Army Spc. Micheal E. Phillips — April 2013 Shipment Honoree
Died February 24, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
Fort Campbell soldier killed in Iraq
The Associated Press
ARDMORE, Okla. — His knack for drawing and love of history could’ve landed Pfc. Micheal Phillips in college, but he had told his parents he wanted to be GI Joe when he grew up.
Phillips fulfilled his dream, but he lost his life.
The 19-year-old died Feb. 24 near Baghdad after the vehicle he was in was hit by an explosive device, his family said.
Phillips, a member of the 101st Airborne based in Fort Campbell, Ky., died in the attack, but the other men in the Humvee escaped with minor injuries, said his mother, Anglia Phillips, who was informed of his death Feb. 24.
“He was a hero,” Anglia Phillips said. “What I’ve heard from his squad is that he was an excellent soldier who was always trying to improve himself and was always willing to go the extra mile. He’s more of a man than most will be.”
The military confirmed his death Feb. 26.
Micheal Phillips had written to his family and former teachers at Ardmore High School while serving in Iraq. When he was home on leave, Phillips visited his 18-year-old brother and other students at school.
“He had an infectious smile,” said Jake Falvey, assistant principal at Ardmore High School. “He was an outgoing kid, and you could see the maturity in him; he had grown up quite a bit.”
Micheal Phillips was an astute student who loved history and ran track and cross country. He excelled at drawing and had been offered admission to the San Francisco Art Institute, his mother said.
But serving his country meant more than going to college, she said.
“He came home one day and said he wanted to join the Army, and we got in the car and went down to the recruiting station,” Anglia Phillips said. “He said terrorism was like a virus. It had to be stopped. It had to be contained.”
She said her son was re-enlisting to join for two more years.
“He didn’t want to leave his squad, his guys,” she said.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.
Young Ardmore soldier killed in IraqBy Manny Gamallo World Staff Writer
ARDMORE — A young soldier from Ardmore who was killed Sunday in Iraq was remembered Tuesday for his endearing smile and the courage to stand up for the country.
Army Spc. Micheal Phillips, 19, was killed when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
Funeral arrangements are pending at the Griffin Funeral Home in Ardmore.
The Department of Defense on Tuesday night officially announced Phillips’ death.
Phillips joined the Army after graduating from Ardmore High School in 2006. He was a popular student at school, where he also ran cross-country and played football.
Phillips would often visit his old classmates and teachers while he was on leave from the Army, so the news of his death came as a blow at the high school.
Counselors were being made available to students so they could deal with their grief.
For Jake Falvey, assistant principal at the high school, word of Phillips’ death came as a shock.
Falvey, who was Phillips’ sophomore English teacher, said he and Phillips had kept closely in touch ever since the young man graduated and went on to the Army.
“He was one of those kids you never doubted would succeed,” Falvey said.
“He had a great smile, and he was proud of the fact that he joined the U.S. Army. That’s what he wanted to do,” Falvey said.
About six months ago, the assistant principal said, he received a letter from Phillips, expressing his pride in the Army and the country.
“I’m doing this for my family, for you, for everyone, for America, to protect it from the bad guys,” said Falvey, quoting Phillips’ letter.
Phillips was planning to re-enlist in the Army, according to Falvey.
“The Army had made a man of him. You could see that,” Falvey said, recalling the last time Phillips had visited the school on leave.
Falvey called Phillips’ death a “real American tragedy.”
“He leaves behind a wonderful family; good hard-working folks,” he said.
Falvey said Phillips has a younger brother at the high school — David, a senior, who is an all-state runner.
Phillips also has another brother, Anthony, 9, and a sister Barbara, 14, Falvey said.
Falvey called Phillips’ parents, Angelia and Steve Phillips, a hard-working couple “whose whole world changed” when they received news of their son’s death.
Specialist Micheal E. Phillips Post OfficeBy: Tom Cole, Date: May 2, 2011, Location: Washington, DC
Mr. COLE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1423, a bill I sponsored, to designate the post office in Ardmore, Oklahoma, as the Specialist Micheal E. Phillips Post Office.
Micheal was driven by a personal sense of duty and honor. He joined the Army because he recognized injustice and terror in our world and sought to make a difference. Specialist Micheal Phillips lived out that sense of duty through military service and made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our Nation remained secure and free.
Mr. Speaker, Micheal turned down an opportunity to attend the San Francisco Art Institute to volunteer for the United States Army. When asked why he wanted to join the Army, Micheal simply stated, “I want a career and we are at war.” Specialist Phillips saw terrorists as thugs, often referring to them as the “ultimate bullies in the world.” A fervent student of history, Micheal knew that his service would be against a tough and formidable enemy, still he enthusiastically embraced what he believed was the right decision and enlisted in the United States Army.
Mr. Speaker, Micheal Phillips was only 17 years of age when he joined the military via the delayed entry program. He left for boot camp on June 24, 2006. Upon finishing advanced infantry training, Micheal was assigned to Bravo Company 1 of the 502nd Strike Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, one of the most storied divisions in the United States Army. On October 13, 2007, Micheal and his brothers in arms were deployed to Iraq for combat operations.
Micheal’s enthusiasm for his work inspired members of his platoon. In addition to his enthusiasm, Specialist Phillips also endeavored to foster real camaraderie amongst his fellow soldiers. Even in the middle of a war, it was said that Micheal made bad times good and good times better. Micheal’s team leader, Sergeant Matthew Whalen praised his abilities in terrain association, map reading, and his tremendous bravery in combat. Sergeant Whalen reflected on Specialist Phillips’ leadership skills, noting, “I know that soldiers that did serve with him have taken away with them, as I have, the undoubted and unmistaken values that he always possessed and always portrayed.”
Mr. Speaker, Specialist Micheal E. Phillips was killed in action on February 24, 2008, in Shula, Iraq, just outside of Baghdad. An explosively formed penetrator, a so-called EFP, hit the driver’s side of the door on the vehicle that he was driving. Despite the severity of his injuries, he continued to smile and reassure those taking care of him. Even in the most grim and serious times, Micheal still fought and lifted up those around him.
For his service, Specialist Micheal Phillips was awarded a Bronze Star. He was also designated as a Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment. The Distinguished Member award is for those who display honorable service, loyalty on active duty in peace or war. These are qualities Micheal Phillips lived with each and every day of his service career.
Mr. Speaker, Micheal always gave more than his share back to his community. When he did have time away from his duty, he would often visit his high school to speak with students and encourage them to pursue their goals.
Never without a smile, had Micheal fought for his country, have his community and his family with valor and with honored. He wanted others in the world to have the freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy here in the United States, and he risked his life to achieve that end.
Like many who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Specialist Micheal Phillips leaves behind loved ones, friends, and comrades in arms who treasure his memory and honor his service. Micheal is survived by his parents, Steven and Angelia Phillips; his brothers, David and Anthony; and his sister, Barbara–all of Ardmore, Oklahoma. He also leaves behind a Nation and a community that will never forget his courage, his sacrifice, and his devotion to duty.
Mr. Speaker, I urge the passage of this legislation.