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Date: 12 May 1968
Aircraft type: O-2A Skymaster
Serial Number: 67-21336
Military Unit: 20 TASS, 504 TASG
Service: USAF
Home Base: Da Nang
Capt Phillip R Smotherman (Survived)

About one hour after the first O-2 went down, another FAC aircraft (call sign Helix 4) was lost. Capt Smotherman had been working with the 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division in the area around Kham Duc for some time and was therefore well acquainted with the area and the desperate situation. He was controlling a flight of Marine Corps A-4s that was making rocket attacks on enemy positions near the camp when his aircraft was hit by ground fire. The starboard wing tip and aileron were damaged but with difficulty he guided the aircraft down to a forced landing on Kham Duc’s airstrip, despite having to dodge a C-123 as it climbed away from the camp. The O-2 was badly damaged and was quickly destroyed on the ground by enemy mortar fire. Capt Smotherman was ordered to stay at the camp as the Air Liaison Officer and he continued to radio targeting information for air strikes for five hours while he was on the ground. Towards the end he was directing aircraft to drop ordnance within 25 yards of the defenders. He was later evacuated from Kham Duc by the last C-130 to leave the camp.

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