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Col. Edwin G. Pipp, USAF, Retired

Edwin G. Pipp


Col. Edwin G. Pipp was born May 8, 1919 in Detroit, Michigan. He has served as a test pilot and chronicler of the nation's aerospace program.

Pipp joined the Michigan National Guard in 1940 as a private, attending military flight schools in 1942. During World War II he served five years in the Army Air Corps, flying 10 combat missions as a B-17 pilot. His plane was shot down on his tenth mission and he spent over two years as a German prisoner of war. He continued his flying career through the Michigan Air National Guard where he served as an officer from 1946 until 1974.

Pipp retired from military service as a colonel in 1974 having flown 26 different military aircraft over the course of his career. His military awards include: Purple Heart, Air Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster, American Defense Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, European-African-Middle East Theater Ribbon with one bronze star, and four overseas service bars. He was also the recipient of the first Hoyt S. Vandenberg Achievement Award given by the Air Force.

Having begun a career as a copy boy for the Detroit News' editorial department prior to his World War II military service, he resumed responsibilities there and began covering the aviation industry. In 1952 he became the paper's aerospace writer. Pipp served as the Korean and Vietnam War correspondent and covered all manned orbital space missions at Cape Kennedy and Houston from the John Glenn flight through the first space shuttle mission. With assignments to all parts of the United States, Europe, and the Far East, Pipp covered most major aerospace events occurring from 1961 to 1981 when he retired.

Pipp was president of the Aviation/Space Writers Association (AWA) in 1958 and 1959. He was voted a life member in 1979 for "lasting devotion to veracity and accuracy in writing." He also received AWA awards for aerospace writing in 1962, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1981. He received a special award from the Flight Safety Foundation in 1960 and the Michigan United Press International Award for feature writing in 1974. He was the recipient of Michigan Associated Press Newswriting Awards in 1966, 1973, and 1975.

Pipp was enshrined on August 21, 1993 for combining his civilian and military careers to rise to the top of his profession, delivering accurate scientific information and enhancing the public's knowledge of aviation. He passed away June 19, 2001.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program