Christophersen, Keith Allen, LTJG

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Last Primary NEC
132X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Naval Flight Officer
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1973-1973, 132X, VAQ-130 Zappers
Service Years
1971 - 1973
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club
Order of the Golden Dragon
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

19 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Eugene Claude Ipox, Jr., TM1 to remember Christophersen, Keith Allen, LTJG.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
South St Paul
Last Address
Gulf of Tonkin, North Vietnam

Hawaii, USA
Plot: Court B
GPS (lat/lon): 21.3136, -157.84703

Casualty Date
Jan 21, 1973
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Sea
South China Sea
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial - Honolulu, Hawaii
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Panel W1, Line 111

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Golden Dragon Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Naval Flight Officer Wings

 Duty Stations
  1973-1973, 131X, USS Ranger (CVA-61)
  1973-1973, 132X, CTF 77
  1973-1973, 132X, COMSEVENTHFLT/Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group, 7th Fleet
  1973-1973, 132X, VAQ-130 Zappers
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1972-1973 Vietnam War/Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (72-73)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Birth: Oct. 22, 1946
South Saint Paul
Dakota County
Minnesota, USA
Death: Jan. 21, 1973, Vietnam

*** Lieutenant Junior Grade Christophersen, U.S. Naval Reserve, was a member of Detachment 4, Tactical Electronic War Squadron 130, Carrier Air Wing 2 aboard the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CVA-61). On January 21, 1973, he was the co-pilot/navigator of a Special Electronic Tanker (EKA-3B) preparing for a night launch. The catapult failed and the aircraft fell over the side of the ship. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial

You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in me, your brother, sisters and those who knew you and loved you. You will live on because we remember you!

Age: 26
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Oct 22, 1946
Marital Status: Married - his wife was a nurse.

***** I met Keith while we were classmates in VT-10 stationed at NAS Pensacola, Fl in 1971. We became friends after we figured out we both had some Danish blood in our bodies. My mother's maiden name was 'Christiansen'. The '...sen' on the end of our names meant we were of Danish descent. Anyway we became good friends during our training at VT-10 and then additional training at NAS Glynco, GA. We both ended up in Electronic Warfare, Keith flying in EKA-3's in VAQ-130 and I in EP-3B's in VQ-1 stationed in Agana, Guam. One of our long-term plans was to camp and canoe in Northern Minnesota's Gunflint Trail. Our wives became friends as both were Nurses and had lots of things in common to talk about. On the night of Keith's death I was flying in the Gulf of Tonkin in an EP-3 and remember the ship (USS Ranger) calling us to head south as there had been an accident and we would not have had BARCAP fighter protection. I heard about the accident a couple of days later when I ran into another VQ-1 friend in NAS Cubi Point who told me of Keith's death and the circumstances. It was the first time that I had lost a friend from the inherent danger of flying from ships and Keith would not be the last. We would have had a good time canoeing and camping.
Doug Jerome LCDR USN Ret
We served together

***** To Keith, I only met you a couple of times. At your wedding to my sister, and when you visited me at Camp Pendleton. My large regret is that I could not take your place and keep you home with your daughter.I survived my tour without major wounds. I only wish it could have been the same with you. Rest in peace. Ron
Ron Kienholz
Brother in law
Saturday, January 17, 2009

LTJG - O2 - Navy - Reserve
His tour began on Jan 21, 1973
Casualty was on Jan 21, 1973

Body was not recovered
Panel 01W - Line 111

Other Personnel In Incident: Charles L. Parker; Richard D. Wiehr (missing)


Flying from an aircraft carrier is a special science. The limited takeoff and landing area leaves little room for error. Occasionally, tragic accidents occur, claiming lives.

LtCDR Charles L. Parker was a pilot assigned to Tactical Electronic Squadron 130, Detachment 4, on board the carrier USS RANGER. He was the pilot of an EKA3B tanker.

At 11:46 p.m. on January 21, 1973, the EKA3B carrying Parker, the pilot; LTJG Keith A. Christophersen, the copilot/navigator; and Petty Officer Second Class Richard D. Wiehr, the electronic technician; was preparing to launch on a night catapult launch. After having made a normal catapult attachment and pre-launch inspection, the catapult stroke appeared to start off normally.

After about 1/3 of the launch stroke, a loud explosion was heard and the aircraft was seen to pitch nose down and sparks started to come from the right engine. The aircraft began to decelerate and run off the end of the angle deck at a very low speed and fell over the side of the ship into the Gulf of Tonkin.

An immediate search and rescue effort was begun, but the aircraft sank very quickly and none of the crew could be recovered.

The three Americans were classified Killed/Body Not Recovered.

The crew of the EKA3B lost on January 21, 1973 are listed with honor among the nearly 2300 still prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for from the Vietnam war because their bodies were never found.

Some of the missing, like the crew of the EKA3B, may never be recovered. It may not be possible to find their bodies. A high percentage of those missing, however, could be found.


Tokens taken from "The Wall".

Randy Horning - Fellow Minnesotan
War is hell. You left us, before you had a chance, to find out. Thanks, for your service. In case, you read this. Twins won, World Series, in '87 and '91. North Stars left for Texas, of all places and the Vikings, lost all four, Superbowls, in which, they played. Oh yah, that's a big thing, now.
Rest easy, my friend.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

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