In this episode of Mississippi Stories, Mississippi Today Editor-at-Large Marshall Ramsey sits down with Brigadier General Maxey J. Phillips (Retired) of the Mississippi Air National Guard. Maxey fell in love with aviation early in life as he picked cotton on his family’s Northeast Mississippi farm. He watched as World War 2 training aircraft (AT-6 Texans) buzzed over his head. While they were training future pilots, they also lit a dream in a small boy.
After graduating from Mississippi State with an aeronautical engineering degree, Maxey joined the U.S. Air Force where he trained to fly the Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-4 Phantom. From the Cuban Missile Crisis, to Vietnam, to England and back to Mississippi, Maxey tells stories about his nearly 40-year career in the Air Force.
Those stories include a career-altering conversation with legendary aviator General Chuck Yeager, a near-fatal encounter with a turkey buzzard while flying at 480 knots and his time as the 172nd Airlift Wing Commander in Jackson, Mississippi. Most poignantly for Memorial Day weekend, though, Maxey talks about his fallen comrades and a beloved uncle who died in Vietnam.