

Mr. Sick is writing a book about this incident and would appreciate any information you can provide him about this tragedy. His email address is markus@atelier-sick.de.

Interestingly, there is an entry in the 2003 Guest Book from a Crew Chief of the helicopters. Search for "helicopter" to find the entry.

Thank you Mr. Sick for the photo and Mr. Frank Kirchgessner for the 2003 Guest Book entry!

 

From Frank Tapparo:

I remember the helicopter crash well, as Sam Delozier the pilot was a friend of mine. I did not know the two other members of the crew. As I recall, Fentres, a warrant officer and co-pilot, survived the crash, but Rogers, the crew chief, died. At the time of the crash, my family and I were on leave in Italy so I heard about it when I returned to Goeppingen a few days later.

As I recall it, Sam was completing his tour at HQ 4th Armored Division, where he was the division commander's personal pilot. The new Catholic church was being built and the pastor asked if the division would use a helicopter to help raise a cross to the bell tower of the church. The bell tower was a separate building apart from the main structure. Delozier and the others volunteered to do the job, and he was given permission to use a 4th Armored Division UH-1 helicopter.

I was told that the helicopter picked up the cross and brought it to the top of the tower, where construction workers were planning to attach the cross to the tower. They attached the cross, but when they gave the signal that the helicopter could depart, the rope holding the cross to the helicopter had not been released. So when Delozier applied power to the helicopter, the helicopter turned upside down, bending the cross, and then the "chopper" crashed upside down into the main part of the church. ( I visited Goeppingen in 1986 and saw the still-bent cross and the monument to the crew.) I was told that Delozier initially survived the crash, but internal bleeding killed him before he could be saved.

May Sam Delozier and Johnny Rogers rest in peace, as they died doing a good deed for the Goeppingen community.

That is about all I remember.

Froeliche Weinachten und ein gluckliche Neujahr.

Frank Tapparo