Fountain Valley Marine Sought in Copter Crash

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Times Staff Writer

The Navy searched for two crewmen Monday, including one from Fountain Valley, who were aboard a Marine helicopter that crashed into the ocean off Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands last week.

Cpl. Jeffrey E. Tokarz, 23, of Fountain Valley, who was crew chief, and 1st Lt. Andrew G. First, who was a co-pilot, are still missing and believed dead, Chief Warrant Officer Eric Carlson, a Marine spokesman, said from Oahu. The body of the third man aboard, the pilot, has been recovered.

Tokarz, who had earlier in his career flown with President Reagan from the White House aboard Marine Helicopter One, had received a presidential service badge during his assignment in Quantico, Va., Carlson said.


Tokarz left Quantico in November, 1987, and joined his current squadron in Hawaii at the Marine Corps Air Station at Kaneohe Bay north of Honolulu on Jan. 19, Carlson said.

Tokarz and the other two crewmen were aboard a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter that crashed Wednesday about 3 p.m. during a post-maintenance flight. Rotor blades had been removed and reinstalled, Carlson said.

The remains of the pilot, Capt. John E. Nisbet Jr., 27, of Corpus Christi, Texas, were found Saturday near the crash site in about 30 feet of water, 1 mile off Oahu, Carlson said.

The Sea Knight, smaller than the giant CH-53 Sea Stallions that have had several well-publicized crashes, is one of the main Marine transport and assault helicopters.

The crash is under investigation, Carlson said.