Roderick M. Kippen
Biography: Roderick Malcom Kippen, “Rod”, was born on May 6, 1918, in Hamilton, Montana. He was the son of Malcom D. Kippen and Christina McLeod. Rod graduated from Hamilton High School and attended the University of San Francisco College of Mortuary Science. His draft card, dated October 10, 1940, shows he was employed at the Dokken Funeral Home in Bozeman, MT. At some point in mid-May, 1942, he married the former Virginia D. Willson, from Bozeman, MT, who was the daughter of Fred F. Willson and Helen Fisher. The marriage took place in San Jose, California. They had two sons, Malcom D. and Fred D.
Service Time: Rod entered the Army on March 17, 1942, at Fort Lewis, Washington. On March 23rd, he joined Company B of the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion, stationed at Fort Ord, California. On May the 5th, he was assigned to the Medical Detachment and was promoted to Private First Class on July 1st of that same year. On August 5th, Rod was promoted to Technician Grade 5. Sometime in 1942,
He trained with the unit at a number of locations including: Camp San Luis Obispo, Hunter Liggett Military Reservation and the Desert Training Center, all in California, along with Camp Hood, Texas and Camp Cooke, CA.
Arriving at Liverpool, England, on April 21, 1944, they continued training. Company B landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France on June 23rd and suppported the advance on Cherbourg, fighting along the Seves River in July. They joined the drive to Le Mans and envelopment of the Falaise Pocket in August, advancing to the Moselle River in September and supporting operations against Metz through November. The unit converted to a self-propelled battalion equipped with M36 tank destroyers in time for the final assault on Metz. Continuing the drive toward the Saar River, they participated in the attack on Saarlautern, Germany, followed by the subsequent fight against the Siegfried Line in December.
The unit was deployed to the Ardennes sector in January 1945, and again committed against the Siegfried Line in February in the Schnee Eifel. Supporting the capture of Koblenz, Germany in mid-March, they crossed the Rhine River at Boppard on March 25. The 607th continued to drive east through Hessen and Thüringen reached the Czechoslovak border near Plauen by mid-April. Thereafter, they remained in defensive positions until VE Day.
Rod did not return to the U. S. with the 607th. Like many other men, he may have been transferred to another unit after combat ended. He was awarded the Good Conduct, American Theater Service and World War II Victory medals along with the EAME medal and credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.
After returning home, Rod became a partner in the Dokken Funeral Home in Bozeman, MT. He also served as the coroner. He passed away at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis after several months of illness on April 23, 1954. Rod was buried in the Sunset Hills Cemetery, Bozeman, MT. Thank you to Find A Grave contributor Jim Harrison for use of the grave marker photo.