Philip Svitak was born on May 21, 1970, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He served as a Cadet in the Civil Air Patrol program, and was awarded the Billy Mitchell Award in 1988. Svitak enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program of the U.S. Army on August 30, 1988, and went on active duty to begin basic training on July 5, 1989. Pvt Svitak attended basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, from July to September 1989, and then attended CH-47 Chinook Medium Helicopter Repairman training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, from September 1989 to February 1990. He then attended initial training for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served as an MH-47 Chinook helicopter repairman and crew chief with Company A, 2d Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell from February 1990 until he left active duty on July 4, 1994. During this time, SPC Svitak deployed with his unit to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield from September 1990 to January 1991, and during Desert Storm in January 1991. He returned to active duty in the Army on August 24, 1994, and again served as an MH-47 crew chief with Company A, 2d Battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell from August 1994 until he was killed in action during Operation Anaconda while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on March 4, 2002. Philip Svitak was buried at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery in Joplin, Missouri.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while serving as a flight engineer for aircraft Razor 01, on 4 March 2002, in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Svitak's absolute commitment to the mission, superb leadership, and tactical expertise have ensured the success of his company. Sergeant Svitak's professionalism, devotion to duty, and warrior spirit are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 160th Special Opeations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), the United States Army Special Operations Command, the United States Army Central Command, and the United States Army.