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[Annotators Note: Segment begins with a female telling Phillips that she is going to the grocery store and will be quiet when she comes back in.] Henry Phillips was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. After high school he went to the University of Oregon for a year. In the meantime he had joined the National Guard and was a member of Company H, 162nd Infantry. When his unit was called to federal service in the fall of 1940 Corporal Phillips went along with it to Fort Lewis, Washington where he remained for a year and a half. This was at a time when there were many new units being created. A mountain infantry unit was being formed and they were training ski troops as well. Phillips was promoted to sergeant and that made him eligible for OCS [Annotators Note: Officer Candidate School]. The mountain infantry was only a battalion at the time but quickly formed up into a regiment. The regiment became the 10th Mountain Division. The mountain troops trained on Mount Rainier. Phillips had met a girl in Marysville when he had been there on maneuvers with the National Guard. When he arranged his transportation to Fort Benning he made sure that he had a few days in Los Angeles with the girl he met. He later married her and they are still together. It was prearranged that the men from the mountain infantry division going to OCS would return to the mountain infantry when they graduated but that did not happen. After graduating from OCS, Phillips was sent to the headquarters of the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Bragg. When he got there he was assigned to the 47th Infantry Regiment and subsequently to the heavy weapons company of the 3rd Battalion [Annotators Note: Company M]. Phillips landed in Safi, Morocco. They had an easy time going in to Morocco. There were some French and Senegalese troops opposing them but the fight was over by the second day. There were some casualties but they were few. The shock was that President Roosevelt addressed the French troops stating that the American troops were going ashore as friends and meant them no harm. The problem was that this let the French know that they were coming. After landing they had to consolidate the division as a whole and had to march over 200 miles to Port Leoti. There were no vehicles or railroad transportation available. After consolidating with the 60th Infantry the regiment was employed to guard the border with Spanish Morocco. It was feared that the Spanish might fall in with the Nazis because of the help they had gotten during their revolution. They took up positions for this but never had any problems with the Spanish. The British began landing in Tunisia and defeated the Germans in Egypt. The 39th Infantry landed in Algiers with the British and the division finally consolidated to fight the Germans at El Guettar. The battle lasted about 10 days during which they were fighting the Africa Korps as well as Italians. Phillips was wounded and evacuated during the battle. After being released from the hospital he rejoined his unit at Bizerte.

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Henry Phillips' regiment went through a series of disasters during the battle. One full company was bush whacked by the Germans and everyone was captured or killed in the process. None of the units were able to gain their objectives. They were beaten by the German tanks. The Afrika Korps was a tough group. The British general Alexander and his field commander Montgomery jointly led the fighting. Eisenhower also led the fight. This was Phillips first taste of combat and he was nervous. The weapons company was bringing up the rear of the column. There were three rifle companies in front of them but after three days of combat the company commander of the weapons company was made a provisional battalion commander and took command of the remnants of two battalions. They were shelled regularly and that was nerve wracking. Phillips' platoon was a heavy machine gun platoon. They performed very well in spite of the counter battery fire they were receiving from the Germans and Italians. Phillips believes that the shell that wounded him was from an Italian mortar because it was too light to have been a German round. Phillips was sent to a hospital in the rear but was ambulatory and ready to return to his unit before he even got there. After El Guettar Phillips was made the weapons company commander and held that position for about two months until a captain arrived to take command. Phillips had held the position through Sicily which was their next combat. Even after being wounded Phillips was an eager beaver. He attributes that to the training he received with the ski troops. He felt that the horror stories of combat that were depicted in the movies he had seen were exaggerated. He learned at the infantry school not to dwell on it. The chain of command was an important lesson Phillips learned at infantry school. When he was wounded he had already lost his two senior NCOs [Annotators Note: non commissioned officer]. The third was an American Indian from Minnesota who was a fine soldier. He took over the platoon and quickly demonstrated his abilities to the regimental commander. When Phillips returned to his outfit he noticed that this Native American NCO was limping so he sent to the back to get checked out. He never saw the man again. He had suffered a bad wound to his foot that took him out of the army.

