After decades on waiting, Lt. Col. Dennis Eilers’ loved ones came together Saturday to say goodbye.
“There was always this lingering, wondering if he would come home. I guess that’s now,” said Eilers’ son, Curtis Eilers.
Eilers’ relatives received word on Christmas Eve 1965 that Eilers and five others had been shot down in an aircraft over Loas, Eilers, 27, of Tipton, had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force four years earlier and had been sent to Vietnam one month before his AC-47 gunship was shot down.
Eilers was originally listed as missing in action, but his status was changed to killed in action in 1977. His body was never recovered, but his family learned in April that a recovery team had confrimed the crash site. A memorial services was then set for Saturday at First United Church of Christ in Tipton, where the family had belonged.
“I’m pleased that my father who gave the ultimate sacrifice has been honored this way by the community and the state,” Curtis Eilers said of the gathering.