SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of Army Lt. Col.

Gordon Joseph Lippman


Lemmon, South Dakota, Perkins County

 November 25, 1924 - December 11, 1965

Died from small arms fire in hostile ground action at Lai Khe, South Vietnam

               Left:  about 18 years old; Right: with Marlys about 21 years old

Gordon Joseph Lippman was born in Zap, North Dakota on November 25, 1924 to Harold G. and Arleen M. (Swan) Lippman. Gordon had three sisters: Marlys, Camilla, and Phyllis, and a brother, Paul. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School, and had completed his junior year at Lemmon High School before he enlisted. While in school, Gordon was in basketball, football, the camera club, theater, a member of the yearbook staff, a cheerleader, an honor student, and a representative to Boy’s State. Gordon’s sister, Marlys, tells us Gordon left high school early because of the lack of jobs in Lemmon. He went to California where he immediately got a job at Smith’s Market in Compton. Gordon acquainted his family to avocados by telling them he ate them each noon for lunch. He married Lucille L. Meier on June 26, 1946 in Long Beach, California. They had three adopted children: Mark, Michael, and Lura Lee.

Gordon Lippman enlisted in the Army on March 19, 1943, and after basic training was sent to the European theatre with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. In WW II, Lt. Col. Lippman was wounded in December 1944 in the Battle of the Bulge, for which he was awarded a battlefield commission, moving him from Sgt. to the rank of 1st Lt. in the field. He was a battalion operations officer with the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division in Korea in the early 1950’s, where he was again wounded and awarded the nation’s second highest award for extraordinary heroism, the Distinguished Service Cross. Lt. Col. Lippman had graduated from the Army War College. He did extensive tours of duty in Germany prior to being sent to Vietnam on September 16, 1965, at the age of 41, where he served as the executive officer of the Third Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. On the night of December 11, 1965, several Viet Cong snipers had infiltrated the perimeter of his camp. Lt. Col Lippman tried to personally locate the snipers, and while moving across an open area, Lt. Col. Gordon Joseph Lippman died doing what he had been doing throughout three wars, trying to help his men.

His sister, Marlys, writes:

Two of my last memories of Gordon were when we visited him in May 1965. After a weeks visit, we learned that many of the evenings we were there, after we retired, he would go to his office and work all night on his master’s degree, which he earned from Georgetown University just prior to leaving for Vietnam. My last memory was that I had sent him for Christmas in 1965 a fruitcake plus other edibles and a felt bookmark (Gordon) which I made for him per his request-only send very small things that can travel with me. In February, 2 months after he was killed, the package was returned to me with DECEASED written on it – with a very spoiled fruitcake. I wept. It was so little and he didn’t even receive it.

Lt. Col. Gordon Lippman was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Along with the Distinguished Service Cross, Lt. Col. Lippman was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the French Croix de Guerre, the Belgium Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Unit Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge with Star, Master Parachutist Wings, American Campaign Medal, EAME Service Medal with five Bronze Stars and Arrowhead, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Korean Defense Medal with six Bronze Service Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Occupation Ribbon, the Good Conduct Ribbon, as well as being an honored member of the Legion of Valor.. He was written about in the book “No Place to Die,” by Hugh Mulligan, discussed on radio on December 30, 1965 by Paul Harvey News, and was a topic of the Harry Reasoner Report for CBS News on December 20, 1965. Lt. Col. Lippman’s name can be found on Panel 04E, Line 012 of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Right: Burial at Arlington National Cemetery

Kelcie Jean Cross, 8th grade, Stanley County Schools, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 12, 2006, respectfully submitted this entry. Information was provided by Marlys Buchenau, Vista, California, sister to Lt. Col. Lippman.


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