Phil Conran was born on April 13, 1937, in Hartford, Connecticut. He enlisted in the Connecticut Air National Guard on November 15, 1953, and served as a Motor Pool Dispatcher until receiving his commission through the Air Force ROTC Program at Fordham University, New York, on June 11, 1958. Lt Conran went on active duty beginning December 10, 1958, and he completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his Pilot Wings at Laredo AFB, Texas, in January 1960. He then completed Helicopter Pilot Training before being assigned to the 1st Operations Squadron at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, where he served from August 1960 to February 1962. His next assignment was with the 55th Air Rescue Squadron at Kindley AFB, Bermuda, from February 1962 to March 1965. During this time, Capt Conran deployed in support of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He then served as an instructor with the Air Force ROTC detachment at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, from June 1965 to June 1968. During this period, he was attached to the California Air National Guard as an Instructor Pilot flying C-97 Stratofreighter transports out of Van Nuys, California, where he made several trips carrying supplies to Southeast Asia. After completing CH-3 conversion training, he was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, where he flew combat missions from November 1968 to November 1969. Maj Conran then served with the 6593rd Test Squadron of the 6594th Test Group at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from November 1969 to July 1973. He then served as Executive Officer for the Air Force Satellite Control Facility at Los Angeles AFS, California, fro one year prior to becoming the Commander of the Air Force Satellite Control Station in New Boston, New Hampshire, from August 1974 to August 1977, when he entered the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. After graduating in July 1978, Col Conran attended the Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, prior to becoming the Commander of the Air Force Physical Security Systems Directorate at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, in September 1981. His next assignment was at Eglin AFB, Florida, where he served as the Detachment Commander and the Director of Inspections for Air Force Systems Command. He then served as Vice Commander for one year and then Commander of the Arnold Engineering Development Center at Arnold AFB, Tennessee, for three years. Col Conran's final assignment was as Commander of the Air Force European Office of Aerospace Research and Development in London, England, where he served from 1985 until his retirement from the Air Force on December 31, 1988.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Philip J. Conran, Major, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as Aircraft Commander of a CH-3E helicopter of the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 56th Special Operations Wing, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, SEVENTH Air Force, in action at a classified location in Southeast Asia on 6 October 1969. On that date, while attempting to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter, Major Conran's aircraft was hit by intense hostile ground fire and he was forced to make a crash landing in the vicinity of the other aircraft. Once on the ground, he successfully evacuated his aircraft and assumed a major role in defending the crash site against an overwhelming hostile force until rescue was possible six hours later. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness n the face of hostile fire, Major Conran reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.