Bowdoin senior Charles Phillips was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Marine Corps in the Bowdoin College Chapel Friday morning, May 25, 2018.
He took the oath from Captain Jake Nihart, of the USMC’s Officer Selection Team. Also taking part in the ceremony was Gunnery Sergeant Drew Berryman, USMC. In a time-honored tradition originating from colonial times, Phillips handed over a silver dollar to the first enlisted person to salute him as a commissioned officer. In this case, that person was Specialist Amir Parker, United States Army, who is a junior at Bowdoin.
In another ceremonial tradition, Phillips was presented with a sword—a weapon which Marine officers have been authorized to wear since 1825, in recognition of the role the Marines played in the Barbary wars earlier in the century (hence the line in the Marines’ hymn about “the shores of Tripoli.”) The sword was presented to Phillips by his father, also called Charles, himself a former Marine officer.
Phillips spoke briefly at the ceremony, giving thanks to the friends and family in attendance. “A lot of people go through life wondering if they made a difference,” he said, “but as a United States Marines officer, I will never know that feeling.”
Following graduation, his next stop will be The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, where he will spend six months studying war-fighting philosophy, the practical application of combat doctrine, and the art of leadership. Phillips reports there on June 11, 2018.