SAVANNAH, GA, USA U.S. Army SPC, COMPANY D, 2D BATTALION, 14TH INFANTRY, FORT DRUM, NY CAMP STRIKER, IRAQ 09/21/2007
Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus was active in the school orchestra and played string bass, even participating in an ensemble that practiced before the school day began. Beth Mazanec, his former music teacher, remembered him as a strong musician “who came to class with a smile on his face every day and got along well with everyone.”
Baucus, 28, of Wolf Creek, Mont., was killed July 29, 2006, in suicide bombing in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Baucus was the nephew of U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.
Less than a year before his death he married his high school sweetheart, Katharine Taylor, at the historic Sieben Ranch, operated by his parents in the Wolf Creek area. His parents are ranchers whose property has been recognized for conservation of wildlife habitat.
Those at the funeral remembered Baucus’ more lighthearted moments. Family members who recalled a scatterbrained youngster seemed surprised when Baucus’ fellow Marines spoke of a supremely well-organized recruit.
“He didn’t become a hero when he died. He was a hero before then,” said Baucus’ older brother, John. He faced his brother’s casket and raised his hand to his forehead.
“I’m saluting my brother and my hero. I’ll miss you.”
And the “free spirit, almost irreverence,” of which his uncle, Max, spoke was on display at the end of the funeral. After the other ceremonies – the 21-gun salute; the presentation of the folded flag to his widow, Kathy; the bugled “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” on a bagpipe; the doves released by the Marines – there was one more, a Baucus family tradition that was Phillip’s favorite.
There was a loud bang and a lot of smoke. An anvil flew through the air, landing about 30 feet from a car. The Baucuses send anvils flying at family events and on holidays. They used to use one pound of gunpowder to accomplish the feat; Phillip insisted up on two. That’s what was used Sunday.
Baucus is survived by his wife; father and mother, John and Nina Baucus; and brother, John Baucus.