Sunday, July 13, 2008

Army Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Ga.

Cpl. Phillips was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy; died of wounds sustained when his outpost was attacked by small-arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from enemy forces in Wanat, Afghanistan, on July 13, 2008. Also killed were 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jonathan R. Ayers, Cpl. Jason D. Hovater, Cpl. Jason M. Bogar, Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey, Cpl. Gunnar W. Zwilling and Pfc. Sergio S. Abad.

Atlanta Journal Constitution -- Army Cpl. Matthew Phillips, of Cumming, also was stationed in Kunar province, with the same 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

The last time he was home, over Christmas, Phillips, 27, planned his own funeral.

"I was just told about that, but it doesn't surprise me," said his father, Michael Phillips of Dawsonville. Apparently, the younger Phillips didn't want his family, including his new bride, Eve, to be troubled with the arrangements. They were married in December 2006.

"I'd always tell him, 'You're going to be fine, you're coming home, the odds are with you,'" his father said.

The two had planned a fishing trip in August, when Matthew was scheduled to come home.

Phillips and Ayers were among nine soldiers killed Sunday after a group of insurgents engaged the 2nd Battalion in a three-hour battle. It was the worst assault against Americans in Afghanistan in three years. During the past two months, more American troops have died in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

Sunday was the bloodiest day yet. Georgians paid dearly, with a third local soldier, Master Sgt. Mitchell Young, a Green Beret, also among the casualties.

Phillips had even more to look forward to. His younger sister, Mary Nix of San Antonio, was pregnant with a boy, to be named Michael Andrew.

"He couldn't wait to be an uncle," said Michael Phillips.

Nix had the baby Sunday. On Monday, she learned of her brother's death.

Michael Andrew Nix was renamed Matthew Andrew Nix.

Army Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips was killed in action on 7/13/08.

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