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Memoriam

Info Sheet - Jerome Dean Todd
Died 24 September 1971
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AH-1G Cobra Crew Chief, SP5 - 1971

Carl Betsill made this entry into our Timeline section of the website:
September 24, 1971  Notes SP5 Jerome Todd accidentally walked into a tail rotor at night and was killed on the flightline at Lai Khe. Newspaper article in “Together We Serve” mistakenly describes the location as “near Da Nang”.  (I did not know SP5 personally but remember the incident well.  No one could believe that someone with his experience could have such an accident.  Some blamed the accident on the recent modifications that involved changing the side on which the tail rotor was mounted on the AH-1G.– Carl Betsill)

What Carl refers to is that the original tail rotors on the Cobra were mounted on the left side of the aircraft and "Pushed" the tail boom to keep it straight and in trim while in flight. It was later determined that it would be more efficient if it was moved to the right side of the aircraft and "Pulled" rather than pushing the tail boom in flight. Hence the nickname "Tractor" tail rotor. Those modifications were made in Nam and added a bit of confusion to the flight crews on the ground.

 

Blane Kirby: Todd was on guard duty in a bunker right there on the flight line at the time and the crew chief of the bird came over and asked Todd if he could look at something with him. That’s when he walked into the tail rotor. It was all so very sad. By the time I got out to the flight line they had removed Todd and had the water truck spray down the area.
Todd roomed with a guy by the name of Day (E5) and they were good friends. He left Nam a short time after Todd was killed.
That’s all I know. I’m so glad that his kids will get some clarification on his death. Maybe if someone could find Day they could get a lot more information. note: E5 Day is not currently on the F Troop Roster Sep 2020