Behrens, Peter Claus, WO1

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Warrant Officer 1
Last Service Branch
Warrant Officer (pre-2004)
Last Primary MOS
062B-Helicopter Pilot Utility and Light Cargo Single Rotor
Last MOS Group
Transportation Corps (Officer)
Primary Unit
1970-1970, 062B, HHB, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery
Service Years
1969 - 1970

Warrant Officer (pre-2004)

Warrant Officer 1



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Missouri
Missouri
Year of Birth
1944
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT James E. Reece, III (Team Leader, Vietnam Profiles) to remember Behrens, Peter Claus, WO1.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Newburg, MO
Last Address
Newburg, MO

Casualty Date
Dec 04, 1970
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Khanh Hoa (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Leonard Wood Post Cemetery - Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Wall/Plot Coordinates
06W 105/Section L Site 60

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 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2020, The National Gold Star Family Registry

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 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Basic)

 
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
U.S. Army Primary Helicopter Center (Cadre) Fort WoltersU.S. Army2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery 1st Field Force Vietnam (I Field Force)
  1969-1970, 062B, U.S. Army Primary Helicopter Center (Cadre) Fort Wolters
  1969-1970, 062B, Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS)
  1970-1970, 062B, HHB, 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery
  1970-1970, 062B, 1st Field Force Vietnam (I Field Force)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


FINAL MISSION OF WO1 PETER C. BEHRENS: On December 4, 1970, U.S. Army helicopter OH-58A (tail number 68-16803) from the 23rd Artillery Group hit mountain in bad weather in the Duc My Pass along Highway QL-21. There were no survivors. The lost crew included pilots WO1 Peter C. Behrens and CW2 Kermit L. Matthews and observer CPT James R. Heimbold. A passenger, SMAJ Andrew Machristie, also perished in the crash. The following is a summary of the accident from vhpa.org (edited for brevity and clarity): The aircraft departed the First Field Force Vietnam (IFFV) Artillery helipad at Nha Trang at approximately 1409 hours (local). After takeoff, the pilot proceeded via Highway 1 to Ninh Hoa, then via Highway 21 enroute to Ban Me Thuot through the Duc My Pass. The weather in the Duc My pass had been marginal to IFR (instrument flight rules) all day as reported by pilots of the 48th Assault Helicopter Company.

The weather in the Duc My Pass just prior to the time of the accident was reported to be a ceiling of less than 100 feet and visibility of less than 1/4 of a mile with rain, haze, and clouds. Shortly after 1430 hours, the aircraft was heard returning from the Ban Me Thuot area towards Ninh Hoa. At this time the aircraft could not be seen due to the poor weather conditions in the pass. The exact location where the aircraft turned around could not be determined, however, with the time of flight and distance traveled at a probable airspeed indicated, the turnaround point was within five nautical miles of the impact area. Following the pilot‚??s decision to return, he was under IFR conditions. At approximately 1435 hours, at a heading of approximately 035, and an approximate altitude of 2400 feet and 200 meters left of Highway 21, the aircraft struck the side of the mountain. The left skid contacted the ground first causing the aircraft to roll at which time the nose of the aircraft and main rotor blade made contact with the ground. With the impact depth of aircraft components, it was determined that the aircraft was nose low and in a power on condition with 50-70 knots of airspeed.

Almost immediately following impact, the power being applied by the tail rotor and the 'g' forces of impact caused the tail boom section to tear off. The tail section came to rest approximately 30 feet away from the point of impact below the wreckage path, with only minor structural damage sustained upon ground contact. As the aircraft continued to slide across the ground, the underside of the aircraft and aircraft components were torn loose by the decelerating force. The aircraft maintained considerable momentum in a nose forward condition and a relatively straight line for approximately 150 feet. The decelerating forces were quite excessive due to the distribution of the wreckage parts and scattered human remains. At this point the forces of gravity and the reduction of forward speed caused the remaining portion of the aircraft to slide down the hill, at the same time the heavier nose portion with the displaced transmission and engine rotated downward and to the right so that the wreckage came to a halt 190 feet from the point of impact, angled downhill and pointing approximately 120 away from the direction of impact. A fire which had initially started when the fuel cells ruptured on impact causing fuel to be sprayed over the major portion of the wreckage path burnt itself out, causing extensive damage to the aft passenger area and avionics compartment. Charing was noted on the tail boom, pieces of aircraft skin and surrounding ground area indicating an immediate fuel fire upon impact. At the time of impact, Korean military personnel located at an outpost just south of the road and approximately 1000 meters from the accident site, heard the aircraft impact.

Unable to determine if an aircraft had crashed or a gunship was firing, they delayed investigating for approximately 30 minutes. After this time a patrol was sent out to investigate and found an aircraft had crashed and that all persons on board were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. The bodies were taken down to the ROK compound. Later that evening an American advisor transported the four bodies to the province headquarters where they were medevacked to Cam Ranh Bay on the morning of December 5, 1970. Due to the inclement weather conditions at the time of and following the accident, medical, recovery, and investigating personnel were unable to reach the site until the following morning. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org and vhpa.org]

   
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