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Morris Phillip "Phil" Konstantin (born 1952) is a journalist and author. He was one of the computer operators who ran the IBM 360, model 75J computers at NASA during the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 moon landings. He has been a California Highway Patrol officer,[1] a TV reporter and the author of, or contributor to, several books.

Early life[]

Phil was born in Houston, Texas in 1952. His parents are Morris Benjamin Konstantin, Jr, and Lila Beatrice Adair. His family (parents and younger brothers Michael and Milton) moved from Houston to Pasadena, Texas in 1961. While in high school, he attended both Sam Rayburn and Pasadena High Schools. He received training in computer systems at Pasadena High, and general education at Sam Rayburn. Graduating in 1971 with a 3.678 (unweighted) grade point average, he was a member of Mu Alpha Theta (National Math Honor Society), and lettered in Choir.[2][3]

Attended Rice University, Houston, Texas - 1975—1977. Attended San Diego State University, San Diego, California - 1989—1991 Graduating with a B.A. in Political Science (Dean's List once). Konstantin was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 1977 (Rice) and 1991 (SDSU).


In 1972, Konstantin started working for Lockheed Electronics at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.[4] During his two-and-a-half years at NASA, he operated computers (IBM 360, model 75J) and peripheral equipment directly related to the last two Apollo flights, and all four Skylab missions. This was in the Real Time Computer Complex directly below the Mission Operations Control Room. At one point, he was the youngest person working in Mission Control.[5]

Konstantin (left) with Michael Feinstein (right) in 2010

Between 1973 and 1979, Konstantin produced and hosted weekly public affairs radio programs through the Houston and Pasadena Jaycees. These thirty and 60 minute programs were played on several radio stations, including KULF, KYND, KIKK, KILTTemplate:Disambiguation needed AND KTRH. He also had a daily talk-show on KPAC radio. In 1977, he started a 15-minute interview program for Rice University (titled "To The Point") which was syndicated through the Texas State Network. During this time period, he also had a small, on-screen part in the movie "Futureworld." While he initially had a few speaking lines, his speaking parts were edited out of the movie.[6]

Phil Konstantin's MADD Award in 1989.

In 1985 Konstantin joined the California Highway Patrol as an officer. His first year-and-a-half were in Los Angeles. He then patrolled the roads of San Diego until 1990. During his time as a patrol officer, he was shot at by some kidnappers. No one was hurt in the incident, and the man who was kidnapped was found. He also received several of the CHP's 10851 Auto Theft Awards.[7] In 1989, Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored him for his efforts to remove impaired drivers from the roads. In 1990 he moved into the Public Affairs Department for the CHP's Border Division.[8] Here he helped organize educational campaigns, wrote speeches for CHP management and did on-air interviews for the media. In 1997, he took over the position of Media Information Officer at the newly constructed Transportation Management Center.[9][10] Here he answered media inquiries and did daily radio and TV traffic reports on KGTV-TV.[11] One of his other projects at the CHP was to create puzzles which officers could give to children. One of these puzzles is in the CHP's Chipper Coloring Book.[12] In 1999, Konstantin compiled a list of abbreviations used by CHP dispatcher in the CHP's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This list was incorporated into the glossary of the CHP's Incident Website.[13][14] In 1992, one of the cartoon strip Doonesbury's characters became a CHP motorcycle officer. Konstantin helped Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau with the proper design for the character's uniform.[15]

Konstantin in 2009

Upon retirement from the CHP in 2005,[1] "Officer Phil", as he is known, started doing daily traffic reports as part of the Good Morning San Diego program at KUSI-TV. He often took photos of the famous people who were on the program, and posted them on a special website.[16] He was on-the-air until October 2009, when he became the Assignment Editor.

On June 7, 2010, he became the helicopter-based reporter for KGTV-TV.[17] Some of his video reports have been used nationally on ABC's Good Morning America and ABC World News and ESPN (Cruise ship towed back to San Diego; Sea World Orca dies, Escondido Bomb House burned; San Diego flooding 12/2010; etc.[18]). His coverage of Junior Seau's death was featured on both ABC and NBC Nightly News in May 2012.[19][20] Konstantin left KGTV when they changed helicopter companies on January 31, 2013.[21]

In March 2013, Konstantin became one of the reporter/photographers flying in Chopper 8 for KFMB-TV.[22] His reports can be heard on KFMB, and seen on most of the other TV stations in San Diego.[23]


Konstantin has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, including Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine. This included interviews with Isaac Asimov, Stephen King and Wally Schirra[24][25][26][27]

In 1996, Konstantin began work on a website dedicated to American Indian history, events, and culture: [1]. The website was one of the first comprehensive websites dedicated to American Indian matters. It receives over 1,000 visits a day, on average (according to "Share This" website).

In 2002, his first book was published by Da Capo Press: This Day In North American Indian History. This book lists over 5000 events in American Indian history. It also includes material on the meaning of tribal names, alternative tribal names, and information on native calendars. This book received good reviews.[28][29][30][31]

He has contributed articles to two encyclopedias on American Indian history ("Native America: From Prehistory To First Contact", and "Treaties With American Indians").

