Let the memory of our three fellow shipmates from VX-1 who we lost JA 31 an SH-2F helicopter aircraft # 149765 accident on June 24,1977 be with us forever!

Go Fund Me website: https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-vx1-shipmates
  • Born in United States.
  • Passed away on June 24, 1977 in Patuxent River, Maryland, United States.

This memorial website was created in memory of our Navy VX-1 shipmates for LT. Richard (Rick) A. Creighton,  LT. Walter S. Howdyshell (those who knew him, he went by his middle name Steve), and AW-2 Robert (Bob) M. Embry.   They all perished in a Kaman SH-2F Seasprite Helicopter aircraft number 149765 in a accident on June 24th, 1977 at Patuxent River, MD.

It's now been over 40 years since this tragic day, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  I have been thinking about this day a lot lately, so I checked online to see if there was any mention of it. After finding nothing, I contacted our squadron VX-1 and sadly it was a day that was nobody was even aware of.  I then contacted the Pax River Base Museum and again nothing. This made me mad.  How can three men’s lives, who served and died for our country, be forgotten by the very squadron they served and died in?  

This now became a mission for me.  I pledged that as long as I am alive they will not be forgotten.  I became obsessed with finding out as much information as I could get on every little detail of the crash. I spent countless hours researching every place I could think of to get me this far into my investigation. I then came across a picture of the actual SH-2F helicopter that they flew in. Finding this picture was a big help in my investigation as it had the aircraft number on the side that verified it was the aircraft that crashed.  I was then able to pin it down to the exact date of the crash.  I then contacted Kaman, the aircraft manufacturer, and at least 10 other organizations, all the way up to the Naval Aviation Safety Board each giving me a piece of information. Finally I found an article that Rick Creighton`s wife Carol wrote as a tribute to Rick for their High School Reunion online.

And from there I was able to start to piece this puzzle together. The Naval Aviation Safety Board was kind enough to help me finish my quest. Even so, I will continue to research this and would like your help to find some more information, pictures or stories of the times you best remember with them.

The picture I do have is of Rick Creighton, I believe is from his graduation day to becoming an officer. 

If you have any additional information, I would love it if you shared it with us. Let’s not forget Rick, Steve and Bob!

Visit our Facebook site: Memorial of VX-1 SHIPMATES 

A Go Fund Me Accounts https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-vx1-shipmate... . as the funds will go upgrading the website itself and to create a memorial dedicated to these 3 men who sacrificed there lives for us to be put on display at the NAS Pax museum and at the VX-1 Squadron itself for those who came after them to be reminded of the sacrifice our fellow shipmates made. Any money left over will be donated to the families who recently loss a fellow shipmates themselves.

Thank you.

AD2 Jim Johnson VX-1 (1976 -1979)

Posted by Manuel Torres on June 11, 2019
Good men all. Missed and never forgotten. AMSAN / Crudcrew/Line
Posted by Bill Clark on June 2, 2018
I remember the event but more importantly all of the men lost that night. I was Aircrew on P-3 aircraft and had a direct connection at one time or another with all 3. Lt. Howdyshell was my first Division Officer after I arrived at VX-1 in the 1st Lt Division. At the same time, Lt Creighton was the Aircrew Shop Division Officer. I spent my first 6 months with Lt Howdyshell performing hangar maintenance and driver duties, while at the same time flying every chance I got under the command of Lt Creighton. A unique situation for sure.
I didn’t have much contact with Bob until I became a full time member of the Aircrew Division.
I remember Lt Howdyshell as a fair and disciplined leader. He did not put up with much nonsense from myself or the other junior enlisted guys and ladies in our office, but I liked him. He did have a good sense of humor though, and I did respect him immensely. I never did get to fly with him.
Lt Creighton was a great leader and was respected and loved by all of my fellow Aircrew. He was fun loving and supportive of the men and families under his wing, (no women Aircrew at the time). A very funny guy too. He could be firm, when the situation called for it, but let the Chiefs in our shop do their jobs, showing them the respect they deserved. It was a sad day for us when he died.
Bob was a strange cat as I recall. He knew his job, and he was in a small group within the shop. Not many H-2 crewmembers. He had a different sense of humor, pretty serious most of the time, but was welcoming to me when I came to the Aircrew Shop full-time. I didn’t see him much outside of work. He and his wife lived off base so I never really had a chance to know them well.
I think about this day myself once in a while and on days like Memorial Day. The event made me reset my attitude and truly understand that our jobs were dangerous. A loss like this within a Squadron affects many people in different ways. In some, as in my case, I think it made me a better Aircrewman and made me take things more serious at work, upping my game, while at the same time using my time off to enjoy life to the best of my ability.
AW2 Bill Clark
Posted by Jim Johnson on June 1, 2018
To my friends, my shipmates of VX-1, who I dedicated this site to you guys who will be in my thoughts forever. I cannot believe it's been 40 years since that treacherous day where I lost people close to me. God bless you and your families.

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