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First Name: William

Last Name: Phillips

Birthplace: Tullahoma, TN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Kearney

Date of Birth: 11 March 1894

Date of Death: 08 October 1986

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served:
William Kearney Phillips

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1917


William Kearney "Sol" Phillips
Admiral, U.S. Navy

William Kearney Phillips was born on 11 March 1894 in Tullahoma, TN, the son of Charles T, and Virginia May Paschal Phillips. He attended Massey School in Tulaski, TN, before his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Following his graduation and commission as an Ensign in June 1917, he was assigned to a Cruiser on escort duty during World War I.

Between the two World Wars, he was Commander of a Submarine; an Instructor at the Naval Academy; Intelligence Officer in the Canal Zone; and a Cruiser Commander.

Early in World War II, Phillips was Commander of a Destroyer Division in the North Atlantic before becoming Commander of a Cruiser in the Pacific Theater of Operations. In the Pacific, his command experience included the operations at the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the first battle of the Philippines Sea and strikes against Guam and Saipan.

Post-war assignments made him Chief of Staff, Pacific Fleet, Cruisers and Destroyers; Commander of a Cruiser Division; Commander of a Destroyer Fleet; Commander of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba; Commandant of the Eight Naval District, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for the Naval Reserve; Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, and Commander, First Fleet.

Upon his retirement in August 1955, he was advanced in rank to four-star Admiral. *

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed Navy officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. These promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades.

Medals and Awards

Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit

In Retirement

After retiring from the Navy, Admiral Phillips and his wife, Agnes, made Sherman, TX, their home.


William Kearney Phillips married Agnes Cherry in 1920 in Sherman, TX.

Death and Burial

Admiral William Kearney Phillips died on 8 October 1986 in a medical facility in Sherman, following an extended illness. He is buried in the Mausoleum at the West Hill Cemetery in Sherman, TX.

He was preceded in death in 1969 by his wife, Agnes, and she is laid to rest with him at the Mausoleum. In 1971, he married a widow, Mrs. D.C. Enloe. He was survived by his wife, of Sherman; a step-daughter, Eleanor Kaiser of Shreveport, LA; two grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Honoree ID: 618   Created by: MHOH




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