Remains of Vietnam War hero return home after 45 years - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Remains of Vietnam War hero return home after 45 years

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GRUNDY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)  --  Marvin Foster Phillips turned 18 in June, 1964. He enlisted in the army that month and was soon headed into combat in Vietnam. "You know, we just thought everything would be ok," said James Phillips, Phillips' brother.

James was a junior in high school when he learned Phillips was missing in action after the UH-1B Iroquois helicopter he was on crash landed in the Pacific ocean. "There was just that fear that he wouldn't come home," Phillips said.

Three months after his two years of active duty expired, Phillips was on an assault mission with three other specialists off the south coast of Vietnam when they were gunned down by enemy fire. It was a mission he wasn't even supposed to be on. "Another crew member, another door gunner was supposed to be there that day but he didn't show up, so my brother volunteered," said Phillips.

It was a decision that cost him his life and his family more than four decades of not knowing. "We still thought maybe that he may be a POW for years," Phillips said.

Phillips and another soldier were never found. It wasn't until last month the Phillips family learned his remains had been positively identified after extensive DNA research in Hawaii. He will be laid to rest next to his parents on Sept. 26 in the Palmer Cemetery. "Forty-five years to the day," said Phillips. "We just feel closure that its over with."

A soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice, Phillips will be remembered as a national hero. For James, his one wish to see his brother alive again will never come true but he knows they'll talk again soon.  "Just tell him I love him I guess," James said.

Family members said more details about how Phillips' remains were found will be released after his funeral.


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