One Good Deal After Another (continued)
Air Liaison Officer Capt Ken Dewey directs a fast-mover -- an F4 Phantom jet -- over LZ Margo. When night fell he called for Spooky to protect the Marines. Detail from a larger photo by Thomas H. Roadley.
Not mentioned in the chronology was the fact that, during the night of 16 -17 September, our battalion air liaison officer, Captain Ken Dewey, requested and received the support of an Air Force aircraft bearing the call sign, “Spooky.”
Spooky was a favorite with the infantry battalions … a twin engine WWII C-47 aircraft loaded with machine guns wired to be fired in battery. Spooky could circle an area for an impressive amount of time while hosing any enemy units below with machine gun rounds. Day or night. (Read a detailed description here.)
We were using Spooky not only to defend the LZ Margo position but also to begin our shift to the offense. Spooky was working the general area north of Margo because the bulk of the afternoon mortar attacks and the rapidly defeated infantry attack had come from that direction.
Spooky probably had the right effect because when the companies repeated the northward movement toward the high ground, they frequently reported bloody bandages and other signs of wounded being moved along trails. Some of that could have been Spooky’s work, the rest the result of artillery support which we frequently called upon.
Captain Dewey directs Spooky, as the deadly gunship fires bursts over LZ Margo. Detail from a larger photo by Thomas H. Roadley.
Unfortunately, Spooky’s employment on our behalf ended sometime around midnight when the pilot got disoriented and began a run over LZ Margo proper. Captain Dewey quickly radioed a “cease fire” to the pilot who just as quickly ceased fire. We had a minute or so of serious concern because the pilot had just commenced fire when Captain Dewey radioed the “cease fire.” The resulting short burst took a few seconds to hit the LZ. Thank God, the rounds did not hit any Marines or Corpsmen.