Vietnam Center and Archive Collection Finding Aid

Collection Finding Aid

Title
Harry Robertson Collection
Collection Number
2189
Date(s)
Undated[Inclusive Dates: 4/1/1975 - 12/31/1984]
Physical Location(s)
D195.A-C, D195.3A-B, D189.3D-E, Photograph collection
Processed by
M. Jhong, Jul. 2014[Updated: Aug. 2014 by M. Jhong]

Scope and Content

Approximately seven linear feet of files concerning the crash of a C-5A Galaxy aircraft during Operation Babylift on 4 April 1975 near Saigon, during the closing days of the Vietnam War, killing 144 of the 301 passengers aboard. Most of those killed were Vietnamese orphans being airlifted out of Vietnam as this was the maiden voyage of Operation Babylift. The collection primarily contains court records and transcripts concerning the subsequent lawsuit filed by Friends For all Children, Inc. vs. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation contending that Lockheed, the manufacturer of the aircraft, was liable for the diagnostic examination costs of the children on board the flight. The organization of the collection follows the chronological order of the case. Box 1 contains the initial military investigations of the crash and the early consultations with the aviation exports for the law suit. Box 2 to Box 5 are the depositions and exhibitions from eyewitness, aviation exports, pediatricians, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation representatives, and etc. Box 6 and 7 are oversize boxes contain oversize deposition and technical reports.

Biographical Note

On October 2, 1934, Samuel Harry Robertson, III was born in Phoenix, Arizona, the first of three sons born to S. Harry Robertson, Jr. and Doris Duffield Robertson. Harry built his first model airplane at age four. As he got older he entered his models in competition, earning five national model aircraft flying records by age 19. At the age of nine, while visiting Luke Air Force Base with his father, Harry observed his first airplane crash. It did not deter his keen interest in flying, and his first airplane ride at age ten - in a Stinson Voyager - only reinforced his desire to become a pilot. By age 15 he began flying lessons at the Phoenix College Flying School. Seeking a career in aerospace, Harry desired to attend Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. But with money tight, he instead worked his way through college at Arizona State University. It was while pursuing a degree in Business Administration and Mechanical Technology that he met his wife, Nancy, and they were married in 1953. In the summer of 1956, two commercial airliners crashed mid-air over the Grand Canyon, and Harry and his brother Jerry offered to help with the cleanup. Seeing body bags taken from the helicopters and loaded into trucks was a sobering and thought provoking experience. Following graduation in 1956, Harry entered the Air Force and began military pilot training at Marana Air Base near Tucson. As a military pilot, Harry participated in the investigation of six military aircraft accidents. Fatal, post-crash fires were particularly vexing to Harry. He spent many thoughtful hours theorizing methods to greatly reduce the crash fire hazard. Harry left the Air Force in 1960, though continued to fly with the Arizona Army and Air National Guards through 1973. It was also in 1960 that he formed Robertson Research Engineers to solicit funding to conduct his crashworthy fuel system research. None was found. Then in February 1961, Harry learned that the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety and Engineering Research, Inc. with US Army money would fund his effort. Harry knew if research could define the way aircraft came apart in a crash, a practical fuel system could be designed to survive the impact. Over the next seven years Harry and his colleagues crash-tested over 40 full-sized aircraft and hundreds of newly designed crashworthy devices, amassing critical data and knowledge. In 1968 - as the war in Vietnam raged on - the painstaking research and development began to show results. By April 1970 the first new crashworthy fuel system was installed in the Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter. Once the Army decided to convert all of their helicopters to the new fuel-systems, the Air Force, Navy, and Marines quickly followed suit. Prior to the use of the crashworthy fuel systems pioneered and developed by Harry and his colleagues, most severe Army helicopter crashes resulted in fires accounting for over 40% of the fatalities. Since the introduction of the Crashworthy Fuel System into military helicopters, post-crash fire deaths have virtually been eliminated. Harry and his colleagues also wrote all five editions of the U.S. Army's Crash Survival Design Guide - still the leading manual of its type in the world. Harry left Aviation Safety and Engineering Research in 1970, joining ASU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences as a research professor, and co-founded the International Center for Safety Education to administer and conduct the Crash Survival Investigators School. Over 7500 students of this first-of-its-kind school have analyzed actual post-crash evidence, learned crash-safety procedures and participated in hands-on crashworthiness evaluations. The end of 1974 brought a new challenge. Both Hughes Helicopters and Boeing wanted crashworthy auxiliary fuel systems to extend their aircrafts' flying range. For this new project Harry founded Robertson Aviation to develop and manufacture such fuel systems for both military and commercial markets. Crashworthy Robertson Fuel Systems - nicknamed by military users as "Robbie Tanks" - have gone beyond saving lives in civilian and military aircraft types around the world. Today Robertson technology is also being integrated into military ground vehicles, such as tanks and Humvees, and high-performance racecars. To use Harry's words, "There's no reason for someone to survive a crash - and then die in a fire." In recognition of this pilot and pioneering engineer's tireless devotion to aviation safety, we proudly enshrine S. Harry Robertson, III into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. http://nationalaviation.org/robertson-s-harry/

