Six sons of James and Julia Tipton served in the military
The family of James and Julia Tipton was one of several in Carter County that sent more than one son to serve during World War II. In fact, they had four sons — Abraham Lincoln Tipton, James Clayton Tipton, Charles Tipton and Herbert Tipton — serve in the Great War. All returned home safely without injuries.
After the war, three of the brothers, Lincoln, James and Charles, worked on the construction of Watauga Dam.
In all, the Tiptons had six sons serve in the military, and all have their names inscribed on the Carter County Veterans Wall of Honor. In addition to the four sons who served during World War II, sons Jack and Ted also served in the military. Ted is the only surviving brother.
Chief Master Sgt. Abraham Lincoln Tipton
CMSgt. Tipton enlisted in the Army in the Horse Cavalry as a private in mid-1941. He served in an armored division in Europe and North Africa during WWII. CMSgt Tipton transferred to the U.S. Air Force when it was first formed from the Army Air Corps in 1947.
Although he began in the horse calvary, he was part of the atomic era and witnessed the beginnings of the U.S. Air Force space program. He qualified as master sergeant in 1957 and retired from the Air Force in 1962. He was posthumously promoted to chief master sergeant in 1963.
Lincoln, as he was known to his family, died in May 1963 from liver and pancreatic cancer most likely caused by his close proximity to numerous atomic bomb tests.
A graduate of Cloudland High School, he completed his basic training at Camp Funston, Kan. in the cavalry. He served as a tank commander in Europe in 1943.
In 1945, CMSgt. Tipton was part of the allied campaign that drove the Germans back at Po Valley, Italy, where he fought with the allied forces to take Naples and Foggia back from the Germans.
He also fought in campaigns in Tunisia, Rome-Arno and North Appenines.
During the Korean War, CMSgt. Tipton was granted top secret clearance and served in the Far East Air Force’s 5th Air Force. He received a commendation for his rapid repair of a failed radar system during a planned offensive attack against North Korean forces. His actions saved numerous lives.
After completing additional radar and communications courses, Tipton was assigned to a drone squadron at Eglin AFB, where was he sent on temporary duty to Nevada in support of Operation Teapot, and then to the South Pacific, where he served for several months at Bikini Atoll with Operation Redwing. During these two operations he participated in 31 atomic bomb detonations, where he was often less than 10 miles from Ground Zero. It was during Operating Teapot that his drone squadron received a commendation from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs for the accuracy of the drone aircraft they controlled during the tests.
Among his military citations were the U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, the U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Citation, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Star, WWII Victory Medal, National Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal with Three Stars, United Nations Service Medal-Korea, Air Force Longevity Service Award with Four Oak Leaves and the USAF Missile Maintenance Badge.
James Clayton Tipton
James C. Tipton enlisted in the Army on Aug. 5, 1943, and was discharged Feb. 17, 1946. He served in the military police during WWII.
Pfc. Tipton began as a cook’s helper at Camp Gordon, Ga., then became a duty soldier and guard.
In civilian life, he worked on the construction of Watauga Dam, later moving to Nashville where he worked in the furniture business until he returned to Roan Mountain in 1982. He lived at the Tipton homeplace in Sugar Hollow in Roan Mountain until his death in 2012.
Charles Tipton enlisted in the Army on June 8, 1943, and was discharged Nov. 21, 1945.
He served as a private first class with the U.S. Army 23rd Military Police Company during WWII.
He underwent basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and participated in battles in Northern France, Rhineland, Germany and Central Europe.
His decorations include the America Theater Ribbon with Three Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Ribbon and WWII Victory Medal.
In civilian life, he worked on the construction of Watauga Dam, and later worked for Holtsclaw Lumber Co. in Roan Mountain.
Herbert Tipton enlisted in the Army in October 1944, and was discharged in March 1945.
He underwent basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
His Army records were destroyed by fire.
Tipton, upon his discharge from the Army, immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a fireman. His duties included firing the boilers, maintaining fire room equipment and operating ship engines.
He served aboard the USS LST 783, the USS ABRD 3 and Bladen APA-63. His mission while on the Bladen was to transport Army and Navy personnel and equipment to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok. Ulithi and the Philippines during WWII. While serving on the Bladen, Tipton was promoted to fireman first class from fireman second class. He received the Victory Medal for his military service.
He was discharged from the Navy in August 1946.
Tipton worked at NARC and at a local truck stop in Elizabethton.
Billy Jack Tipton
Billy Jack Tipton enlisted in the Army in 1947 at Fort Jackson, S.C. He was discharged in 1951 at Fort Benning, Ga., and re-enlisted in 1954.
He served for three years, receiving his discharge in 1957 at Fort Chaffee, Ark.
During his time in the military, Billy Jack served with the U.S. Army 7th Infantry Division as a squad leader and corporal in the Korean Conflict.
He received the Army Occupational Medal and the Korean Service Medal with Three Bronze Campaign Stars.
He moved to Baltimore, Md., in 1965, where he worked at General Motors until he retired in 1995.
Ted Tipton enlisted in the Army in March 1953, receiving his basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. He was discharged in March 1955.
He served with the Army’s 76th Truck Company and attained the rank of corporal during the Korean Conflict.
His overseas duty included serving in clerical administration in Germany and service with the 76th Trucking Company in Orleans, France, as part of the Red Ball Express.
Tipton owned and operated Ted’s Truck Stop and purchased Watauga Lakeshore Marina in 1961. He has seen his business grow from a one-boat operation to a full service resort and marina.
The marina celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011 and currently employs 12 family members.
Tipton has attended First Baptist Church in Elizabethton since his marriage to Betty Luther in 1958.
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