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Mr. John Anthony Lipple
Petty Officer First Class
Branch of Service:
City: Ashville
State: Pennsylvania
County: Cambria
Honored By:
Members of the Lipple Family
Military Service:

John Lipple, a personal story of December 7th

December 7, 1941 was a sunny lazy morning. Petty Officer First Class John A. Lipple stayed on board the USS Arizona that morning to attend mass with a friend even though he had a weekend pass.  At 7:58 a.m., the first wave of Japanese planes attacked our ships along battleship row at Pearl Harbor.

The USS Arizona was hit by only two bombs that morning. The second bomb penetrated the main deck and two decks below and set off a reaction in the stored ammunition.  A huge explosion sent shattered steel hundreds of feet into air.  John, a native of Ashville, was among the other 1,179 sailors on the Arizona that gave their life for their county that morning.

The explosion was so great the Paul Lipple, a brother who was aboard the USS Reed that morning at Pearl Harbor, saw the explosion. Paul played a significant role in getting the USS Reed under way by climbing to the top of the ship and cutting the ropes on the canvas covering the smoke stack to allow the ship to get up steam and escape to open water. In a letter dated December 9th to their mother Caroline, Paul inquired as to whether she had heard from John. The first telegram received from the War Department on December 20th informed her that John was missing. The second telegram received in January 1942, expressed sincerest sympathy as John gave his life for his country and he is still interred on the Arizona.

A third Lipple brother, Joe, was on a submarine tender that morning in Bremerton, Wash., headed for Pearl Harbor, where he arrived around Christmas of 1941. Joe learned the fate of his brother John from a survivor of the Arizona.

Paul and Joe Lipple served throughout the Pacific during WWII and saw extensive action. Both survived. After the war, Paul lived in Baltimore, married Violet Holmberg from Coupon, and died in 1979. Joe served in the Navy until 1947. He followed his brother’s lead and married Mary Holmberg. Joe passed away in 2019.

The Ashville VWF Post 4315 is named after John A. Lipple, the first person from Cambria County to die in WWII, and he has been inducted into the Cambria County Military Hall of Fame. There was a documentary made of John Lipple’s patriotic service to our country.

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