Philip Van Deusen

Philip H. Van Deusen 85 of East Haven passed away August 25, 2019. He was born December 24, 1933 in Yonkers NY to Philip and Alice (Diehl) Van Deusen. Philip is survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Mildred “Millee” (Dunn) Van Deusen and his children: Philip C. Van Deusen, Stephen Van Deusen (Susan), Lauren Harte Faragasso (Perry), her children: Daniel Rubino, James Rubino, Richard Rubino (Kathy), Anthony Rubino (Cindy) and Kathy O’Neill (John). Philip is also survived by 19 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, nieces, nephew and a sister, Gloria Fant. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Thomas Fant.


Staff Sergeant Philip H. Van Deusen served during Cold War 1953-1957.  In January 1953, he was sworn in by the Air Force at Whitehall Street in downtown New York.  Mr. Van Deusen started 6 weeks basic training at Sampson AFB in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, then transferred to Amarillo Texas where he graduated in the top ten percent of his class with his choice of base.  Philip selected Lockbourne AFB in Ohio.  Lockbourne, the 91st SRW (Strategic Reconnaissance Wing) on the ground floor of SAC with B45C as first bombers, he was assigned to the 324th squadron where he became crew chief of RB47E.  The highlight of his time in the 91st was a history making deployment to RAF, Fairford, England in April 1954. 


On May 8th, 1954, Captain Hal Austin flew Philip Van Deusen's RB47E, with him, in a secret mission over the USSR.  During which they flew one and a half hours into denied territory, they photographed 13 strategic targets from Murmansk to Arkhangelsk Russia all during which time 5 Migs were trying to take them down.  Huge holes in the plane bears the evidence of the air battle, never to be spoken of again for 50 years due to the secrecy act.  After eight hours, they were finally flying to safety over Finland, landing back at Fairford AFB with an entourage of fire trucks and well guarded camera crew to download the top secret film which protected us from Russia. 


In August 1954, Philip was one of the four crew chiefs deployed to Sidi Slimain in French Morocco working on eight RB47E's around the clock in the 110-120 degree desert heat.  Without sleep for 3 days he replaced a fuel tank pump readying for a Max effort.  Philip's last assignment was at Plattsburgh AFB in the frozen part of NY next to the Canadian border, where temperatures went to minus 42 degrees in the winter.  He crewed the RB47E given the name of  “City of Plattsburgh” pride of the 380th Bomb Wing, and had a surprise visit from General Curtis Le May asking to inspect it together.  Philip was also on board with the A-Bomb on a RB47E flying its 24 hour mission from Plattsburgh over Canada past Alaska and elsewhere back to New York which took place everyday of the year from different bases as part of the Cold War monitoring of Russia then called the USSR.


Our mission was “To Serve and Protect Our Country”, which Philip took to heart.  After Philip Van Deusen served and protected during the Cold War, he finished four more years as a recruiting sergeant in White Plains, NY after which he became a Police Officer for White Plains.


After the Police Department Phil was accepted for state police but decided to become a salesman in the pharmaceutical industry, working in distribution.  Had a career of over 40 years retiring as a regional VP at H.D. Smith & Co.  He was a two-time President in Armonk, Lions Club and served in all chairs.  Was a Lion for 40 years.  When he moved to East Haven he was asked to charter a Lions Club in East Haven and was the first charter President.  A member of Air Force Association Chapter Iron Gate in NY meeting at 21 Club and is a member of the Wings Club at Yale Club.  He was also a member of the American Legion Post #89, served on Circle Lanes 2 bowling leagues and loved golfing, swimming and hunting.


Family will receive friends on Friday, August 30, 2019 from 2 -4 p.m. & 7-9 p.m. at the Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home (Clancy Funeral Home), 43 Kirkham Ave., East Haven. His funeral procession will leave Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, August 31 for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11a.m. in St. John Bosco Parish at the Church of St. Mary, 731 Main Street, Branford with Committal and Military Honors to follow at East Lawn Cemetery, East Haven.


All are welcome to attend and celebrate Philip Van Deusen’s life. Flowers and donations can be sent to Clancy Palumbo Funeral Home at 43 Kirkham Ave, East Haven, CT 06512