Lieutenant (JG) Gary Lee Howell

Lt Howell


US Navy
Service Number: 665862
Born: October 30, 1933
Inducted: 1961
Died: January 6, 1967 in crash in South China Sea
Memorial Marker: Yuma Cemetery,
     Lot 174 new addition, Yuma Colorado

Son of Pat and Evelyn Howell of Yuma. Husband of Patricia Smith Howell.

Yuma Cemetery

Yuma Pioneer January 12, 1967

Vietnam Plane Crash Claims Lt. Gary Howell

Lt. Gary Howell, 33, was killed in action last week when his plane went down in the waters off Vietnam, according to a telegram received by relatives.

Lt. Howell was the second local Vietnam casualty within days, following the death of EN-1 Larry D. Allen, reported last week.

Incomplete information again accompanied notification of Howell's death, as it did for Allen earlier. Howell, a Navy pilot, was listed killed in action with his crew, after his plane went down in the ocean off Vietnam shores. His plane carried a 16-man crew, but the number on board was not learned. Howell's body was not recovered.

Howell's wife is the former Patricia Smith of Yuma. The couple and their five children, ages 5 through 12, were making their home in San Diego, California. His mother, Evelyn, is now living in Commerce City, and his father, Pat, was killed in an automobile accident several years ago.

Gary was born and raised in Yuma, graduating from the Yuma High School with the class of 1951. Following a four-year enlistment in the United States Navy, he attended Colorado University, graduating in 1961. He entered Officers Candidate School after receiving his college degree, then re-enlisted in the Navy.

This was Lt. Howell's second tour of duty in Vietnam. he was scheduled back to the States in February or March.

Memorial service was held Tuesday in San Diego, California. His mother and brother, Joe, both of Commerce City, attended.

Local relatives include two aunts, Mrs. Francis Kitzmiller and Mrs. Florence Lewien, and his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Smith.

A memorial fund has been established to the school library.

Denver Post

2 Coloradans Listed In Plane Crash Toll

Both the pilot and copilot of a Navy patrol plane which crashed killing its crew of 10 in the South China Sea Jan. 6, were Denver-area fliers, it was learned Tuesday.

The Navy earlier identified the pilot as Lt. David A. Stephens of Aurora. It was learned that the aircraft's copilot was Lt. Gary Lee Howell, 33, son of Mrs. Evelyn Howell of Commerce City.

Howell, a 1957 graduate of the University of Colorado, had been assigned to Sangley Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines since September.

The aircraft, a P5 Marlin seaplane, apparently exploded about 30 miles west of Corregidor Jan 6, Mrs. Howell said.

The Navy said at the time of the crash that its cause would be investigated, but hasn't made its findings official. It is believed, Mrs. Howell said, that a bomb the plane was carrying malfunctioned.

Howell is survived by his widow, the former Patricia Smith, formerly of Yuma, Colo.; three girls, two sons and a brother. Joseph C. of Denver.

From VP-50 Navy Memorial Site (

6 Jan 67: VP-50 Crew 13 launched late in the morning for a rocket firing exercise. They flew west of NS Sangley Point, Philippines to Scarborough Shoals where they put a floating smoke buoy in the water - this was the target to fire their eight rockets at. Unfortunately on one of the firing runs the rocket ignited on the SP-5B's wing and exploded blowing the wing from the Marlin. The broken plane fell, impacting the water near the smoke killing all aboard shortly after noon. When the plane didn't send its scheduled hourly position report another Marlin was launched to look for the missing bird. The search plane found floating wreckage near Scarborough Shoals and a Navy ship went to the site to look for survivors. Some remains of the aircraft were recovered but, no human remains.

Crew 13: LT Dave Stephens, LTjg Gary Howell, LTjg Jack Morris and crewmen AE3 Bill Gunter, AMS3 Evertt Whitmire, ATR3 Paul Goslin, ATN3 Larry Creighton, ATRAN Charles Goetz and AOAN Ronny Steen.

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