Early Life

Becoming a Paratrooper

England

Normandy Preparations

Parachuting into Normandy

Combat in Normandy

Carentan

Returning Home

Postwar

Reflections

Final Thoughts

Annotation

Edward Tipper was a member of a military group that received a tremendous amount of recognition. He was 18 or 19 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. [Annotator’s Note: Tipper was a member of Company E in the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. It was written about in The Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. The book was made into a popular miniseries. Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 December 1941] Like many other young men at the time, he wanted to get into the fight against the Japanese. He volunteered for the Marines two weeks after the attack. He was turned down because of dental issues. If he would have been accepted in the Corps, he might not have survived the war. Many of the men who initially joined the Marines had limited training before they were thrust quickly into combat. Told to return in two weeks, Tipper told the recruiter to take him now or forget about it. That made Tipper move to join the airborne within the United States Army. The paratroopers were just getting started at the time. He went with two other men from the Detroit area. They traveled to Toccoa by train in August. [Annotator’s Note: Camp Toccoa, Georgia was next to the Currahee Mountains. Currahee meant stand alone in the native Indian language and it would become the regimental motto.] At the time, E Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment had just been activated. He was an original member of the Company. Tipper grew up in what was referred to as a blighted area of Detroit. It was composed of lower class factory workers. He has done well after starting in such a humble beginning. He was pleased with his military duty in the paratroopers. He went on to get a college education. He taught school for over 30 years. He was happy with his life after growing up in a factory town. His father worked at a forge in Detroit. He was proud of his ability to do the foundry work. Life in Detroit was not very unusual. His parents were Irish immigrants who were strong Catholics. They sacrificed to send their son to Catholic school. The Catholic school he attended prepared him well for the University of Michigan. The Catholic schools emphasized good behavior which he needed. Tipper had a brother who died as an infant in the flu epidemic of 1919. He had a second brother who also went to war. The family was poor during the Great Depression, but his father always found work and put food on the table. Tipper was with friends on a bus when he heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bus was flagged down and someone announced the attack. Women cried at the news. Tipper and his friends did not know where Pearl Harbor was, but they joked that in a few weeks they would all be eating rice and fish heads. That showed how mistaken their attitude was. No one realized the damage done to our naval forces. Tipper wanted to enlist in the Marines because his country was attacked. Teenagers today would have the same reaction if our country was attacked. Tipper has had enough contact with young people today to know that they would react to defend our country. They have so much more knowledge of the world today compared to young people back in Tipper’s youth. He knew very little about World War One compared to the education that youngsters get today. He did not know of the oppression that much of the world suffered during his youth. He only came to know of those conditions when he went into the Army and saw what France in particular suffered. [Annotator’s Note: France suffered under Nazi domination between 1940 and 1944]

