Vietnam Veteran Returns

It took 45 years, but the remains of a Vietnam War veteran has come home to Texas. Navy Lieutenant Commander William Eagan was shot down after completing a mission. His remains were recovered in 2009 and positively identified through DNA in February. Pat Hernandez has more.

Lt. Commander William Eagan was last seen alive in April of 1966. He had just finished bombing a military complex when his plane crashed in the jungles of Vietnam. When his remains were recovered in 2009, and positively identified through DNA earlier this year, the process began to bring him home to Texas.

Patriot Guard RidersAt a parking lot near Bush Airport, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that included military vets, waited with members of the Houston Police Department under the hot sun. KP McNeal is deputy state captain for the Southeast Texas Patriot Guard. He calls the event an unusual welcome, but one that Eagan’s family wanted.

“We still have so many more to come home, and that’s why these are special. That’s why these are special to us. The family has told us that they’ve had 45-years to grieve. This is a celebration of life in return and bringing him home on American soil and of course, bringing him to the state he was born in. So that’s what we’re doing today.”

Lynn Fallon from Galveston, is also a member of the Patriot Guard Riders.

“Being a Vietnam veteran that we’re welcoming back home had a special place in my heart. Simply because not having served, my father was a Michigan state policeman, and he used to go off to college campuses in the late 60s early 70s, wearing riot gear to quell the riots. In my family that just didn’t work. It didn’t fly. It’s like, why aren’t these kids in school learning something. I’m not a supporter of the war but I’m a huge supporter of our troops, and we’re really glad that this family will have some closure.”

The plane carrying the remains of Cmdr Eagan from Hawaii landed at Bush Airport. It was greeted with water cannons, and then taken by police escort to the staging area. Navy Commander Maxine Hamilton carried the urn containing the remains to Houston.

“As I’ve traveled, I’ve met Vietnam vets, I’ve met WW II vets, and there’s been so many prayers along the way. It’s just truly been a honor to have a small part in bringing Lt. Cmdr. Eagan home. I feel very honored to have played such a small part.”

The Patriot Guard Riders escorted Cmdr Eagan to Forest Park West Cemetery on the Gulf Freeway, where he will be buried near his parents in a weekend ceremony.

Lieutenant Commander William Eagan's riders

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