William Phillips III, 1st Lt.
Bombardier, US Air Force, WW2
323rd Bomb Group, 456th Bomb Sqaudron
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|BALLSTON SPA - Family, friends, former co-workers and fellow veterans gathered Tuesday
to honor William A. Phillips, - a highly decorated veteran and lifelong Saratoga Springs
resident who served as city deputy finance commissioner for 29 years.
Well known and highly respected for his work on behalf of the city, Bill was recognized Tuesday afternoon by the Saratoga County Honor-A- Deceased Veterans Committee for a chapter of his life he keep more personal than public. Phillips served as a First Lieutenant in the 456th Squadron of the 9th Air Force during World War 11, flying as a bombardier/ navigator in the air offensive in the European theater of operations in Normandy, northern France and the Rhineland. Born in 1916, Bill was involved in the family business, Phillips Newsroom, which is embedded in local history, remembered as a place for buying a cigar and the daily news, swapping a good bit of gossip, and placing a bet on the horses in the backroom. The family ran the variety store for 40 A graduate of St. Peter's Academy in Saratoga Springs and later the Albany Business College, Phillips received high awards for his wartime service; among them, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with eleven oak leaf dusters, the European, African and Mediterranean Theater Campaign Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation. After his service in the U.S. Army Air Force, Phillips returned home to a career with the finance department and played a pivotal role in the lives of his family and fellow residents. He was a member of the American Legion post 7o, the VFW Post 420, the Knights of Columbus, the Saratoga Springs Elks Club, the Old Guard Association and the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick. Phillips also coached the many team sports of his four sons and two daughters, a family that has now grown to include 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Bill sued in 1998, three years after his wife Marian "Pete" Phillips passed away.
Phillips was remembered and praised for his humor, good spirit and the ability to compute numbers before the era of computers or calculators.
"Bill had a great mind for figures, and as a third generation city resident, he was part of life in . Saratoga Springs," said Anthony J. "Skip" Scirocco, City of Saratoga Springs Supervisor. "On behalf of all his friends, we dedicate this day to him."
"I remember Bill as a person to whom I paid my property taxes for many years," said Eugene Corsale, member of the Honor-a--Deceased Veterans Committee, "I also remember him as an athlete, as a fair referee, -as a businessman, as a civil servant, as a good guy to know."
Against the backdrop of a somber rendition of "Taps," and "Amazing Grace" played by bag. pipe, an American flag sown in Washington D.C., was hoisted on the flagpole to fly for 3o days outside the county offices before being presented to Bib's family.
Those gathered for the ceremony outside the Saratoga County Municipal Center in Ballston Spa included sister Helen Phillips, daughters Mary Lynn Cimon of Valatie and Carol Magrath of Massachusetts, and sons Mark T. Phillips of Saratoga Springs and Michael Phillips of Wilton. Son J. Peter Phillips of Wilton was not able to attend. Son William Phillips passed away in 1995.
Bill's family said the proclamations and citations given in their father's memory would be added to their collection of wartime souvenirs marling his bravery and valor.
"Some of his navigation guides and books are already in the air and space museum in Tucson," said Mark Phillips. One more personal items we'll hold onto forever. This ceremony would have meant a tot to our dad, and when I. look around at all his friends here today, all his fellow servicemen, it strikes me they all did the same to serve their country." I
"Amiable was the perfect word for our dad," said Carol Magrath. We always had extra people around the dinner table. We miss him very much."