Dean Phillips was born on July 27, 1934, in New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on June 6, 1956, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force in 1957. After completing Reconnaissance Officer training, he was assigned to the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Forbes AFB, Kansas, where he served as an RB-47H Stratojet reconnaissance officer from 1958 until he was killed in action during a reconnaissance flight in international waters near the Soviet Union on July 1, 1960. Capt Phillips was officially listed as Missing in Action until declared dead one year later, on July 1, 1961. His remains have never been recovered from the Barents Sea, but he does have a cenotaph at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 1 July 1960. The effectiveness and courage exhibited by Captain Phillips in the accomplishment of this mission, under exceptional conditions, ably demonstrated his proficiency and steadfast devotion to duty. The professional ability and airmanship displayed by Captain Phillips reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force