Remains of recently identified WWII soldier buried in Bluffdale

Oct 11, 2022, 3:50 PM
Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips  (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)...
Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)
(Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)

BLUFFDALE, Utah — The remains of Utah native Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips were buried in Bluffdale Tuesday more than 79 years after he died in a bombing mission in Romania during World War II.

Phillips was 23 years old when his B-24 Liberator airplane crashed in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest, Romania a news release from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command said.

He was assigned to the 66th Bombardment Squadron Group in the 8th Air Force. He was a gunner on the bomber when anti-aircraft shot down the plane. Phillips and his crew were a part of Operation Tidal Wave. It was the largest mission to bomb key oil fields in Romania the release said.

“His remains were not identified following the war,” the release stated. “Remains that could not be identified were buried as Unknowns in the Hero Section of the Civilian and Military Cemetery of Bolovan, Ploiesti, Prahova, Romania.”

Some years later the American Graves Registration Command disinterred the American remains from the Bolovan Cemetery for identification. The command was unable to identify more than 80 of the unknown soldiers there. The military then interred those remains at two other cemeteries in Belgium the release said.

(Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) The Honor Guard of the Utah National Guard escorted the family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin E. Phillips to his final resting place in Bluffdale. (Utah National Guard/Twitter) The Honor Guard of the Utah National Guard escorted the family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin E. Phillips to his final resting place in Bluffdale. (Utah National Guard/Twitter)


In 2017, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency started work once again on trying to identify the remains of airmen who died in Operation Tidal Wave. On March 23, 2022, the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska identified Phillips. The news release said the DPAA lab successfully identified Phillips with the help of anthropological, mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome DNA, and autosomal DNA analysis.

The Utah National Guard escorted Phillips’ family during Tuesday’s ceremony in Bluffdale.

The new release said Phillips’ name is recorded on the Tablets of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Impruneta, Italy, along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for the release added.

You can read more about Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips here and the Department of Defense’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country here.

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Remains of recently identified WWII soldier buried in Bluffdale