Military Memories – With Summer of ’67 Actor Dean Phillippi

As we count down to the June 29 release of Summer of ’67, we’re celebrating Military Appreciation Month by sharing  memories from men and women who have sacrificed much for our country. Today we have a special memory from Dean Phillippi, a Vietnam Veteran who plays the role of a Navy Officer in Summer of ’67

I could tell a lot of true and actual stories; (Good bad or indifferent), and it would take too long.

In Brief:
Right after I graduated from high school, I was the last year of the Draft. That was devastating for high school grads who wanted to go on to College, and/or workforce, but on a daily basis, they chose numbers out of the 365 day year. If your birth date was in the top 10, you were immediately drafted and went straight to the Marines/Army, and were taught to carry, shoot, and protect the USA. Those days were stressful, to say the least, and I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Aircraft Flight and Aircraft Maintenance.

As a flight crew member, some of the Jet Aircrafts that I worked with were:A-1 Skyraider, A-3 Skywarrior, A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, A-7 Corsair, C-1 Trader, E-1 Tracer, EKA-3 Skywarrior, EA-1 Skyraider, S-2 Tracker, and the propeller planes were:  SH-2/UH-2 Sea Sprite, SH-3 Sea King.

I was proud of serving our country, and learned a lot of maturity, survival, and how important it was to serve and protect our country!

Yes, we never did get the “Welcome Home” veterans at all. After a while, we were allowed to wear plain clothes during our flights home, since that era there was hatred toward the veterans serving. We were 17, too young and in some cases, did not want to go to war, let alone hurt or kill someone, but that was our obligation – survival and defend our country.

I saw a lot go to Canada to avoid the draft, saw friends come back home in wheel chairs, crippled and even in caskets, and we were affected by the Jane Fonda rebellion against our troops, but as a proud American, I served and did my duty. Our families at home were always on edge, wondering about us daily, as we were, in deep thought about them.

Today, I am a proud member of the Vietnam Veterans of America and serve as the Color Guard Captain! We wear our Vietnam War Era uniforms, and I proudly carry the American flag. Oh yes, I had a Color Guard of 22 men, and in the picture below, I’ve lost several of them here in the past few years due to “Agent Orange”! That chemical is a totally different story since it took us several years to prove that it was Vietnam War related, and we won that battle, but so many proud Vietnam Veterans are suffering today and/or have died from it!

God Bless America, God Bless all those Vietnam War Era Veterans; (Men and Women), and thank you Sharon Campbell Wilharm and Fred Wilharm for doing this feature film, and allowing me to play the role as a Lieutenant. It meant a true value to me personally to be a part of this film.


I’d highly recommend  Summer of 67 as a must-see film for you and your family! To me it was truly inspirational, and the film gives you a true insight as to what it was like in the lives of those families, wives and girlfriends that were home waiting for their soldier to come home.  I personally lived during that era, so I personally saw the people that went through the ups and downs of emotional feelings, hardships, disbeliefs, heartbreaks and heartfelt situations, and yes, as a military veteran, I walked along side those military veterans, so personally I saw what our proud veterans did for our country.  As history states, during the Vietnam War Era, unfortunately there was no “Welcome Home”, for those military men, but the families, wives and girlfriends, were a major part of our lives to welcome us home.  This film will depict all of this, so it is definitely a must see film.

Dean Phillippi has trained and worked professionally in acting for about 10 years, and has appeared in over 40+ films, 7+ TV Series, 15+ Commercials, 5+ Live Stage Plays and 5+ Music Videos along with several print shoots for modeling! His dream work is to act in Christian Films, Action Films, Historical Films and True Story Films. 

Dean enlisted into the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam War Era as a computer management professional.



I Can Only Imagine Study Guide – Review and Recommendation

Guest review by Clay Herd.

I Can Only Imagine is a movie that carries with it a powerful message of redemption and salvation. Now the themes of this movie can be brought to your congregation, your household, or just yourself for a powerful dive into the gospels of Jesus Christ.

