Phillips, John Spinning, RADM

 Service Photo   Service Details
48 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Last Primary NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1945-1947, Naval War College (Staff)
Service Years
1917 - 1947
Rear Admiral Upper Half
Rear Admiral Upper Half

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Phillips, John Spinning, RADM.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Alexandria, VA
Last Address
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Date of Passing
Dec 17, 1975
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
46 981-18

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin US Navy Retired 30

 Unofficial Badges 

Pearl Harbor Memorial Medallion

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Rear Admiral John S. Phillips, whose exploits during World War II included safely sailing his heavily loaded tanker clear of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked, died Wednesday at Bethesda Naval Medical Center after a brief illness.  He was 80 and lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Adm. Phillips, a native of Alexandria, attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and was a graduate of the Class of 1918, which actually graduated in 1917 to speed the young ensigns into battle during World War I.

Between the two wars, Adm. Phillips served in various posts around the country.  On
Dec. 7, 1941, he was stationed aboard the naval oiler Neosho at Pearl Harbor.  During the Japanese attack against the naval base, Adm. Phillips, then a commander, ordered his ship to clear the harbor to remove the Neosho as a serious hazard.  They steamed safely clear under a hail of bullets and bombs.  Adm. Phillips received the Navy Cross for his heroism.

In May, 1942, Adm. Phillips and the
Neosho were part of the American fleet that turned back the Japanese advance toward Australia during the Battle of Coral Sea.  The Neosho's luck ran out during the battle -- on May 7, the tanker was struck by seven bombs and soon sank, taking more than half its crew with it.  Adm. Phillips and the survivors escaped in the ship's boats. They bobbed for four days in the open sea.  On May 11, a Canadian aircraft participating in the search flew overhead, signaling: "Do you need help?"  Adm. Phillips signaled his response: "What do you think?"

Adm. Phillips later served in naval intelligence and taught naval courses at the university level.  He retired in 1947 and settled in
Arlington, where he pursued his interest in golf.  He and his wife moved to Fort Lauderdale
in the late 1950s.
Other Comments:

Navy Cross
Awarded for Actions During World War II
Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. Neosho (AO-23)
Citation: The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander John Spinning Phillips (NSN: 0-17172), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Fleet Oiler U.S.S. NEOSHO (AO-23), during the Japanese attack on the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941. At the time of the attack the U.S.S. NEOSHO was moored alongside the gasoline dock, Naval Air Station,
Pearl Harbor, and had just completed discharging gasoline at that station. When fire was opened on enemy planes, Commander Phillips realized the serious fire hazard of remaining alongside the dock as well as being in a position that prevented a battleship from getting underway, got underway immediately. Mooring lines were cut, and without the assistance of tugs, Commander Phillips accomplished the extremely difficult task of getting the ship underway from this particular berth in a most efficient manner, the difficulty being greatly increased by a battleship having capsized in the harbor. The conduct of Commander Phillips throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US NavyNavy Recruiting District Seattle, WA, Commander Naval Recruiting Command (CNRC)US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS Astoria (CA-34)
CNO - OPNAVOffice of Naval Intelligence (ONI)Naval War College (Staff)
  1917-1918, USS South Dakota (ACR-9)
  1918-1919, USS North Dakota (BB-29)
  1919-1922, USS Oklahoma (BB-37)
  1922-1923, USS New Mexico (BB-40)
  1923-1926, Navy Recruiting District Seattle, WA, Commander Naval Recruiting Command (CNRC)
  1925-1929, USS Farragut (DD-300)
  1929-1930, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1930-1932, 16th Naval District
  1932-1933, USS Black Hawk (AD-9)
  1936-1938, USS Astoria (CA-34)
  1938-1940, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, CNO - OPNAV
  1941-1942, USS Neosho (AO-23)
  1942-1945, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)
  1945-1947, Naval War College (Staff)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1917 World War I/Western Atlantic
  1918-1918 World War I/Atlantic Convoy
  1941-1941 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Attack on Pearl Harbor
  1942-1942 Central Pacific Campaign (1941-43)/Battle of the Coral Sea
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1914-1917, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  From The Washington Star (Sunday, December 21, 1975)1
  Jun 29, 1917, Commissioned as Ensign
  Oct 15, 1917, Promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade
  Jul 01, 1920, Promoted to Lieutenant
  Dec 09, 1930, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Jun 02, 1938, Promoted to Commander
  Mar 27, 1942, Promoted to Captain
  May 07, 1942, Engagement and Subsequent Loss of U.S.S. NEOSHO
  Sep 05, 2015, General Photos
 Military Association Memberships
United States Navy Memorial
  2019, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
Copyright Inc 2003-2011