Remains identification announced 06/22/2005
Name: David Joseph Phillips, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
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.
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
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
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 or
call (703) 699-1169.