Rank/Name: TIMOTHY W. PHILLIPS - FIRST SERGEANT, USMC, RETIRED
Branch: United States Marine Corps
Unit: Alpha Company, First Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division Third Fire Team
Service Dates: 2006-2013
Timothy W. Phillips was sworn into the United States Marine Corps (USMC) at the Charleston Naval Ship Yard on May 16, 1966 under the Delayed Entry Program. He arrived to boot camp on August 25, 1966 and spent 56 days training at Parris Island, SC. He received orders to Vietnam exactly one day before graduation on October 20, 1966.
On December 26 of the same year, Phillips checked into Staging Battalion at Camp Pendleton, CA for two weeks of pre-deployment training. From there, the Sergeant flew to Okinawa, Japan and on to Vietnam, where he became a member of Alpha Company, First Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. Assigned to the Third Fire Team, Phillips would spend his time in Vietnam walking rear security.
While the majority of Phillips' Company was located on the Song Tra Bong Peninsula near Chu Lai, Vietnam, in April of 1967 the first battalion was sent north to Da Nang to protect Hill 41. Located near the mouth of Happy Valley in what was called the Rocket Belt, Hill 41 was frequented by 122mm Vietcong rocket fire.
On May 12, 1968, Sergeant Phillips was involved in a battle that would forever change his life. Fitzpatrick, a Marine assigned to Phillips' unit, was shot in the thigh by an enemy sniper. Without regard for his own well-being, Phillips ran under heavy fire to recover Fitzpatrick, pulling him to cover in a nearby ditch. Now at safety, he immediately worked to patch Fitzpatrick's wound with a battle dressing and administer morphine. Once stabilized, Phillips placed the Marine on his back and crawled down the trench until he came to a tree line. Finally able to stand, the Sergeant fireman-carried Fitzpatrick the remainder of the way to the Company Corpsman's Aid Station where the wounded Marine received lifesaving treatment.
Phillips quickly returned to his Marines to realize his squad leaders had the unit on line, ready to attack enemy forced across 1,000 meters of rice paddy. Later in the battle, in the very same trench where Phillips had patched Fitzgerald's leg, the Vietcong began to bracket with 82mm mortars. Marines jumped into the trench, attempting to take cover, moments away from being killed. Phillips once again leapt into action, jumping into the trench to warn his men. As soon as his feet touched the ground, a mortar round landed 15 from his position, sending shrapnel into his neck.
Phillips was medevac'd to Charlie Med where the piece of shrapnel was removed from his neck. But in true Marine fashion, the Sergeant could not be held down and returned to his unit just two days later.
The remainder of Phillips' career was spent in a variety of posts, including Marine Barracks 8th & I, where he served as a body bearer on LtGen. Chesty Puller and President Truman's funerals as well as the evacuations in Cambodia and Saigon in 1975. He served 2 tours on the drill field and one on Sea Duty.
First Sergeant Timothy W. Phillips retired from the Marine Corps on July 30th, 1987 with 20 years 9 months and 20 days of active duty service. Thank you for your service, Marine. Hoorah!
Happy Birthday First Sergeant. I had the Honor to have been trained and molded by Tim Phillips at Parris Island. Semper Fi sir. I left the state of Ohio a kid… I left basic training a man! Thank you so much, I will never forget you.