If you asked Maj. Gen. Philip Killey, what attributes are important for a military career he’d probably say, comraderie, determination, discipline and an ability to both win and lose with dignity. He credits his upbringing by parents who valued hard work and discipline and his hometown of Monmouth, IL for teaching him the values of honesty and integrity, essential traits for s lifetime of service to his country.
In an interview in 2009 with Justin Sims from Monmouth’s Daily Review Atlas, General Killey talked about the appeal of a military life.“We literally depended on a bond of trust…We learned to be honest and forthright… It was an opportunity to protect the Constitution, and I still feel a pride in that which hasn’t diminished today”.
General Killey was the first Air National Guard officer to lead an Air Combat Command Numbered Air Force in a federal mission. At the opening of the Killey Center for Homeland Operations in 2009, General Hank Morrow said of Killey, “He transformed 1st Air Force into a total force organization…. We owe a debt of gratitude to General Killey…, and this tribute was just a small way to ensure that debt is paid in full.”
When Phil learned the new building was to be dedicated to him he said he was deeply touched. “When General Morrow told me about this over the phone, I couldn’t even speak for five minutes,” he said. “Now, when I see my name on this building, I am deeply honored and humbled.”
The transformation of the 1st Air Force from an active duty organization to a guard-led organization occurred under his command in the mid-to-late 1990s. “I was there at the beginning and believed it was a good idea, that it made sense,” he said. “It was a major challenge, but we made it happen on time and under cost. Today, no one does their job more professionally than 1st Air Force.” (Source: Air Combat Command article “Killey, Arnold recognized at Dedication Ceremony, March 13, 2009)
Major General Phil Killey retired in 2003 with more than 6.500 flying hours.