Spc. Philip C. S. Schiller
Former Connecticut Resident Killed In Afghanistan
Spc.Philip C.S. Schiller (Department of Defense / May 25, 2012)
Even after he was wounded by enemy fire in Afghanistan, Spec. Philip C. S. Schiller kept firing, his father and his aunt said Monday.
"He did his job," Erik Schiller said Monday. "He did his best to protect his unit."
"He continued to cover his squad even after he was hit," his aunt, Ellen Schiller Gilbert, said. "That prevented the rest of his squad from being killed."
For that, Schiller, who grew up in Connecticut, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medal.
"He took his military service very seriously, and he became a man in the service," Gilbert said.
The 21-year-old died April 11 in Kandahar province, according to officials at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington.
Schiller lived in the Pleasant Valley section of Barkhamsted, in West Hartford and in Winsted before moving to The Colony, Texas, when he was in high school, Gilbert and his father said.
He graduated in 2010 from The Colony High School, where he had joined the Junior Officers' Reserve Corps, according to a school spokeswoman. Before that, he'd attended Oliver Wolcott Regional Vocational Technical School in Torrington.
His economics teacher at The Colony High School, Andrea Scott, said Schiller was a well-liked student who was passionate about JROTC.
"It's terrible that we lost a sweet soul so early; however, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do," she said.
The same month he graduated, Schiller enlisted in the Army and attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga. He arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in November 2010.
He then was assigned to 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in December. Schiller's unit was deployed last month.
He had been deployed only two weeks when he was killed, Gilbert said.
"He wanted to serve his county since he was a little kid," his father said. "He was living his dream."
Gilbert described her nephew as a "caring, loving" individual."
Erik Schiller said Gov.Dannel P. Malloycalled him Monday to express his condolences. In a statement, the governor called Schiller a hero.
"My thoughts are with Specialist Schiller's family at this devastating time," Malloy said. "While Spec. Schiller no longer lived in Connecticut, we remember him as our own and honor his sacrifice and his courage.
"We lost a hero in battle, and our prayers are with Spec. Schiller's unit and the other men and women who are overseas in service to this nation. "