By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Temporary commander settling in
General to be here for deployment
BG Phillips right Lt. Col. McRae left
Lt. Col. STuart McRae, left, talkes with BG Jeffrey Phillips - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
U.S. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips left the bustling beltway of D.C. last week for the sand and pine forests of Coastal
Phillips, who has already settled into a corner office at post headquarters, will serve as senior com-
mander at Fort Stewart during the next 12 months while Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and the 3rd Infantry Division are deployed to Iraq.
Phillips’s last assignment was as deputy chief of public affairs in Washington D.C., the same position Cucolo held before coming to Fort Stewart. The two senior commanders worked well together, according to Phillips, and when Cucolo offered him the temporary command he “jumped at it.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to be here,” Phillips said. “I look forward, not just to the job at Fort Stewart, but to learning about the local area. I want to talk to the people from the area and to the people who have supported Fort Stewart, the soldiers and their families so well.”
Phillips said his reserve duty status was not an issue when he was selected to serve as senior commander of the installation.
“It’s not an issue of a reserve general versus an active duty general,” Phillips said. “The issue is they need a general. Since the war began, after 9/11, the Army Reserve and National Guard have integrated into the big Army command.”
Phillips explained having a general commanding officer at Fort Stewart will ensure the post continues to run smoothly during the upcoming deployment.
A general officer can best handle situations that require high-level decisions, he said, such as with a general court martial convening authority and other significant operations.
“General officer oversight will be important over the coming year, given the substantial activity occurring here — the ongoing operations of tenant units, as well as the deployment preparations of units leaving over the next several months,” Phillips said.
Phillips also intends to follow Cucolo’s example to initiate and solidify relationships with community leaders across the coastal region.
“We must continue our fantastic relationships with the community and enhance it where we can,” the general said. “Even though there will be a deployment, we want the community to know we will still maintain these relationships.”
The general, who has had experience with veterans and the Veterans Administration, also plans to work with veterans’ service organizations during his time at Fort Stewart.
“Our veterans are such a valuable resource and we owe so much to them,” he said.
The general served “on the Hill” as minority communications director and staff director for disability assistance and memorial affairs in the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House. He also served as White House liaison and deputy assistant secretary for public affairs in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Although he has never been married and does not have children, one of Phillips’ priorities as senior commander is the military family.
“One of my biggest responsibilities is to take care of the families,” he said.
He also will ensure support groups at Fort Stewart have their financial needs met during his one-year command.
In addition to his leadership obligations, Phillips hopes to enjoy his year at Fort Stewart and immerse himself in the culture of the area.
“I want to learn more about Lowcountry cuisine,” he said. Phillips, a Connecticut Yankee, claims East Granby, near Hartford, as his hometown.
An avid outdoorsman, the general hopes to hunt and fish and do some skeet shooting. Engaging in these activities should help him get a first-hand look at post facilities, he said, so he can see what improvements need to be made.
Although the general commented he won’t have much time for hobbies, in what spare time he has he likes to read and play bass guitar.
Phillips began his military career in 1979 when he was commissioned in the regular Army. He served in Amor units in the U.S., Germany and the Balkans. The general commanded an M1 Abrams tank company in the 2nd Armored Division.
In 1988 Phillips served in Israel and Egypt with the United Nation’s Truce Supervision Organization. In the early 1990s, he was the public affairs officer for the 1st Cavalry Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1998 he served with the cavalry division in Bosnia. He has also served in Iraq.
Sign up for our e-newsletters