On Sunday, April 2, New Hampshire filmmakers Bob Bear and Jay MacNamee, premiered An American Solo to a crowd of more than 200 individuals at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, raising nearly $14,000 for Veterans Count, a program of Easterseals NH.
An American Solo chronicles the extraordinary life of NH resident Col. Norman Phillips (USAF ret.), as told in his own words, starting with his parentless childhood in a small Massachusetts mill town. Norm went on to become a highly decorated WWII fighter pilot with 99 combat missions to his credit.
During the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Norm commanded the US Air Force’s elite 22nd Squadron in Germany – one of America’s first fighter squadrons armed with nuclear weapons. Among the pilots he mentored in that group were future astronauts Ed White and Buzz Aldrin, award-winning novelist James Salter, and Pete Peterson, a six-year prisoner in the “Hanoi Hilton” who became the United States’ first post-war Ambassador to Vietnam.
Norm went on to serve several years in the Pentagon and then chose to go train pilots to fly the F-105 during the Vietnam War. He eventually became a “reluctant volunteer” for the war himself and, as a 46 year old, full Colonel, flew dozens successful combat missions in Southeast Asia before being shot down over Laos.
After barely surviving a harrowing rescue, Norm retired from the Air Force and embarked on his second life. He turned down a lucrative offer to become a business executive, opting instead to go to college. He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, where he earned his BFA and MFA in Art. Upon finishing his Masters, he was hired by the University to teach sculpture, which he did for 19 years.
Now a vigorous 95-year-old, Norm is a published author who is currently working on his second novel. Having witnessed a significant portion of the 20th century from 12,000 feet, Norm may be one of the last clear voices of a generation, and is he very candid in his assessments and opinions, some of which stand in stark contrast to those of other military veterans.
An American Solo is a “labor of love” by two first-time filmmakers, and is a 2017 Normandie International World War II Film Festival Official Selection.
About Veterans Count
Since 2006, Easterseals Military & Veterans Services provided more than 9,600 individuals with services for challenges including suicide prevention, employment, homelessness, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and mental health issues resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. Additionally, Veterans Count provides emergency financial assistance for food, home maintenance, utilities, housing, rent, fuel assistance, vehicle repair, child care, gasoline, and medical bills. To learn more about Veterans Count, please visit www.vetscount.org/nh.
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