Hudson “Bill” Phillips MAMF Brat Liaison

Hudson “Bill” Phillips is the eldest son of a thirty-year career Army Air Corps and Regular Army chaplain. He was born in the Territory of Hawaii at Schofield Barracks in 1933, when officers wore leather boots and Sam Brown belts. He lived at the Statue of Liberty when he was 3 and 4. He lived at Selfridge Field, Michigan while the Air Corps still had WWI two winged Stinsons. He was at Forts Sherman and Davis in the Canal Zone while the military did its business with bugle calls and still used horses and mules. He and his family were evacuated from Panama when it became a war zone in 1941. He experienced war preparation, sleeping in a sandbagged bomb shelter, dodging U-boats in the Caribbean and conducted regular life boat drills.

Bill spent much of the war years in the Miami Beach (South Beach) area among civilians. He visited his father at Camp McCall, North Carolina, where his father trained as division chaplain of the 11th Airborne and jumping out of planes preparing to fight in Europe and the Philippines.  Hudson also attended a massive review for the Free French general Giraud, who was second only to general De Gaulle. Hudson attended high school at Texas Military Institute in San Antonio and served on its honor guard, greeting General Douglas MacArthur (former TMI graduate) when he visited the school and the Alamo. Bill and his family were stationed in Stuttgart, Germany where he graduated from Heidelberg American High School in its first graduating class at the old Bunsen Schule in Mark Twain village in 1952. The ‘Cold War’ and Occupation period left a final impression when he witnessed the return of German prisoners of war, from the Soviet Union, at the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof.

Following graduation from Colgate University, as a History major, and with an advanced degree in Theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Bill paid his final visit to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and ended his military Brat status. Though he took Air Force ROTC and received an honorable discharge from the Oklahoma 45th Division National Guard, Bill did not serve in active military duty because of his ordination into the Christian ministry in 1959.

His work would lead him through the breadth of American life: the ending of segregation in the South, the peace movement, and the Draft, the emergence of the counter culture and extensive work with emotionally challenged youth and people with special needs.

Bill and his wife Betty returned to Panama to visit the former military bases, see his elementary school classroom and walk up the steps of the former Fort Davis home that he had been evacuated from in 1941. Still a Brat at heart, the Phillips live just outside of Austin, Texas.


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