Jimmy Wayne Phipps MOH

b. 01/11/1950 Santa Monica, California. d. 27/05/1969 near An Hoa, Vietnam.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 27/05/1969 near An Hoa, Vietnam.

Jimmy W Phipps MOH

Jimmy Wayne Phipps was born on November 1, 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 on January 3, 1968, and was discharged on January 7, 1968, to enlist in the Regular Marine Corps.

He completed recruit training with the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California on March 14, 1968. Transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, he underwent individual combat training with Company L, 2nd Battalion, 2nd 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 on October 1, 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. He was initially attached to Company C, 1st Battalion 5th Marines (C/1/5) as its combat engineer. He was then detached and returned to Company B, but in late May, volunteered to return to the field with C/1/5. While participating in combat in what was referred to as the “Arizona Territory,” located in the vicinity of An Hoa on May 27, 1969, he was killed in action during the combat action for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Phipps’ photo was featured in Life Magazine’s cover story, The Faces of the American Dead in Vietnam: One Week’s Toll, June 1969, which featured photos of 242 servicemen who perished during 1 week in Vietnam. He died on May 27, 1969, and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica. His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew at The White House.



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 175-mm high-explosive 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 perpared 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 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 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.



SECTION 18, LOT 504.