The following testimonials were researched by Master Chief Kaiser:
Dear Master Chief Kaiser, My name is Gary Ham. I was assigned to VQ-1 when our VA-3B (PR-111) that Chief Nichols was onboard crashed. If my memory serves me correctly, he was an EP-3B/E flight engineer attached to VQ-1. I believe that he was just "hitching a ride" back to Guam on the VA-3B. The plane went down on January 23, 1985 (Guam time), about 125 miles NNW of Guam. I also had friends on that aircraft, so I remember it all too well. I was an ESM operator on the EA-3B: believe me, I thought about that accident every time I flew! I hope that this helps. I'm sorry that you also lost a friend on that flight.
Master Chief, Dave was killed when the VA3B(buno 142672) he was riding in went in about 10 minutes out of Guam while returning from Atsugi on 23Jan 1985. CDR John Mitchell(CO VQ-1) was the pilot. Never saw the accident report but rumor has it that they ran out of fuel. Personally, I never thought John Mitchell would/could do that.
ATC(AW/NAC) Rick Sikorski USN, RET
Master Chief, the Whale crash that took your friend, I believed Sr. Chief Nichols, was onboard PR-111, a VIP bird in VQ-1. I was in VQ-1 at the time and the plane crash 125 miles from Guam flying from Atsugi, Japan. SCPO Nichols just checked in a month before and we worked in Safety/Natops together. The bird went down January of 1985. 9 souls was onboard and our CO was driving. This crash really tore up our squadron. Our CO, CDR Mitchell was a great person and so was SCPO Nichols. I was an A-3 CrewChief/PlaneCaptain and i never flew again after that. Hope that this helped you, Very Respectfully, AD1(AW/NAC) Richard "JED" Haynes, USN(Ret.)
From Captain Rundell:
I came upon this article while researching VQ-1 for a monthly article in the NAVAIR Museum's volunteer newsletter. As much as it can, it details the accident that claimed former VP-93 FE Dave "Liberty Nick" Nichols.
Twenty-nine years later and knowing nothing about an "ATM," I wonder why, just twenty minutes into the flight they would have continued on such a long over-water leg with the loss of one of two such critical systems.
Obviously, we will never know.
All who knew Dave would agree, a sad end to a great guy.