Marshall Phillips - 1st Lieutenant
- Purple Heart
First Lieutenant Marshall L. Phillips was born in Jefferson, Iowa on March 20, 1920 to Ralph Sebastian Phillips and Florence Mae Morain.. He grew up in Boone, Iowa.
Marshall went to Iowa State College for two years before he enlisted on September 26, 1941 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated and earned his wings and second lieutenant commission at Mather's Field, then becoming a navigation instructor. Later, he went to Jackson, Mississippi Air Field as an instructor. Afterwards, he was sent to Fort Myers Air Base to train to be a bombardier. He graduated there on May 1, 1942 and left to go overseas to North Africa from Morrison Field, Florida.
Marshall died on a night bombing mission over Tobruk, Tunisia, on June 30, 1942.
Sometime in 1945, his mother wrote the following letter to Alumni Association:
"First Lt. Marshall L. Phillips was a member of a Special Task Force, picked up by General H. H. Arnold at Fort Myers, Florida named Halverson Detachment. They left Morrison Field, West Palm, Florida on May 24, 1942 for over sea duty. Lt. Phillip and his crew of seven men were lost in the African Middle Eastern Theater of Operation on June 30, 1942 on a night bombing mission on Tobruk.
Also Marshall was a member the first bombing group to bomb Europe. Their first object was to Bomb the oil fields at Ploesti, Rumania on June 12, 1942. On June 28, Major General L. H. Brereton assumed command of the U.S. Army Middle East Air Force, then changed to the 9th Air Force of the Middle East On June 15 some Liberators, B-24s, bombed part of the Italian fleet and sank the cruiser Littorio and two destroyers.
This Task Force had made 1,002 sorties, and dropped 3,374,000 pounds of bombs (Tobruk along recieving 1/3 of the total). This last is when Lt. Phillips was reported missing on a night bombing mission June 30, 1942 on Tobruk. Then one year and one day later, the government pronounced his death. As no man of the crew was was ever found or the B-24 plane. This is all I can tell at this time.
My husband, Mr. Phillips, just passed away this Oct. 14, 1945 from a heart ailment which started when our first news came of Marshall and the suspense of never knowing for sure was more than he could stand.
Sincerely, Mrs. Ralph S. Phillips."
Lieutenant Phillips was posthumoulsy awarded the American Legion Gold Star, the State of California Gold Star, and the Purple Heart. His mother received these along with a memorial from President Roosevelt.