Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Mark Patrick Phelan

Green Lane, Pennsylvania

October 13, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
44 Army Lt. Col.

416th Civil Affairs Battalion

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Died in Mosul, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their convoy vehicle.

Phelan deployed with the 416th Civil Affairs Bn. in January 2004 to support operations in Iraq. He had recently extended his tour in Iraq to work with the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve unit based in Warwick, R.I.

He graduated in 1983 from West Chester University, West Chester, Pa., with a degree in criminal justice. Phelan entered the Army in May of that year and was commissioned an armor officer.

His previous assignments include: intelligence officer with the 157th Support Battalion; maintenance officer, headquarters, 79th Army Reserve Command, company commander, Company C, 157th Support Battalion; and vessel operations officer, executive officer and operations officer, 1185th Transportation Terminal Brigade.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Parachutist Badge.
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Lt.Col. Mark Patrick Phelan was survived by a Sister, Michele, brother in law and dear friend, Bill Hunter, brother Martin Phelan, pre deceased by brother Matthew Phelan. Also nephews, Chris and Bill Hunter, Ryan Phelan, nieces Shannon Phelan and Erin Phelan. 
All who adored him and miss him every day.
Mark P. Phelan loved sailing, while his wife adored animals. So the couple, between jaunts on the water, rescued dogs from animal shelters. "We always wanted to make each other's dreams come true, so we had a sailboat and a barn," said Phelan's wife, Brenda. Phelan, 44, of Green Lane, Pa., died Oct. 13 when a bomb hit his vehicle in Mosul. He was based at Morristown, Pa. Phelan and his wife owned and operated Phelan Services, which provides janitorial and other commercial services. He also was a manager of a continuing-care facility. He graduated from West Chester University in 1983 and worked for a year as a police officer in Stone Harbor, N.J. While in Iraq, he helped start a business center that offered such things as small-business loans. The troops also grew to depend on his CARE packages. "His office was the unofficial battalion variety store and always loaded with candy and children's drawings sent by his nieces and nephews to let Uncle Mark know how much they missed him and that he made them proud," said Lt. Col. Charles Hutt. Phelan also is survived by a 22-year-old daughter.

Associated Press
Upper Darby soldier killed in Iraq 
By Dan Russo , STAFF WRITER 
20 October 2004
A funeral mass to commemorate an Upper Darby High School graduate killed in Iraq October 13, 2004 is scheduled for Friday.

U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Mark Phelan, 44, a member of the class of 1979 and former Drexel Hill resident, died after a convoy he was in was bombed coming out of Mosul, according to Upper Darby Principal Geoff Kramer.

Phelan was a reservist with the U.S. Army's Norristown based 416th Civil Affairs Battalion.

He spent 22 years in the reserve, volunteering for two tours of duty in Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal, according to a report. Burial with full military honors is scheduled for October 26, 2004, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Upper Darby High School students paid their respects to Phelan with moment of silence yesterday morning.

Kramer, who said the school found out about the death Monday, described a solemn mood in the school after the commemoration in homeroom about 7:38 a.m.

"Afterwards, I think the kids were subdued because it really hits home," said principal Geoff Kramer Tuesday evening. "As far as I know this is the first Upper Darby High School graduate to be killed in Iraq."

Kramer, who has spent about 32 years at the high school, remembers he was a guidance counselor at Upper Darby when Phelan was a student.

"I remember him from the wrestling team," recalls Kramer. "We had a pretty good team [in '79]. He was a contributor.

"He was a good student and well behaved."

Phelan went to West Chester University and studied criminal justice.

Plaques have been erected in the high school to remember other alumni who have died while serving in the military. Plans on how to memorialize Phelan were unclear as of yesterday evening, Kramer said.

Phelan, whose home was in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, has a wife Brenda, and daughter April Klitsch. He and his wife owned Phelan Services Inc. and he was a manager at White Horse Village in Newtown Square.

"Mark will be remembered for his energetic spirit, love, loyalty, and devotion to family, friends, and country," an obituary released from Scanlin Funeral Home stated.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Mourners recall leader who 'loved his friends in the Army'

Lt. Col. Mark Phelan, 44, of Montgomery County, signed on to go back to Iraq. He died in a bombing.

By Christine Schiavo 
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

A picture of Lieutenant Colonel Mark Phelan, in uniform and smiling, greeted friends and family as they filed into St. Jude Catholic Church in Chalfont yesterday to celebrate more than to mourn his life.

"He was always up for a good time, always a lot of fun," Andrew Adams of West Chester, a lifelong friend, said in one of five eulogies. "He always knew how to make me laugh."

Colonel Phelan, 44, an Army reservist for 22 years who had served in Iraq with the Norristown-based 416th Civil Affairs Battalion, was killed when his convoy was bombed on October 13, 2004, in Mosul. He had returned to Iraq three days earlier from a two-week leave at home in Green Lane, Montgomery County, with his wife, Brenda, and their daughter, April.

Clutching a long-stemmed rose and her daughter's arm, Brenda Phelan left the church in tears yesterday as a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace" and three fighter jets flew overhead.

By all accounts, Mark and Brenda Phelan were best friends. She did not stand in the way when he decided to return to Iraq for six more months.

The 416th recently was deactivated, but Colonel Phelan signed on with another civil affairs unit to continue helping small businesses.

"Mark had never been happier and more fulfilled," an older brother, Michael, said at his funeral. "He believed in what he was doing."

A lover of animals and the outdoors, Colonel Phelan was remembered as an ordinary man of extraordinary character. He was a unit leader who earned respect by leading through example.

"My friend Mark didn't say, 'Go,' he said, 'Let's go,'" Lieutenant Colonel Frank Piacine said. "He loved his friends in the Army, and we loved him back."

Colonel Phelan grew up in Drexel Hill with three brothers and a sister. He graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1979 and West Chester University in 1983.

"Mark is my hero and an inspiration to me," said a younger brother, Martin.

As a child, Colonel Phelan defended his younger brother against bullies who teased him for going bald from cancer treatments. As a young man, Colonel Phelan assumed the role of father to his wife's young daughter. As a soldier, he volunteered for service in the most dangerous part of the world.

Calling him a good man whose greatness came in leading a "decent and honorable life," Piacine said, "We are better men and women for having known Mark Phelan."

Colonel Phelan will be buried Tuesday with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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