STEVEN D. HERNING, ENS, USN
Steven Herning '79
Date of birth: November 23, 1956
Date of death: November 21, 1979
From the 1979 Lucky Bag:
Steven was lost on November 21, 1979 when his TA-7C Corsair II had an engine failure at low level and crashed during simulated close air support training for troops in the field at Ft. Irwin. He was a Naval Flight Officer and member of Air Development Squadron (VX) 5. Steven was a special crew observer on the flight while awaiting naval aviator training.
From the China Lake Alumni Organization website:
LCdr. Peter "Pete" Leum and Ens. Steven D. Herning lost their lives when their VX-5 TA-7C Corsair II crashed while simulating close air support for troops in field training at Ft. Irwin. The chase plane/wingman was VX-5 CO Capt. Paul D. Stephenson flying VX-5 A-7E, XE-06, BuNo 160724. According to Capt. Stephenson and the accident investigation team XE-08 was about 100 ft. off the deck at 360 knots when the plane suffered a catastrophic engine failure and exploded in mid air, so fast that the wing-tips blew off and the plane inverted scattering wreckage and debris over a mile with the engine continuing another several hundred feet beyond the debris field.
The Aviation Safety Network website states "This incident was significant as it was determined that the combustion wall area of the TF-30A engine had worn thin and suffered complete material failure leading to the explosion...thus the TF-30 "B" model engine was born."
Steven was from Las Vegas, Nevada, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with his father, who was a Colonel in the US Air Force and who predeceased Steve by a year. He was survived by his mother.