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Edward Tipper enlisted in the Army. All paratroopers enlisted. None were drafted. He wanted to join the paratroopers in order to be a part of the very best outfit. He wanted to serve with men who knew their business. He did not want to be next to some goof off in the middle of the night in combat who might light up a cigar. [Annotator’s Note: the glow from a smoke in the middle of the night would be visible to an enemy sniper who would target the smoker as well as Tipper, ostensibly.] He wanted first class men serving with him. He could trust his life to them. No other unit had the extensive training the airborne had. His unit had a year and nine months of detailed training of all kinds. They learned to ride horses, steal trains, and operate steam engines. The training eliminated those who were not really committed. In Toccoa, three men would dropout compared to the one man who remained in the Regiment. [Annotator’s Note: Camp Toccoa, Georgia was the training camp for the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment-PIR. It was next to the Currahee Mountains. Currahee meant stand alone in the native Indian language and would become the regimental motto.] The men were athletic and motivated. Tipper was proud to make the cut with those men and to call them friends. Every man was at least a high school athlete. They had positive attitude and would never quit. You could drop out of a run as long as you got back up and finished the requirement. You would continue to be in the Regiment as long as you never quit. When Tipper initially entered the service, he had 12 weeks experimental basic training with the paratroopers. It was a mixture of basic and paratrooper training. They used a mock DC-7 fuselage for training. [Annotator’s Note: the paratroopers largely jumped from Douglas C-47 Skymaster transport aircraft.] That taught the right technique for jumping. Accidents can happen if the jumper’s body is not in the right position on exiting the aircraft. Everything had to be by reflex action. Only one man was lost during qualification jumps when he had a seizure in the plane. All others made their five jumps required for paratrooper qualification at Fort Benning. Tripper had a very good friend who was killed on the first day of D-Day invasion of Normandy. [Annotator’s Note: 6 June 1944] The man’s name was Bob Blasher from Philadelphia. He was only 20 years old and his life ended. [Annotator’s Note: the spelling is not certain on the name of Tipper’s friend.] Tipper was shocked by the loss of men like his friend. Tipper feels emotional any time he comes near a military cemetery. Many of the troops in Tipper’s Company made very successful lives after the war. One example was Carwood Lipton who was a close friend to Tipper. [Annotator’s Note: Lipton received a battlefield commission with Tipper’s Easy Company in the 506th PIR. He was promoted from 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant. He was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts for his action in combat. He ultimately would be promoted to 1st Lieutenant.] Lipton would become a successful executive in Europe for Owens-Illinois Company. John Martin was successful in Phoenix real estate. [Annotator’s Note: SSgt John Martin was one of the original 506 PIR Easy Company members] The training these men experienced at Toccoa helped them through life. They learned they could outperform any limitations in their minds. Tipper was not worried about jumping into France because of his training and his confidence in his fellow paratroopers. Combat decisions and reactions were automatic because of the training. As a bazooka man, Tipper checked his weapon immediately on landing. He discovered that the batteries were no longer working in the bazooka and the weapon would not fire. An untrained individual might not have learned that the weapon was useless until he tried to stop a tank with it. Tipper was a runner for Sobel and knew him well. [Annotator’s Note: Captain Michael Sobel was a highly inflammatory individual who had no support within the paratroopers he commanded in Easy Company.] Sobel was not as bad as he was thought to be. He did not have to be in a hazardous outfit but he was. He was a city boy in over his head. He had a difficult time dealing with men because they were physically and mentally sharper than him. Sobel could run. He could not do many pushups compared to the men he was training. He tried to use his power over the men to demonstrate he was superior, but he was not. Tipper had the opinion that Sobel felt he was inferior to his men. He had problems reading a map and had to have a subordinate help him. He could not read a compass or tell the contours on a map. Sobel attended a military school but was not a West Point graduate. Nevertheless, he had a commission as a captain upon graduation. He could have had a much softer job rather than the one he took. As it turned out, the whole Company with the sergeants in the lead voted not to go into combat with him. That bordered on mutiny. The men did not realize the seriousness of their actions, but they knew they would all be killed if Sobel lead them into combat. Tipper had a negative clash with Sobel. Tipper could type so he was in company headquarters under Sobel. Tipper was typing passes for friends and he knew he would be caught by Sobel. Tipper requested a personal leave to go on a date with a girl and Sobel initially agreed. When the time came for the date, Sobel refused Tipper’s leave. Tipper went anyway and got into hot water with Sobel. Lipton wanted Tipper and got him despite the fact that he was allergic to following rules. That was the group that he chose. Tipper went through his career as a potential trouble maker and was not accustomed to taking any crap from anybody. The leaders who gave him trouble could expect trouble right back. Most teachers during his career were desperate to keep their jobs. Tipper was not worried about keeping his job even though he liked what he was doing. Eventually, he would be awarded a fellowship along with about 20 other high school teachers in the country. That showed the quality of his work. Tipper would not always agree with everything that managers proposed so he was at times considered to be a trouble maker. Sobel helped Easy Company become what it was destined to be. Sobel helped the men bond together. The troops united against their Captain. That bond was a strong motivator in the Company’s future survival and success.

