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It is unclear exactly what conditions the six-man crew encountered that caused their mission on Dec. 24, 1965, to end in a crash in southeastern Laos. Decades later, a small amount of their physical remains were found. Follow the flight and subsequent search in this interactive map.
Maj. Derrell Jeffords bounced his roaring Spooky 21 down and off the runway at Da Nang Air Base in Vietnam. It was just before 7:30 a.m., on Christmas Eve 1965. The big camouflaged belly of his twin-prop AC-47 was easily visible against a blue sky as he banked west.The cargo plane-turned-gunship was on its way to Laos; its mission was top secret.
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A brief description of the Spooky gunship, the modified AC-47.