Name: Gary Thomas Phillips
Rank: Sergeant / Specialist Five
Pay Grade: E4 Posthumous Promotion
Home of Record: West Jefferson, NC
Birth Date: February 24, 1948
Death Date: December 13, 1969
Cause of Death: ground casualty artillary rocket or mortar hostile;
Died in Long An at age 21
The body was recovered.
I Knew Gryzen, Doc Phillips & McIntyre, all KIA when an RPG hit their night ambush position in Can Douc (SP?) area on 12/13/69. All Co. B men.
I came in-country with Gary Gryzen, into the 3/47th till the first pull-out. Then he & I went to Dong Tam & the 6/31. Later we ended up in Can Giouc, with forays into the Plain of Reeds on occasion. It was on an "easy op" in Can Douc that they set up on the edge of a village. I was back in Can Giouc when word came that the platoon was hit. Flew out in pitch blackness but all was over by then. The next day confirmed the three had died. A psych-ops chopper was flying overhead the next day as we headed for the boats playing Jesus Loves The Little Clildren over its loudspeaker. Weird then & still wondering about it now. Saddest day (12/14/68) that I spent in Vietnam during my entire 4/69-5/70 tour.
I was a friend of Gary Phillips. It's taken me a long time to write this because the night he was killed was the worst of my life. We were drooped off for a night ambush by river boats and decided to set up that night around a 'hooch' instead of in the paddy. That was a big mistake. All hell broke out that night while I was on watch in front of the 'hooch'. Five guys were set up in back, to the right of the 'hooch'. As we discovered the next morning, only one rocket hit us. It went over my head and through the 'hooch' with a direct hit on those guys in the back. Two guys were wounded (Salomon and Ross) and three guys died (Gryzen, McIntyre and Phillips). I was told Gary was alive on the chopper but didn't make it back. I couldn't talk about that night for years without choking up. Gary was a very special person. He decided he wanted to help people so he became a Medic. A Medic in training, so we gave him the nickname of 'OJT'. His best friend was Murphy Copeland (another good guy). I hung out with them whenever I could. 'OJT' was a genuine good guy. I've never met a nicer guy. It's true the good die young because he was the 'best'. I'll never forget him.
Gary's younger brother is my step-father and I don't know that he knows many of the details. I am a pilot in the Air Force and I took Gary's brother to the wall a few years ago when I was stationed at the Pentagon. Neither one of us said anything, truly sad to reflect on a life lost so young. Thanks for your service and thanks for sharing your remembrance of Gary.