“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boiling Springs in Spartanburg County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Robin Helton

Robin Helton Marker (1986) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 18, 2010
1. Robin Helton Marker (1986)
Crash Site of
U.S. Marine A-4 Skyhawk
Oct. 29, 1985
In memory of the pilot
1st Lt. Robin Franklin
Sept. 13, 1955
Oct. 29, 1985
son of
McDonald & Kathryn Helton
husband of
Connie Swann Helton
father of
Robyn L. Helton
Donated by John Brown Memorials

Location. 35° 1.331′ N, 81° 57.666′ W. Marker is in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, in Spartanburg County. Marker is on Robin Helton Drive 0.1 miles east of Boiling Springs Road (South Carolina Highway 9), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boiling Springs SC 29316, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Boiling Springs Veterans Monument (approx. 2.2 miles away); Boiling Springs, South Carolina (approx. 2.2 miles away); Hearon Circle (approx. 2.7 miles away); Peach Monument (approx. 3.9 miles away); "Sparky" the Family Train (approx. 3.9 miles away); Berlin Wall (approx. 4.1 miles away); Jesse Cleveland (approx. 4.3 miles away); Dr. Jesse F. Cleveland Junior High School
Robin Helton Marker (1986) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 18, 2010
2. Robin Helton Marker (1986)
(approx. 4.4 miles away); Evins-Bivings House (approx. 4.5 miles away); Wofford College (approx. 4.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Boiling Springs.
Also see . . .
1. Boiling Springs Honors Pilot 25 Years After Crash. The thick wooded area where Marine 1st Lt. Robin Helton's plane crashed 25 years ago is now a bustling Boiling Springs subdivision. (Submitted on February 13, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. (Submitted on February 13, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
Additional comments.
1. Boiling Springs Treasures the Sacrifice and the Legacy of Marine Pilot
Sunday, October 31, 2010

Robin Franklin Helton was dedicated to serving his country. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at an early age and served in several places including Korea. He was honorably discharged and went to college. When the West Virginia native graduated from Marshall University, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines to become an officer and a pilot.

Robin Helton Marker (2010) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, November 18, 2010
3. Robin Helton Marker (2010)
New marker next to the older one. The information is mostly the same.
Lt. Helton was flying his A-4 Skyhawk jet over Spartanburg County on October 29, 1985, when he lost oxygen. It may have been because of a faulty hose in the oxygen/communications system of the aircraft.

The Navy knew the hose had a history of failures, but it killed a plan to replace the system a year earlier because it would cost more than $2 million.

The 30-year-old Marine pilot lost consciousness and crashed into the woods outside Boiling Springs. He left behind his young wife and baby daughter, his parents and other family members.

The community where he crashed made sure they would never mourn alone.

From the beginning, the people of Boiling Springs have embraced the Helton family and kept the memory of Robin Heltonís service and sacrifice alive. Itís a record for which the community should be proud.

In the first six months after Heltonís crash, his family received more than 1,500 cards and letters from Spartanburg County residents. They even received a package with two dresses for the baby. “We canít believe that people who donít know you can care as much as the people here have shown they do,” Heltonís sister said at the time.

The community erected a monument to Helton at the crash site and invited his family to the dedication. “The people here are unbelievable. They didnít know him, but it is as if they did,” Heltonís widow, Connie, said at the time.

The monument was struck by vandals more than once. The community repaired it. When the remote area of the crash became a subdivision, a street was named in Heltonís honor. A few years ago, a memorial service was held on the 21st anniversary of the crash.

Last week, a new memorial was dedicated to Robin Helton, one that should be less prone to damage. His family was here to renew their acquaintance with Spartanburg County residents.

His family should be proud of 1st Lt. Helton, his service, his sacrifice and his legacy.

Spartanburg County, and Boiling Springs in particular, should be proud of the way they responded to this accident. The community could have shrugged off the crash and gone its way, leaving the Heltons to deal with their personal tragedy on their own. But the people of Boiling Springs made a connection with the pilotís family, encouraged them, and preserved Heltonís legacy.
    — Submitted February 13, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

Categories. Military
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 892 times since then and 98 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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