The Hulk 46 Crew

Take a look at each of the three fallen crewmember’s story

Meet The Crew

Lt. Eric Hedeen

Lt. Eric Hedeen

Eric Hedeed was born in Everett, Washington in 1963 and earned a degree in architecture from Washington State University in 1987. WSU students played a major role in the creation of the Hulk-46 memorial in . Eric served as an Electronic Warfare Officer.



Lt. Jorge Arteaga

Lt. Jorge Arteaga

 Jorge Arteaga was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1964. He earned a degree in Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. He was recently married before his deployment. Jorge served as the navigator.

Capt. Jeffry Olson

Capt. Jeffry Olson

Jeffry Olson was born in 1963 in Boise, Idaho during the time his father was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986. Jeff served as the radar navigator/bombardier of Hulk 46.


A Brothers Memories by Kevin Hedeen

Will Rogers once said, “Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.” My brother Eric and the 2 crewmen who died with him proved that true.

As the youngest of 4 kids, he was always the baby of the family. Eric was born in 1963 and being the oldest by 7 years (Kevin), I knew Eric best as the kid brother. I regret never getting to know Eric as a man.

As a young child, something about the old Adam’s Family butler “Lurch” captivated Eric’s attention, but he could not pronounce the ‘L’. From then on, he became known to the family as “Urch”. This family nickname stuck with him his whole life.

Our sister Valerie recalls when early 1970s 4-H Eric decided to raise lamb to be sold at Chelan County fair. Many months passed attempting to put weight on what he thought was a wether. At the fair Lt. Fuzz was found to be of inadequate weight to compete. Eric was frustrated until someone discovered his sheep was actually a ewe. After talking with the family that sold Lt. Fuzz to him as a lamb it was determined he had a far more valuable commodity; the lamb had been a twin from a line of twins, increasing the likelihood of her bearing twins. She was sold at a far higher price than would have been obtained from sale at the fair.

As the youngest, Eric endured teasing from his older brothers. Our Jr. High gave out a DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) award for “Excellence in History”. I won the award and told the next oldest brother (Kurt) it was now a family tradition and he had to win it. Kurt won when he went through school. We then told Eric that he had to uphold the now long-standing, family tradition. We thought we were teasing him, but he ended coming through and winning it.

After all these years, my most vivid memories of Eric were his wry grin and his love of laughter. I remember when he earned the moniker “Kneecap” while pheasant hunting with my high school friends for boasting he could go through barb wire fencing much easier than us older guys. As a kid, he wrestled with irrigation in the orchard that was almost too big for him to handle. Our bike race down Joe Miller Road resulted in his broken arm when he got into soft gravel. He started pushing his bike home with the broken arm until I was able to get help and take over for him. For some unknown reason growing up, he loved the Detroit Lions. As a young child, he even had a stuffed lion he named “Landry” after a Detroit Lion quarterback. Our bad form diving competitions in the pool our dad installed after years of kids begging were epic. Year round orchard work in temps ranging from 20 degrees to 100+, Search and Rescue, Washington State Cougar, fraternity president, ROTC, architecture major, marriage, and the USAF were a short life well lived.

Our dad was a fighter pilot in the USAF and a huge history buff. Our house was always full of history books and all of us were voracious readers. His personal library was full of books on aviation, so Eric probably caught the flying bug from my father. We boys built many dozens of plastic and balsa wood models; primarily WW2 aircraft and can to this day recognize military airplane silhouettes on sight. Duty was a word our father used often, as in “Do your duty” and “You have the duty”.

The one word you use in military flying is duty. It’s your duty. You have no control over outcome, no control over pick-and-choose. It’s duty. Chuck Yeager

Eric Hedeen did his duty.

A passage from ‘Ripple’ by the Grateful Dead brings my memories full circle:

There is a road, no simple highway

Between the dawn and the dark of night

And if you go, no one may follow

That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water

When there is no pebble tossed

Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow

But if you fall you fall alone

If you should stand then who’s to guide you?

If I knew the way I would take you home

Eric traveled that road.
“Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.” Eric Hedeen was a hero.

A Letter to Jorge

This letter was written by Jorge’s wife, Emily Arteaga. She wanted to share it as a memento to her fallen husband.

Jorge and I met in an Italian restaurant; he was having dinner with his crew.

We saw each other across the room, and he jumped up, introduced himself and asked for my number. Now if you knew Jorge at all, you know he wasn’t impulsive. He thought things through so in hindsight, this was a huge gesture.

After a call the next day and our first date, we were inseparable. After a few months, we moved in together, such happy times! He taught me how to cook his favorite foods, like empanadas.

The days he was on alert were so hard. I would go to the base every day, bring food and stay as long as I could. Then we would talk on the phone for hours.

He and the guys had to go to Nevada for about a week. When he returned, he gave me an engagement ring. All the guys and their wives knew and told me later how excited they were for us.

On the next alert, I went shopping for a wedding gown. I found one and ordered it and found a lacy going away dress that I was able to take home with me.

About a month later, (January, 1991) Jorge was off alert and at home, unexpectedly, I got off work early. He got a call from the base that he was being deployed. We decided to have a quick wedding, but keep our plans for the big one in June. As he threw clothes in bags, I dressed in my going away dress. We left, bought wedding rings and cannoli’s (intended to be our wedding cake) from our favorite Italian grocery.

We were married at the Justice of Peace, as the office workers cried, they were older and I think they knew how it probably was going to end. We were young and naïve and so in love. Driving to the base, we joked about what a great story this would be.

We got to the base under the impression that we would have a day or two together before he left, but after only a few minutes were told they were leaving immediately.

Devastation, we were in total shock. Reality was setting in; it was a total nightmare.

Jorge and the crews boarded the bus to drive to the awaiting tanker that would take them to the island. He ran to the back of the bus and waved at me. I collapsed on the tarmac, hysterical and realizing that I probably would never see him again.

Every time I hear the song, “The End of Innocence” I think of that moment. “I need to remember this; baby give me one last kiss. Let me take a long last look before we say goodbye.”

I returned home and stayed by the phone waiting for his call. We spoke once or twice and set a time and day for our next call. When that call didn’t come, I was panicked. Around 2 am I got a knock on our door from the priest, wing commander, and others. I collapsed as they told me the news. They came back a day or so later and said the Air Force had called off the search. I had to plan is funeral knowing he wouldn’t even be there. I had been planning for the wedding in June, so I used everything from it for the funeral. Ave Maria, pink roses…everything.
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About Hulk 46

Hulk 46 was the only B-52 not to come home during Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft went down during the return from a mission into Kuwait. Three crewmembers perished in the crash.