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William Tippins

Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) William Tippins was in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a POW (prisoner of war). During his 18 months in captivity, he escaped three times from the Germans and once from Russian liberators before returning to American care.

After the war, Tippins tried to join the Army again to go back to Germany to find the nurse who kept him alive by sneaking him food. Unfortunately, Tippins wasn’t allowed to go while in the Army due to an agreement with the Germans, which did not allow prisoners of war to return to Germany.

After finding a loophole, Tippins joined the newest branch of the military - the Air Force. After joining the Air Force, Tippins was stationed in Germany and eventually found the nurse who kept him alive - they were married seven months later.

Tippins served in the security career field and was briefly a bodyguard for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

After serving 24 years in the military, Tippins said he was grateful for his time in the Air Force because he was able to find his late wife and take advantage of educational opportunities.

At 90 years old, Tippins puts on his old service dress and attends the Pentagon’s POW Day each year. During his leisure time, he speaks with groups like the Boy Scouts of America about his years of service in the military and as a POW.