BRIDGES, PHILIP WAYNE
Name: Philip Wayne Bridges
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Troop F, 17th Cavalry (Armored), 23rd Infantry Division (Americal)
Date of Birth: 13 April 1948 (Tulare CA)
Home City of Record: Tipton CA
Date of Loss: 30 June 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160101N 1081525E (BT065726)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: 3/4 TRK
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled 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. NETWORK in 2020.
SYNOPSIS: On June 30, 1971, SP4 Philip W. Bridges of F Troop, 17th Cavalry,
23rd Division, was killed with the truck filled with explosives in which he
was riding blew up.
SP4 Bridges was to assist in unloading the truck with two other soldiers in
the motor pool at Camp Faulkner, Da Nang, South Vietnam. After the
explosion, members of his unit were able to recover the remains of the other
two men in the truck, mostly intact. Only scattered unidentifiable tissue
and parts of a uniform were found that could be related to SP4 Bridges.
As no identifiable remains were found, U.S. forces immediately began a
search for Bridges, in case he had left the area unseen. No trace of him was
found, and it was logically presumed that Bridges had died in the explosion.
No remains could be located because of the violence of the incident.
The fact that Bridges died an accidental death in the midst of war is
tragically ironic. He is listed among the missing with honor, because his
body was never found to be returned to the country he served.
Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known
captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were
in radio contact with search teams while others simply disappeared.
Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, and
several million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot
seem to agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it
would be far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be
alive home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.
Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by
1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe,
the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are
alive, why are they not home?