Profiles in Leadership - Staff Sgt. Tiah Phillips

  • Published
  • By Maj. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

Adventure called to Staff Sergeant Tiah Phillips when she joined the Air Force at 17 years old. She started as a C-130H loadmaster, ensuring the safe loading of aircraft cargo and personnel. Then, taking the opportunity to train into vehicle operations, she deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2011. She drove dozens of convoy missions in tractor trucks, bring back heavy equipment from forward operating bases as operations were drawn down.  “Deployment was one of the most terrifying and confidence boosting experiences of my life. I would 100 percent do it again. I really felt part of the mission.”

As her active duty, six-year enlisted commitment ended, Phillips used her education benefits to pursue a psychology degree. “After a two year break from the service, I realized how much I missed the uniform and structure so I joined the local Reserve unit as a Knowledge Management technician.” Bringing her positive, “can-do” attitude to the unit, Phillips can be seen helping or hosting numerous morale and welfare events in addition to her daily duties. “The Reserves feels more like a family than a job.”

Since stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Phillips grew close with an elderly neighbor who continues her decade long fight with. “Service is a commitment both in and out of uniform” she said. Phillips spends her free time caring for her neighbor by taking her to appointments, yard work and cooking meals. “At 87 years old, she has become one of my best friends and I want her to have a fulfilling life,” said Phillips. “Serving ten years in the Air Force so far with another ten to go, military life has taught me the importance of hard work and taking care of people.”