ALTAMONT, Tenn.- A midstate family finally has closure now that they know their brother is no longer missing in action. Specialist Marvin Phillips died in the line of duty, after his aircraft crashed during an assault mission. On Saturday, his remains returned home to a hero’s welcome.
“It was bittersweet. That’s the word for it,” brother James Phillips explained.
Watching the honor guard remove a casket from the plane at Nashville International Airport, is what his family say they spent most of their lives waiting for.
“You never give up. You never forget. You don’t give up hope,” sister Lucy West said. “…That’s the reason we’re here today because somebody didn’t give up hope,” brother James added.
Specialist Marvin Phillips was just 20 years old on when his plane went down during a mission, his brother learned he signed up for.
“My brother was not supposed to be on that mission,” Phillips said.
The mission was not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in Vietnam.
“You’ve waited 45 years and you’ve not had a body or something to say he’s dead,” West explained about the difficulty the family has endured since news of the accident.
In April, the military notified the family that remains of a soldier had been found close to where their brother’s plane went down.
“It definitely was a shock,” Phillips said. “A good one but a shock you know.”
A DNA sample from West verified with 95% certainty that it was a match. Since Monday September 26th 1966- Specialist Phillips has been classified as missing in action.
“Now that we’ve put it all that together, it brings closure to us.”
This Monday, exactly 45 years later, Specialist Phillips will finally be laid to rest.
His sister added, “We feel like the mission is complete.”
The funeral will be held on Monday in the Grundy County High School gym at 1 p.m.