DENNIS L. REDMOND, LT, USN
Dennis Redmond '86
Date of birth: October 9, 1964
Date of death: March 21, 1991
From the Associated Press via VPnavy.com on March 21, 1991:
SAN DIEGO - Two Navy submarine-hunting planes collided Thursday, and all 27 people aboard were feared dead in cold, choppy waters 60 miles off Sourthern California, authorities said.
The Navy listed the crews as missing, but there was little hope any of the crew members from the downed P-3 Orions survived.
The all-weather planes were engaged in an anti-submarine Warfare exercise when they collided in bad weather, authorities said.
"I think we have to be realistic here," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bob Howard, a Navy public affairs officer at North Island Naval Air Station. "It is very cold out there. We're talking about what apparently is a mid-air collision...two aircraft. I would say it would be very grim."
Still, he said, the Navy was conducting an aggressive air and sea search of the crash site.
Search and rescue teams saw some debris from the planes but found no signs of life.
There was no word on how long the search would last, but Howard said the Navy would make "extraordinary" attempts to retrieve remains and wreckage.
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the destroyer USS Merrill and at least two other ships, along with helicopters and fixed-wing planes, were assisting in the search.
A Navy helicopter crew flying in the area and sailors from the Merrill reported a ball of fire and loud explosion about 2:30 a.m. PST, Howard said during a briefing at North Island Naval Air Station.
He said the accident occurred over the Pacific Ocean about 60 miles southwest of San Diego.
The collision occurred as one P-3 Orion was arriving to relieve the other, which had just complted its part of the exercise, Howard said. Officials were uncertain how much contact the pilots had before the crash, he said.
Howard said it was believed 13 crew members were aboard one P-3 Orion and 14 on the other. The planes were on a training mission from Moffett Naval Air Station near San Jose. Names of crew members were withheld pending notification of their families.
The P-3s were in contact with land- and sea-based air controllers during the exercise, but officials were uncertain who was directing them at the time of the collision, Howard said.
Showers and strong winds were reported in the San Diego area overnight. The National Weather Service said pilots in the area reported severe turbulence about the time of the collision.
Howard said the Navy was uncertain what part, if any, weather played in the collision.
The P-3 Orion, driven by four propellers, is regularly used by weather forecasters to fly in hurricanes.
Dennis is listed as 26 years of age and from Freehold, N.J.
From the September 1991 issue of Shipmate:
Lt. Dennis L. Redmond USN died 21 March 1991 when two P-3C aircraft collided during a training exercise off the coast of San Diego. Born on 9 October 1964 in New Orleans, Louisiana, he grew up in Freehold, New Jersey and was appointed to the Naval Academy from that state as a member of the Class of 1986.
Upon graduation, he was about to begin flight training in Pensacola, Florida, when an accident severely injured his right foot, partly beyond repair.
After months of surgery, he was assigned to Naval Base Norfolk, where he served as a planning officer for Physical Security Exercise '87. During this time, he was determined to re-enter the flight program and began a courageous year of physical rehabilitation in his spare time.
In the Spring of 1987, he won a medical waiver from the Navy to rejoin the flight program and went on to earn his Wings in Corpus Christi, Texas.
His first duty assignment was Patrol Squadron 50 at NAS Moffett Field in October of 1989. At VP-50 he was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and received a letter of commendation from Patrol Wings Pacific Fleet for superior performance as a combat aircrew loading officer.
A history major at the Naval Academy, he remained an avid historian—especially regarding naval aviation—and he inspired others to share his enthusiasm.
He had a beautiful smile, a tremendous laugh, a generous heart and a kind word for everyone.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, of Edgewater, Maryland; his parents, Leo and Kathleen Redmond, of Freehold, New Jersey; a sister, Alison Bonner; a brother, Michael Redmond; his parental grandmother, Mildred Redmond; and matemal grandparents, John and Katherine Bennett.
Contributions in memory of Lt. Redmond may be made to the USNA Alumni Association, Alumni House, Annapolis, Md. 21401-5068.
Robert Nemecek '80, Jay Williamson '86, Mark Hamilton '87, Ned Metcalf, Jr. '87, and Martin Cox '88 were also lost in the collision of two P-3 Orions of Patrol Squadron (VP) 50 off the coast of Southern California on March 21, 1991.