|Sidney C. "Sid" Phillips Jr.|
Sid after Cape Gloucester
Private First Class
Battle of Cape Gloucester
Deceased as of September 26, 2015 (aged 91)
Private First Class Sidney "Sid" Phillips Jr. was a Marine in the 1st Marine Division who was friends with Eugene Sledge proir to his time in WWII. He served in How company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Sid's history reflects that of his real-life counterpart. Before enlisting in the Marines, he is shown off by his friend Eugene Sledge, who can't enlist because of a heart murmur.
Sid is one of the original 1st Marines who participated in Guadalcanal, participating as a 81mm mortarman in the battle in Robert Leckie's unit. At the end of the Battle of the Tenaru, Sid and the other marines sort of celebrated his birthday when they sang an altered version of the birthday song while they were going to the next checkpoint.
Sid continues to participate in the campaign, and interacts with Leckie and his friends often. He is next seen on the navy ship headed for Melbourne.
After four months of battle in Guadalcanal, the marines are sent to Melbourne. Sid meets a girl named Gwen who's grandfather makes sure that he understands proper behavior when it comes to his granddaughter, then 2 M.P's storm the bar telling them that every marine must have a liberty pass or they will return back to the stadium. A marine threw a glass of beer at the door nearly hitting an M.P and all the marines flee the area. Sid tells Gwen's grandfather that he has a liberty pass which was an absolute lie. They are next seen in the park teaching Gwen about baseball, then a marine comes to him telling him that he has limited time left before returning back to the stadium. She takes him to her room, and before saying goodbye to Gwen, he unbuttons her shirt, and they make love....
Phillips does not have an important role in Part four. He is seen laying down with Leckie's former company to repel Japanese attack, frightened at Cape Gloucester. At camp, one of them talks about Basilone returning home, selling war bonds and living in paradise. Later, Sid, along with Leckie, witness Pfc. Ronnie Gibson choking a dying enemy soldier to death. Before shipping out to Pavuvu, Sid decides to become a physician should he come home.
Prior to the Peleliu Landings
Sid doesn't have much of an important role in Part Five, however, his conversations with Sledge reflect just how much innocence he has lost compared to his fresh marine of a friend. He is seen running towards his friend Cpl. Eugene Sledge after not seeing Sledge since leaving for Guadalcanal and playfully tussling with him. Captain Andrew "Ack Ack" Haldane along with Lt. Edward "Hillbilly" Jones arrive and both immediately snap to attention. Captain Haldane asks them why Phillips is trying to pin Sledge to the ground. Sledge tells them that they are old friends from back home. Haldane leaves them alone. Sid tells Sledge that he's being shipped out at some point. He is shipped out before Sledge can say goodbye.
After arriving home, Sid visits Eugene Sledge's family and assures them that their son is safe as a mortarman, though whether or not he actually believes this is up to debate.
Sid recovers from his experiences during an unspecified period of time. Eventually, Sledge himself comes home having lost as much innocence as Sid had, so now they could relate a lot better than they could in Pavuvu. He first asks Sledge about his pipe, to which the latter tells him that it calms him down from the trauma. Sid offers to drive further up the driveway than the gate to Sledge's house, but Sledge refuses and Sid drives away. Sid later shows up at a party, where Sledge confides his feelings to him. Sid tells Sledge that the other surviving Marines, including himself, has had the same thoughts as Sledge confided in him. This is interrupted by Sid's wife-to-be, Mary Houston who tells Sid to go back inside.
Sid is never seen again in Part Ten, however, it is revealed later that...
He enrolled in Spring Hill College, then went to medical school to become a family physician. In April 1946 he married his wife-to-be, and his best man was Eugene Sledge. He enlisted in the reserves while at Spring Hill, then was finally discharged in April 1948.
He lived quietly in Alabama, after completing a long career and finally retiring. He would eventually write his memior You'll be sor-ree, about his combat experiences in WWII. He reports that Sledge's widow and sons introduced him to Ken Burns's writing team, then later the HBO writers, so that he was able to provide needed information about the lives of WWII Marines in combat. He died September 26, 2015 in his hometown.
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- Sid has frequent interaction with Robert Leckie in the series. In reality, while Sid knew him well and they were in the same company, they were in different platoons and did not have a very close friendship as revealed in an interview with him decades later.
- Sid is a notable figure in the series because he is the only one to have major appearences in two storylines. Although, ironically, he is mentioned by neither Leckie in his memior, nor Sledge in his memoir.