Rights and Access

Access Restrictions
Restricted: Box 8 and 9 are restricted due to medical records and social security numbers.

Collection Inventory

Contents
Box
Folder
Location
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol. I of III-1
1
1
D195.2A
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol. I of III-2
2
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol. II of III-1
3
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol.II of III-2
4
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol.III of III-1
5
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol. III of III-2
6
Report of Collateral Investigation: C-5A Aircraft Crash Vol. III of III-3
7
Sworn Statements by Eyewitnesses(5.16.1975)
8
Verbatim Transcript of Inverview with Linda D. Adams (6.24.1975)
9
Survivors' Medical Records and Decedents' Death Certificates Vol. # I of II
10
Survivors' Medical Records and Decedents' Death Certificates Vol. # II of II-1 (695 Restricted Pages)
11
Analysis of 'G' Levels Associated With the C-5A Accident Near Saigon (4.4.1975)
12
Schedule for the Trial of the Lockheed and Vietnamese Orphan Cases (10. 1981, 1982-83)
13
Letter Correspondence with James Turnbow (7.29.1981) Identify the dates of the trials and most of the material in the collection
14
Letter Correspondence from Haight, Gardner, Poor & Havens (1981-84)
15
U.S. Court of Appeals (3.13.1984)
16
Berry Deposition Exhibits (10.1.1981)
17
Expert Attendees' Curriculum Vitaes-1
18
Expert Attendees' Curriculum Vitaes-2
19
Aircraft Dimension Corrections (1.5.1981)
20
Accident Report by James Turnbow
21
C-5A Siagon Accident First Impact G Loads
22
'Assessment of Saigon C-5A SN 68-218 Crash Site April 4, 1975' (12.16.1982-1.8.1982)
23
Report by James G. Gaume, MD: Consultant in Human Factor
24
Correspondence from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (10.5.1981)
25
Christine Lievermann's Deposition: 2 Statements
26
Xerox Copy of C-5A Crash Scene with Exhibits
27
Xerox Copy of C-5A Crash Scene
28
Internal Loads Analysis AFT Fuselage Vol.I-1
29
Internal Loads Analysis AFT Fuselage Vol.I-2
30
Internal Loads Analysis AFT Fuselage Vol.I-3
31
Consolidated Notes of Investigation (Eyewitnesses' Background Information)
32
Unidentified Technical Research (10.30.1981)
33
Miscellaneous: Unidentified Exhibits
34
Deposition of Harriett (Goffinet) Neill (10.24.1978)
2
1
D195.2B
Deposition of Marcia R. (Wirtz) Tate (10.24.1978)
2
Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (10.24.1978)
3
Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (10.25.1978)-1
4
Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (10.25.1978)-2
5
Deposition of Keith D. Malone (2.12.1980)
6
Deposition of Regina C. Aune (2.12 & 13.1980)
7
Deposition of Tilford W. Harp (2.13.1980)
8
Deposition of Christine Lievermann (3.18.1980)
9
Deposition of Christine Lievermann (3.18.1980) 2nd copy
