Brigadier General Chris McPhillips graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Aeronautics and was commissioned in June 1990 through the Platoon Leaders Course. Upon completion of AV-8B Harrier training in November 1993, he reported to VMA-311 and deployed to the Persian Gulf with 15th MEU and to Okinawa, Japan with 31st MEU. In June 1997, Brigadier General McPhillips reported to 1st Marine Division to serve as the Assistant Division Air Officer and Division Forward Air Controller. In 1998, he was selected to attend the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics School. He later deployed with VMA-311 to 31st MEU in Okinawa, Japan as Weapons and Tactics Instructor.
Beginning in July 2000, he served as a MAWTS-1 Instructor Pilot. During this tour, he deployed to the Persian Gulf with Marine Aircraft Group 13 as a Wing planner and pilot during Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and IRAQI FREEDOM. In 2003, he attended USAF Air Command and Staff College graduating with a Master’s Degree in Military Operational Science reporting to Aviation Plans and Policy, Headquarters Marine Corps in July 2004. There, he served as the Joint and External matters officer, leading the revision of DOD’s Joint Close Air Support Doctrine and development of the Joint Terminal Attack Controller and Joint Fires Observer programs.
After assuming command of VMFA-214 in November 2006, Brigadier General McPhillips deployed with the squadron to Iwakuni, Japan supporting two 31st MEU deployments. In June 2008, he attended the U.S. Naval War College earning a Master’s Degree in National Security. In June 2009, Brigadier General McPhillips then served as the Offensive Cyber Operations Division Chief, J3, Joint Chiefs of Staff until serving as the Executive Assistant to the J3, the Joint Staff. In April 2011, he reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Defense Business Board to serve as a Military Assistant researching Satellite Acquisitions and Fuel price hedging strategies for DOD.
In May 2013, he assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 13. The group comprised of AV-8B Harrier, F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, unmanned aerial systems, logistics, and support squadrons that supported combat operations and deployments globally. In 2015, Brigadier General McPhillips served as a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. In September 2015 he reported to 1st MAW to serve as Assistant Wing Commander. Brigadier General McPhillips assumed command of 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the duties of Deputy Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force in July 2017.
Brigadier General McPhillips is qualified to fly the AV8B, F-5N, and F-35B. His personal awards include: the Navy Achievement Medal, Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Legion of Merit and Defense Superior Service Medal.