Last Known Activity The most detailed description of the incident in which Captain Bunker was killed is at http://www.powerwork.com/bios, though the excerpts are from the book by Christopher Robbins, "The Ravens." I've taken excerpts from those reflected on the website as follows:
"...Just before the new year he (Bunker) flew out to the northern edge of the Plain of Jars, near Roadrunner Lake, to verify a recorded sighting of enemy tanks. Sure enough, he spotted the front of a tank protruding from a group of trees and dropped low for a better look. A rapid-fire 14.5 mm antiaircraft gun - deadly to a height of 4,500 feet - opened up at close range and nailed the engine.
Bunker put out a Mayday call before managing to (maneuver) the O-1 onto a flat area in the middle of a horseshoe formed by a bend in a small river. When Bunker climbed out of the cockpit he found himself in open country...He lowered himself into...a small gully choked with brush...Unknown to him, a large group of NVA soldiers were bivouacked along the bank of a distant treeline that followed the curve in the river. He was surrounded on three sides.
Four Ravens heard the distress call and headed toward the downed plane. Bunker said he was hiding in a gully by the side of the O-1 and was being shot at from three sides. Gunfire could be heard over the radio. It seemed to ...grow louder until Bunker announced he was going to make a run for it.
...the Ravens raced toward the crash site, listening helplessly to (Bunker's) desperate transmissions. When Bunker next came on the radio, he was out of breath. 'They're all shooting at me! I've been hit! I'm hit! I've been hit twice - God, I've been shot five times. I'm not going to make it.
When the first Raven arrived on the scene, Bunker could not be found. One of the Ravens, Chuck Engle, took his plane almost to ground level for a closer look, braving enemy fire. He did see something under a tree, but his aircraft was so badly shot up, he had to return to Long Tieng. A Skyraider pilot volunteered to look, but was met with the same withering fire as Engle had encountered. He confirmed that there was a body under a tree wearing a blood-covered survival vest.
...The growing dark made it impossible to check, and when the Ravens returned the following morning the body had been removed."
As far as I know to date, Captain Bunker's body has not been recovered, though eventually a elderly, former North Vietnamese soldier gave authorities Bunker's identification card and claimed to have helped bury the bodies of Capt Bunker and another pilot in 1970.