Remains of missing Vietnam soldier to be returned to family - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Remains of missing Vietnam soldier to be given to family after 49 years

CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

After 49 years of waiting, one Clarksville man says he's just experienced the happiest day of his life. Steve Woods' father died in the Vietnam War when his plane was shot down by enemy forces in Cambodia. The remains of seven other crew members were found, but the body of Staff Sgt. Lawrence Woods has been missing until now.

"He gave his life," said Woods. "Now, he's going to be brought back home. I give the Lord all the credit."

Woods said he was only 8 years old in 1964 when his father left to serve in Vietnam.

"I was outside playing, and my dad walked out with his duffel bag on," remembered Woods. "He said, 'I got to go.' It wasn't long after that, my mom got a telegram. I knew from the bottom of my heart that my dad was dead. I knew that. All I wanted was to have his remains brought back and have those special honors that he deserved."

Tuesday, 49 years after the crash, Woods got a call from one of his sisters.

"She told me they found daddy," said Woods.

The family said they were contacted by a group with Fort Knox, saying Woods' remains had been found in a previously undiscovered part of the plane. Woods only wished his mother had lived to see this day.

"I know that her spirit is here," said Woods. "I know she's looking down, and she's probably saying, 'Son, good work. Keep it up.'"

Woods said a display of flags in his yard is now meant to give hope to any family with a soldier missing in action.

"Don't give up," said Woods. "I didn't give up after all these years. I finally got my prayer answered. The Lord will answer your prayers."

The Woods family said the Army is flying them to Arlington Cemetery for a burial ceremony in the spring.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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