Mark L. Tuten, #264, 1956 – 1982

Lt Mark L Tuten, Arlington National Cemetery. Click image for virtual memorial information.

A Naval aviator, Mark was killed while attempting a night landing in an F-4 aboard the USS Forrestal.  He was 26 at the time of his death.

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7 comments to “Mark L. Tuten, #264, 1956 – 1982”

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    TSA Webmaster - Dec 22, 2011

    Posted: Mon May 31, 2010 1:28 pm by “phantomphixer82”

    I just stumbled on this site looking up some names of guys that I served with in the Navy. I cam across Mr. Tutans name. We were in the same squadron (VF-74) when his F-4 Phantom crashed in September 1982, and he was tragicly killed. I was working on the flight deck the night of the accident, and was nearly killed myself when the tail section of his plane landed 6 feet behind me. He was a good officer, and a good man. We lost 3 planes and 2 pilots on that cruise.

    I noticed on some of the other lost pilots here have quite a bit of information on their mishap, but on Mr. Tutans there was just 1 line. I dug up my copy of the ships log from that night to give a little more information as well as my own memories of the event.

    Lt Mark L. (Call sign Rutan) Tutan was returning from a flight at 1930 14 Sept. 1982 on board the U.S.S. Forrestal CV-59 in VF-74 Be-Deviler F-4S Phantom II aircraft Devil 112 (158346) and struck the round down. The aircraft RIO Lt. Arlen Lippert ejected as aircraft broke up on impact and landed on the flight deck suffering minor bruises. The bulk of the aircraft went over the side of the ship, and sank into the Med. There was no second ejection witnessed at the time. A search was conducted, and some debris was collected. The search was called off the following morning.The tail section of the aircraft broke off striking a parked A-7 causing extensive damage before knocking off the radome of VF-103 F-4S aircraft 207, and comming to rest between the nose of A/C 207 and next to the tail section of another VF-74 aircraft 105 which I was working on in the 6 pack area on the ship.

    The weather was rough that night, there would be wind at 30 knots comming across the bow, then would die all together, and the ship was pitching up and down. As Mr. Tutan was coming in on approach he was coming in low, as he neared the boat it pitched up as the wind died. He started to lose altitude he pushed the throttles to the stop’s, but with spool up time, he was not able to clear the deck, and impacted the round down. Mr. Lippert said that seconds before impact Mr. Tutan gave the command Eject,Eject,Eject, but as he said he was pulling down on his face curtain as he heard “E”. The ejection seat fires you up, and aft away from the plane, but by the time his finaly ejected they had already impacted, and the momentum threw him and the seat forward of the carrier where he had a sucessful seat man seperation, and he drifted back and landed on the flight deck. The accident investigation determined that Mr. Tutan was killed on impact. Mr. Lippert was extreamly lucky to have ejected at that exact moment that he did. He came around to all the shops to appologise to us for crashing one of our planes.

    NAS Moffett Field CA.
    VF-171/VF-74/VF-101 NAS Oceana VA.
    USS Forrestall/USS Saratoga
    VF-124 NAS Miramar

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    Mike Hower - Mar 14, 2014

    Add burial information from Arlington National Cemetery (courtesy of Mike Taylor, #103).

    • Joseph Clary AD1 ret - Aug 21, 2014

      He was a replacement pilot for LCDR Cunningham who was lost a month before on a bad cat shot. CO Findley was in back seat and got out safely. It appeared Mr. Tuten’s nose gear drove his seat through the canopy and he had no way to get out and went off the angle…. Couple of really sad days.

      • Mike O'Brien - Sep 24, 2015

        LCDR Charles F Pennington JR in Devil 103 July 6th 1982

    • Angel Olmefa - May 08, 2015

      Does anyone have the details of the other two accidents? I can’t fully recall the details. I have a mental block. It would really be helpful to me to remember fully. I hope to put it all to rest. So that I can enjoy more the good times, without feel bad. Thank you. ABH2 Olmeda

      • Mike O'Brien - Sep 24, 2015

        We lost LT CDR Pennington in Devil 103 to a bad cat shot on July 6th 1982.

  3. Angel Olmefa - May 08, 2015

    I was working on deck the night Lt. Tuten. I was Crash & Salvage Team (V-1 Div). I almost was killed myself. But somehow got away just in time. Thankful my training kicked in & we all performed our jobs/duties quickly. However, I wasn’t prepared mentally & for what I witness. We lost two more fighter jets & another pilot. It’s has scared me for life. I will never forget & it haunts me. They were good men & I think about the huge lost both to us on the FID & their family/friends. RIP LCDR Cunningham & LT Tuten.

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