Memorial Names

ProfileID:

394

PHILLIP J MURPHY

S/SGT

ARMY AIR FORCE

HOME : WHITEFISH, MT

Plaque : Wall 7, Row E, Col 7

Phil was born 8 December 1919 in Whitefish, Montana. He enlisted in the Army Air Force September 27, 1942 at Missoula, Montana. After basic training, he attended Radar Mechanic School at Scott Field, Belview, Illinois for six months from October 1941 to March 1942. Then he received radar training at Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida for three months in 1942. Phil arrived in Hawaii July 2, 1942, for training on the B17 Flying Fortress. Toward the end of October, his unit was first sent to Espiritu Santos, and then a couple months later to Guadalcanal. Phil was assigned to the 13th Air Force, 72nd squadron, 5th bombing group (heavy) flying reconnaissance missions. He was a Radio, Gunner, Mechanic on the B17, manning a 50 caliber waist gun during serial combat. In the period from December 8, 1942, to December 30, 1942, Phil was awarded the Air Medal for participating in twenty-five operational flights during which exposure to enemy fire was probable and expected. He was also awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster, in lieu of an additional air medal, The citation reads as follows- For meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial attack on Shortland Harbor on January 18, 1943. As a crew member of a formation of B17 airplanes, he took part in a bombing mission which secured three direct hits and six near misses on an enemy transport of 15,000 tons. The altitude flown on the bombing run was 9,000 feet, and the anti-aircraft fire was so accurate and heavy that windshields of the airplane were broken by the flying fragments of the bursting anti-aircraft fire. On withdrawal from the target this formation successfully fought off an interception and shot down two enemy fighters. Phils final mission was February 1, 1943. Nine B17s set out to bomb enemy shipping around Bouganville. Breaking into two elements, the first element, consisting of five planes set fire to a large cargo ship with two or three direct hits. Following close behind, the second element, of which Phil was assigned, flew through heavy anti-aircraft fire to bomb another supply vessel. One of the B17s was disintegrated in the air by a direct hit in the bomb bay. The other three planes headed back to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal and were intercepted by approximately 30 Zero Fighters. Two of the planes were shot down. Phils plane was repeatedly attacked for almost 200 miles. Two engines were damaged, one main tire was flattened, and all of the ammunition for the nose and radio compartment guns was expended. After three Zeros were shot down, the Japanese finally gave up. During the battle, Phil was seriously wounded in the leg while manning one of the waist guns, but he continued to participate in the action by lying on his back to pass ammunition up to the other gunner until he received a second wound in the same leg, resulting in a compound fracture. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism, as well as a Purple Heart Phil was sent to Percy Jones General Hospital, Fort Custer, Michigan for treatment and recuperation for the wounds. He was discharged from the service on March 30th, 7947. He first lived in Roseburg, Oregon until buying a house in Myrtle Creek, Oregon in 1954. He lived here until passing away March 11, 2014.

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POW

KIA

MIA

Medals

ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN RIBBON W1 BRONZE SERVICE STAR GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS AMERICAN DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL

Theatre of Operation

WWII/PACIFIC