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An AC-130A Spectre Gunship
The type of aircraft in which Richard and Crew flew into History
AC-130A Spectre Gunship
16th Special Operations Squadron
Ubon, Thailand

UPDATE NOVEMBER 13, 1998

Today, I spoke with former National Security Agency Analyst, Jerry Mooney, regarding a report he had made referring to Richard's crew. Mr. Mooney immediately acknowledged the report, stating that it was very easy to remember because of the circumstances and cover-ups in the case. He had, in fact,at the time of the incident, performed an analysis of every report pertaining to the case. He further stated that "there were positively and without a doubt, survivors among the 12 MIA crew members."

Upon further questioning, Mr. Mooney declared that there was also no doubt that there were three captured crew members, and that this was confirmed by source reports. When I questioned about why this information was covered up, he related to me that originally it was because of the sensitivity and nature of the mission, and that it has continued to be covered up because so many would go to prison for the lies and cover-ups.

I then questioned him about the report in which he alluded to Richard's crew being possible candidates for a group execution of ten in 1972, at High Point 310, south of Khe Sanh. Mr. Mooney hastened to assure me that the Spectre 11 crew (Richard's), was only a speculative logistical possibility among several others, because of location, and time frame. He further explained that there was not even enough information to know whether or not those executed were Americans. He also felt that because Spectre 11 was an Electronic Warfare Aircraft with highly skilled officers, they would have been held captive rather than executed, because of their usefulness and knowledge. Live prisoners of this type were the goal.

Mr. Mooney testified before several congressional committees on this case, even to the fact that he had tracked Air Force Captain Mark Danielson by name and rank electronically for at least 48 hours after the shoot down. In addition, the debriefings of the three rescued survivors of the shoot down, testified to the fact that several parachutists were seen and beepers were heard by all three! And according to a July 14th 1973 Memo, Crew member, Gerald Ayers was listed as "probably captured" (Evidence supports Analysis Indicates Capture). the memo further states "Beeper contact was established shortly after downing of the aircraft. Returned POWs also stated that subject (Ayers) was POW in Hoa Lo Prison in North Vietnam from 1 July to 4 Sep 72."

Beverly Haire



J224B
3800
Ser: 307
12 Nov 1993
      
To: Commander, United States Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii

Subj: REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTATION - REFNO 1879

Ref: (a) CDRUSACILHI MSG 181729ZOCT93, Request for documentation pertaining to REFNO 1879

1. In response to reference (a), this letter provides Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) analysis of the REFNO 1879 case file information.

2. In June 1972, SSGT Newman, SGT Lehrke, SSGT Nyhof, SGT Hunt, MSGT Mercer, SSGT Klinke, SSGT Cole Jr, CAPT Danielson, MAJ Ayers, MAJ Harrison, CAPT Wilson, CAPT Gilbert, 2LT Reid, SSGT Patterson, and CAPT Bocher were aboard an AC-130 aircraft when it was hit by a shoulder-fired surface to air missile (SA-7). The aircraft commander rang the egress (bail out) bell, but an explosion occurred several seconds later, and the right wing separated from the aircraft. The first explosion was followed immediately by a second, which threw three crew members (CAPT Bocher, SSGT Patterson, 2LT Reid) clear of the aircraft. These three individuals were able to deploy their parachutes and land safely.

3. According to a witness in another aircraft, the AC-130 was hit by a missile and began a hard right turn. A few seconds later, the aircraft broke apart and descended in four large fireballs. He stated that while orbiting the crash site, which continued to burn, he received signals from at least two emergency beepers. The following day, Search-and-Rescue (SAR) forces rescued the three survivors. Aerial surveillance was maintained around the crash site for six days, but failed to obtain any signs of survivors. The hostile threat in the area precluded a detailed ground inspection of the site.

4. In June 1993, a joint investigation team located two witnesses who produced dog tags relating to two individuals (Harrison, Wilson) involved in this incident, along with three flight helmets. The team photographed the dog tags and helmets which were retained by the witnesses. The team traveled to the crash site and conducted a survey. During the survey, the team recovered portions of a flight suit and survival vest. The team also observed the tail assembly from a C-130 aircraft.

5. During August and September 1993, a joint team excavated the crash site and recovered teeth, bone fragments, and ID media (Ayers) from the site. The material evidence recovered from the site confirms a minimum of four individuals were aboard the aircraft at impact. Additionally, a data plate, 20mm cannon, 40mm Bofers gun, and a UHF radio control panel recovered from the site, confirms that the aircraft was an AC-130 aircraft. According to JTF-FA records, the REFNO 1879 aircraft is the only AC-130 which crashed within 40 kilometers of this site.

6. Analysis of the reporting from on-scene SAR forces, survivor statements, and testimony from villagers who visited the crash site, indicate that only three of the fifteen crew members exited the aircraft before impact. JTF-FA files contain no evidence which suggests that any of the twelve remaining crewmembers survived the crash of the aircraft.

THOMAS H. NEEDHAM
Major General, USA
Commander, Joint Task Force -Full Accounting



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