Phillips, Samuel C. (1921–1990)

Samuel Phillips was a senior United States Air Force officer who led the Apollo program. Phillips trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Wyoming and also participated in the Civilian Pilot Training Program during World War II. Following his graduation in 1942, he entered the Army infantry but soon transferred to the air component. As a young pilot he served with distinction in the Eighth Air Force in England, earning two distinguished flying crosses, eight air medals, and the French croix de guerre. His growing interest in aeronautical research and development led him to become involved in the development of the B-52 bomber in the early 1950s and then to head the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile program in the latter part of the decade. In 1964 Phillips, by this time an Air Force general, was seconded to NASA to head the Apollo Moon landing program. He returned to the Air Force in the 1970s and commanded Air Force Systems Command up to his retirement in 1975.