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For Henry Phillips Sicily was a cake walk. They landed in Palermo from a big transport. The Germans used aircraft against the convoy as it pulled in. That was scary for Phillips because he was sleeping up on deck and almost jumped over the wrong side of the ship to get away from the bombers. Some ships were hit and set on fire. The next morning things were clear. They marched up into the center of Tunisia [Annotators Note: he means Sicily] where they took over for the 1st Division. They had about 10 days of contact with the enemy before the battle of Sicily was over. The Germans just quit the battle and got out of Sicily. The battle had been going badly for them. The terrain in Sicily was bad but it was not enough to deter the Allied advance. Patton was in command of the II Corps at the battle of El Guettar. Patton had taken over from Fredenhall [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General Lloyd Fredenhall] who was just an out and out coward who would never get close to the front lines. Patton did not stay away from the front. Phillips lost respect for Patton after he slapped incapacitated soldiers. Phillips favorite commander was Eddy [Annotators Note: Lieutenant General Manton S. Eddy]. When Eddy left after the Korean War to take a Corps command in Patton's army he was replaced by a good commander named Craig [Annotators Note: Major General Louis A. Craig]. By this time the corps commander was Bradley [Annotators Note: General Omar Bradley] who was a genius for tactics. The tactics that were employed in Sicily were a far cry from what had been the experience in Tunisia. They were professional. Phillips first operation was to pass through the 1st Infantry Division at Troina. The Germans had put up a good stand there and the 1st Infantry Division took a lot of casualties trying to capture the town. After the Germans were pushed out of Troina Phillips and his unit were tasked with chasing the Germans down the highway to Messina. Because of the lack of flat terrain the friendly artillery could never find a place to fire on the German artillery and that caused a lot of casualties in the 9th Division during the 10 or 11 day period before they arrived at a place called Randazzo. There the 1st Armored Division could be employed and the British armor could be employed and the rest came quickly after that. The 9th Division was not called on to fire another shot after that. They landed at a place called Cefalu which had nice sandy beaches. It was a delight. Phillips had a friend in the navy who looked him up in Palermo. He had a minesweeper and took Phillips on a three day mine sweeping mission. That easy non combat time lasted for a couple months before they were put aboard ships to go to England in November to prepare for the invasion [Annotators Note: the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944].

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[Annotators Note: Henry Phillips served as an officer in Company M, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.] The reason the 1st and 9th Divisions were sent to England was to provide combat training to the new divisions arriving from the States. The buildup of US forces in England was unbelievable and beyond everyone's expectations. As the British put it the Americans were over here, they are overpaid, and they are over sexed. The British military was not paid as much as the American military and that caused quite a bit of resentment. Phillips believes that they would have had a lot less trouble with the British in Normandy if they had been paid more. Phillips went to London when he was England. They took the train the 80 miles north to London. It would take about two hours to get there. The trains were all running and London was fully prepared to handle the number of troops who arrived there on vacation, leave, or pass. There were plenty of places to stay and there were good shows to see like Glen Miller and his orchestra. It was usually a good time. If they did not have enough money to go out in London the local towns were cheaper to go out in but London was a playground. The buildup of the Army Air Corps was just as good as the rest of the army. They managed to keep the skies clear of German bombers. Phillips never experienced any German air raids in England. Phillips landed in France on D Day plus 10 [Annotators Note: 16 June 1944]. Phillips and his division landed across Utah Beach. The bulk of the airborne had been dumped behind Utah Beach. They had taken care of the Germans that had been stationed there. The landings were carried out on two beach areas. Omaha was one for the Americans. The British and Canadians landed with the Free French on little beaches east of Utah or Omaha. The landing was uneventful. The number of ships in the British Channel was shocking. There were ships moving in both directions. The early invaders were dumped off then the ships turned around and went back to England. It was only 20 miles across the Channel. Phillips landed on Utah unopposed except for some long range German artillery which was not directed at their landing beach. The first combat action they saw was a school book operation. Before they saw any Germans they ran into a brigadier general from one of the armored divisions. He was carrying an M1 rifle and wanted to borrow some soldiers from their battalion commander to take out a German armored vehicle he had found which was a couple miles down the road they were to travel down. The colonel was happy to lend the general a squad of men. They went in and shortly afterwards a German tractor came out pulling an 88 [Annotators Note: 88 millimeter gun]. Gavin later became a three star general. He was the assistant division commander of the 101st who had landed behind the Germans. Phillips was not one of the guys chosen to go with Gavin. He was surprised to see a brigadier general leading a squad and a half of guys on a mission to knock out an armored vehicle and to see Gavin driving the tractor after they had captured it.

