Born Robert G. Phillips on 18 March 1921 to parents Wendell A. Phillips (1878-1952) and Grace L. Phillips (1883-1973) of Chanute, Kansas. Joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve (O-17149). Completed primary flight training and was assigned to Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 236 (VMSB-236) Black Panthers at Marine Corps Air Station Mojave, California. Deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa on the island of Oahu, Hawaii for follow-on combat training. On 1-9 November 1943, he was with Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing on the USS Breton underway in the South Pacific area of operations. On 10 November 1943, he catapulted off the USS Breton and flew as the Pilot aboard a single-engine Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber (Bureau of Aeronautics serial #35946). It was one of 55 Douglas SBD Dauntless bombers, plus 34 Grumman TBF Avengers, and 54 Vought F4U-1 Corsairs on a bombing mission against the Japanese forces located at the parallel runways on the Buka and Bonis Islands in the Papua New Guinean province of Bougainville. No contact with enemy fighter planes were reported. Flak from anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) was described as of moderate intensity with light medium and heavy caliber, and very intense heavy AAA from the north tip of Sohana Island. He was killed when his aircraft crashed into the sea on a bearing of 155 degrees approximately 25 miles from Espiritu Santo Island, in the New Hebrides island chain.