On Dec. 7, 1941, Glenn Tipton was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The USS Oklahoma sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly capsize. The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Tipton.
Henry Glenn Tipton was born in Oil City, Caddo Parish, Louisiana on June 15, 1921 to William Kaster “Bill” Tipton and Lilye Rose “Maxine” Bragg, who were married July 4, 1920. Glenn had two sisters, Willene, born August 9, 1924, and Virginia, born May 28, 1928.
Glenn’s Dad, Bill, was a school teacher. During the period between 1922 through 1928 he returned to his native Randolph County and taught school. According to the census records, in the spring of 1930, Glenn Tipton was an eight-year old student attending the Ravenden Springs School and living on Spring Street, Ravenden Springs, Janes Creek Township, in Randolph County, Arkansas.
On May 4, 1933, 11 year old Glenn, along with his little sisters aged 8 and 4, and their mom, Lilye, were chasing a rabbit when their mom fell and landed on a stump. Lilye, 5 months pregnant, went into premature labor and lost the baby, a boy, and her own life because of the medical complications.
After their mother’s death, times were so difficult that Glenn and his two sisters were “farmed” out to various relatives for days or weeks at a time. 1939 Glenn moved to Texarkana to be with his dad and sisters; there, he worked in a grocery store. Bill Tipton married Ollie Reed in October, 1939. They had two children, Betty, in 1941, and Kenneth in 1944, as part of a “second” family.
In the winter of 1939, the family moved to Chester Street in Little Rock. Glenn listed this location on his Navy induction papers on 5 Feb 1940. Navy life was exactly what Glenn needed. He boasted of having tied for the highest mark in one of the training activities. He wrote how proud he was of having made “grade” to advance to Seaman First Class. He even wrote that he was considering making a career of the Navy. His dream was that after twenty years in the Navy he would build a house with a porch and sit there smoking a long stem pipe with plenty of Sir Walter Raleigh. He closed one letter by telling Virginia to kiss baby sister Betty Jane for him.
Bill Tipton and his family were living at Clark Ridge, near Mountain Home when notification came from the Navy that Glenn was missing in action. However, if there was any small glimmer of hope, it would be dashed. A Baxter County Bulletin newspaper clipping from Feb 11, 1944 stated that Bill Tipton received the Purple Heart Medal awarded posthumously to his son.
Finally, the remains of U.S. Navy Seaman First Class Henry Glenn Tipton were identified in February, 2018 using DNA from family members.
Following weeks of planning, Glenn's remains arrived in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas in a flag-draped casket on an Arkansas National Guard C-130 on Wednesday evening, June 6, 2018.
A visitation was held at the Wings of Honor Museum in Walnut Ridge at 6:00 p.m. on June 7, 2018. Photos, artifacts, metals, etc., from his family were displayed and several of Glenn's relatives, including his half-brother, Ken Tipton, were present A power-point presentation about Glenn's early life and his military service played during the evening. Harold Johnson, museum president, gave a brief welcome. Lt. Col. Lloyd Clark, U.S. Army (Retired) spoke about patriotism and service to one's country.
Memorial service for Seaman First Class Henry Glenn Tipton
Friday, June 8, 2018
Wings of Honor Museum
Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
At precisely 10:00 o’clock, Dr Brett Cooper asked the audience to stand as the Wynne Arkansas USMC JROTC Color Guard presented the colors. It was a beautiful sight to see the Stars and Stripes, “Old Glory”, paraded-in with such ceremony. As the American Flag was presented, Matt Cavenaugh sang the National Anthem a capella, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Brett Cooper, then with the audience standing, the colors were retired.
Harold Johnson welcomed the family and guest, and acknowledged program participants, followed by a Trumpet Solo, the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save” by Austin Merriman. The Obituary was read by Frank Wilson, followed by a Trumpet Solo, the Navy Fight Song, “Anchors Aweigh,” by Austin Merriman.
Various tributes and proclamations followed: a Proclamation by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson was read by Colonel Steve Eggensperger; a Tribute from the Lt Governor, read by Brett Cooper; a Tribute from Senator Boozman, by Col. Anita Deason; a Tribute from Senator Cotton, by Jeff Morris; a Tribute from Congressman Crawford, by Stetson Painter; a Tribute was given by State Senator Linda Collins-Smith; a presentation of Arkansas House Resolution by State Representatives by Fran Cavenaugh and Scott Baltz. One of Glenn most familiar poems – A Psalm of Life – by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – was read by Dr. Brett Cooper.
Featured Speaker, LTC Lloyd Clark U.S. Army (Retired), concluded his remarks with a very fitting and moving personalized version of the famous navy retirement poem, “The Watch.”
The program concluded with a Presentation of the American Flag to Ken Tipton from Senator Cotton’s Office by Jeff Morris, and acceptance and additional remarks by Ken Tipton.
As the audience stood, the Benediction was offered by Gerald Fears, followed by TAPS, played by Dr. John Dulaney. At the conclusion of taps, the casket was moved just outside the front entrance so everyone could pay their respects as they departed. When the casket was situated, the family, at their request, was escorted out first so they could express their thanks to everyone as they left the museum.
Dana Bigger played a patriotic piano postlude while the audience slowly made their way past the casket bearing the remains of Seaman First Class Henry Glenn Tipton… to pay their final respects and honor one of Arkansas’… and America’s great heroes.
Participants in the program included:
Harold Johnson, museum president,
Frank Wilson, museum vice-president,
Col. Steve Eggensperger, retired AF Pilot & Wing Commander, Military & Veteran Liaison to Governor Asa Hutchinson;
Col. Anita Deason, Senator Boozman’s Staff;
Jeff Morris, Senator Cotton’s Staff;
Stetson Painter, Congressman Crawford’s Staff;
Linda Collins-Smith, State Senator;
Fran Cavenaugh, State Representative;
Scott Baltz, State Representative;
John Thomison, Lawrence County Judge;
Ms. Dana Bigger, Pianists;
Matt Cavenaugh, Soloist;
Austin Merriman, Trumpet Solo,
Marine Corps JROTC, Wynne, AR, Color Guard,
- Cadet Joshua Nicholson, Presenting the American Flag,
- Ty South, Presenting the Marine Corps Flag,
- Kayla Johnson, Right Rifle,
- Mackenzie Pitts, Left Rifle,
- Master Sergeant Dennis Roberts / USMC/RET, Instructor;
Dave Ames, State Director, Leading the American Legion Riders;
US Navy Personnel, Pall Bearers and Honor Guard for Graveside Service;
Dr. John Dulaney, TAPS
Approximately 400 people attended. Following the service, approximately 85 motorcycles let the procession from the museum to the Opposition Cemetery, near Ravenden, Arkansas. Hundreds lined the streets and highway, holding American Flags or with hand over heart, to pay their respects.