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Edward Tipper completed his paratrooper training in the United States and shipped out for England. Before going aboard their ship in New York, they were told to remove their paratrooper insignia from their uniform and caps and to pull their trousers out of their jump boots. This was intended to hide their paratrooper designation. They were to appear as typical troops and not paratroopers when they arrived in England. When they landed in Liverpool, they were surprised to hear Lord Haw Haw broadcasting a welcome for them—the 101st Division. [Annotator’s Note: Lord Haw Haw was an Englishman who broadcasted propaganda messages for the Germans to demoralize the Allies.] The men thought at the time that the Germans had an effective espionage network. What they did not realize until later was the German network of spies had been totally breached. The English had nabbed the enemy spies and made them work as double agents. The information that they were providing to Germany was not significant. The German Enigma Code had been broken but that was not revealed until after the war was over. [Annotator’s Note: the Enigma Code was a complex military intelligence code the Germans created before the war and modified often during the conflict. Code breakers in Poland before the war as well as in Bletchley Park in England during the war managed to break the difficult codes. The Allied high command kept that fact a secret allowing the Allies to foresee German strategies prior to their initiation.] The German espionage did not work at all during the war. Nevertheless, the American troops thought they were being spied upon but the information was all but useless to the enemy. Tipper had no problem with his experiences in Ireland and England. He knew the attitude of people there and knew the money because as a youth he had spent time in Ireland. He shared his rations with local inhabitants there and befriended people as a result. He established long term relationships with some of those people and saw them long after the war. Some troops had problems with people in the United Kingdom but Tipper had no issues. Tipper had relatives in Ireland at the time. Tipper attempted to visit them but General Eisenhower changed the travel policy to Ireland and Tipper never saw them then or even after the war. Tipper would trade his cigarette rations for chocolate bars because he was not a smoker during the war. Later, he would smoke for 15 years, but quit before it ruined his health as it did for many of his friends. Tipper took up smoking when he was taking courses for his Master’s Degree. He gave up smoking after 15 years.

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Edward Tipper was on detached service with another company in Southern England during the preparatory phase to the invasion of Normandy. He returned to his Company immediately before the jump into France. The men of the 101st Airborne were taken to the airfield a few days before the invasion. There was heavy security around the facility. The men were given detailed information including the habits of the German leadership. What they did not receive was the details about the hedgerows. That would have been far more beneficial than information on officer traits and habits. [Annotator’s Note: the Allied troops had major problems penetrating the Norman hedgerows. Inexplicably, there were no briefings or plans concerning how to handle these natural German defensive positions once the Allies progressed beyond the initial beachheads.] The men learned to deal with the hedgerows as they progressed through them in Normandy. [Annotator’s Note: innovative thinking yielded a solution for pulling up the hedgerows using steel teeth welded on front of Sherman tanks. The teeth uprooted the deeply rooted hedge growth allowing gaps in the obstacles for advancing troops.] While Tipper was in Ireland as a youth with his mother, he experienced how good life was there. There were no worries about people abusing children or robbing from each other. If there would have been offenders perpetrating those crimes, the local population would have torn the offender apart. Tipper’s detached duty away from the 101st involved relocating to Winchester in Southern England and preparing billeting for the 82nd Airborne Division. The 82nd had served in North Africa and was to be part of the D-Day invasion of France. There had been sufficient training for Tipper so there was no worry about the reassignment. The first attempt at the invasion was called off because of harsh weather. The paratroopers were near their planes but did not actually board the aircraft. The individuals carried about 100 pounds of equipment and supplies. The man boarding the aircraft had to be pushed forward by the man behind him. Some items were unnecessary such as protective clothes that would be used in case of a gas attack. Most troops threw away their gas masks. Tipper was one of them. Men would use the gas mask container to carry extra candy bars. The night after the harsh weather, the 101st would board the planes to jump into France. [Annotator’s Note: the 101st boarded their aircraft on the evening of 5 June 1944 and jumped into Normandy after midnight on 6 June 1944]

