JACK W. PHILLIPS, CAPT, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Jack Phillips '59

Date of birth: January 25, 1935

Date of death: October 14, 1967

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1959 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Operation Kingfisher:

14 October: At 02:30 the NVA attacked Golf Company, by destroying 2 machine gun position with RPG's. The NVA penetrated the wire and overran the Company command post (CP) killing the Company commander Capt. Jack W. Phillips, his forward observer (FO) and 3 Platoon leaders; these young 2nd lieutenants just arrived in country. Capt. James W McCarter was ordered to take over command of Company, but he was killed by NVA fire before he could reach the Command Post. Fox Company was ordered to support Golf Company and sweep through the area and drive the NVA out. The Marines were also supported by AC-47; the Marines called them "Puffs". Finally the NVA was forced to withdraw by 04:30. The Marines had lost 21 dead and 23 wounded. SGT Paul H. Foster was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the battle. The NVA had lost 24 killed.

He was survived by his wife, Georgia, and sons Kevin and Jack W., Jr. (Information from January 1968 issue of SHIPMATE.)

Silver Star

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Captain Jack Warren Phillips (MCSN: 0-77504), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer, Company G, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), in the Republic of Vietnam on 14 October 1967. During Operation KINGFISHER, the battalion defensive position, of which Captain Phillips' company was a part, was subjected to a devastating enemy rocket barrage. Intermingled with the rocket fire, the enemy unleashed deadly volumes of accurate 60-millimeter and 82-millimeter mortar fire into the company's position. Then with very little pause between the heavy barrages, the company was attacked by a fanatical force of North Vietnamese Army soldiers surging over the defensive wires. Displaying exceptional skill and presence of mind, Captain Phillips directed his men to hold their fire to insure greater accuracy with each shot. He finally signaled his company to open fire, completely raking the enemy force and inflicting a large number of casualties with the initial burst of fire. During the ensuing fire fight, which lasted for more than three hours, the well-trained enemy troops ran rampant within the Marine positions, retaliating with grenades, satchel charges and intense small-arms fire in a frantic attempt to completely overrun the company. Remaining calm, Captain Phillips shouted words of encouragement to his men and repeatedly exposed himself to the hostile fire in order to direct his company's efforts. He continually crossed the hazardous company perimeter to assess the situation and issue necessary orders. Moving from position to position, Captain Phillips inspired his men with his forceful leadership and courageous fighting spirit until he fell, mortally wounded by enemy automatic weapons fire. His daring initiative and resolute determination undoubtedly prevented many of his men from being killed or wounded by the overwhelming enemy force. His exceptional valor and unfaltering dedication to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Action Date: October 14, 1967
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Captain
Company: Company G
Battalion: 2d Battalion
Regiment: 4th Marines
Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.)

Remembrances

From Wall of Faces:

Like many, I saw the iron warrior, a man of impeccable character and infinite ability. He will always be my hero, as he is to a grandson who knows him only through the memories of those left behind. But unlike many, I will always be the little boy who saw the gentle heart underneath. From a son who misses his dad. KEVIN PHILLIPS, AIRBORNESIXGUN@HOTMAIL.COM, 5/6/12

I was Maj. Phillips radio operator the night he was killed. He was a great officer and a brave American. I think of his example often and am still inspired by him to this day. He spoke the last words of his life to me that night. CHARLES (CHUCK) ATKINS, CATKINS@HARGRAY.COM, 5/28/12

Most of us from the 13th Company think you would have become the Commandant of the Marine Corps, you were that good. A friend to all, tough, strong, and a leader of men without peer. We miss you dearly. God bless and keep you! DON SMITH, BGDONSMITH4@COMCAST.NET, 5/9/08

Related Articles

Donald Messerschmidt '59 and Guy Parsons, Jr. '59 were also in 13th Company.


Class of 1959

Jack is one of 31 members of the Class of 1959 in Memorial Hall.