Summary

Conflict Period:
Vietnam War 1
Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Aviation Machinist's Mate R (Reciprocating Engine Mechanic) First Class (Navy) 2
Birth:
22 Jul 1940 2
Death:
16 Mar 1970 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Arthur D Simmons 2
Birth:
22 Jul 1940 2
Male 2
Death:
16 Mar 1970 2
Cause: Air Loss, Crash - Land 2
Age at Death: 29 2
Body Recovered: Recovered 2
Casualty Date: 16 Mar 1970 2
Casualty Type: Non-Hostile, Died of Other Causes 2
Residence:
Hometown: Marshall, TX 2
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Marriage:
Marital Status: Single 2
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Vietnam War 1

Branch:
Navy 1
Rank:
Aviation Machinist's Mate R (Reciprocating Engine Mechanic) First Class (Navy) 2
Enlistment Type:
Regular 2
Grade:
E6 2
Major Command:
USNAVFORV 2
Service:
Navy 2
Squadron:
VQ-1 2
Years Served:
12 2
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Religion:
Protestant - No Denominational Preference 2
Race or Ethnicity:
Caucasian 2
Memorial Wall Location:
Line: 10 2
Panel: 12W 2

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Stories

I was a "shipmate" of Arthur at VQ1 in 1970. But because VQ1 was the largest Navy air squadron at the time, we really didn't know each other before his death. VQ1 was headquartered at Naval Air Station Atsugi Japan (just outside Tokyo) at the time, but we had a large detachment at Danang AB in Vietnam. Arthur's plane and aircrew was just arriving at the detachment for a 5-6 week deployment when the accident occurred. The aircraft was a Lockheed EC-121M, a large four engine 1940s vintage variant of the Constellation that was in commercial service before the arrival of jet travel. The EC-121M was distinctive with large radomes at both the bottom and top of the fuselage. VQ1's mission was electronic surveillance and the EC121 had a crew of a little more than 30 personnel. Arthur's plane was landing at Danang on three engines, not an unusual circumstance given the age of the aircraft and the fact that it would fly just fine on two engines. Speculation has it that the pilot decided to "go around", or "wave off" in Navy talk, for another landing. Speculation also has it that the asymmetrical posture of the plane with only three engines allowed the starboard (right) wing to drop lower than desired and that wing tip caught the roof of one of the hangars on the east side of the airfield. The plane crashed in a nose downward attitude, with the rear portion of the aircraft separating and landing a few hundred yards away. Eight crewmen survived from the rear portion of the aircraft, but the remainder of the crew perished. I was a Lieutenant at the time and one of the Air Intelligence Officers for the squadron. As a junior officer, I was one of the 20+ officers selected to be the Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and Arthur was my assignment. My somber responsibility was to break the news to Arthur's dependents living in Japan. It is an experience I will never forget. And, although I never really knew Arthur, he will be with me for the rest of my life. Anchors Away, Arthur. Brian Nickerson Falmouth, Massachusetts

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