Shadow Destroys Bunker Complex in Support of Dak Pek

Article from the Phu Cat Air Base, RVN “Cobra Courier” Vol. 2, No. 20 May 18, 1970
(Unofficial Air Force News Bulletin published weekly on Mondays)

An Air Force AC-119 Shadow gunship crew of the 17th Special Operations Squadron at this base (Phu Cat) was recently credited with destroying a large bunker and munitions complex near the Dak Pek Republic of Vietnam Civilian Irregular Defense Group camp, 65 miles west of DaNang.

The Shadow was target bound at sunset on a recent evening to support the CIDG camp at Dak Seang when it was diverted to respond to a troops-in-contact call in the Dak Pek area. Crewmen on the flight were Lieutenant Colonels Charles M. James of Rantoul, IL. and Stanley J Merrick of Atwater, Calif.; and 1st Lt. Michael W. Mankin of Golden CO. TSgt. Robert H. Spencer of East Freetown, MA.; SSgt. David M. Hammerlund of Puyallup, WA.; Sgt. John R. Weave of Manaffey, PA.; and A1C Jon D. Jacobson of Moraga, CA. were the remaining crewmen.

“The camp was taking automatic weapons fire from several positions about 250 meters to the north and west of the camp,” stated Colonel James, aircraft commander. “We began pouring our minigun firepower on these positions under the direction of the ground commander, and almost immediately he commented that he had heard a large secondary explosion.”

The ground controller asked the Shadow crew to hit a location where an enemy 75mm recoilless rifle had been sighted. The rifle was located on the opposite side of the hill from which the camp was taking automatic weapons fire.

The AC-119 hit the target and touched off a secondary explosion. The ground contact working with the Shadow relayed his thanks to the crew and said that the explosions resulting from the last hit on the target continued for the next six hours. He credited the crew with destroying a large enemy complex of bunkers and munitions.