I want to begin with the journal. This is a beautiful leather bound piece that not only looks great but serves as a great friend as you dive into the four week guide. This journal is what first drew me to the study. When I saw it, I knew right away that I wanted it. Little did I know that when I would dive into this study I would find so many great things that would await me.

The journal guide is a four week study through the gospels. You will spend time reflecting on the scriptures, watching scenes from the movie on the accompanying DVD, and looking at reflection questions. This seems pretty strait forward, but having a ministry background, I am often weary of devotionals like this. Many that are out reflect on shallow themes and barely glance over scripture with a how does this make you feel approach. Not this book. As week one will take you into reflecting on your past, the rest of the guide will do just that, guide you through scriptures to the four main themes – imagining approval(a loving father), forgiveness, redemption, and eternal life (going home).

If you are looking for a great study that takes more than a glance at scripture and really allows you to take your experiences into account as you look at these four themes, then don’t look any further. I am often very hesitant to recommend a study for churches because everyone’s congregation is different, but these themes are timeless and applicable for any generation young or old.

Get the journal, devotional, and DVD for the complete experience as you look at Bart Millard’s experiences and discover Jesus has a great love for you as well. I would highly recommend this study to all – churches, youth groups, women’s ministries, or just someone who is looking for a devotional to deepen their walk.

Social Corner:

Purchase link –  Use promotional code: frontgate10 for 10% off the I Can Only Imagine Series and/or Journal


Disclaimer: I was given a free copy to give an honest review. Opinions expressed are our own.

Summer of ’67 Military Memories

Summer of ’67 is a Vietnam War love story based on real events. My dad was aboard the USS Forrestal when it caught fire on July 29, 1967. Growing up, I heard the stories and wondered what it must have been like for those sweethearts, wives, and moms as they watched the news but had no idea whether their men were alive, injured, or killed. Summer of ’67 is my way to introduce younger generations to the complexities of the Vietnam War and the turbulent sixties. It’s told from a female perspective, focusing not on the war, but on the loved ones left behind and the struggles faced back on the homefront.

Eleanor Brown – Actress

As we count down to the theatrical release of Summer of ’67, I’ll be interviewing some of the cast and crew members, and I’m kicking off with Eleanor Brown. She plays a supporting role as Mama Sooze in Summer of ’67. You may remember her from her role as Kayla Hayes in Courageous. She’s a wonderfully sweet soul as well as a great actress.

Summer of ’67 Theatrical Release

It is with great excitement that I announce that we have a release date for Summer of ’67! On June 29 Summer of ’67 will officially release at Regal Hollywood Stadium 27 in Nashville, Tennessee. It will screen for a full week. If it does well, it can continue for another week. And it will continue screening as long as it’s doing well. No small task since we’re releasing in the summer amidst blockbuster movies, but we’ll be doing everything in our power to keep it showing just as long as we can.

Melissa Anschutz – Actress and Producer

As part of my continuing coverage of Wild Faith, I’m excited to talk with Melissa Anschutz, actress and co-producer of the film. Melissa majored in theatre with a minor in literature at CMU and WMU. She’s performed in 26 films, five television series, and several commercials. I love that she produced her first theatrical show when she was seven. 

Upper Room Film Festival – With Director Charles Willis

Charles Willis is passionate about films and the gospel. He believes a film that presents the gospel in a fresh and real way will have a lasting impact on our society. With that in mind, he wanted to have a film festival in Dallas that would showcase the work of faith-based filmmakers. He reached out to me on Twitter to help filmmakers know about this brand new festival taking place in November.

Ozark Mountain Film Festival – Guest Post by Steven Brown

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the first annual Ozark Mountain Film Festival at the beautiful Chateau on the Lake Hotel and Resort in Branson, Missouri.

Lauren LaStrada – Actress

Lauren LaStrada, is a professional actress, singer, ordained minister and published author who studied classical piano, violin, French horn, competitive figure skating and is a former student of the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. She’s also the leading lady in the new movie Wild Faith.  She does a fabulous job as Haddie, a freed slave struggling to find her place during the Reconstruction era.