Colonel Sara Phoenix enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1977. She attended Marine Corps Recruit Training at Parris Island SC, graduating from K Company in March 1978. She attended the Legal Services and Court Reporter Courses at Camp Pendleton CA in 1978 and the Administrative School, Parris Island SC in 1979. As an enlisted Marine she was assigned to Ammunition Company, Greenville SC and later to Officer Candidate School, Quantico VA.
She graduated from Clemson University in 1982, attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 1983. Immediately following OCS she attended The Basic School and Communications Officers Course at Quantico, VA. Col Phoenix received her Master’s degree from Webster University in 1989. She has completed the Amphibious Warfare School, Command and Staff College and several Naval War College and National Defense University courses.
Colonel Phoenix has served in a variety of assignments and duty stations. In August 1984 Colonel Phoenix reported to Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28, Cherry Point, NC where she served as a station Communications Center watch officer, an S-3 action officer and the Communications Center Platoon Commander. She was promoted to First Lieutenant in August 1985. She participated in Exercise Anchor Express (1986) in Norway. In August 1986 Colonel Phoenix reported to 4th Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island, SC and served as a Series Commander in K Company. She then served as base Protocol Officer for nine months before returning to 4th RT Bn as the Training Officer (S-3) and later the S-3 of Support Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment. While at Parris Island she was promoted to Captain.
Colonel Phoenix resigned from active duty and joined 8th Tank Battalion (SMCR), Rochester, NY in October 1989 as the Battalion Communications Officer (S-6). In November 1990 she was mobilized for Operation Desert Shield and assigned to Communications Company, 2nd Marine Division as the OIC of the Division Communications Center in Kibrit, Saudi Arabia. After returning from Operation Desert Storm Colonel Phoenix entered the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). During her time in the IRR she was promoted to Major and performed many diverse duties including augmenting the staff of the Command and Staff College, Quantico, VA, and working Public Affairs at the Office of Naval Research, and at II MEF for Exercise Dynamic Mix 98.
In July 1999 Colonel Phoenix joined US Space Command (SPACECOM) Individual Mobilization Augmentation unit, Colorado Springs, CO, as a Satellite Communications Officer. She was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in July 2000. Colonel Phoenix was mobilized in September 2001 for Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom and assigned to the Space and Information Operations Element as an Information Operations planner. During this time she also assisted in the transition of SPACECOM to Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE as part of the SPACECOM merger with US Strategic Command. Once the merger was complete Colonel Phoenix returned to Colorado Springs as a watch officer in the Global Satellite Communications Center.
In March 2004 Colonel Phoenix transferred to the II Marine Expeditionary Force (IIMEF) Augmentation Command Element (II MACE). She was again recalled to active duty as a II MACE augmentee to the II MEF G-3 staff. She was assigned as the IIMEF Information Operations Officer. Colonel Phoenix deployed to Iraq in February 2005 and served as a Public Affairs media analyst. She returned in August 2005 and served as the IIMEF Public Affairs Officer.
Promoted in October 2005 and remaining on active duty, Colonel Phoenix reported to Marine Central Command as the Officer-in-Charge, Patient Administration Tracking Teams, directing multiple teams in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Germany. Colonel Phoenix retired in February 2018 and is currently the Senior Marine Instructor for the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at United South High School, Laredo TX.
Colonel Phoenix’s personal decorations include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster in lieu of subsequent award, Navy Achievement Medal, and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. She has also received numerous other awards and recognitions including Soroptimist “Women Making a Difference” and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation “Col Hamblet Award.”