WASHINGTON, May 22, 2009 – In his annual Memorial Day message to servicemembers
worldwide, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff evoked the sacrifice of an
airman who died in Afghanistan last month.
Here is Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's message:
“On Memorial Day, and every day, we honor Americans who volunteer to serve a
cause greater than themselves – Americans just like Phillip Myers.
“Growing up in Hopewell, Virginia, Phillip was, some say, just ‘like any other
teenager.' He went to school, loved cars and music, and for a few years after
high school, he held a job near home. Phillip joined the Air Force in 1999 as an
Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician because, as he once half-joked, “it paid
more.” But everyone around him knew differently – he was merely following his
“Spending all ten years of his service overseas, including tours in Iraq and
Afghanistan, his father said Phillip always looked out for the people serving
under him, and that ‘if he thought a job was too dangerous, he'd get out and
check it himself.' He had previously received both the Purple Heart and the
Bronze Star for valor, but Phillip wasn't motivated by accolades. He knew he was
just looking out for his people, and trying to get the job done.
“On April 4th, 2009, near Helmand Province in Afghanistan, Technical Sergeant
Phillip Myers died doing what he loved to do – protecting the lives of others –
while disarming an improvised explosive device.
“It was nearly 65 years ago when Ernie Pyle, the famous wartime reporter,
captured a similar spirit of seemingly ordinary young men, extraordinarily
fighting and dying on the beaches of Normandy: they were ‘fighting for each
other.' We are reminded that the story of Phillip Myers is a special but
timeless one – the story of Americans simply doing what they love, on behalf of
those they care for most.
“Memorial Day is about families and friends, bound by service, commitment, and
sacrifice. As you gather this holiday weekend with those you love, please
remember Phillip's family, his wife, daughter, and son, and thousands of other
families of the fallen, just like them – for whom this day will be forever
“On behalf of the more than two million soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines,
Coastguardsmen, and their families, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I wish you a
very enjoyable and safe Memorial Day.”
Admiral, U.S. Navy