MICHAEL E. GALLAGHER, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Michael Gallagher '79

Date of birth: June 10, 1957

Date of death: June 16, 1983

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1979 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Pacific Stars and Stripes Tokyo, Japan on June 20, 1983 and via Gen Disasters:

Lihue, Hawaii -- Navy rescue workers have airlifted the remains of 14 Navy airmen out of the rugged wilderness area where their submarine surveillance plane crashed on a routine training exercise, a Navy spokesman said.

A rescue team, working along the steep 3,000 foot ridge that the plane slammed into early into early Thursday, hoisted the first remains out of the area by helicopter at 2:45 p.m. Friday, said 3rd Fleet spokesman Lt. GEORGE BROWN.

"The weather cleared just long enough for us to complete the operation," said BROWN, who added that bodies were brought out "one or two at a time."

The recovery work was finished by 5 p.m., he said.

The remains were flown to the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, which is near the crash site on the island of Kauai's northwestern shore, BROWN said. They were to be placed in the base's temporary morgue, and later flown to Hickam AFB on Oahu, he said.

The Navy team was flown to the isolated mountain area from Barking Sands by helicopter early Friday along with an eight-member Navy investigation team from Barbers Point NAS, BROWN said.

Both teams were lowered from the hovering aircraft down a sheer cliff to reach the scattered wreckage of the plane and its occupants.

The P-3B Orion submarine tracking plane, part of the "Screaming Eagles" Patrol Squadron One, crashed into the side of the cliff near its summit at 4 a.m. Thursday.

One man who was above the wreckage said there was nothing left but shreds.

"It's the worst crash I've ever seen in my life, and I've seen alot of them," said private helicopter pilot JACK HARTER.

The aircraft, piloted by Lt. Cmdr. J. R. MOSELEY, of Macon, Ga., gave no indication of being in trouble before the crash, a 3rd Fleet spokesman said.

The plane's entire crew of 14 men was killed.

In addition to MOSELEY, the officers on board were Lt. MICHAEL E. GALLAGHER of Pensacola, Fla.; Lt. j. g. ROBERT L. COLTER of Glendora, N. J.; Lt. j. g. ROBERT W. BRUNO of Mojave, Calif., and Lt. MICHAEL R. LUNDE of Arlington, Texas.

The enlisted men were identified as: RONALD C. WILSON of Fresno, Calif.; BRIAN M. SPARROW of Westland, Mich.; BRIAN D. SUNDE of Erie, Pa.; AMANDO S. CASTILLO of Hollister, Calif.; RONALD LIPSCHUTZ of Elverts, Calif.; DAVID STRINGER of Eau Claire, Wis.; LESLIE A. ROTH of Oxnard, Calif,; CHRISTOPHER CHAMBERS of Houston; and STEPHEN PHIPPS of Monticello, Ky.

A Navy spokesman said PHIPPS and WILSON were aviation electrician's mates; SPARROW was an aviation electronics technician; SUNDE, CASTILLO and LIPSCHUTZ were aviation antisubmarine warfare operators; ROTH was an aviation ordance man; CHAMBERS was an aviation antisubmarine warfare technician, and STRINGER was an aviaion antisubmarine warfare operator.

Campers along the Na Pali coastline, which is accessible only by foot or by helicopter or boat, saw the crash and marked its location with an arrow on the beach, commercial helicopter pilot ART BRADBURY said.

The effort to recover the bodies was hampered not only by erratic weather but by the dangerous terrain, which precluded even a helicopter landing, BROWN said.

The eight-man investigation team planned to re-enter the area Saturday to continue trying to find the cause of the accident, he said.

From the September 1983 issue of Shipmate:

Lt. Michael Eugene Gallagher USN was killed in the crash of an Orion P-3 aircraft on the island of Kauai, Hawan, on 16 June 1983. The plane was undergoing anti-submarine warfare exercises at the time, and all on board were lost. Memorial services were held in Hawaii and in Pensacola, Florida, with the committal of his ashes to the waters off Pensacola on 14 July 1983.

Appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of Florida, he was a member of a Navy family, his father being a career supply corps officer now retired in Pensacola. As a midshipman, Lt. Gallagher was a member of the Academy varsity pistol team which attained national status during his membership, and upon graduation with the Class of 1979 he was assigned to temporary duty with the Navy Pistol Team to take part in the 1980 Olympic Trials. During his first class year he was the 29th Company commander.

After his assignment for the pistol team qualification, he transferred to the Naval Aviations Schools Command and VT-10, later being ordered to the Naval Air Training Unit at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, California, for advanced navigation training.

Upon being awarded his NFO wings in 1981, he joined VP-31 at Moffett Field in California, then was assigned to VP-1 at Barbers Point, Hawaii. While attached to this squadron he qualified as navigator and as an ASW tactical coordinator, completing two deployments and several detachments to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

He is survived by his widow Gretchen of Pen- sacola; his parents, Capt. (SC USN Ret.) and Mrs. Eugene M. Gallagher, 6312 Confederate Drive, Pensacola FL 32503; and two sisters.


Class of 1979

Michael is one of 15 members of the Class of 1979 in Memorial Hall.