As I worked on this film, I learned that behind each name of those lost in a military accident is a story, a family, a group of peers. I learned that the victims and their families are a community and when more crashes happen on the same aircraft, the same people have to go through the tragedy all over again. “Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn?” focuses on one helicopter and its pilot, but it could have been a film about other aircraft, other people or other branches of the military. Below are the names of all of those who lost their lives on the 53E—128 service members and four contractors. Each has a story.
— Zachary Stauffer, director
Below is a list of those who have died on the 53E.
We attempted to locate information on each of the 132 people, but we are still missing details for some of them.
If you have any additional information to provide, suggestions or corrections to make, please feel free to email us at

Capt. Brian R. Jones, 32, Harlan, IA

PFC. Kevin J. Kaiser, 19, Kenmore, NY

LCpl. Scott A. McEneany, 23, Fairport, NY

Cpl. Shawn T. Tohill, 21, Virginia Beach, VA

LCpl. David D. Wells, 22, Salem, IN

Cpl. Ricky C. Williams, 23, Sumter, SC


1stLt. Grady J. Pryor, 26

LCpl. Gordon L. Singer Jr., 21

Cpl. Christopher M. Smith, 22

Maj. Jordan D. Yankov, 37, Germershein, Germany


September 2, 1997, Kuwait, MH-53E (1 fatality)