Remains identified 10/21/94
One of three men individiually identified, nine others were "group

Name: Jacob "Jake" Edward Mercer
Rank/Branch: E7/US Air Force
Unit: 16th Special Operations Squadron (PAF), Ubon, Thailand
Date of Birth: 20 July 1936
Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL
Date of Loss: 18 June 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161500N 1071200E (YC343978)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: AC130A
Refno: 1879

Other Personnel in Incident: Mark G. Danielson; Richard Nyhof; Robert
Wilson; Leon A. Hunt; Larry J. Newman; Gerald F. Ayres; Stanley Lehrke;
Robert Harrison; Donald H. Klinke; Richard M. Cole; Gerald F. Ayres (all
missing); three crewmen rescued.

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.


SYNOPSIS: Lockheed's versatile C130 aircraft filled many roles in Vietnam,
including transport, tanker, gunship, drone controller, airborne battlefield
command and control center, weather reconnaissance, electronic
reconnaissance, and search, rescue and recovery.

The AC130, outfitted as a gunship, was the most spectacular of the modified
C130's. These ships pierced the darkness using searchlights, flares, night
observation devices that intensified natural light, and a variety of
electronic sensors such as radar, infrared equipment and even low-level
television. On some models, a computer automatically translated sensor data
into instructions for the pilot, who kept his fixed, side-firing guns
trained on target by adjusting the angle of bank as he circled. The crew of
these planes were, therefore, highly trained and capable. They were highly
desirable "captures" for the enemy because of their technical knowledge.

1LT Paul F. Gilbert was the pilot of an AC130A gunship assigned a mission
near the A Shau Valley in the Republic of Vietnam on June 18, 1972. The
crew, totaling 15 men included MAJ Gerald F. Ayres, MAJ Robert H. Harrison,
CAPT Robert A. Wilson, CAPT Mark G. Danielson, TSGT Richard M. Cole Jr.,
SSGT Donald H. Klinke, SSGT Richard E. Nyhof, SSGT Larry J. Newman, SGT Leon
A. Hunt, and SGT Stanley L. "Larry" Lehrke.

During the mission, the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM)
and went down near the border of Laos and Vietnam. In fact, the first
location coordinates given to the families were indeed Laos, but were
quickly changed to reflect a loss just inside South Vietnam.

Three survivors of the crash were rescued the next day. After several years
of effort, some of the family members of the other crewmembers were able to
review part of their debriefings, which revealed that a bail-out order was
given, and that at least one unexplained parachute was observed, indicating
that at least one other airman may have safely escaped the crippled

In early 1985, resistance forces surfaced information which indicated that
SGT Mercer had survived the crash and was currently held prisoner. Parents
of another crew member, Mark G. Danielson, discovered a photograph of an
unidentified POW printed about 6 months after the crash, in their local
newspaper whom they were CONVINCED was Mark. It was several years, however,
before the U.S. Government allowed the Danielsons to view the film from
which the photo was taken. When they viewed the film, their certainty

The hope that some of the twelve missing from the AC130A gunship has not
diminished, however. Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to
Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been
received by the U.S. Government, including over 1,000 first-hand live
sighting reports.

Families who might be able to lay their anguish and uncertainty to rest are
taunted by these reports, wondering if their loved one is still alive,
abandoned and alone. Since a large portion of the information is classified,
it is impossible for the families to come to their own conclusions as to the
accuracy of the reports.

The fate of the twelve missing men from the gunship lost on June 18, 1972 is
unknown. What is certain is that the governments of Southeast Asia possess
far more knowledge than they have admitted to date. A large percentage of
the nearly 2500 missing Americans CAN be accounted for. There can be no
question that if even one American remains alive in captivity today, we have
a moral and legal obligation to do everything possible to bring him home.

                                                        [up1021.94 10/22/94]
U.S. MIA remains identified in Vietnam

   TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Air Force officials
announced Friday they have identified the remains of 13 servicemen killed
during the Vietnam War, including 12 who were on the same aircraft when it
was shot down over Vietnam's A Shau Valley in 1972....