Family reunites with fallen Vietnam vet


It took more than 45 years, but finally, the remains of Lt. Commander William Egan are back in Texas. And they were welcomed the way you might think all heroes should be received.

Lt. Commander William Egan died in Vietnam in April 1966. On Thursday, there were dozens of men and women who never met or knew him who were eagerly awaiting his return.

"It's just been a long time coming, and we're glad to see this young man come home, even though it's 45 years late. We're gonna welcome him, and we're gonna show him all of the honor and the respect that he's deserved," Southeast Texas Patriot Guard Rider Bobby Stroka said.

The honor and respect was delivered by veterans and supporters, who accompanied Egan's remains in a long, loud, proud procession.

"There's a large number of Vietnam vets. This is important to them. This is really, really important to them. And it's I think part of the healing process," Southeast Texas Patriot Guard Rider KP McNeal said.

Gary Robinson is a Vietnam veteran.

"It's the least I can do. He's an American hero," Robinson said.

He's here because he says it is important to remember the service, the sacrifice and the soldier.

"Today is all about Lt. Commander Egan," Robinson said.

Egan's remains were discovered in 2009 and identified earlier this year.

"It has truly been my honor," said Commander Maxine Hamilton with the United States Navy.

Hamilton brought him home from Hawaii, making sure he got to Houston.

"For those of us, any of us, who have loved ones that we lose, we want to have some closure, we want to able to know that they're safe," Hamilton said.

And now lieutenant commander is home, finally.

"What this is, is a celebration of life, returning him, returning him to American soil, but more importantly returning him to Texas," McNeal said.

As grand a gesture as Thursday's procession was, we're told that Saturday's memorial service for Lt. Commander Egan will be even more impressive.

Copyright © 2023 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.