Helicopter pilot described as academically gifted, dedicated to service

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On May 16, 2015
Chris Norgren, a 2007 graduate, played for the Miners football team. (Photo via Missouri S&T athletics.)

Chris Norgren, a 2007 graduate, played for the Miners football team. (Photo via Missouri S&T athletics.)

UPDATE (Sunday, May 17, 2015): The U.S. military joint task force in Okinawa, Japan, has confirmed the identity of Capt. Norgren and all other crew members.

Marine Capt. Chris Norgren, a 2007 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology who has been identified as the pilot of a military helicopter that crashed in Nepal while on a humanitarian aid mission, is described by members of the campus community as an academically gifted and service-minded student.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with Chris’s family and loved ones at this time, as well as with the families and loved ones of every helicopter crew member,” says Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader, chancellor of Missouri S&T. “As a student-athlete and a member of two student design teams, he was committed to working with others to find the best possible solution to any situation – whether on the playing field or in the lab. It is no surprise to us that he was working in service to others at the time of the crash.”

The parents of Norgren, a Marine captain from Wichita, Kansas, have identified him as the pilot of a UH-1 Huey helicopter that was delivering humanitarian aid to a region of Nepal that was devastated by a series of earthquakes that began on April 25. Five other U.S. Marines and two Nepali military service members were aboard. The helicopter lost contact near the earthquake’s epicenter on Tuesday, May 12. Pentagon and Nepali officials confirmed on Friday, May 15, that the wreckage had been found in the Gorthali area, at an altitude of 11,200 feet. Nepal’s army said in a statement today (Saturday, May 16) that the bodies of all eight people on board had been recovered.

Norgren graduated summa cum laude from Missouri S&T in 2007 with bachelor of science degrees in aerospace engineering and applied mathematics. He was also a member of the university’s football team, where he played defensive end. He was a member of the Advanced Aero Vehicle Group, a student team that designs and builds radio-controlled airplanes and rockets for competitions, and the M-SAT (Missouri satellite) team, which designs and builds miniature satellites through a project sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. He was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

“Chris was a first-rate young man,” says Dr. Henry Pernicka, associate professor of aerospace engineering and an advisor to the university’s M-SAT team. Pernicka described him as a “nearly straight-A” student. “He took four courses from me and was on my satellite research team, and he performed highly in all of these.”

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4 thoughts on “Helicopter pilot described as academically gifted, dedicated to service”

  • Ashok Midha says:

    Chris Norgren, an exemplary student, team player and athlete, and one of S&T’s brightest stars, left his engineering position with a reputable aircraft company to join the USMC, so he could serve the nation and help humanity in more direct ways and follow his dream. He died, though very prematurely, doing just that, with the nobility with which he lived. Our thoughts and prayers, and deepest condolences, are with his very loving family.

  • May the soul of all the 8 who passed away in the remote hills of Nepal, find eternal peace. May the parents and the loved ones of the victims find strength to recover from this tragedy. Please do visit the place where it all happened and create a monument in fond memories of your Angel s. This is how we did when we 3 lost our daughters and son in a plane crash. Metta.

  • James Van Acker says:

    To Chris’s family:
    I am sorry for your loss of your son. What a wonderful man he was and trying to help those who couldn’t help themselves in Nepal. As a fellow alum and a fellow Miner FB Alumnus, I am very sorry for your loss and my continued prayers for those left behind!! May GOD protect him and may he be your guardian angel from Heaven.
    Im so thankful he was fighting for our country to keep those like me and my girls and extended family FREE, he will NEVER be forgotten!!

    Jim van Acker
    Miner FB 1992-1996 (offensive tackle)
    Phi Kappa Theta Alum

  • Trudy Smith says:

    This young man died the year I started working at Missouri S&T. He was a proud, young, Rolla Miner, Engineer, Marine, Pilot, Humanitarian. Gone too soon.