Air Force Officer MIA From Vietnam War Is Identified (Phillips)

Release No: 05-007 June 21, 2005 PRINT | E-MAIL

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial on July 3 in Savannah, Ga.

He is Air Force Capt. David J. Phillips, Jr., of Miami Beach, Florida.

On July 3, 1966, Phillips was attacking enemy targets over Kien Giang Province, South Vietnam, when his F-5 Freedom Fighter was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. Phillips was unable to eject from his aircraft before the crash, and radio contact was lost. Heavy enemy ground fire precluded a search at the time.

From 1993 to 2000, joint U.S.-Vietnam teams conducted four investigations for information on Phillips’ disappearance. Interviews of 10 villagers over seven years led to the probable location of the crash site. One of the teams found fiberglass pieces that were consistent with the survival kit from the ejection seat on an F-5 aircraft.

During two excavations in 2003 and 2004, human remains, as well as aircrew-related artifacts and personal effects, were recovered by teams from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). Laboratory analysis of the remains by forensic scientists at JPAC led to Phillips’ identification.

Of the 88,000 Americans missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Storm, 1,833 are from the Vietnam War, with 1,397 of those within the country of Vietnam. Another 750 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the Vietnam War. Of the Americans identified, 524 are from within Vietnam.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.