Obituary of Phillip Criswell
Lt. Col Phillip W. Criswell, USAF (Ret.), passed away on July 15, 2017 at the age of 83 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Phillip was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was the youngest of three children of Howard Criswell and Eleanor Mildred Carr. Phillip moved frequently in his youth due to his father’s military career before settling in Washington, D.C. Phillip graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C. and did postgraduate studies at The Bullis School prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated in June of 1958 from the Naval Academy as a member of the Fourth Company. That same month, he married Alice Martin Mott, whom he met at a debutante ball in 1956.
Although Phillip adored the Naval Academy, he chose to enter the U.S. Air Force upon graduation. He had over nine years of operational experience in B-47s at MacDill AFB, FL, and Plattsburg AFB, N.Y. to include deployment to Morocco during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After obtaining a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Arizona State University in 1967, Phillip was deployed to Vietnam where he served in RF-4s at Tan San Nhut AB during the Tet offensive and was also as a staff officer at Hq. 7th Air Force. He flew over 200 combat mission while in Vietnam and was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters.
Following his tour in Vietnam, Phillip served on the staff at Hq. 3rd AF at RAF South Ruislip, England and RAF Mildenhall. Upon returning to the United States, Phillip was operational with B-52 aircraft at Barksdale AFB, LA., and commanded the largest maintenance squadron in the Air Force at that time. His final assignment was at Hq. USAF (Pentagon) in Washington, D.C. in the Directorate of Logistics Plans. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 1981, he was employed by The Analytical Science Corp (TASC), and Titan Corp. before concluding his career as a private consultant in 1995.
In retirement, Phillip was active in the Naval Academy’s alumni community as a life time member of USNAA and as the Fourth Company Alumni Representative for many years. Phillip is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alice, sons Philip Jr. (USNA Class of 1985) and Andrew, and seven grandchildren.