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Philip Lyman Brewster

No. 19539 22 December 1929 - 4 November 1994

Died: San Antonio, TX

Cremated. Ashes scattered at Nevada Test Site, NV

Philip Lyman Brewster was born in Neodesha, KS, on 22 Dec  1929, the son of Arthur and Nellie (Groves) Brewster. A graduate of the New Mexico Military Institute, he attended the Colorado School of Mines prior to West Point. His military background stood him in good stead for his cadet years — especially Plebe year. His leadership qualities were apparent from the beginning.


They not only helped him personally but helped guide his roommates as well. Phil was the acting Plebe First Captain during Plebe Christmas, a “Star Man” his entire cadet career, and at or near the top of his class in military merit. Phil was a disciplined leader with a mature personality who also possessed an exceptional sense of humor. He also was a good listener.


His leadership responsibilities may have saved his life during Yearling year. Phil had some special tasks at the beginning of

Yearling Christmas that caused him to miss the charter flight arranged for west coast cadets that year. He was still grousing about the missed charter when he returned in January and found that the military charter had gone down in Arizona, killing all aboard.


Phil met the love of his life and wife-to-be, Evelyn Abraham in the fall of 1953. They were introduced by Dee Esposito, Sam

Greer’s One and Only and Eve’s classmate. Eve was outgoing and fun; she loved fashions and did some modeling. The couples double dated many times. Love blossomed, and Phil

and Eve were married on 9 June, the day after graduation, at the Cadet Chapel. His brother, Dan Buchly, was best man; company mate and roommate George Kronsbein and company mates Al Momberger, John Hudachek and Jack Wisniewski were ushers.


Upon graduation, Phil was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, did his primary flight training at Marana Air Force Base (AFB) near Tucson AZ, and advanced training at Luke AFB. One company mate remembers when a group of students on a solo training flight decided to have an

unauthorized contest to see who could put his plane in a spin and make the most turns before initiating recovery procedures (or augering in). Phil won, and all escaped serious disciplinary action for this violation of rules, regulations and good sense.


Following pilot training, he was first assigned duty in an F-84 squadron at Turner AFB, Albany, GA, where, son Scott was born. Eventually, son Scott also became an Air Force pilot, flying F-15s and F-5s and is a pilot (captain) for Southwest Airlines. After F-100 training, Phil was assigned to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, where he served as an instructor and completed the tour as chief of standardization and evaluation. Daughter Jody was born on Okinawa in 1960. She also married into the Air Force: pilot Don Ross [now LTC (Ret.), also with Southwest Airlines], and they have two children.


Phil then was selected to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a master of science degree in aeronautics and astronautics. He then joined the initial cadre for the F-4 at MacDill AFB and was subsequently assigned to the staff at Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA, in the acquisition program for the F-111 aircraft.


As a distinguished graduate from the Air Command and Staff College, he served his first combat tour in Viet Nam in the F-4 in 1968. His next tour was with Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon, as part of the newly formed Operational Test and Evaluation Division. During this tour, he also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Business and then the Senior Seminar on Foreign Policy, U.S. Foreign Service Institute (War College equivalent). He then volunteered for a second tour in Viet Nam, this time as Chief, Air Force Division, Defense Attaché Office. He personally helped direct the evacuation of U.S. and Vietnamese personnel from Tan Son Nhut during those difficult last days in Viet Nam.


After departing on the last helicopter out of Viet Nam in 1975, he became director of operations for the Joint Air Force-Navy AIMVAL-ACEVA, followed by duty as chief of staff, U.S. Air Force Tactical Fighter Weapons Center. He retired at Nellis AFB in 1980 as a colonel, having served his nation for 26 years. During his career, Phil was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Legions of Merit, and many other decorations, including ten Air Medals.


He then joined Holmes and Narver Corp. and subsequently Raytheon Services of Nevada, where he served as a senior director, Logistics Planning Group, providing services to the Nevada Test Site, still serving his country. Phil suffered a bout with throat cancer in the early eighties but continued to work

until 1994. Thanks to modern science and some great fortune, Phil had 15 more years to see his daughter mature and marry and to enjoy time with his grandchildren. He and Evelyn also did a lot of traveling, taking two or three vacations per year, thanks to the perks offered by Southwest. They also did a lot of boating on Lake Mead. They continued to enjoy life!!


Phil retired again in May 1994, having served another 14 years, and died in November 1994. His ashes were scattered over Nevada Test Site from an F-15 going Mach 1.4, piloted by his son-in-law, LTC (Ret.) Don Ross. COL Brewster was survived by his wife Evelyn—who died on 5 Sep 1997—son Scott, daughter Jody, brothers Dan and Lee, and grandchildren Christopher, Alan, Michael, Sydney and Brett.


Throughout his career and his life, Phil Brewster symbolized what a West Point graduate is expected to be as a leader, advisor, protector and contributor to the betterment of society and the nation. He lived our motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and we can sincerely direct him to “Be thou at Peace” as a brave warrior and loyal friend. We are all honored by his life.


—Family and company mates


Originally published in TAPS, FALL/WINTER 2009

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