The first thing people tended to notice about Phillips was that they hadn't noticed him earlier. He was so recessive that he could be in a room for a long time before anyone realized that he was there... He had a tidy, pleasant, boyish face that tended to blend with the scenery. This probably contributed to his invisibility, but what really did it was his silence. Phillips was an amiable man and was, judging by his letters, highly articulate, but he preferred not to speak. You could park him in a crowd of chattering partygoers and he'd emerge at evening's end having never said a word. People had long conversations with him, only to realize later that he hadn't spoken.
Excerpt from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
by Laura Hillenbrand