Fox Chase Town Watch

My Son My Hero My Marine - Making a difference!

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My Son My Hero My Marine - Making a difference!
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Corporal Christopher Phillips at 29 Palms, Ca.
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Desert life is tough! Have a safe trip home!

July 2016 update: Chris was asked to go on a secret deployment on a ship that he was not able to name to his family. He left in mid May and will be finally home by mid July. This should be the last deployment for him and his 4 year enlistment is up in October. When Chris left for the Marines on October 22, 2012, he left with just the clothes on his body. When he returns in a few months, he will be returning with a Wife, new baby on the way and his dog, Rocky! We are all proud of his service to our Country! 
 
 
 
 
 
 September 7th 2015- Update- Chris has served close to 3 years in the Marines and is now on his 2nd deployment. At the end of July, Chris shipped out to Romania and will be visiting many places in this area. I appreciate all your prayers and support of Chris and we are wishing him a safe and speedy return home!

 
 
Chris would like to thank everyone for the fantastic welcome home and a special thanks to the Warrior Watch Riders and the Philadelphia Police Officers for the awesome escort from the airport to his home in Fox Chase. On behalf of our family, I would again like to thank eveyone for their prayers and support for Chris during his important mission in Africa!

Hero's Welcome Home!
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600 Block of Stanwood Street

I am grateful to announce that Chris will be returning home to Fox Chase on Saturday July 26th for a well deserved rest. Our family, friends and Community appreciate your service and sacrifice that you made during these past 7 months. We are very proud of the great things that you accomplished in Africa! 

Welocme back to Fox Chase!
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Update: Chris left Africa on July 2nd and is presently in Sicily, Italy. During his 6 months of service protecting the lives of American citizens and helping to maintain the stability of this region, Chris would often visit a local orphanage during his free time to provide food and snacks to the children. After viewing this photo, it is very clear to see the positive influence that Chris made on these orphans. Just like the many dedicated volunteers of the Fox Chase Town Watch, who give their free time to help keep our neighborhood safe and clean, Chris did a great job representing the spirit of our organization even though he was 7300 miles away! We are all very proud of you!

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The spirit of the Fox Chase Town Watch in Africa!
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Local orphans model our T-shirt!
The spirit of our organization on display.
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Uganda Africa
February 2nd 2014 Chris in jungle of Uganda
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Chris in center of photo with children of Uganda
Chris making friends with local boy
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Notice boy is holding Chris pinky!
February 1st 2014 Home Sweet Home for 8 months
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Holiday Inn- Uganda!

The Beginning

 

Chris was only one year old when Eddie Polec was tragically beaten to death on November 11th 1994 on the steps of Saint Cecilia’s.  When our Town Watch formed shortly after Eddie’s death, I quickly signed up to help out in any way possible. As a young parent with two small children (daughter Jessica was 4), I could not imagine the pain the Polec’s were going through losing their son to senseless violence. I wanted to make a positive contribution to our community and I always hoped that my deeds would have a positive influence on my 3 children.

 

My duties with the Town Watch seemed pretty simple. Hop in your car on a Friday or Saturday night and drive around our neighborhood for a couple of hours. If I saw something suspicious, I would radio our base with this information. Having just moved in to Fox Chase in 1993, I did not know many people so I began bringing my daughter Jessica (age 5 now) to keep me company while patrolling our streets. Most of these patrols were very boring so having one of my children with me gave me the perfect opportunity to explain the dangers of the streets to them over time. Of course, stopping at Wawa for an ice cream or candy helped to entice them.

 

When Chris got a little older and found out I was taking his older sister out on patrol, and more importantly, to Wawa for a treat, he naturally wanted to go too. When patrolling, my children would always ask questions such as “what is that man doing”, “what are those teenagers doing”. This gave me a great opportunity to explain to them the dangers of drugs and alcohol along with other negative behaviors like graffiti and vandalism. Fox Chase was not immune to all of these classic teen behaviors. I often would tell my children that we were out here trying to protect people and keep our neighborhood safe.  I cannot help to feel in my heart and mind that this may have played a part in my son’s decision to join the U.S. Marines.   

 

Fox Chase, while within the boundaries of the City of Philadelphia, felt like the suburbs to me when my parents moved us up here from the blue collar neighborhood of Kensington in 1983. Nevertheless, Eddie’s death shattered this feeling of “utopia” and made us all realize that danger is lurking. We needed to step up as a community!

 

Uganda, Africa- Helping to keep our world safe!

November 2013 Virginia
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Chris and his unit training Ugandan Soldiers

The Middle Years

 

 

It did not take long to notice Chris’ athleticism. He was walking at nine months and loved throwing any kind of ball. As soon as we could find a sport to sign him up, we did not hesitate to let him take a shot. For the next 15 years, sports dominated Chris’ attention. Football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, track, wrestling, karate and boxing to name a few! Chris enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team, and always got along with his teammates. All his coaches loved him too and many allowed him to play two sports at one time. Often after a rough and tumble football game, Chris would strip off his pads and put on his soccer uniform for a game an hour later. You could never tell that he just played an exhausting game of football. Chris’ energy level was unrelenting! The only thing I remember shutting Chris down was when he contracted mono. Even injuries sometimes could not shut him down. Chris learned to work hard in sports and never give up. He never got his emotions too “high” when he won or too “low” when he lost a tough game. Chris kept his emotions well grounded. These are many of the necessary qualities that the U.S. Marines desire in an individual.