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Edward Tipper and the troops of the 101st Airborne were very confident about jumping into France. Their training was so good, they felt they were ready. They were fed a robust final meal before the jump. The pilots were not combat trained. They were confused in dropping their paratroopers. The speed was planned to be reduced to 110 miles per hour but the pilot panicked and kept the speed up. When Tipper jumped, his equipment was ripped off his back. He did retain his rifle and bazooka. He assembled the three pieces of his rifle but his bazooka was not of any use. Its activating battery was damaged or lost. Tipper at least had a rifle but some men like Winters landed with only a knife to begin the attack. [Annotator’s Note: both the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions experienced considerable confusion, lack of organization structure, and loss of equipment because of the hasty and erratic drops made by the transport pilots as a result of the antiaircraft fire from the enemy in the heavy fog. First Lieutenant Richard “Dick” Winters assisted in leading Easy Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment—PIR. He would go on to become a Major in command of the 2nd Battalion of the 506 PIR.] The passwords and clickers issued to the paratroopers were not used that much. The men knew each other and did not need the code words. Tipper and one other man from his Company gathered numerous men from other outfits and attacked the enemy without an officer to lead them. The Germans were not ready for the attack so it succeeded very quickly. No losses were experienced by the Americans when the men took over the building. It was a key location at the intersection of multiple roads. The Germans made multiple counterattacks that failed. Half a mile from the beach, the crossroads location was important to the Germans. It remained under the control of the Americans. The paratroopers took the location and held it. The group started with just two E Company men but more arrived as time progressed. Seven more E Company men joined the fight for the crossroads. An officer called the Mad Major showed up. He was from the 1st Battalion and the men of E Company did not know him. [Annotator’s Note: John “Mad Major” Stopka] E Company was part of the 2nd Battalion. The Major led the men well and they held their position for a lengthy time. Utah Beach unlike Omaha had very little enemy fire. It was a slaughter on Omaha. Tipper and his fellow paratroopers completed their mission without even knowing it. [Annotator’s Note: the scattered paratroopers had been briefed before their jump that they were to prevent German counterattacks from hitting the invasion beaches of Utah and Omaha. In holding their crossroads position, Tipper and the others helped prevent German counterattacks through that road junction.] The important role the paratroopers played in holding their position was only learned 50 years later. Even though he could not see the Allied fleet below him as he flew over it, from Tipper’s redoubt position at the crossroads, he could go up to the second and third floor and view the multitude of ships offshore. It was an unforgettable sight that remained with him throughout his life. The invasion did have a chance of failure. The bloodletting at Omaha Beach was terrible. The landings at Utah were far less costly. The Rangers at Pointe du Hoc made the difference. [Annotator’s Note: the 2nd Ranger Battalion climbed the steep cliffs at Point du Hoc and destroyed nearby German artillery that could have pinned down assaulting American troops at Utah and Omaha Beaches.] Tipper had never heard of the Rangers but he would have liked to join the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division. He was discouraged about a transfer so he stayed with the airborne. He initially learned about the airborne from a Hollywood movie. It turned out to be exactly what he needed. Tipper did not have to take air sickness pills on the flight over to Normandy from England. Men who took the pills may have gotten drowsy as a result. Smoking was not heavy on the plane. The aircraft began taking antiaircraft fire when it crossed the German held islands of Guernsey and Jersey. The fire was as heavy as shown on the movie Band of Brothers. When Tipper jumped, his backpack was jerked off of him because of the air speed. He hit a tree and it helped slow his fall. He was fortunate that he had no injury. He could hear the pops of the machine gun fire hitting his aircraft. He wanted to get out of the plane as soon as the aircraft crossed over any land and not wait until they were over the destination. He landed eight or nine miles off the target touchdown at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. Everyone else seemed to be off target, too.

