First Lieutenant Clifford Carwood Lipton (30 January 1920 – 16 December 2001) was a commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Lipton was portrayed by Donnie Wahlberg in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. On the battlefields of Europe, he was promoted to Company First Sergeant and ultimately was awarded a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant. He said "it was the greatest honor ever awarded" to him. He eventually earned a promotion to First Lieutenant before leaving the Army. Lipton's life story was featured in the 2010 book A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us.
Carwood Lipton was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. His father was killed in an automobile accident when he was ten and his mother was involved in the same accident and was paralyzed. Since Carwood was the eldest child, she told him to be the "man of the family". After completing one year at Huntington's Marshall University, he left school due to financial troubles at home and went to work in war-related production. After reading an article in Life Magazine on the difficulty of paratrooper training, and how the Airborne was one of the most highly trained branches of the Army, Lipton enlisted and joined the paratroops on 15 August 1942 at Fort Thomas (Newport), Kentucky.
Carwood Lipton rose through the ranks of the company, eventually becoming Company First Sergeant after the acting Company First Sergeant, James Diel, was given a battlefield commission and transferred within the 506th PIR. Lipton was always keeping the men's spirits high, pushing them to their full potential. This was recognized by the officers of Easy Company. He was also known as "The Man".
Carwood Lipton was the jumpmaster of one of the C-47 Skytrains that the paratroopers used to jump into Normandy. Lipton jumped into Normandy and was able to rendezvous with then First Lieutenant Richard Winters and several other men from the 101st, and two more from the 82nd Airborne Division. They were later reunited with several more Easy Company members and worked their way just south of their objective of Carentan.
During the Invasion of Normandy, Lipton was hit by German 88mm shrapnel, but a medic patched him up and Lipton resumed fighting. Lipton was teamed with Sergeant Mike Ranney during the Brécourt Manor Assault, where Easy Company was assigned the task of destroying four 105mm howitzers (originally thought to be 88mm) that were firing down on Utah Beach. Lipton and Ranney climbed up a tree and sniped some Germans from a distance: Lipton killed a German soldier from the tree with an M-1 Carbine he had picked up after his jump. Easy Company managed to destroy the four howitzers, and Lipton was awarded the Bronze Star as a result of this action. Lipton was also involved in the assault on Carentan and was injured by shrapnel in the face and groin, receiving the Purple Heart as a result.
Easy Company's slowly-depleting ranks became a problem during the run-up to Operation Market Garden, with the vacancies being filled by replacement soldiers. Lipton is remembered by many of the "replacement" veterans as being one of the very few men who immediately accepted them as true soldiers. Lipton was with Easy Company when they liberated Eindhoven and was part of an advanced scout team that scouted the route (bridge) ahead of the rest of the Company.
A small team of scouts was on "The Crossroads" in the Netherlands when a private of their squad was badly wounded by a German hand grenade and Easy Company was called to action. They were assigned the task of destroying any remaining German resistance at The Crossroads. Lipton was not among the original assault team of around ten men, but joined up the next morning with the rest of the Company. Easy Company managed to destroy over two Companies of SS situated at The Crossroads as a result of their surprise attack on the German position.
Operation Pegasus was a small operation where Easy Company was to cross the river on boats supplied by Royal Canadian Engineers and bring back over 140 British Paratroopers who were trapped when they pulled back from Arnhem. Lipton and First Lieutenant Frederick Heyliger oversaw the Operation.
After Easy Company's assault on the town of Foy, Lipton was told he would be awarded a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant, receiving his official commission in Haguenau. Lipton later witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust at Kaufering concentration camp.
Lipton assisted Easy Company in the capture of Hitler's "Eagles' Nest" winter retreat at Berchtesgaden. While there, Lipton became acquainted with Ferdinand Porsche (partially responsible for the Panther and Tiger tanks), who spoke English very well. They ate their meals together while Porsche was in a POW camp. Lipton remained with Easy Company through the end of the war, until the unit was disbanded after the official surrender of the Japanese forces. He remained in the Army Reserve through to the Korean War, but was not deployed overseas again.
Medals and Decorations
||Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster|
||Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters|
||Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Good Conduct Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal|
|Croix de guerre with palm|
|French Liberation Medal|
|Belgian World War II Service Medal|
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Parachutist Badge with 2 jump stars|
Upon Lipton's return to the United States, he enrolled at Marshall University and completed his final three years graduating with a degree in Engineering. Fresh with his degree, Lipton got a job with Owens Illinois Inc., a manufacturer of glass products and plastics packaging. He rapidly advanced in the company and by 1952 had become Chief Operator.
In 1966, Lipton moved to Bridgeton, New Jersey, where he became an Administrative Manager and, in 1971, he and his wife moved to London, where he was the Director of Manufacturing for eight different glass companies in England and Scotland for several years. In 1982, he moved to Toledo, Ohio and retired a year later from his post as Director of International Development. Lipton spent his retirement years in the town of Southern Pines, North Carolina.
C. Carwood Lipton died on 16 December 2001 of pulmonary fibrosis in Southern Pines, North Carolina. He is survived by his wife Marie and his three sons; Clifford Carwood III, Thomas, Michael, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
In the media
Lipton has appeared on two separate television shows, providing his own commentary in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers and the true story of Easy Company, We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company.