Is Nathan Phillips Too Young to be a Vietnam Vet? - Granite Grok

Is Nathan Phillips Too Young to be a Vietnam Vet?

A student from Covington Catholic High School and Nathan Phillips

I have seen two references as to the age of (Native American) Nathan Phillips, the professional protester who has once again stumbled into the limelight of racial politics. He was allegedly harassed by college students in 2015.

Several new stories say he is 64 years old and I have seen a 2000 article from an Omaha newspaper saying that he was 45 years old. So let’s say he is 64.

Most stories about Nathan refer to him as a Viet Nam vet. Several refer to him as a Marine. I am 66 years old and know personally, of no one my age who went to Viet Nam. Several friends joined the various services right after graduation – 1972.

Here is one of the hundreds of articles about the protester confronting the boys from Covington Catholic High School. The Journal Star has apparently not seen the video of Phillips confronting the students (below).

I checked some sources about the last combat troops in Viet Nam. Here is one a person has put his name to. It has details.


Thanks for taking the time to ask this!

The question asked when the last US ground combat troops left Vietnam. We gave the correct answer, ie 1972. The last American combat unit was a task force from the 3d Bn, 21st Inf Regt and battery B, 3d Bn, 82d Field Artillery Regt which had been stationed in Danang (I commanded battery C, 3d Bn, 82d FA and B btry was our ‘sister’ battalion). These were the last US ground combat units in Vietnam, and I was there when they left in August of 1972. As a matter of fact, when my unit disbanded in June 1972, we sent B Btry about 15 of our guys who stayed with B Btry until it left in August. Of note: these C btry guys took along a US flag that had flown over my firebase and put it up over the B Btry firebase where it flew until the task force departed in Aug 72. Therefore, the last American flag to fly over a US firebase in Vietnam was mine.

Some American troops (no combat troops) were still in Vietnam until they left in 1973.

Thanks again for the question.

 Jerry Morelock
Armchair General
Senior Historian

Being a Viet Nam era guy who had a draft number pulled, I began to notice guys much younger than me claim to be Viet Nam vets. Some would have had to be 15 or 16.

At 64 years old now, Nathan Phillips would have possibly been 17 years old when the last US combat troops were leaving that country. He should point that out to a reporter.

Nathan Phillips likes to talk about politics and race. How about some journalist finally asks him about his service in Marine Corps duty in Viet Nam?