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Edward Tipper and a band of paratroopers captured a key crossroads location without the use of any automatic weapons. [Annotator’s Note: the paratroopers from the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions had been scattered across the Norman peninsula. This group of paratroopers was from multiple units who merged together. They took the initiative to come together and complete their mission of blocking key road intersections and bridges.] They had only a BAR with no machine guns or Tommy guns. [Annotator’s Note: BAR—Browning Automatic Rifle and Tommy gun—the Thompson submachine gun] The Germans must have thought the Americans were better armed after they captured the key location. Tipper overcame his fear and his training took hold in the combat situation. The initial trepidation gave way to simply reacting under fire. When troops from Utah Beach reached Tipper’s position a day and a half after the landing, the paratroopers knew their company headquarters would be near Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. They knew they had to make their way there. They left in small groups so everyone did not stay together. The movement had to be paced because it could not be determined who had control of what areas. The paratroopers encountered Polish cavalry troops who were under German command. Several horses were captured. The Americans enjoyed riding the horses. By evening, the paratroopers met up with their company. There was fighting along the way prior to getting to the rendezvous. While they proceed to the company, a sniper fired on them from a church. Smith and Tipper went up to the steeple but the sniper had disappeared. [Annotator’s Note: no given name was provided for Smith] The German sniper evidently had an escape route planned. At least from that point forward, the sniper no longer fired on the Americans from that steeple. When Tipper reached E Company headquarters, about half the men were there. Ultimately, about 100 of the original contingent of 165 men in the company would show up. Some of the best men would take as much as a week to show up. It was a disorganized situation. There were Germans everywhere. Three of the missing men were Paul Rogers, Earl McClung, and Jim Alley. The three men had been fighting all the time. When E Company attacked Carentan on 12 June, those three had not shown up yet. Tipper was wounded on 12 June in the combat. On the four days prior to the attack, the company did patrols with intermittent fighting. There was not a particular objective during that time. There was an attack on the American camp but the artillery was not accurate. The camp moved soon afterward. 88s hit the ground nearby so it was time to move. [Annotator’s Note: the German 88mm antiaircraft guns were also used against armor and personnel. They were normally very accurate when manned by an experienced gun crew.] The quality of the German fighting troops was all over the map. Some, such as the German paratroopers, were very good. Others were not so good. There were so many false alarms the Germans had to react to, it lessened their responsive ability. The German equipment was very good, but perhaps it was too good. Tipper never saw any Tiger tanks but they were good. In contrast, the American production of numerous Sherman tanks won the faceoff since they were far more numerous. Six or eight Shermans could take on one Tiger but they had to be very careful not to be picked off one by one. The automobile company that Tipper worked for in Detroit switched from cars to antiaircraft guns overnight. The Willow Run factory produced a heavy bomber off its assembly line every hour. The German machine gun was very good. It fired at a very rapid rate. Likewise the Schmeisser machine pistol was a very good weapon firing more rapidly than the old Tommy gun used by the Army. The disadvantage with the German automatic weapons was the excessive ammunition used (and thus had to be carried around the battlefields). It was unnecessary to hit an adversary six or eight times to put him down. Hitting a person once with a .45 would take him out. The German machine guns were prone to overheat quickly because of the rapid rate of fire. [Annotator’s Note: this reference is to the German MG 42 light machine gun and the Schmeisser MP 40 machine pistol or submachine gun used extensively throughout the war by Germany and her allies. The Thompson submachine gun chambered a .45 caliber round. The MP 40 used a slightly smaller 9mm rounds.] There were many instances of the Germans abandoning their tanks because they were disabled. The Americans had a tendency to return to their disabled tank and retrieve it for future use if it was still in acceptable condition. On the second day of combat, a man presented himself as a lost American to Tipper and his group. One of Tipper’s group immediately shot the man. When asked why he did so, the paratrooper said to look at the lost man’s boots. They were German boots. It was an enemy soldier disguising himself as an American. His English was perfect; maybe a little too perfect. He would have been better off coming in barefooted. When he went inside a building and the hobnails on the bottom of his boots gave him away as German. Likely, the German had been ordered to find the Americans and discover their strength and weaponry. He may have blindly followed his commander’s order where an American would have objected to that type of order. Tipper certainly would not have agreed to that order. There were civilians who provided food to the Americans. There were German sympathizers in the dairy farms of Normandy. The majority of the local population was very happy with their liberation but not everyone. Most welcomed the Americans but some could have been unhappy that the liberators spoiled their good thing with the Germans. Tipper knew a woman who had a family that was coerced into providing supplies to the Germans. When the family withheld a portion of those supplies for their own use, the Germans reacted by threatening the mother with execution. They held a pistol to the mother’s head and said the next time she would be shot. The family had no doubt that the Germans would follow up on that threat if that situation happened again.

