Veterans honor fallen comrades from 1983 B-52G crash on 40th anniversary

Forty years after the tragic 1983 crash of a Boeing B-52G, which led to the loss of all seven crew members onboard, two Air Force veterans journeyed to the crash site to remember and honor those who perished. The ill-fated aircraft was similar to one on display at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.
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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Forty years after the tragic 1983 crash of a Boeing B-52G, which led to the loss of all seven crew members onboard, two Air Force veterans journeyed to the crash site to remember and honor those who perished. The ill-fated aircraft was similar to one on display at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.

The B-52G, with the call sign LURE 75, and another bomber, LURE 76, left Robins Air Force Base on April 11th, 1983, for a training exercise near Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Due to inclement weather conditions over Square Top Mountain in Southern Utah, LURE 75 crashed on the mountain’s southern part, destroying the aircraft.

Air Force Veteran Robin Money and his co-pilot Crosby Ruff worked closely with the seven who were killed in the crash.

“We got to know the crew members very well, and this particular crew was on our alert cycle, meaning every third week we saw the same people,” Ruff said.

“We were all close to each other,” Money said. “We worked together and we stayed together a lot, so that was a very tragic time for us.”

After doing research on the crash site, Money and Ruff decided to honor those lost by visiting the site on the 40th anniversary of the crash. Their journey included a climb to the crash site on Square Top Mountain.

“We both shed tears there,” Money said. “We shed tears on top of the mountain when we got to the monument, and even as we went back down the mountain after a ten-hour climb up and down.”

The veterans agree their journey provided them with a sense of closure.

“We wanted to remember those guys and also to let others know that looks those guys gave their lives,” Money said. “They sacrificed their lives for our country. Those guys are gone, but they’re not forgotten.”

Ruff says it’s important to honor all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Memorial Day is really for us to remember each and every one of them, even though we never met them. They’re nameless and faceless, but they were young men who gave it all for the freedom of mankind.”

Remembering those lost in the crash 40 years ago:

  • Captain Donald W. Hiebert — Pilot
  • 1st Lieutenant Thomas C. Lennep Jr. — Co-Pilot
  • Captain Jonathan M. Bishop— Radar Navigator
  • 1st Lieutenant Matthew W. Cervenak— Navigator
  • 1st Lieutenant Bernard S. Russell — Electronic Warfare Officer
  • Staff Sergeant Major Carter — Gunner
  • Colonel Caroll D. Gunther— Pilot/Safety Observer
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