The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients
Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS JIMMY W. PHIPPS
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a combat Engineer with Company B, First Battalion, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 27 May 1969, Private First Class Phipps, was a member of a two-man combat engineer demolition team assigned to locate and destroy enemy artillery ordinance and concealed firing devices. After he had expended all of his explosives and blasting caps, Private First Class Phipps discovered a 175mm high explosive artillery round in a rice paddy. Suspecting that the enemy had attached at the artillery round to a secondary explosive device, he warned other Marines in the area to move to covered positions and prepared to destroy the round with a hand grenade. As he was attaching the hand grenade to a stake beside the artillery round, the fuse of the enemy's secondary explosive device ignited. Realizing that his assistant and the platoon commander were both with a few meters of him and that the imminent explosion could kill all three men, Private First Class Phipps grasped the hand grenade to his chest and dived forward to cover the enemy's explosive and the artillery round with his body, thereby shielding his companions from the detonation while absorbing the full and tremendous impact with his own body. Private First Class Phipp's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty saved the lives of two Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
RICHARD M. NIXON
Jimmy W. Phipps, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in May 1969, was born 1 November 1950, in Santa Monica, California. He attended Marina Del Ray Junior High School in Culver City, California and Venice High School in Venice, California.
He left high school to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 3 January 1968, and was discharged 7 January to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps.
He completed recruit training with the 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, on 14 March 1968. Transferred to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California, he underwent individual combat training with Company L, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry Training Regiment, followed by basic infantry training which he completed in May 1968.
From June until August 1968, he was a student with the Marine Aviation Detachment, Naval Air Technical Training Command, Memphis, Tennessee. Transferred to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, he attended the Marine Corps Engineer Schools, until the following October. He was promoted to private first class, 1 October 1968.
In December 1968, he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam where he served as a combat engineer with Company B, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. While participating in combat in the vicinity of An Hoa on 27 May 1969, he was killed in action.
A complete list of his medals and decorations include: the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart with Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
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