Phil was born in 1916 in Greencastle, Indiania, but grew up in LaPorte, Indiania. Attending Purdue University, he earned a degree in forestry and conversation. On November 7, 1941, Phil enlisted in the Air Corps near his home at Fort Benjamin Harrison during his engagement to Cecile Perry. Allen had recieved a good reputation as being calm, cool, and quiet who had endured many harsh obstacles in WWII, like many others. Some of these challenges include being adrift at sea, declared "dead," and facing the severe reality of prisoner-of-war camps held by the Japanese. After he was found and returned home, Russell Allen Phillips married Cecile Perry, who never gave up on him, and they had two children.