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Date: 17 January 1968
Aircraft type: O-2A Skymaster
Serial Number: 67-21327
Military Unit: 20 TASS, 504 TASG
Service: USAF
Home Base: Da Nang
Capt Samuel Festis Beach (KIA)
Sgt Donald Lee Chaney (US Army) (KIA)

Throughout December 1967 and early January 1968 increased enemy activity around the Marine outpost at Khe Sanh had become serious enough for plans for the aerial reinforcement of the base to be put into action. A number of O-2 aircraft from the 20th TASS were detached to Khe Sanh, which was used as a forward operating location for Covey FAC missions over Laos. Moments after Capt Beach took off from Khe Sanh’s steel mat runway, his aircraft (call sign Covey 21) was hit by small arms fire and crashed. Neither the pilot nor his observer, a Special Forces sergeant, survived the crash.

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