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[Annotators Note: Henry Phillips served in Company M, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.] By the time Phillips landed in Normandy the airborne had found a road leading to the west coast of the peninsula they were on. It looked to be a surefire way of getting across the peninsula to the coast where they could pick up navy support for their operation or defense. This opened the door for the capture of Cherbourg. Before he landed in Normandy Phillips was the number two in the heavy weapons company. Just before going into Normandy Phillips was made the battalion operations officer, or S3, and he transferred to the headquarters of 3rd Battalion. Phillips had this job until they crossed over the Rhine River north of Paris. Phillips got his first Silver Star in North Africa for the way he handled the machine gun platoon. His platoon lost two top ranking NCOs [Annotators Note: non commissioned officer] and him. But they won the battle. Phillips kept the platoon moving forward as the riflemen moved forward so they could support the advance. That required a lot of moving around the battlefield so he could see where the machine guns would be the most useful. Then Phillips would move the machine guns up and have them fire where they believed the Germans were. The area was mostly agricultural land and they did not have the problems which caused the advance to go so slow in Normandy. That was the hedgerows. Phillips and his men were in the hedgerows from time to time but that problem was quickly solved by an ordnance NCO. They went back to coast where they could get the steel from the anti landing devices that had been planted by the Germans. Phillips got his first Silver Star and his first Purple Heart for the North African campaign. His battalion was attached to the 3rd Armored Division once they broke out of Normandy and crossed the Seine. They were attached to a formation of tankers called CCR [Annotators Note: Combat Command R]. CCA and CCB were the two primary fighting units of the armored division. CCR was reserve but unlike the handling of reserve by the infantry this reserve was in the front. It was as much of the combat of the armored division as the guys who were supposed to be doing the fighting. CCR was commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel Sam Hogan. The 3rd Armored Division was with the 1st Infantry Division and 9th Infantry Division was the task force of the VII Corps.

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[Annotators note: Henry Phillips was the operations officer in 3rd Battalion Headquarters, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.] They were attached to the armored division [Annotators Note: US 3rd Armored Division]. They were rolling along making 50 miles a day then they would bivouac at night while the gas was brought up. When they ran into something the infantry would fight whatever was obstructing the way forward while the tanks took off to either flank to find and alternate way of getting forward. This generally worked. Phillips was the S3 so his primary responsibility was at night when they were stopped in a bivouac area. He would send out a force to clear the road ahead so there would be no obstruction by the Germans that they could not handle. At this point a bridge across a small river had been blown by the Germans when the first American tanks appeared. It was going to take a while to replace the bridge so the tanks could cross. The battalion commander took Phillips to check a small village on the French and Belgian border. At the outskirts of the town there was a chapel with a graveyard. They took up positions around the chapel. By this time they had an artillery observer and radio operator with them. The radio operator was on the radio telling them to come back. They had not found anything up to this point. Phillips noticed that they could look down on a crossroads they were to take. There was a bistro there that came alive with people lighting candles and singing. Phillips told the old man that they should go back to get everyone. The battalion commander sent Phillips down to the bistro to check it out. When he got down there he heard something. It turned out to be an old fashioned gasoline station. When Phillips approached the station he heard somebody cough or say something and he looked over and saw the muzzle of a weapon. He called out thinking it was American troops. When the person raised his head Phillips could see the German helmet. The man took off through a door Phillips did not see. Phillips opened fire at the man his with .45 caliber pistol. At the same time another German opened fire on Phillips with a machine pistol. Most of those bullets hit the gasoline pump but some hit Phillips. He was hit once in the right leg and once in the left leg. They shot at each other until Phillips ran out of ammunition. By that time he had been hit three times. The French people could hear what was going on but stayed where they were. Phillips made his way back to the chapel. He told his battalion commander that there were Germans in the area. When Phillips heard the Germans following him he moved faster to get away. He got up to the top of the grade where the chapel was. He was afraid that the old man had left him but just as he got to the top the old man opened fire on the Germans who were following Phillips with his .38 caliber pistol. The commander told Phillips that he should have taken a different route back. About the time Phillips got back to the chapel the troops they had left back at the bridge crossing arrived. The old man put Phillips in for his second Silver Star. Phillips got his second Silver Star and his second Purple Heart for the same action.

