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A Fallen American Hero Will Be Buried This Week! Iraqi War ?? Nope, Vietnam

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I read the paper earlier and saw this in the obituaries, it made me search for a little more information...The following is what I found on this site How in the hell could something like this happen? The ordeal that this family must have went through is too much to even comprehend. Another fallen hero for our country, gone before his time and no closure for this family, just a roller coaster ride through hell. Thank you Captain Phillips, sorry it's almost 40 years too late.

Air Force officer's family finally gets answers Capt. David J. Phillips' remains will be buried in Savannah 40 years after Vietnam jet crash.

Adam Crisp

Although it has taken nearly 39 years, the family members of Air Force Captain David J. Phillips will finally have the funeral they say their father deserved. Although it has taken nearly 39 years, the family members of Air Force Captain David J. Phillips will finally have the funeral they say their father deserved.
Phillips' F-5 fighter jet was shot down over Vietnam on July 3, 1966. His family - his wife, Peggy and three daughters - believed their father died in the plane crash. But they began to doubt that conclusion in the years that followed.
Although a Memorial Requiem Mass was held a few weeks after Phillips' jet was shot down, a bogus list released in the 1980s contended Capt. Phillips was one of nine men being held at a Vietnamese POW camp.
"Mom worried that when that list came out in the '80s, he was being tortured on a daily basis over there," said Davida Stubbs, Phillips youngest daughter. "We weren't sure that he did actually die during the crash anymore." While the list proved to be false within just a few weeks after it surfaced, Stubbs says her family often wrestled with the notion that her father was not resting in peace after all. Her mother, Peggy, died a few years after the controversy.
Through the years, the military continued to look for Capt. Phillips. From 1993 to 2002, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams conducted four searches in Vietnam, looking for signs of Phillips or the downed jet. Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon's MIA/POW search efforts, said each time the teams went to Vietnam, they inched closer to uncovering the mystery behind behind Phillips' location.

During their visits, investigators contacted villagers who eventually led them to the site of Phillips' crash.

According to Stubbs, a villager had recovered her father's remains shortly after the crash. He buried them in a grave, marked with a large stone.

Phillips' remains and a few personal effects were located in March 2004 with the help of the Vietnamese villager who had buried Phillips' body four decades earlier.

Stubbs and her two sisters, Linda and Donna, have been given a book from the military that includes a patch of Phillips' flight suit, a pocket knife and a pendant, along with photos that document the seven-year search efforts.

Finding remains of soldiers 30 or more years after their death is not that unusual, said Greer.

"In the case of the Vietnam War, we are bringing back remains on a monthly basis," Greer said. "We're announcing identifications several times monthly."

The Pentagon estimates there are 88,000 Americans still missing or imprisoned from various wars. Of those, 1,833 are from the Vietnam War. Another 750 Americans have been identified since the war ended in 1975.

Phillips' family is planning to bury their father's remains July 3 - exactly 39 years after he was shot down - in a family plot in Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery. While details haven't been finalized, the family is hoping the funeral will be an event where their father will finally get the respect he deserves.

Greer says providing the families with closure is rewarding, although it's often bittersweet.

"The saddest part of our business is to learn how the families have been hurt and mislead," said Greer.

"It depends on how the family feels, but usually the news helps with the bereavement process - to be able to get on with your life. It finally gives answers."

Yep, I say some sort of closure is in order, wouldn't you? If you'd like to read the obituary, please click this.