PHILBIN MAJOR GENERAL EDWARD PHILBIN USAF (Ret.) Major General Ed Philbin passed away on January 12, 2014 in Denver, Colorado, following a lengthy illness. General Philbin had a notable military and civilian career, having served in three positions requiring confirmation by the U.S. Senate. From 1981-84, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs at the Department of Defense, responsible for the management of the Army and Air National Guard and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserve. In 1984, President Reagan appointed him as a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission; from 1990-94 he served under Presidents Bush and Clinton as Chairman and Commissioner of the Interstate Commerce Commission. He was the Executive Director of the National Guard Association of the United States from 1995-98, and later worked as a consultant on military policy and telecommunication issues. General Philbin was born in New York City in 1932 and graduated from Immaculata High School. At age 17 he enlisted in the Naval Air Reserve which began his lifetime passion for service to country and aviation. He received his Air Force Commission through ROTC at San Diego State University where he received a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Following flight school and active duty he transferred to the Air Force Reserve where his assignments included Headquarters, Continental Air Command, the 62nd Troop Carrier Wing, the 1501st Air Transport Wing, the 7602nd Air Intelligence Group and later Commander of Detachment 38, Tactical Weapons Center. While in the Reserve he worked as an engineer designing major components of the wings and tail of both fighter and transport aircraft. In 1965 he received his JD from the University of San Diego School Of Law, where he later served as a law professor. A senior rated navigator-bombardier, General Philbin served through the rank of Colonel in both Operations and Intelligence, with active duty at the Air War College from 1977-79 as a student and instructor. In 1985 he was named the Deputy Commanding General /Air for the District of Columbia National Guard which included Detachment 1 Airlift Unit and the 113th Tactical Fighter Wing. His last military assignment was as Commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard. Under his command were the 170th Air Refueling Group, the 177th Fighter Interceptor Group and the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing. His military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 OLC, Navy Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one device, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and other Awards. General Philbin had over 42 years of Active, Reserve and Air National Guard Service. He was an ardent student of military history and his wit, charm, presence and laugh would light up any room. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Vivian, and their three children, LTJG Matthew Philbin, USN, of Jacksonville Beach, FL; Michael Philbin of NYC and Catherine Philbin of Cambridge, MA. His family loved him dearly and will miss him greatly; he will live forever in their hearts. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on March 24th with funeral arrangements by Murphy Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests charitable donations to either The Fisher House Foundation; Homes for our Troops; or, The National Guard Educational Foundation.
Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 16, 2014