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Edward Tipper credits paratrooper training with assisting in making the attack on Carentan a success. The decision was made to advance on Carentan from the south because it was a swampy area. Because of the difficult terrain, the Germans lightly defended that portion of their position. About 200 fully equipped Americans went single file about 30 or 40 miles around the swamp to prepare for the attack. [Annotator’s Note: Easy Company together with other 506 PIR companies advanced on Carentan] A single misstep by one man could have ruined the whole operation. Instead, it was done perfectly. The Germans were not prepared for the attack from the direction taken by the paratroopers. The action was quick. Tipper was wounded during the fight. The Americans had three machine guns while the Germans only had one. The men of the 506th came up on a three way crossroads with houses in the background. As the Americans advanced, they had to clear the houses. They did not have grenades but kicked the doors in and cleared the buildings one by one. Tipper and Joe Liebgott worked to clear a house that was burning. It was a middle class house without indoor plumbing. There was an outhouse in the back beside a stone wall. Tipper fired a few shots and discovered the house was clear. He yelled at Liebgott that it was clear but about that time there was an explosion. At first, Tipper thought it was a grenade, but it was a mortar round. The explosion broke both Tipper’s legs and destroyed his right eye. He suffered shrapnel wounds to his collarbone and his back, but he did not drop his weapon. He turned around to get the enemy soldier he thought threw the grenade. Tipper was in shock, but his training took over. He had been trained that his rifle was his best friend, and he would not drop it. Liebgott told Tipper it was a mortar shell and he and others risked their lives to assist him. That was the way the men supported each other. There was an aid station close by. Doc [name not understood], the Company surgeon, gave aid to Tipper before he was strapped to a jeep and brought to the beach. The jeep had to take evasive action because the Red Cross did not mean anything to the enemy. The driver should have gotten hazard pay but he did not. Tipper made it to the hospital and received first class medical treatment. The wounds were bad and he could have died from them. Tipper would return to the hospital in Indianapolis and visit the parents of his friend Sergeant Talbert. [Annotator’s Note: Sgt Floyd Talbert in Easy Company] When the mother told her son that Tipper had visited for their Thanksgiving dinner, Talbert told them to call the MPs and get that visitor in jail because Tipper had died. Tipper was in the hospital for a year before he was released. The portrayal in the movie Band of Brothers of Tipper being wounded and Liebgott assisting him was fairly accurate. The main difference was that Tipper had not shot a bazooka during the house to house fight at Carentan. He functioned as a rifleman in that action even though he did carry a bazooka. Following the explosion, Tipper’s injury was severe enough to make his head feel swollen and as mushy as a watermelon. He knew his eye was probably gone. He had a piece of shrapnel near the eye. He lost his eye due to the concussion of the mortar round that hit near him. He has always had a vivid memory of the event. In the hospital, he heard the name of his friend, Foster. He called his name but the man nearby was dead. It turned out to not be his friend. Later he found that his friend had, in fact, died but was not recovered until two years after the war. It was not just bodies being found, but lost tanks were still being found in swampy areas years after the war. Lieutenant Welsh and Liebgott were the two men that first reached Tipper after the explosion that severely wounded him. [Annotator’s Note: no given name for Foster could be found; however, First Lieutenant Harry F. Welsh was an officer in Easy Company 506 PIR] Tipper could hobble on one foot though he had bones broken in both legs. The two men assisted Tipper to the aid station even though mortar rounds were still falling near them. His condition stabilized over three or four days at the beach hospital. At that point, he was placed on a boat in route to a hospital in England. He was in England for three or four months and then sent by boat to the United States.

