Let’s Remember Heroic Culver Marine

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

Memorial Day is the day a grateful nation has set aside to show its love and appreciation to those individuals who were called or volunteered to fight and sometimes die for the ideals expressed symbolically through our flag.

It was on May 27, 1969, some 44 years ago, near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam when Jimmy Phipps, a lad of only 18-1/2 and a marine from Culver City, was awarded the Medal of Honor. His Citation reads as follows:

"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 in connection with combat operations against the enemy, Pfc. Phipps was a member of a two-man combat engineer demolition team assigned to locate and destroy enemy artillery ordnance and concealed firing devices.

After he had expended all of his explosives and blasting caps, Pfc. Phipps discovered a 175mm high expolosive artillery round in a rice paddy. Suspecting that the enemy had attached 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 within a few meters of him and that the imminent explosion could kill all three men, Pfc. Phipps grasped the hand genade 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 body.

Pfc. Phipps' 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 U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Thank you, Jimmy. You are not forgotten.


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