During the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 1971, a Chinook helicopter carrying 37 American soldiers crashed just off the autobahn near the town of Pegnitz, West Germany. The soldiers - 33 members of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 56th Field Artillery Brigade and four members of the 4th Aviation Company - died in the crash. They were part of the Heavy Mortar Platoon from battalion headquarters and were being transported from Ludwigsburg to Grafenwoehr, the largest training area in Europe, for live fire training.
Fatigue failure of the rear rotor blade led to its failure; a rotor separated and caused structural damage. The helicopter crashed and exploded, killing all 37 on board.
In the quiet forest, just outside Pegnitz sit three large boulders and the blade of a helicopter. A monument, named Fischelhohe, was dedicated by the German people as a reminder of what happened on Aug. 18.
A memorial was placed near the scene of the crash:
Unser Sohn, unser Bruder, ein Junge, ein Mann.
Sein Versprechen mit Glauben gehalten.
Seiner Herausforderung mit Mut entgegengetreten.
Seine unerfüllten Träume so bald mit Gott verbunden.
18. August 1971
Our son, our brother, a boy, a man.
Kept his promise with faith.
Met his challenge with courage.
His unrealized dreams connected with God so soon.
August 18, 1971