HERBERT E. KLOEPPING, LTJG, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Herbert Kloepping '53

Date of birth: November 14, 1928

Date of death: July 21, 1957

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1953 Lucky Bag:

Loss

From VP Navy:

A Lockheed Neptune, a P2V-6, assigned to Navy Reserve Patrol Squadron, VP-934, was reported missing on July 19, 1957. This squadron's home base was NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, but it was deployed to the NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco during the summer of 1957. The P2V-6 (Bureau No. 126535) departed NAF Port Lyautey, Morocco early on the morning of July 19 for a flight to Treviso (Istrana), Italy. Weather conditions for the destination airport were forecasted to deteriorate by the estimated arrival time. Radio communications with air traffic facilities during the flight over Italy were difficult. One reason may have been the weather conditions, which took the form of thunderstorms. Also, it was later determined by the Accident Review Board that the aircraft slowly drifted west and northwest from its intended course. For example, at 1325 hours, Universal Time, the crew reported the aircraft's position as being over Ferrara when it was actually 20 nautical miles (32 kilometres) west of the station. As the aircraft neared its destination, it was flying either above or in clouds. At 1331 Universal Time, Navy 126535 was instructed to report over the Veneto VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR) at 11,000 feet (3,353 meters), the pilot acknowledged his instructions. Eleven minutes later, at 1342 Universal Time the pilot was able to contact Istrana Approach Control. He estimated Venice at 1345 Universal Time. The pilot then requested letdown instructions. He was cleared to descend to 5,000 feet by Istrana Approach Control and to report reaching 5,000 feet (1,524 meters). Permission to descend was based on the pilot's position reports relative to certain navigational aids. Navy 126535 was actually positioned slightly more than 40 miles (64.4 kilometres) northwest of Istrana Airport, and in the mountainous terrain of the Trento Dolomites. It struck a mountain at 8,500 feet (2,591 meters) at a high rate of speed during its descent. There is no record that the pilot reported over the Veneto VOR at 11,000 feet. There were eleven fatalities. On July 23 the wreckage of Navy 126535, was discovered by Italian "Alpini" troops.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Class of 1953

Herbert is one of 62 members of the Class of 1953 in Memorial Hall.