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Edward Tipper arrived at Crile General Hospital in Cleveland after his flight from a hospital in England. [Annotator’s Note: He had partially recovered from a severe wounding in combat at Carentan, France.] He was at Crile for two or three months. While there a man claiming to be a major proposed that he would get back pay owed to all the men in the ward. The individual turned out to be a psycho. He was psychotic and crazy. He was placed under psychiatric treatment. [Annotator’s Note: Tipper chuckles at the memory] Leaving the men of Easy Company behind was not something he felt good about. One individual in the Company was wounded and skipped out of the hospital to rejoin the Company in Bastogne. Even though he never had to make that decision, he has felt a certain guilt about not being with the Company during that action. No one has ever said anything to him about it. They all took the same chances. [Annotator’s Note: Easy Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment—PIR in the 101st Airborne Division successfully fought a besieged battle against the Germans at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. Tipper had been severely wounded and hospitalized in June 1944 during the Normandy campaign prior to both Operation Market Garden in September 1944 and the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.] The first man to reach Tipper when he landed in Normandy was Maleck who was killed in Bastogne by a sniper. Though the outcome was drastic, the dead man would probably have preferred his outcome than to be severely wounded like Tipper. [Annotator’s Note: the dead man’s name could not be confirmed] The guilt of surviving has had to be put to the back of Tipper’s mind for the last 30 or 40 years. He does not dwell on it. If Tipper had only been wounded in the arm, he likely would have returned to combat with his unit. The bond between the troops was very strong. After Crile, Tipper was sent to Atterbury Hospital on Camp Atterbury in Indianapolis. He stayed there for the remainder of the one year he spent in various hospitals. He was going to be sent to fight the Japanese after leaving the hospital. He wanted to go to college and not fight the Japanese. He felt he had done his part in the war. Although functioning well, his wounds had not completely closed. He raised enough hell that they let him out of the assignment. If his group had been sent to Japan, he would have gone. He did not want to go with strangers or just regular infantry. Tipper was in Ann Arbor when the Germans surrendered. He was attempting to get into the University of Michigan there. The rules were stretched a bit and he entered college. He had no problems in college. In high school, he was not sure whether he was actually going to receive his diploma. He took extra courses on weekends and successfully got through. When the Germans surrendered, Tipper felt everyone he wanted to celebrate with was in Europe. Those celebrating in the streets had probably never heard a shot fired. He had no interest in dancing with them. He was discharged from the service in August 1945. He had been in the hospital at Camp Atterbury. He was a PFC at discharge. [Annotator’s Note: PFC—Private First Class] He was promoted to Sergeant by Stephen Ambrose in the book Band of Brothers but he never actually got above PFC. He was not mature enough to become a of non-commissioned officer. He was still a young man. Paul Rogers was a year older than him.

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Edward Tipper continued his education after the service. He used the GI Bill to receive a Master’s Degree. He experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder initially after his discharge. He would overcome those feelings with consultation from the VA. [Annotator’s Note: VA—Veterans Administration] He lived a normal life although he married late at 61 years of age. He married a much younger woman who was 34 years of age. Many thought she was not suitable for him. He has been happy for decades in that relationship. His transition from soldier to civilian was not bad. The injury to his right eye has not been too much of an obstacle to him. He has had a successful career as a teacher for over 30 years. He has achieved almost everything he desired to do as a teacher.

