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Nov. 7, 2005
Contact: Capt. Keith Bland, Air Force ROTC, 864-1216.

Father/son Marines who served together in Iraq to speak at KU on Veterans Day

LAWRENCE -- A father/son Marine duo who served in Iraq together will return to the University of Kansas, the son's alma mater, to celebrate Veterans Day with university ROTC units.

KU's Arnold Air Society, Ennis C. Whitehead Squadron, Air Force ROTC, will lead the ceremonies honoring veterans with a flag retreat; presentations by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Phelps and his father, Master Gunnery Sgt. Kendall Phelps; and candlelight vigils on Friday, Nov. 11. Members of Army, Navy and Marine ROTC units also will participate.

The commemoration will begin with a formal flag retreat at 4:30 p.m. at Strong Hall. After a procession to the Kansas Union, a ceremony will be held in the Big 12 Room at which Maj. Phelps and Master Gunnery Sgt. Phelps will speak.

Following that, a 24-hour candlelight vigil will be observed from 7 p.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Korean and Vietnam war memorials on Memorial Drive.

The Phelpses served a seven-month tour in Iraq together this year, helping Iraqis rebuild the infrastructure in their country.

Christopher Phelps, a native of Silver Lake, joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1988. From 1988 to 1994, while attending KU, Phelps was an active-drilling reserve Marine in Topeka. He was called to active service during the Persian Gulf War and was trained as an air support control officer. From 1995 until 1998, he was on active duty with the Marine Air Support Squadron in Cherry Point, N.C. From July 1998 to January 2002, he re-entered the Selected Marine Corps Reserve and held 30 months of company command.

In 2002, he returned to active duty for the initial invasion of Iraq. He served again with the 2nd Marine Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom III. He currently is the Training Readiness Officer for the Marine Corps Mobilization Command.

Phelps is a 1993 graduate of KU with a bachelor's in literature and is working toward a master's in international affairs with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies.

Kendall Phelps joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966. He spent 13 months in Vietnam and was assigned to a fixed wing air transport and air-refueling unit. He left active duty to pursue a college degree and returned to the Selected Marine Corps Reserve in May 1975. He joined an infantry unit in Topeka, was the Marine of the Year for the ninth district in 1976, was the Topeka Chamber of Commerce Marine of the Year in 1990 and retired in March 1999. He was recalled to active duty in December 2004 and served a seven-month combat tour with the 2nd Marine Division in Ramadi, Iraq. Currently he is the senior staff-noncommissioned officer in the training branch of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command.

He is a 1974 graduate of Washburn University, where he earned a bachelor's in music education. He earned a master's in curriculum and instruction from Emporia State University in 1992. He spent 31 years as an educator in public school systems.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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