14 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2017 1:04 PM by Michael Tomko

    How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?


      Hey guy's,

      I was a first responder to a helicopter accident that occurred between Fort Hood Texas and the sea port in Louisiana. The helicopters were AH-1 Cobra's and I was the crew chief for both. The pilots were close friends and were deceased when I arrived. Until recently. I've had a complete memory gap for the timeline  and details of this event. I was diagnosed with PTSD/Severe Depression five years ago as the memories of this event came flooding back. On advise from my medical team, I applied for a VA Claim to get my trauma service connected. I was denied because they could not find any records of said event to connect to my claim.


      I am extremely frustrated and depressed over this. I have scoured the web for any information, as well as had several friends do the same and have found  nothing.


      I would appreciate any advice and or direction.



        • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?
          Ryan Bass Adventurer

          I am reposting Megan Dwyre's response to a similar question:


          Army Aviation Accident Reports from 1957 to the present are at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.  You may wish to write them at: U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center,  ATTN: CSSC-SS (FOIA), 4905 5th Avenue, Fort Rucker, AL 36362-5363.

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?
            Megan Dwyre Adventurer

            Hi Edward,


            Do you remember the names of the individuals who were killed? If you do, you may be able to request their Individual Deceased Personnel Files (IDPFs). IDPFs from 1915-1976 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis, ATTN: RL-SL, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Please contact them regarding access to these records. Their email address is stl.archives@nara.gov. IDPFs dated after 1976 are in the legal custody of the Army. For the exact location of these files, please contact the Acting Army Records Officer, Army Records Management Division, 7701 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA 22315. The telephone number is 703-428-6437.


            You may also want to check the Casualty databases on our Access to Archival Databases portal (NARA - AAD - Main Page), although they will not provide detailed information about the incident. Many of the databases relate to combat deaths, but two that you may find useful are the "Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS) Files," which cover ca. 1950-2006, and the "Records of Deceased, Wounded, Ill, or Injured Army Personnel, which cover 1961-1981. If they do appear in the databases, the entry might at least provide you with a unit and date of death.


            Megan DwyreNational Archives at College Park, MD

            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?
              Michael Tomko Scout

              This is very good information, and the Defense Casualty Analysis System does have basic data toward fatalities. In some cases the fatalities are listed as Non Hostile during the Cold War, even though they were due to terrorist or Soviet Bloc Hostilities. The bombing fatality by the Red Army Faction, at the Rein Main Frankfurt airport in 1985,  is noted in the DCAS as accident related. The shooting of a US Army Liason officer by an East German guard in 1985, is noted as non-hostile homicide. The Officer is noted as the last casualty of the Cold War and did receive  a Purple Heart. The Bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 is noted as non-hostile, and the Battle of Mogadishu, Black Hawk Down,  in Somalia is noted as terrorist related. The classifications of non hostile, accidental, KIA, and Terrorist military action is dependent on the rules of engagement by the Joint Chiefs.  It seems if a countries citizens are declared as insurgents, then the fatalities are considered Hostile and KIA. The authorization of the Global War on Terror Medal, or  legislative authority, dictate how casualties are classified during each campaign period.  In some instances this data is utilized by the CURR Joint Center for Unit Record Research data base, which is used by the VA to verify unit events. For instance, I am a Desert Storm veteran, but unable to register with the VA Burn Pit data base, because I am not verified by the DOD as a Desert Storm Veteran, even though I have a DD214, and DD215 from the Army Human Resources Command, which updated my Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) , Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 service stars. Calling the VA, and sending an Email to the VA Senate Subcommittee, made no difference. A year later, and I am still considered ineligible

              to register for the Burn Pit Registry, even though it states Desert Storm veterans qualify.  It's a Catch 22. But I can't complain, because I have really learned so much.

              • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?

                Hello Edward,




                This link from the National Transportation & Safety Board might have the answers you need. If not, hopefully, they will be able to point you in the right direction.




                Deb Powe

                • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?
                  Michael Tomko Scout

                  Critical factors involving the aviation accident would involve, the date, unit and command. Most combat aviation attack helicopters are now Apaches. The combat aviation units assigned at the Army Division level would fall under FORSCOM, Forces Command,  while still in the United States. If the unit was being deployed from an area such as Vietnam, Korea or Europe and returning to the United States, then it may have been designated under a different Corps or Command. Fort Hood has historically been the home of the 2nd Armored Division with forward units in Germany, and the 1st Calvary Division. There are Army regulations concerning personal privacy regarding the release of accident reports and witness statements. If there were fatalities, then there would be notifications to the county coroner, and law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction. Building a time line and chain of notification and evidence toward the event should begin with the law enforcement agencies establishing jurisdiction.  If the event occurred on a military reservation, then the provost marshal and emergency medical responders would have been notified. Older records would have been microfilmed or transferred to the National Archives using the SF135 Record Receipt and Transmittal Forms. The Record Groups containing records for Vietnam or Post Vietnam Army records would have been utilized. Specific Campaign Periods, such as Grenada or Lebanon may have their after action reports, unit logs and casualty lists itemized and described on the SF135 inventory forms during the transfer to the Washington National Record Center. Records held at the WNRC are controlled by their originating agency.  A FOIA or MDR to the originating agency would have to include a request for any documents still held at the WNRC. Since many of these documents may not be referenced in current Data Bases, it would be necessary to review a possible list of PDF files. Some records are also stored in contract facilities, such as underground mines that meet NARA 's standards for humidity control and fire suppression during the inspection process. As far as I have learned during my research, it can become a complicated process when attempting to review historic evidence.               

                  • Re: How to find records of specific US Army helicopter accident?
                    Tom Jannusch Newbie

                    I spoke with Vickie Hendrix, the FOIA Officer for the Ft. Rucker CRC and, after I filed a FOIA request, she wrote back within an hour stating that she had found the specific Aircraft Accident Report that I was looking for.  Their records go far back into history...my search was for a crash in Vietnam during 1967.  It takes about three weeks before they email the results back to you.  Their database is sorted by date, not by tail number.  Their research time is free for the first two hours and thereafter it is $44 per hour.  The actual FOIA request does not require a specific form and it can be a simple email to Vickie that includes as much detail as you can provide.  Here is her contact information:


                    Vickie M. Hendrix

                    Freedom of Information Act Officer

                    U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center

                    4905 Ruf Avenue

                    Ft. Rucker, AL 36362-5363



                    2 of 2 people found this helpful