NAPA, CA, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, I CO 3D BN, 1ST MAR, RCT-1, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA FALLUJAH, IRAQ 11/19/2004
Marine Lance Corporal West was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.
West was doing one of his hundreds of building sweeps in Al Anbar Province (Fallujah) that he had done with precision and accuracy hundreds of times before. When he entered a building, he was ambushed; shot several times and hit with two hand grenades. He crawled for cover and continued to fire his SAW machine gun. He suffered severe injuries to his legs, arms, chest and spine. After continuing to fire until his weapon was empty, his last act was to throw a grenade into the insurgents to try and save his brother Marines who were advancing behind him. He died at a nearby hospital later that day.
Phillip attended El Centro and Donaldson Way Schools, Silverado Middle School and graduated from Vintage High School in June 2003. He was an outgoing kid who was also quite a jokester. He loved football and played for Vintage High School’s football team. He worked as a lifeguard for two years at the American Canyon pool, teaching many local children to swim.
Phillip joined the Marine Corps delayed-entry program in August 2002 and after graduating from high school, he shipped off to boot camp in San Diego. He graduated from Boot Camp, then Infantry School, and deployed to Iraq in June 2004. Once in Iraq, Phillip achieved the rank of Lance Corporal.
He received three “exceptional performance” accommodations for heroic behavior in June, July and August. Phillip had a deep belief in his military service. He knew it was dangerous, he knew the risk, but he knew it was important.
He said, ‘If we don’t do it, who’s going to do it?’ Many Marines are alive today because Lance Corporal West was in Iraq. He was buried with full military honors, including a Purple Heart.