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When Henry Phillips left the hospital after three weeks of recovering from his third wound he boarded a replacement train and went back to France. From there he was flown to Germany where the 9th Division was fighting [Annotators Note: Henry Phillips served in 3rd Battalion Headquarters, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division]. On 16 November [Annotators Note: 16 November 1944] they jumped off on the 1st Army offensive to get to the Ruhr River. Phillips spent the night in a German farm house with some other 1st Division guys. He took a jeep and took off to catch up with the troops. When he was driving down the road a German anti tank weapon fired at the jeep. The round passed through the windshield. The driver and front seat passenger were killed. Phillips tried to jump out but his rubber boot was caught under the front seat. He managed to get the boot off and get out of the jeep before the Germans fired on the jeep again. Phillips was lightly wounded. The palm of his hand had been torn off so he made his way to the aid station in the next village back. The doctor told him that he had earned another Purple Heart but the wound was not bad enough for him to be sent home. Phillips asked to be returned to the front and was. Phillips took part in the fighting for the city of Stolberg. Stolberg is a pretty good sized city not too far from Aachen. The 1st Infantry Division secured Aachen so Phillips and his unit did not have to go into that bloodbath. They were helping the 1st Armored Division. The 9th Division was attached to the 3rd Armored Division and took part in the battle of Montz. The battle of Montz was a big victory due to intelligence gathered on the German situation. While part of the 9th Division was fighting at Montz, the 39th and 60th [Annotators Note: 39th and 60th Infantry Regiments] were having an awful time in the Hurtgen Forest. Phillips did not have to participate in that. Phillips made his way to a little German village named Schevenhutte which was a headquarters for the German defense of the Siegfried Line. There were only rear echelon type soldiers there who did not put up much resistance. Phillips stayed there for about a month until the Ruhr River operation. By that time he had been sent home on leave. There was some sort of a point system for the time a soldier was overseas, in combat, and for decorations. The guys who had the highest points had priority getting home on R and R. One day in December Phillips was called back to regiment and told to pack his bags. He hoped by the time he went back to join them the war would be over. It was. He was originally sent home on 30 days leave and that was extended for another 30. They were not prepared for such a quick end to the war in Germany. Some forces were to be shipped to Japan and some back to the United States. Phillips put himself in for the French Legion of Honor and was picked right away. He could not take his wife down to San Francisco so they came up to Grass Valley.

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Henry Phillips' most vivid memory of the war is how well the Nazis proved themselves as being the worst horror that was ever created. He was sure that they were headed for the defeat of the Americans. If they could beat England they could beat America. They failed to beat England. At the same time the war in the Pacific was going on and not too well. Shortly after Phillips got home his wife announced that she was pregnant with their first child. He knew he had to gain steady employment so he applied for a commission as a 1st Lieutenant. He was turned down because the army was downsizing. A sergeant suggested that he apply for a regular army commission which he did. By that time the army changed its mind and took him on as a 1st Sergeant. He was first assigned to a signal or ordnance position but did not know anything about it so he applied for the infantry. He was moved over to the infantry where he stayed for about six months before his regular army commission came through and he was assigned to the 2nd Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. Phillips made a career of the army. He retired after 30 years in the 1970s. Phillips feels that it is important for children to be taught about World War 2 and about what he and guys like him did. In the movies the good guys always win and the bad guys always lose and that is not always the case. In recent years the people of the United States have been losing their touch with regards to military service. Phillips does not think that the National Guard and Reserve are the answer to the current situation.

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Henry Phillips feels that the French Legion of Honor affair is a wonderful thing, especially in light of the French attitude in previous years. When Phillips got his award the French Counsel General announced that they had awarded 700 French military honors at that time. Phillips was shocked. There were many more guys who were actively serving the French. There are certain criteria for the award. A veteran had to have fought in France. Many of the awards had gone to artillery and armor guys but few to the infantry because they were usually behind the lines. They were making sure that people got their meals and supplies. There was also no army publication regarding the award. Phillips got on the phone and called his friends at the Pentagon and told them that he felt that there should be some official army publication about the medal. That is finally the case. Phillips has taken it upon himself to put the data in the association newspaper, the Octofoil. In it he lists what the French want to know on the application for the Legion of Honor. At the time of this interview there is a hiatus while the French make some more medals. Some of the World War 2 veteran volunteers at The National WWII Museum went to France and received the medal.
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