Soldier Honored: John E. Tipton
Branch of Service: Army
Captain John E. Tipton, 32, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was assigned as the Commander of Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Ks., and served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On May 2, 2004, Cpt. Tipton was killed by an explosion while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.
Cpt. Tipton enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school, serving two years in field artillery. During that time, he was stationed in Germany and served during Operation Desert Storm. Cpt. Tipton used his G.I. Bill to attend Southern Illinois University, where he participated in the ROTC program. While in ROTC, he was given the George C. Marshall award. In 1995, he graduated with a degree in finance, was recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. He became air assault qualified and earned his expert infantryman’s badge. He attended the Bradley Leader’s Course, as well as Infantry Officer Advanced Course, and Airborne school. Cpt. Tipton was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal and the Valorous Unit award.
Cpt. Tipton’s top concern was the safety and comfort of his troops. “When we hit the ground in Iraq, his first order of business was to make the soldiers’ stay more bearable” said Army Spc. Mike Labadie, Tipton's friend, and former driver. “He was very respected, and his soldiers were always first and foremost to him.”
Cpt. Tipton’s son is a Folds of Honor Scholarship recipient.