Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
Final Mission of U.S. Army helicopter UH-1B tail number 64-13935
Crew members included MAJ Norman L. Dupree (KIA), CPT Henry L. Mosburg (Body not Recovered), SP4 Marvin F. Phillips (Remains recovered), and SP4 Richard H. Pystor (Rescued). There three accounts of the mission: Account #1 - Capt. Henry L. Mosburg was a pilot assigned to the 114th Assault Helicopter Company. On September 26, 1966, he was assigned a combat assault mission in the Delta region of South Vietnam over Vinh Binh Province. He departed with a crew of four, including himself. On the second pass on a target near the mouth of the Son Co Chien River, Mosburg's aircraft was fired on by small arms. As the aircraft prepared for a third pass, it was noticed that one of the helicopter's rockets was on fire on the left side of the aircraft. Observers watched the tail section of the aircraft fall away, causing the helicopter to fall toward the water in a steep spin. The helicopter landed on its right side in approximately nine feet of water. One person (unnamed) was rescued, and one body was recovered. Mosburg was not found, nor was his gunner, SP4 Marvin F. Phillips. An exhaustive ocean search was made surrounding the crash area, but no trace of Phillips or Mosburg was ever found. Because of the over-water area, it was considered that the two were killed, and that it would be impossible to recover their remains. Second account - Aircraft was engaging hostile target and receiving small arms fire. Crew chief saw one rocket 275 projecting half way out one tube with flames from the aft end of the module and left side of aircraft. Entire tail section separated and aircraft spun into the sea uncontrolled. Crew chief only survived, cabin was recovered but not weapons or rest of the aircraft. Two bodies not recovered. Third account - On 26 September 1966, between 1300 and 1430 hours, RVN Time, while piloting the rigging helicopter for the 611th Transportation Company (DS), Vung Tau, RVN, APO 96291, I witnessed four (4) members of the above unit successfully perform an extremely hazardous and difficult rigging and hook-up and recovery of UH1-B Gun Ship of the 114th Armed Helicopter Company, Soc Trang, RVN. During Combat Assault conditions in and around the area of Bo Dong, South Vietnam, Delta Region of the Megong river basin, We landed on the east beach of Bo Dong and in the Vinh Binh Province, while under survelience by the enemy, located approximately 200 yards to the west. The recovery crew consisted of five (5) US Army military personnel: CW3 Devon L Nooner W2206510 765th Trans Bn (ADS) Pilot Capt Clifford J. Browning 05405560 611th Trans Co OIC PFC Jim F. Rigelsky RA17682804 611th Trans Co Rigger PFC Donald L. Merz US55840955 611th Trans Co Rigger PFC Carl G. Leach RA1680082 611th Trans Co Gunner Upon landing on the beach, the rigging crew took off their combat clothes and entered the South China Sea and began to swim to the downed aircraft with rigging straps and turn-buckles necessary to lift the downed Gun Ship from the waters. They saw the rotor blades of the armed helicopter just barely out of the water, as the 4 to 5 foot waves broke over them. Their mission was to recover the wreckage, armament and the remains of the helicopter. Viewing the situation, they stripped off their clothing and protection and went into the rough seas, carrying safety straps and rigging equipment to ready the helicopter for airlift by a CH-47 helicopter (Chinook) orbitting the area. At the time of this operation the seas consisted of 4 to 5 foot waves and a very fast north to south currents. The downed helicopter was submerged in nine (9) feet of water to add to the existing conditions. The rotor wash of the recovery ship CH-47 Chinook, 147th Trans Co, Vung Tau, created an almost impossible situation for those in the water. After rigging was accomplished they returned to shore to help with recovery of armament and the remains of the helicopter, armament and the pilot, who was still strapped in the pilot seat, Major Norman Lee Dupree. Major Dupree's remains were airlifted to the Hospital located at Vung Tau Airfield. Disregarding their own safety in shark infested waters and the enemy, Viet Cong and NVA along the coastline, this resulted in the recovery of one United States Army Aviator and the armament of the helicopter and a very badly damaged helicopter that could possibly be used again for combat situations. Had this crew not been as skilled physically to withstand the adversities encountered in their desire to complete the mission, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army would have, at low tide that night, doubtlessly taken the weapons and the US soldier and aviator from the helicopter. Note: I reviewing the statistics of Major Dupree, it indicated that the cause of death was not combat related. I will bear witness that Major Dupree should have been awarded the Silver Star for bravery for actions of avoiding capture of both himself and the fighting machine he was piloting. The aircraft had been severely damaged by machine gun fire and before he would allow the enemy to capture either himself or his armed helicopter, he chose to crash at sea, knowing the enemy did not have the means to recover the aircraft or his remains. Submitted by Devon l. Nooner, CW4 retired USA [Taken from vhpa.org]
Do not stand at my grave and weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Frye – 1932
My High School Friend Returns Home After 45 Years As An M.I.A.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
In Loving Memory
SP4 Marvin Foster Phillips
GRUETLI-LAAGER - Specialist Marvin Foster Phillips, 20, of the United States Army, who has been missing in action for 45 years and recently found, died in the line of duty on Monday, September 26, 1966 on a combat operation in Vietnam, on a UH-1B aircraft that crashed in the South China Sea. He was born in Palmer, TN on June 30, 1946 to David and Rubie Davis Phillips who preceded him in death. He was a 1964 graduate of Grundy County High School. He is survived by his sisters, Mary Ruth (Mike) Shadrick, Palmer and Lucy (Paul) West, Jasper; brothers, Jerry Lee Phillips, Tullahoma, James Earl Phillips, Morrison, Bill Phillips, Kirk Phillips, Gruetli-Laager and Glenn (Terry) Phillips, Altamont; several nieces and nephews. Private funeral services will be on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM with the family only in the funeral home chapel with Bishop Willard Griffin officiating with burial to follow in the Palmer Cemetery around 2:00 PM with everyone welcome at the cemetery with full Military Honors. Public Visitation: 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM Sunday, September 25, 2011 at Layne Funeral Home, Palmer, TN.