Sidney Phillips

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Sidney Clarke Phillips, Jr.
Nickname(s) Sid
Born September 2, 1924
Mobile, Alabama
Died September 26, 2015 (aged 91)
Mobile, Alabama
Allegiance USA
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank USMC-E4.svg Corporal
Unit How Company, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

World War II

Other work Physician, writer

Sidney Clarke Phillips, Jr. (September 2, 1924 – September 26, 2015) was a family practice physician from Mobile, Alabama, who provided source material and interviews for the making of Ken Burns' PBS documentary film The War and the HBO miniseries The Pacific. His recollections revolve around his time as a young man fighting in the Pacific War as a United States Marine.[1][2]


Phillips was born in Mobile, Alabama, the second child after his sister Katharine. A younger brother, John, followed. Their father, Sidney, was a US Army veteran of the Battle of Argonne Forest and became a teacher, then the principal of Murphy High School. Phillips, a 1941 Murphy High School graduate, volunteered to enlist in the US Marines at age seventeen on December 8, 1941, then was inducted later that month after gaining parental permission. He served with Hal Company, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and saw combat as an 81mm mortarman in a number of battles including the Battle of the Tenaru during the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Battle of Cape Gloucester.[1][2][3] He reported that his mortar crew observed effective fire control discipline with one example being a firefight on Cape Gloucester where they were able to provide light high explosive rounds through the jungle canopy only fifteen yards in front of their own lines.[4]

Phillips reported that after his overseas duty he enrolled in V12, a program designed to educate young men so they could become US Navy officers. However his four-year US Marine Corps enlistment expired on December 31, 1945, freeing him to return to Mobile. He had decided while at Cape Gloucester to become a physician so he followed by enrolling in Spring Hill College, then went to medical school to become a family physician. In April 1946 he married the former Mary Houston; his best man was Eugene Sledge. He enlisted in the reserves while at Spring Hill, then was finally discharged in April 1948.[5]

In 2015, Phillips died in Alabama, after completing a long career and finally retiring. Before his death, he reported that Sledge's widow and sons introduced him to Ken Burns' writing team, then later the HBO writers, so that he was able to provide needed information about the lives of Marines in combat for the making of The Pacific.[6] He died on September 26, 2015.[7]

Media presentation[edit]

Phillips is the author of the book You'll be Sor-ree, an accounting of his experiences in the US Marines. As a surviving veteran of World War II battles including the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Battle of Cape Gloucester he has provided valuable documentary interviews describing his recollections of the Pacific Theater of Operations. (See oral history preservation.) His character was played by actor Ashton Holmes in the HBO miniseries The Pacific.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The War (PBS)
  2. ^ a b Ambrose, Hugh (March 14, 2010). "A Fight to the Death". Parade Magazine. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  3. ^ Phillips, Sidney (March 2010). You'll be Sor-ree. Valor Studios. ISBN 0-615-33683-3. 
  4. ^ Phillips, pages 157–158
  5. ^ Phillips, pages 170, 185–195
  6. ^ Phillips page 198.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Chen, Sandie A (March 19, 2010). "WWII Veteran Dr. Sidney Phillips Reacts to HBO's 'The Pacific'". AOL TV. Celebrity Interviews. Retrieved March 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ Mobile man in HBO WWII miniseries (


  • Phillips, Sidney (March 2010). You'll be Sor-ree. Valor Studios. ISBN 0-615-33683-3. 

External links[edit]