In Memory

Richard Wendin

Date Deceased: September 19, 1981
Age at Death: 23
Cause of Death: Military Aircraft Accident, Grants, NM, USA
Second Lieutenant, Pilot

Classmate City: Fairfield
Classmate State: CT
Classmate Country: USA

Was a Veteran: Yes, Air Force

Survived By: 

  • Spouse: Beth M Wendin
  • Parents: Bette and Robert Wendin
  • Brothers: Robert (twin) and Jonathan

Rick was a Junior at LHS when we graduated. Rob Was his fraternal twin.
Class of 76


An Air Force helicopter slammed into a mountain during a combat training mission in New Mexico, killing four of the six crewmen. The HH-53 Air Force helicopter that crashed Tuesday near Grants, N.M., killing four, is known as a "Super Jolly Green Giant" and is similar to those used in the aborted hostage rescue mission in Iran. It crashed at the 6,000-foot level of 11,301-foot Mount Taylor.
The two surviving crewmen, burned over 80 percent of their bodies, were in critical condition today. Kirtland Air Force Base officials in Albuquerque said the cause of the crash was not immediately clear but the craft apparently was trying to make a mesa landing. Two men guarded the site of the crashed helicopter, which was on a "low-level combat training mission" until recovery operations resumed today.

Killed were:
Capt. J. P. GANT, JR., 31, Meridian, Miss., aircraft commander.
2nd Lt. RICHARD J. WENDIN, Fairfield, Conn., pilot.
Sgt. TERRY O. CHANCEY, 27, Patterson, Ga., instructor flight engineer.
Sgt. LUIS CARABALLO, Bronx, N.Y., flight engineer.
In critical condition were Capt. RANDY K. JENSEN, 31, Sierra Vista, Ariz, the co-pilot, and Sgt. ROBERT E. HOON, 24, St. Louis, the crew chief.

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04/05/14 01:21 PM #1    

David Myers

Richard was a good friend of mine. He was a member of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). He and his family moved into Lakewood while both he and his fraternal twin, Rob, were in high school. I remember we were all in disbelief and felt so bad when we learned of his passing. We can be proud that he died while serving his country. 

04/11/14 08:14 AM #2    

Molly Dalton (Plummer)

What a tragic loss to his family, friends and our country. Does anyone know if he is at Arlington?. 

04/13/14 01:28 AM #3    

David Myers

United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs
El Paso County
Colorado, USA
Plot: 003 A 059

02/24/15 12:00 PM #4    

Beth Klamut (Seybert)

Rick and I were married on June 20, 1980 following his graduation from the US AIr Force Academy. At the time of the accident he was completeing his upgrade helicopter training prior to beginning his first active duty assignment as a search and rescue pilot in the state of Washington. He is interred at the US Air Force Academy cemetery in Colorado Springs.

02/26/15 12:01 PM #5    

Myrene Groscost

Loved Rick and his quiet humble nature.  Rick and Beth's wedding was a beautiful military event, I felt very honored to be a bridesmade.  I recently found photos of that happy day and I've been thinking more abut Rick.  So happy Dave shared a part of that day (and in Rick's life) too -- one of life's twists and turns for sure......

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