PHILLIPS, DAVID JOSEPH JR. Remains identification announced 06/22/2005
Name: David Joseph Phillips, Jr. Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 02 May 1934 Home City of Record: Miami Beach FL Date of Loss: 03 July 1966 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 100614N 1045352E Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F5C Refno: 0382 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 July 1990 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. NETWORK 2005.
SYNOPSIS: The Northrup F5 Freedom Fighter (sometimes called "Tiger") in most of its models was a single-seat supersonic fighter designed for close air support, air defense and interdiction missions. The aircraft, with its two GE afterburning turbojets, was fast (around Mach 1.4) with a flight range from 1,300 to 1,600 miles, depending on fuel and ammunition stores. The aircraft was first brough into service in 1963, and although its payload was limited, held its own with other comparable fighters in the SEA combat arena. By June 1967, Freedom Fighter missions were flown almost exclusively by the South Vietnamese Air Force.
Capt. David J. Phillips Jr. was a Freedom Fighter pilot in Vietnam. On July 3, 1966, he was flying near the western coastline of South Vietnam several miles south of the Cambodian border when his aircraft was hit by enemy fire, crashed and exploded. Capt. Phillips was declared Killed, Body Not Recovered. His aircraft crashed on the coastline about 15 miles northwest of the city of Rach Gia in Kien Giang Province, South Vietnam.
Capt. Phillips' wife, Peggy, was left with two young children to raise, and she managed to go on with her life. Phillips was one of about 2500 Americans who remained prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for at the end of the war. Nothing was heard about Phillips for many years.
In the fall of 1984, Peggy Phillips got quite a shock. The Air Force sent her a copy of a report received in the intelligence community that her husband was alive and well in a prisoner of war camp in Southeast Asia. The report further stated that Phillips was being held with eight other Americans.
Mrs. Phillips was shocked and angry when the Defense Intelligence Agency stated publicly that it had investigated the source of the information and had found it to be false. The Air Force had sent her the report with no analysis whatever, and DIA had not contacted her. As a private citizen, she had no means to investigate the report herself.
American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, over 10,000 reports such as the one relating to David Phillips have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy. DIA analysis of this information is that approximately 75% of the reports are resolved -- which means they were correlated to persons who have been returned or accounted for. It also means 75% of the reports are true. Only an estimated 15% are fabricated. About 10% are still under investigation, and, according to one State Department official, have undergone the "closest scrutiny" possible, yet cannot be debunked.
Whether Phillips survived the over-water crash of his aircraft to be captured by the multitude of enemy fishing and military vessels often found along the coastline is certainly not known. It is not known if he might be among those thought to be still alive today. What is certain, however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 632-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jun 22, 2005 Media Contact: (703)697-5131 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
Air Force Officer MIA from Vietnam War Identified
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 at Savannah Ga.
He is Air Force Capt. David J. Phillips Jr. of Miami Beach, Fla.
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.-Vietnamese 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 http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.