10
Deposition of Regina C. Aune (3.27.1980)
11
Deposition of Regina C. Aune (3.27.1980) 2nd copy
12
Deposition of Marica W. Tate (3.27.1980)
13
Deposition of Marica W. Tate (3.27.1980) 2nd copy
14
Trial Testimony of Keith D. Malone (3.27.1980)
15
Trial Testimony of Merritt W. Stark (3.28.1980)
16
Trial Testimony of Merritt W. Stark (3.28.1980) 2nd copy
17
Trial Testimony of Harriett M. Neill (3.31.1980)
18
Trial Testimony of Harriett M. Neill (3.31.1980) 2nd copy
19
Deposition of Harry L. Gibbons (4.1.1980)-1
20
Deposition of Harry L. Gibbons (4.1.1980)-2
21
Deposition of Douglas E. Busby (4.8.1980)
22
Deposition of John W. Edwards (4.28.1980)
23
Trial Testimony of Marica W. Tate (5.20.1980)
24
Trial Testimony of Harriett M. Neill (5.20.1980)
25
Trial Testimony of Tilford W. Harp (5.20.0980)
26
Trial Testimony of Tilford W. Harp (5.20.0980) 2nd copy
27
Trial Testimony of Merritt W. Stark (5.21.1980)
28
Deposition of John W. Ewdards (5.21.1980)
29
Trial Testimony of Tilford W. Harp (3.28-3.31.1980 estimate date)
30
Trial Testimony of Tilford W. Harp (3.28-3.31.1980 estimate date) 2nd copy
31
Trial Testimony of Dennis W. Traynor (3.28-3.31.1980 estimate date)
32
Trial Testimony of Dennis W. Traynor (3.28-3.31.1980 estimate date) 2nd copy
33
Deposition of John W. Ewdards (3.28-3.31.1980 estimate date)
34
Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (5.21.1980 estimate date)
35
Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (5.21.1980 estimate date) 2nd copy
36
Trial Testimony of Harriett M. Neill (Undated)
37
Trial Testimony of William Timm (Undated)
38
Deposition of Andrew F. Horne (9.23.1981)
3
1
D195.2C
Deposition of John W. Ewdards (9.24.1981)-1
2
Deposition of John W. Ewdards (9.24.1981)-2
3
Deposition of James G. Gaume (9.25.1981)
4
James G. Gaume Deposition Exhibits (9.25.1981)
5
Deposition of Charles A. Berry (9.28.1981)
6
Deposition of Robert R. McMeekin (10.6.1981)
7
Deposition of John J. Downes, Jr. (10.7.1981)
8
John J. Downes Deposition Exhibits (10.7.1981)
9
Deposition of James W. Turnbow (10.8.1981)-1
10
Deposition of James W. Turnbow (10.8.1981)-2
11
Deposition of James W. Turnbow (10.8.1981) 2nd copy
12
Deposition of James W. Turnbow (10.8.1981) 3rd copy
13
Deposition of William Timm (10.20.1981)
14
Deposition of Stanley A. Morain (10.26.1981)
15
Stanley A. Morain Deposition Exhibits (10.26.1981)
16
Deposition of John R. Cromack (10.27.1981)
17
John R. Cromack Deposition Exhibits (10.27.1981)-1
18
John R. Cromack Deposition Exhibits (10.27.1981)-2
19
Deposition of John J. Carroll (10.28.1981)
20
John J. Carroll Deposition Exhibits (10.28.1981)
21
Deposition of Charlie D. Turner, Jr. (10.31.1981)
22
Deposition of Charlie D. Turner, Jr. (10.31.1981) 2nd copy
4
1
D195.3A
Deposition of Christine Lievermann (11.3.1981)
2
Christine Lievermann Deposition Exhibits (11.3.1981)
3
