- Date of passing: Apr 8, 2007
|Let the memory of 1st Lt. Phillip be with us forever|
The day before he graduated from West Point, Phillip I. Neel decided to lighten the mood during a practice formation. He replaced the tall black plumes of his uniform''s hat with a big fake crow and marched with it for half an hour, deadpan. "Just motivating the troops, sir," Neel explained to an instructor. Neel, 27, of Fredericksburg, Md., died April 8 in Balad of grenade wounds. He was a 2005 West Point graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood. At West Point, he was on the school''s parachute team and participated in national competitions, performing group aerial designs and formations during free-fall events. In childhood spats, Neel was the calm one who would end arguments among the siblings with sage advice. He was honest, said his sister, Kelly Foster, even when that meant telling her she''d looked better. He was a lanky 6-foot-2, with brown hair and brown eyes, "and he was always in control of himself." He told his family, "I pray every day for the souls of my men, because I know where I''m going, and I''m not sure they do." He also is survived by his parents, Leroy and Kathy.
Bible student, hunt, fish, kayak, running, swimming, taekwando, Indian
Lore: books and way of life, old trucks: 46 Chevy pickup, serving
others, West Point Black Knight NCAA parachute team: had over 700
parachute jumps, ranching
All Medals Received
Purple Heart,2 Bronze Stars:2nd with V device, Army Achievement Medal,
Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo
Campaign Medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism (Service)
Medal, Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge and the Italian
All Awards Received
U.S. Parachute Badge, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantry Badge, Combat
Infantry Badge, Italian Parachute Badge, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas
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