Dennis Lee Eilers

United States Air Force
06 December 1938 - 01 December 1977
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Panel 04E Line 037



Dennis L Eilers

USAF Pilot

Dist Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Cross of Gallantry, RVN Campaign

The database page for Dennis Lee Eilers

06 May 2001


Victoria Campbell
07 Jun 2005

I know we are far away
but I'm thinking of you today.

From one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Kim Merica
170 13th Street Plainwell Michigan 49080

20 Nov 2005

My name is Thomas Vaccaro - I am a US Veteran and served in the military from 1961 to 1963. In 1971 my wife gave me a POW/MIA Bracelet bearing the name of Captain Dennis Eilers - I have faithfully worn this bracelet since that time and will continue to do so to honor his memory. Although I never had the privilege to know Captain Eilers personally, I will always honor his name and the utlimate sacrifice he made for our country and our freedom. May he always be in God's hands.

Thomas M. Vaccaro

24 Dec 2006

Dennis and crew, you are not forgotten. As we keep the AC-47 flying to airshows we keep you in our hearts and allow the public to read about Spooky 21. God Bless you, and Merry Christmas.

Robert Rice
American Flight Museum

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 4th Air Commando Squadron was the first of three Air Force squadrons which flew transport aircraft (first C-47s, then C-130s and C-119s) equipped with side-firing automatic weapons. In 1968 the three squadrons were redesignated as the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Special Operations Squadrons (SOS). While the 4th ACS originally was based at Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN, the SPOOKY and SCEPTRE gunships, collectively known under the nickname "PUFF", operated from a number of airfields in South Vietnam and Thailand.

The 4th ACS began operations in South Vietnam on 15 December 1964 and quickly became a major force. While extremely effective, the gunships - particularly the AC-47s - were vulnerable to ground fire, especially the 37mm and 57mm AAA found in Laos.

On 24 December 1965, a SPOOKY gunship piloted by Col Derrel B. Jeffords and Capt Dennis L. Eilers, with crewmen Maj Joseph Christiano, MSgt Larry C. Thornton, TSgt W. Kevin Colwell, and SSgt Arden K. Hassenger, was tasked with an armed reconnaissance mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos. SPOOKY 21 first was directed to a location approximately 32 miles northeast of Saravane City, then diverted to a second location 18 miles east-northeast of Saravane. Shortly before contact was lost with the gunship at 1050 hours, one of the crew broadcast a "Mayday" message on UHF GUARD. The aircrews of two other aircraft operating in the area heard the gunship's final radio transmission.

An extensive search and rescue (SAR) operation was initiated at 1448. During the entire search effort, SAR aircraft received intense enemy ground fire from the jungle below. SAR operations terminated two days later with no trace of the aircraft or crew found. The last known location of SPOOKY 21 was approximately 6 miles west-southwest of Ban Solou, 7 miles south of Un Tai, 18 miles east-northeast of Saravane and 36 miles west of the Lao/South Vietnam border, Saravane Province, Laos.

The six crewmen were placed in "Missing in Action" status. Captain Eilers' status was changed on 01 December 1977 to "Died while Missing". None of the SPOOKY 21 crew has yet returned from their last mission.

Additional information may be found at MIA Current Status pages

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who remembers,
Victoria Campbell

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IA State Index . Panel 04E
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 6 May 2001
Last updated 02/23/2007