Deposition of Stanley A. Morain (11.24.1981)
4
Stanley A. Morain Deposition Exhibits (11.24.1981)
5
Deposition of Charlie D. Turner, Jr. (11.24.1981)
6
Charlie D. Turner Deposition Exhibits (11.24.1981)
7
Transcript of Video Deposition of Harriet M. Neil (11.25.1981)
8
Transcript of Video Deposition of Harriet M. Neil (11.25.1981) 2nd copy
9
Deposition of John J. Carroll (11.25.1981)
10
John J. Carroll Deposition Exhibits (11.25.1981)
11
Deposition of Y. King Liu (11.30.1981)
12
Y. King Liu Deposition Exhibits (11.30.1981)
13
Deposition of Douglas E. Busby (12.18.1981)
14
Douglas E. Busby Deposition Exhibits (12.18.1981)
15
Deposition of Emanuel Tanay (12.21.1981)
16
Deposition of J. Kenyon Mason (1.4.1982)
17
J. Kenyon Mason Deposition Exhibits (1.4.1982) 2 pgaes restricted
18
Deposition of Arland A Atkins (1.7.1982)
19
Deposition of Robin I. Welch (1.8.1982)
20
Robin I. Welch Deposition Exhibits (1.8.1982)-1
21
Robin I. Welch Deposition Exhibits (1.8.1982)-2
22
Deposition of John J. Carroll (1.12.1982)
23
Deposition of Stanley A. Morain (1.15.1982)
24
Trial Testimony of Charlie D. Turner (1.19.1982)
25
Trial Testimony of Douglas E. Busby (1.22.1982)
26
Trial Testimony of Riley T. Bandy, Jr. (1.26.1982)
5
1
D195.3B
Deposition of John W. Edwards (1.26.1982)
2
Deposition of John W. Edwards (1.27.1982)-1
3
Deposition of John W. Edwards (1.27.1982)-2
4
Deposition of Robin I. Welch (1.28.1982)
5
Transcript of Video Deposition of Tilford W. Harp (3.4.1982)
6
Transcript of Video Deposition of Keith D. Malone (3.4.1982)
7
Deposition of Marica W. Tatte (3.9.1982)
8
Transcript of Video Deposition of Regina C. Aune (3.9.1982)
9
Deposition of Murray Fromson (4.6.1982)
10
Transcript of Video Deposition of Dennis W. Traynor (3.9.1982)
11
Deposition of Ta Laing (7.13.1983)
12
Deposition of John J. Carroll (7.26.1983)
13
Deposition of Elwood T. Driver (7.27.1983)
14
C-5 Program Intertia Loads Report for the First C-5A Air Vehicle-1
6 Oversize
1
D189.3D
C-5 Program Intertia Loads Report for the First C-5A Air Vehicle-2
2
C-5 Program Intertia Loads Report for the First C-5A Air Vehicle-3
3
C-5 Program Intertia Loads Report for the First C-5A Air Vehicle-4
4
William Timm Deposition Exhibits (10.20.1981)-1
7 Oversize
1
D189.3E
William Timm Deposition Exhibits (10.20.1981)-2
2
William Timm Deposition Exhibits (10.20.1981)-3
3
AF Technical Report: Human Exposures to Linear Deceleration
4
Miscellaneous: Unidentified Technical Research Reports Miscellaneous: Unidentified Technical Research Miscellaneous: Unidentified Technical Research Miscellaneous: Unidentified Technical Research Miscellaneous: Unidentified Technical Research
5

Separated Materials

Photographs
63 photos of C-5A crash site (5"W * 7"H).

13 photos of C-5A rash cite (8"W*10"H).

3 photos wich children on board before the crash (8"W*10"H).

32 photos of C-5A crash wreckage (8"W*10"H).