 

While I cannot remember the first moment that Chris stated his desire to join the Marines, neither side of our immediate family members had any military service. I guess that is why I did not take Chris very seriously when he sometimes mentioned the Marines. When Chris entered his senior year of high school, we had him apply to 10 colleges in early October of that year. Within a few months, 8 out of the 10 colleges had accepted Chris. Since Chris was looking at law enforcement as a possible career, he was going to major in criminal justice in college.

 

The Big Decision

 

One day in March of 2012, Chris sent me a text telling me that he needed to talk to me face to face.  As a parent, you always tend to think it might be something bad, since it is usually the parent that requests the face to face with their child. When we met, Chris informed me that he did not think he was ready for college. I always knew he was not doing 3hours of homework each night like my 2 daughters usually did, but he often achieved 1st or 2nd honors at Father Judge High School. Chris is smart but opening a book for 3 hours is not his cup of tea.

 

When Chris informed me of his decision to skip college, I kept my disappointment inside of me. I simply asked him what his plan “B” is. Chris was ready with his answer and quickly pulled out a book from his back pocket. It was test guide for the military. Chris’ dream of becoming a US Marine was back on the front burner!

 

Becoming a Marine

 

Chris scored very high on the military test. I guess I should not have been very surprised. The test is not like the SAT’s but more practical knowledge. Chris pretty much had every position available to pick from, however, he only wanted the infantry- 0311 (aka- bullet catchers). I immediately attempted to talk Chris in to becoming a MP since he was interested in law enforcement. Chris stated that he did not want to be “bored guarding a building”. While I never served in our military, I knew enough from watching movies that the Marines are the first in to a hostile situation, and it usually is the infantry division. I still could not change Chris’ mind. Besides, he was already age 18 and was turning 19 in a month. He did not need our permission.

 

November 2013 somewhere in Virginia
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Chris training with a Uganda Soldier
Parris Island South Carolina January 18th 2013
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Private 1st Class Christopher Phillips- fresh out of boot camp

Boot Camp- Parris Island- South Carolina

October 22nd 2012

 

When Chris graduated from Father Judge High School in June, I was pretty sure he was not in line to win any academic awards. Chris did achieve 1st honors but there were many other students with a higher GPA. All these students received a nice round of applause when their name was called. However, the biggest (and loudest) applause came when Chris and a few other fellow students were asked to stand and be recognized for their commitment to serving their Country. I must admit I was caught off guard by this reaction from the audience. I was totally overwhelmed with the realization that everyone was clapping for my son. Not for scoring the winning touchdown or hitting the winning basketball shot as Chris often did, but for his commitment to protecting this great Country!

 

October 22nd rolled around very fast. Chris was hoping to enter boot camp earlier but it just did not work out. One advantage of the delayed entry program is it allows you to go through many mini-boot camps with your recruiter. Chris did very well at these mini boot camps and was able to get himself in very good physical shape. No matter how hard you try to be ready for a Marine boot camp, you can never prepare for the mental part. It certainly helps to be mentally tough already. Chris has all his coaches to thank here. They always pushed him to find his potential!

 

Packing for boot camp is pretty easy. All you need is the clothes on your back. As the car from the Marines pulled in front of the house, many friends and family were on hand to see Chris off. We all did our best to stay composed in support of Chris. We did not want to give him any reasons to jump back out of the car saying “to hell with this”. The Marine’s boot camp is without a doubt the longest (13 weeks) and the toughest of all the military boot camps. Their dropout rate is close to 30%. I never had a doubt that Chris would be in the other 70%.

 

Chris did extremely well early on and was hand-picked by his Drill Sergeant after a few weeks to be a “team leader”. When he wrote home about this he was not real happy to be chosen. For 3 or 4 weeks no one knew his name as he was “able to fly under the radar”. Now as a Team Leader, everyone knew his name. I give the Marines a lot of credit for how they do things. They are always watching the new recruits to see who has the potential to be a leader. Chris loved being a part of a cohesive team when playing sports, but it was not his style to speak up and say “I am in charge”. He always led by example and just outworked everyone. With the Marines, you are often “voluntold”. In other words, you are not given a choice to decline. The Marines will wait to see if you fail with the responsibility they give you before they strip you of it. Even though being a “team leader” was going to be uncomfortable for Chris, I knew his desire to not fail would take over. Chris remained in this position for the rest of boot camp and was one of only a handful of recruits to receive a meritorious promotion during graduation. Chris’ next assignment was the School of Infantry located in North Carolina     

Camp Lejeune North Carolina
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Chris celebrating his promotion to Lance Corporal!
Chris fying back to Camp Lejeune in a C-130 cargo
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Chris -far right looking tired
January 9th 2014 Sigonella Italy
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View of Mount Vesuvius from Chris' base.

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P.O. Box 56528, Philadelphia, PA 19111
215-694-6666
Special Thanks to Nicole Phillips for maintaining this web site for the betterment of the Fox Chase Community!