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Edward Tipper remembered the attack on Carentan and his subsequent wounding as an ordinary series of events. The most memorable circumstance of the war was the attack in Normandy on a key German position with 18 or 19 men. Also, the shooting of the German dressed as an American in Normandy has stuck in his mind. [Annotator’s Note: the German position in Normandy was a key road intersection that was an objective to prevent an enemy counterattack. The German soldier in Normandy was dressed as an American, but he kept his hobnail boots on. Those distinctive boots gave him away as an enemy soldier in disguise and he was summarily shot.] In review of the men Tipper served with, Winters was always number one. He was originally thought to be too much of a Boy Scout because he did not drink much or curse but he was in sharp contrast to Sobel. [Annotator’s Note: First Lieutenant Richard “Dick” Winters was a platoon leader in Easy Company of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment—PIR during the jump into Normandy. He would go on to become a Major in command of the 2nd Battalion of the 506 PIR. Winters was preceded as commander of Easy by First Lieutenant Herbert Sobel. Sobel was a highly inflammatory individual who had no support within the paratroopers he commanded in Easy Company. Sobel brought Winters up on charges which did not hold. The men of Easy would rebel against Sobel’s leadership because of their lack of faith in him being a combat leader.] If Winters said to follow him, everyone did. With Sobel, no one would follow him. Winters received a lot of attention after the war. Winters should have gotten the Medal of Honor for his action at Brecourt Manor. Winters grabbed a few men and took out multiple enemy artillery pieces. Although he has attended a few reunions, Tipper has not been to every one of them. Paul Rogers has been a good friend throughout his life. Campbell Smith was with Tipper on the first day of combat and was with him when he went up into a church steeple to eliminate a German sniper. Smith would survive the war but died years later. Many of the men died from smoking. Many who suffered injuries in the war survived for years. Tipper would ski for years after the war. His was very active until late in his life. The deterioration was from war wounds. Without those wounds, he would have not had those problems. Most of the shrapnel found its way out of his body. There are no remaining large pieces. Tipper has done well with his physical and mental abilities according to his daughter. Many people with disabilities have denial but Tipper has never done anything more than accommodate the onset of difficulties. He has managed to make necessary adjustments. He does not push his luck. When Tipper landed in Normandy, his platoon leader did not make the jump. He had wrestled with Winters and could not jump. The platoon leader replacement did not survive the jump. He and the next three to jump from the transport aircraft would die. Tipper was the fifth to jump despite asking to jump first because of the bazooka he carried. The new platoon leader kept Tipper in the fifth position and he survived where the first four to jump died. Tipper managed to get the work he desired after his discharge. He lived a normal life which included going up in the mountains to ski with his daughter. She was always proud of her father even though he was much older than the fathers of her friends. [Annotator’s Note: Tipper first married at 61 years of age. His wife was 34 years of age.] Tipper always was more active with his daughter than the other fathers were with their daughters. Tipper never expected to live into his 90s. His family members had never made it that far. He thought genetics would catch up with him. Despite some difficulties with walking, he gets along very well. He was involved in an accident but the officer said it was not an incident to worry about. The policeman apologized for having to give Tipper the ticket.

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Edward Tipper had his life improved as a result of his service in World War Two. He received a college education and chose the career he wanted as a result. He enjoyed teaching for over 30 years. He became cranky at the end of his career when his hearing began to fail. He has always recommended to his daughter to select work that she liked. In doing so, a person will succeed if they enjoy their work. She has far exceeded expectations. She has even taken a pay cut in order to do what she prefers doing. Tipper’s attitude was changed by the war. His high opinion of himself provided confidence in his abilities. He joined the airborne and knew he was with the very best. While he was in Vienna at the end of the war, he walked into a Soviet facility with a camera. He did not speak Russian, but the guard admonished him that he could be sent to Siberia because he was in Soviet jurisdiction. He was cautioned to be more aware of his circumstances. Even at Tipper’s advanced age, he feels no fear. He can protect himself with his cane. He knows from his military training where he can hurt a person in self defense. It is important to give young people a chance to see how important it is to make the sacrifice for freedom. The National WWII Museum makes that knowledge available and serves an important function in that way.

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