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"People that remember... Brian in all this are the other veterans." (Audio Interview, 26:17)

   Brian M. McPhillips
Collection image
Brian McPhillips in uniform [ca. 2002]
War: Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 2nd Tank Battalion
Service Location: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Iraq
Rank: First Lieutenant
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Brian McPhillips graduated in 2000 from Providence College, and he enlisted in the Marines. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Brian was a platoon commander in charge of a convoy of 35 vehicles. The officer in charge of a scout platoon was injured, and Brian took his place. During the drive to capture Baghdad, determined to stop for nothing, they ran into an ambush on April 4. Brian was killed by a shot to the back of his head. In this 2005 interview, his father David, himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, talks about his son's commitment to his men and his mission.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (63 min.)
»Photo Album  (1 photo)
»Untitled memoir written by the veteran's father
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Brian's duties in Iraq as a platoon commander; mission began on March 30, 2003, and his parents didn't hear from him again; they did see a picture of him taken by a news photographer in a tactics meeting; he took over a scout platoon from an injured commander; they were on their way to Baghdad, determined to stop for nothing, on April 4; ran into an ambush in which Brian was killed; Iraqi civilians along the road had tried to warn the soldiers from not proceeding any farther; Brian was shot in the back of the head and immediately lost consciousness and was dead at the scene. (07:23) Being informed of Brian's death; at 5 a.m. on a Sunday; Marines were at the family's door; even though they were very polite, David wanted them to leave because of what they represented; people who remember Brian best are other veterans. (01:59) Talked to the driver of Brian's tank; he said Brian "never showed one ounce of fear;" the fatal round actually penetrated his helmet; he was awarded a Bronze Star; Camp Lejeune dedicated a building to him. (03:32)
The difference between the support given to the Vietnam era vets and the men and women serving in the current war; state police shut down a major highway for Brian's funeral procession; David was relieved to be able to deliver the eulogy without breaking down. (03:55)  

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  October 26, 2011
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