Gen. Samuel Phillips graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. in electrical engineering and went on to obtain his master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1950.
Phillips was commissioned a second lieutenant, Infantry, after completion of Reserve Officers Training Corps. He then entered active military service, transferred to the Army Air Corps, attended flying school and earned his pilot wings. After earning his pilot wings during World War II, he served with the 364th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, in England and completed two combat tours of duty in the European Theater of Operations. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters, and the French Croix de Guerre.
After the war, Phillips was assigned to the European Theater headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. In July 1947, he was transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.
Phillips' most notable appointment was as the director of the Apollo Lunar Landing Program. On Sept. 26, 1971, he was awarded the Smithsonian Institution's Langley Medal for his contributions to the Apollo space program. He was the 14th recipient of the Langley Medal since the award was first presented to the Wright Brothers in 1909. He served as the seventh director of the National Security Agency from 1972-73, and as commander for the Air Force Systems Command from 1973-75. Also, Phillips was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his leadership and direction of the Minuteman weapon system and the Apollo programs.
Phillips retired from the Air Force in 1975 at the rank of Four-Star General.
Photo courtesy of UW Photo Services.