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
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.