Six of the twenty-four chapters of Native American History for Dummies were written by Konstantin.[32][33]

His fifth book The Wacky World of Laws was written with Jeff "The Lawyer In Blue Jeans" Isaac. Excerpts from this book were read on NBC's Today show in September 2009.[34][35][36][37]

Civic life[]

In 1971, he was a member of the Houston Symphony Chorale.

In the early 1970s, the city of Pasadena only allowed people to become candidates for public office if they paid a filing fee. Phil felt that other, non-monetary methods (such as petitions), should also be allowed. He filed a suit against the city. On February 7, 1973, the U.S. Federal Court in Houston declared Pasadena's filing fee requirement to be unconstitutional. The ruling suggested candidates be allowed access to the ballot by paying a fee, filing a petition, or declaring themselves to be paupers.[38]

In the mid 1970s, he served on the Library Board for the Pasadena Texas Public Library. His name appears on the dedication plaque on Pasadena's main library building.[39] He was also on the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Jaycees during this time.

Phil is one of the founding members of the San Diego Cherokee Community.[40]

Presently, he serves on the Education and Exhibits Committee at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego.

On June 5, 2009, "Officer Phil" had his foot-long ponytail cut off on live TV.[41] He donated it to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths [42] program to make wigs for people undergoing chemotherapy.

Personal life[]

Phil Konstantin has mixed European and American Indian ancestry. Through his mother's side of the family, he is Cherokee. He is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.

In 1971, he married Sandra Kay Lewis. In 1972, his first child, Ronald Parker Konstantin was born. A few years later, Phil and Sandra divorced.

In 1980, he married Deanna Lynn Chambers and moved to California. Deanna already had a daughter, Heidi Lynn Chambers. In 1981, Phil and Deanna had a child named Sarah Beth Nicole Konstantin. The marriage ended in a divorce in 1985.

In 1997, Phil married his long-time friend, Robyn Amsel Mellon. Robyn died in a vehicle collision on April 6, 1999 when she fell asleep behind the wheel. Phil worked very hard to establish April 6 as Drowsy Driver Awareness Day in California.[43]

Phil's son Ron lives in Abilene, Texas. His daughters Heidi and Sarah both live in San Diego.

His daughter Sarah had a daughter named Jazlyn Rose on February 18, 2010. This is his first grandchild.[44]

See also[]

  • List of writers from peoples indigenous to the Americas
  • Native American Studies


  1. 1.0 1.1 Traffic voice leaves CHP
  2. Phil Konstantin's Biography Page
  3. Phil Konstantin Sam Rayburn HS - local newspaper article 1971
  4. Photo of Phil Konstantin's NASA ID Card
  5. A Space Shuttle flight at the Kennedy Space Center by Phil Konstantin
  6. Futureworld Cast listing
  7. Photo of his 10851 plaque
  8. CHP Border Division website
  9. Transportation Management Center website
  10. TMC website
  11. Phil Konstantin's CHP & Cherokee Home Page
  12. CHP Chipper Coloring Book - Page 10
  13. CHP Incident Website
  14. Phil Konstantin's CHP Radio Code Page
  15. Doonesbury, the CHP and Me
  16. Officer Phil's KUSI website
  17. 10News - Phil Konstantin - About Story
  18. Qualcomm floods
  19. Junior Seau Dead in Apparent Suicide - ABC Nightly News - May 2, 2012 on YouTube
  20. Retired NFL Star Seau Dies - NBC Nightly News - May 2, 2012 on YouTube
  22. Officer Phil 'Takes Off' on a New Job
  23. Mans Body Found In Poway - April 25, 2013 on YouTube
  24. Interview With Wally Schirra
  25. Interview with Isaac Asimov
  26. "An Interview with Stephen King"- by Phil Konstantin
  27. Articles Written by Phil Konstantin
  28. review of This Day In North American Indian History
  29. News From Indian Country review of This Day In North American Indian History
  30. Booklist (American Library Asso.) review on Amazon website
  31. Publishers Weekly review of This Day In North American Indian History
  32. Flipkart review of Native American History for Dummies
  33. Phil Konstantin on Native American Authors
  34. The Wacky World Of Laws mentioned on the Today Show on YouTube
  35. Life After 50 review of The Wacky World of Laws
  36. Fort Wayne Daily News review of The Wacky World of Laws
  37. Norwich Bulletin review of The Wacky World of Laws
  38. Pasadena News CitizenFeb. 8, 1973. "Pasadena filing fee invalidated" - Front Page
  39. Photo of Library Board Plaque
  40. San Diego Cherokee Community
  41. "Officer Phil" Donates His Ponytail
  42. Pantene's Beautiful Lengths
  43. Drowsy Driver Awareness Day Official Website
  44. Photos of Jazlyn Rose

External links[]

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