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Richard Briggs '69

Date of birth: January 5, 1946

Date of death: June 5, 1974

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1969 Lucky Bag:


From The Los Angeles Times on December 17, 2002; the article is a compilation of deaths while flying in the AV-8 Harrier.

Died: June 5, 1974

Members of Congress and military brass were watching as Briggs, 28, brought his AV-8A in for a landing during a military exercise near Camp Lejeune, N.C.

His plane banked, rolled, then crashed. He didn't survive an ejection into a wooded area, said his widow, Marv Briggs. Investigators blamed pilot error and noted he was flying on five hours' sleep.

An experienced A-4 Skyhawk pilot, he had just 44 hours of flight time in the Harrier. His logbook showed he flew 6.2 hours in the month before his death and 10.2 hours the month before that, his widow said. His wing commander used the incident to write that Harrier pilots needed to fly 17 to 20 hours a month to stay proficient.

Marv Briggs remembered him as a "warm, funny and kind man." A U.S. Naval Academy graduate, he flew in the first Harrier squadron trained in this country. "He was very excited about the possibilities of that plane," she said. "It was a whole new part of aviation."

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

He was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 542.

Survivors were his wife Mary Lou of Laurel Bay, South Carolina; parents William and Nellie Mae Briggs of Tempe, Arizona.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Class of 1969

Richard is one of 17 members of the Class of 1969 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.