Private First Class Thomas A. Shipe U.S. Army Company B, 1st Battalion (Airborne) 503d Infantry (WARNBO), 173d Infantry Brigade Republic of Vietnam, September 19th, 1970 Washington County
Wall of Valor: For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Private First Class Shipe distinguished himself by heroic actions on 19 September 1970, while serving as a rifleman on a combat operation in the Nui Mieu mountains in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, while searching for a Viet Cong Political Prisoner of War camp in an area known to contain many enemy soldiers, Private Shipe's element spotted an enemy soldier at the entrance to a cave and took him under fire. Realizing the importance of intelligence that could be obtained from inside the cave, Private Shipe volunteered to be one of two men to enter and search it. After entering the cave a short distance he came under enemy fire at a very close range and was immediately wounded. He began to return fire in the direction of the enemy muzzle flash in order to enable his comrade to reach the cave entrance and signal for help. He continued to return fire until he was mortally wounded by the enemy fire, sacrificing his own life in an attempt to accomplish the mission. By his valorous actions he imparted a sense of urgency, purpose, and determination to the men that ultimately played a key role in the success of the mission. His efforts proved to be the force that helped disrupt the enemy's mission and indirectly saved the lives of many other comrades. Private First Class Shipe's extraordinary heroism was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.