Phil Downer is a combat veteran. He speaks nationally to all branches of the service on subjects of leadership, core values, and the importance of military training and service. He also shares his story at chapels, field chapels and voluntary military gatherings.
Since 2003, Phil Downer has spoken 123 times to over 40,000 members of the U.S. military. He presents motivational messages on the value of military service in building character, integrity, and teamwork in chapel settings. For voluntary formations, he shares the story of his Christian faith. He has spoken on Marine and Navy bases and to Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Phil relates how the discipline he learned on the parade deck at MCRD San Diego saved his life when carrying out ambushes in Viet Nam, when he had to stay awake, be attentive, not move, and have the discipline to overcome the temptation to move, scratch, or wiggle that would have given away his position. He makes the statement that while he did not always understand all of the purposes his drill instructors were attempting to achieve at MCRD, he realized later that their training kept him alive in Viet Nam, and wished he could find those men and thank them for what they did in his life. He describes the value he received from the teamwork in the military, having been an unfaithful college “flunk-out” prior to joining. He encourages the Recruits to do their best, because their service will be respected in all fields of employment and future endeavors.
Want to Strengthen Military Marriages?
To find out about the Military Marriage Renewal weekends which Phil offers for all branches of the U.S. armed services, click here!
Investing in people is Phil Downer’s passion. True life stories integrated with rich Biblical truth help produce discipled men and mature godly leadership. This is the need of the hour and what DNA is all about. ~Randy Weyeneth, Major, USMC (Retired), The Navigators Military Ministry, Camp Pendleton, California
I personally have the utmost regard for Phil Downer’s presentation of discipleship and the Gospel. Phil spoke with competence on the subject and clearly communicated the gospel message with great illustrations bringing out the truths of the Scripture he shared. The audience hung on every word as he spoke. Phil’s message to the students of the School of Infantry of the United States Marines was plainly understood. At the end of his message he gave an invitation to receive Christ and 17 Marines put their trust in Christ that evening. Phil’s speaking on discipleship at Camp Pendleton to the Navigator Military Ministry group encouraged the group to live for Christ and reach out to disciple others. The Marines loved what Phil shared and fully related to his life story. The Navigator Military Ministry group was deeply challenged in the area of discipleship. With Phil’s clear vision of the gospel and discipleship, he would enhance any ministry that would use his God given talents of speaking. Phil’s use of his personal life and illustrations was key in communicating the gospel and discipleship. ~David Townsend, The Navigators Military Ministry, Camp Pendleton, California
I highly recommend Phil Downer to speak to military personnel. His message is compelling, biblical, and he relates well to the troops. ~David Aspden, Parris Island Gateway Dire
• MCRD San Diego, Platoon 2214 – graduated October 1966
• Camp Pendleton School of Infantry – graduated November 1966
• Served with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, United States Marine Corps
• 1966-1968, machine gunner, Corporal
• 1967-1968, Republic of South Viet Nam, machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines
• Honorable discharge 1968
Family Military Background
• Father: LT JG United States Navy, served in World War II
• Grandfather: United States Army Air Corps, served in World War I, shot down in France.
• Southern Methodist University: graduated 1972 - BA in Business Administration
• Emory Law School: graduated 1975 – JD degree
• Hyatt & Rhoads Law firm: 1975-1990
• Christian Business Men’s Committee: President 1991-2000
• Discipleship Network of America: Founder and President 2001 – current
• Ministry of the Year Award from National Coalition of Men’s Ministries - 2007
• Core values and chapel speaker for Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army, and all denominations
• Recommendations from pastors and leaders from almost all denominations and church groups
Letters of Recommendation
From Dudley C. Johnson, CMDR, CHC, USN (Ret.) I give my highest recommendation to Phil Downer, who served as a machine gunner in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, United States Marine Corps. Mr. Downer, who is now a lay minister and runs an organization called Discipleship Network of America, is an outstanding speaker. He spoke at the School Of Infantry when I was the Command Chaplain there, on character development and spiritual formation. I was in command there for three years – from 2001 to 2004 – and had him speak many times during that time to the Infantry Marines. Also, he was the guest speaker at the 227th birthday celebration of the United States Navy Chaplain Corps for Southern California, for all area chaplains from all commands. Present in the audience were Maj. Gen. Bowden, Commanding General of Camp Pendleton, Col. Dennis Judge, Operations Officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Col. John Terrell, Commanding Officer of the School Of Infantry, and many other senior officers and senior chaplains, both active and retired. One was Jack Peters, who served 43 years in the Navy and spoke of Mr. Downer’s presentation in the highest regards. All of the officers, with no exception, said it was the most outstanding speech they had ever heard given at the Navy Chaplain Corps’ birthday celebration. It was very inspirational and positive, relating biblical values to the Navy Corps and Marine standards of conduct.I give Mr. Downer my heartiest recommendation to speak at MCRD, Camp Pendleton, or the Naval Station in San Diego – any Navy or Marine Corps Command either in the United States or abroad. Dudley C. Johnson, CMDR, CHC, USN (Ret.)
From Ryan Rupe, LT, CHC, USNR March 29, 2005 School of Infantry (West) Camp Pendleton, CA Dear Sir: Mr. Phil Downer of Discipleship Network of America has come to the School of Infantry three times in the last two years and has spoken to several thousand students and staff about spirituality, character, ethics and marriage. His experience as a Marine in Viet Nam, as a lawyer, father of six and head of Discipleship Network of America gives him a unique ability to impact the lives of many young Marines. Mr. Downer is a man of deep Christian faith who is committed to educating and inspiring young people to reach new heights of personal and professional achievement. An impressive speaker, he instantly commands the attention of any group large or small. I have personally accompanied Mr. Downer in many chapels and field chapels and am always amazed at how quickly he can size up his audience and extemporize his message. He has an enthusiastic and humble spirit and is always willing to go to one more place no matter how late to talk to Marines. We will be hosting Phil again this May and I hope that he will continue to come to SOI for many years. The students and staff of this place
“Investing in people is Phil Downer's passion. True life stories integrated with rich Biblical truth help produce discipled men… mature godly leadership. This is the need of the hour and what DNA is all about.”
-Randy Weyeneth, Major USMC (Retired), The Navigators
Military Ministry, Camp Pendleton, CA
“Phil's message to the students of the School of Infantry of the United States Marines was plainly understood. He spoke with competence and clearly communicated the gospel message with great illustrations bringing out the truths of the Scripture he shared. The audience hung on every word as he spoke. At the end of his message he gave an invitation to receive Christ and 17 Marines put their trust in Christ that evening.
Phil's speaking on discipleship at Camp Pendleton to the Navigators Military Ministry group encouraged them to live for Christ and reach out to disciple others. The Marines loved what Phil shared and fully related to his life story. The group was deeply challenged in the area of discipleship.
I have the utmost regard for Phil Downer's presentation of discipleship and the Gospel. Phil's use of his personal life and illustrations was key in communicating the gospel and discipleship. With his clear vision, he would enhance any ministry that would use his God-given talents of speaking.”