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Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Phillips Jr.

Died September 25, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

33, of Conway, S.C.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.; died Sept. 25 in Bahbahani, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Phillips Jr. remembered

The Associated Press

Wanda Phillips said a moment with a South African pastor during her son’s high school days was his first nudge toward service.

“God said, ‘If you serve me, I’m going to take you places,’” she said, reading from the family’s written account of what Ronald Phillips Jr. was told that day. “You’re going to be able to run with young people and go with teams. You’re going to countries in the world.”

“All Ron heard out of that was he was going to lead teams,” said his father, Ronald Phillips Sr. “Well, he was a basketball player and said, ‘Oh, Daddy, I’m going overseas to play basketball.’ I said, ‘Boy, that ain’t what that means.’”

Phillips, 33, of Conway, S.C., died Sept. 25 in Bahbahani of wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an explosive. He was a 1994 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Stewart.

He was known for his love of R&B music and his ability to just draw people in, whether at football game as a child, or fishing with his three brothers as an adult.

He is survived by his wife and two young children.

“He’s my hero,” said Ronald Phillips Sr.

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