BILL Jackson has prepared himself for an intensely emotional day today as the nation pays tribute to Toowoomba serviceman Robert Carver.
A full military service will be held at St Luke's at 11am for Pilot Officer Carver today.
It is the service his family and friends have waited 39 years for after Pilot Officer Carver's Canberra bomber disappeared during the Vietnam War.
His remains, along with those of Flying Officer Michael Herbert, were placed aboard a RAAF Hercules after a repatriation service in Hanoi on Sunday.
St George resident and former Toowoomba resident Bill Jackson was at that service with his wife Liza.
Mr Jackson served at Nui Dat as a field mechanic during the war and was in Vietnam when Pilot Officer Carver's plane went missing on November 3, 1970.
Last month Mr and Mrs Jackson went on a 19-day tour of Vietnam and were at a Vietnam Veteran's Day service in Long Tan when they ran into Anita Dodds, the wife of Australia's Defence Attaché in Hanoi, Colonel Stuart Dodds.
“She gave us her phone number and told us to give her a call when we got to Hanoi to catch up for a cuppa,” Mr Jackson explained.
“But then when we got to Hanoi and called her, she instead invited us to be guests of honour at the repatriation service.”
Mr Jackson said it was an “honour and a privilege” to be present at the service.
“To know I was there when the last two MIAs were sent home was truly a privilege,” he said.
After learning Pilot Officer Carver's funeral was to be held in Toowoomba, Mr Jackson was determined to attend.
“I was there when he crashed 39 years ago, by chance I was there at his repatriation service and now I have the opportunity to go to the funeral. I didn't know him, but we were there together.”
Read more ...Prime Minister pays tribute to Carver
St Luke's to host airman funeral
RAAF brings lost airmen home
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