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Marines

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U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Bobby Philips, motor vehicle operator, Deployment Processing Command - Reserve Support Unit East, Force Headquarters Group, was awarded the Columbia-Richland Fire Department Medal of Honor, Jan. 19, 2024. Philips, a fire captain at the Columbia-Richland Fire Department, took courageous actions, braving life-threatening conditions in the line of duty to save lives during a fire at Tropical Ridge Apartments, Columbia, South Carolina. The award is received by fire department members who have acted under life-threatening conditions to courageously save or protect others.

Photo by MARFORRES COMMSTRAT - Web Services

Reserve Marine awarded fire department Medal of Honor

7 Feb 2024 | Sgt. Ethan LeBlanc U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Bobby Philips, motor vehicle operator with Deployment Processing Command - Reserve Support Unit East, Force Headquarters Group, was awarded the Columbia-Richland Fire Department Medal of Honor here, Jan. 19, 2024.

According to the fire department Medal of Honor award citation, Philips’ courageous actions, braving life-threatening conditions in the line of duty, saved several lives during a three-alarm fire.

Philips initially enlisted as an active duty Marine in June 1998, first deploying in 2001 for training exercises in the Western Pacific and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2004 - 2005.

When Philips left the Marine Corps in 2006, he decided to pursue his high school passion of becoming a firefighter.

After 13 years, he decided to reenlist as a Reserve Marine to follow the call to serve again while maintaining his civilian career as a fire captain.

“I started to miss the Marine Corps, its camaraderie, the pride, and the feeling that comes with serving my country,” said Philips. “It’s something you can’t find anywhere else.”

On May 26, 2023, Philips and the firemen of Rescue 1 responded to a fire at a local apartment complex. After rescuing a woman and her dog from the first floor, he and his team moved to the third floor to assist another fire crew.

Two firemen became trapped on the second floor when the building collapsed, resulting in one becoming incapacitated while the other remained conscious.

“I remember immediately thinking that they were dead, then the thought came to me, ‘It's time to go to work.’ I knew that regardless of their condition I had to get them out,” Philips recalled.

With the building still burning, Philips and several other firemen freed both firefighters from the wreckage and carried them out of the burning building, where they received medical treatment.

Upon his arrival to an awaiting ambulance with the now rescued firemen, Philips realized that while he was concentrating on saving his fellow firemen his oxygen tank had run empty.

Philips credits his focused and calm demeanor to the experience and training he received from the Marine Corps. Asserting his everyday life, the way he thinks, carries himself and treats others have been elevated by the Marine Corps to reach a higher standard.

“Philips brings a plethora of experiences as a leader and a mentor; he is always the first one to volunteer for tasks and never shies away from hard work,” said Marine Corps Capt. Johnny Felice, Philips’ officer-in-charge. Felice went on to say that Philips epitomizes the full Marine concept.

Philips stated in his closing remarks that while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps he found a deep sense of discipline, strength, and courage which he hopes to inspire others with to take their first step to becoming a Marine.