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SrA Derek C. Hughes


October 29, 1992

Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA


On Oct. 29, 1992, at 8:46 p.m., four MH-60G Pave Hawk choppers took off from Hill Air Force Base (HAFB), heading into torrential rains, lightning, and heavy cloud cover on their way to Michael Army Airfield's Dugway Proving Ground in Tooele.

Only three of those choppers made it to base. Around 13 miles away from HAFB, one of the helicopters crashed 100 yards off the northeast corner of Antelope Island with 13 men onboard at 9:15 p.m. Around an hour later, search and rescue crews found a single survivor. Rain, lightning, and strong winds hampered the search all night long, forcing responders to stop at around 4 a.m., waiting for the sun to come up and for the weather to break.  Found dead were a total of five U.S. Army Rangers, including:

  • SGT Blaine A. Mishak, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

  • COL John T. Keneally, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

  • LTC Kenneth W. Stauss, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

  • 1SG Harvey L. Moore Jr., 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

  • SPC Jeremy B. Bird, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Also, three U.S. Air Force helicopter crew members:

  • LtCol Roland E. Peixotto Jr., 55th Special Operations Squadron

  • SSgt Steven W. Kelley, 55th Special Operations Squadron

  • Sgt Philip A. Kesler, 55th Special Operations Squadron

And, four U.S. Air Force Combat Controllers:

  • SrA Derek C. Hughes,

    23rd Special Tactics Squadron

  • Capt Michael L. Nazionale,

    24th Special Tactics Squadron

  • Sgt Mark G. Lee,

    24th Special Tactics Squadron

  • TSgt Mark Scholl,

    24th Special Tactics Squadron

Found alive was the pilot, Air Force Maj. Stephan J. Laushine, then 27 years old. Laushine was assigned to the 55th Special Operations Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Laushine suffered cuts on his right leg and over his left eye, in addition to some minor fractures. He also suffered from hypothermia from being in the lake for so long.

It took rescuers an hour to paddle Laushine to shore in inflatable Army Ranger kayaks before he was airlifted to a local hospital.

SrA Derek C. Hughes

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To view the memorial page of this fallen hero, click the button below.

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