• garfield
  • Bergen
  • October 04, 1941
  • April 06, 1967
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • CAPT
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


William George Sipos was born on October 4, 1941.  His home of record is Garfield, NJ.  He attended Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic, NJ, where he starred as a defense back on the varsity football team.  He was a captain of three sports teams in his senior year: baseball, football and basketball.  Sipos received All State honors in football and basketball.  In 1958, he was selected the Most Valuable Player at the Seton Hall University holiday tournament for Catholic high schools.  William was a member of the Honor Society for four years, student council member, president of the French and Latin Clubs, and vice president of the Chemistry Club.  He was also spiritual director of the students and secretary of his graduating class.  William graduated in 1959. 

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point.  While there, he earned letters in football and baseball.  He was a three-year starter for Army as a defensive back.  During his senior year, William was a company commander in charge of 102 fellow cadets.  He was secretary of his senior class. 

After graduation from West Point in 1963, William received a commission in the US Air Force.  He received his wings at Moody Air Force Base, GA and was assigned to the 3rd Air Transport Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base for a two-year tour of duty.  He then received training in aerial reconnaissance. 

Sipos arrived in Vietnam on January 30, 1967.  On February 6, 1967, he was promoted to the rank of Captain (CAPT).

On April 6, 1967, Captain William Sipos was killed in action in South Vietnam, Quang Nam Province while flying a Cessna 0-1 "Bird-dog" aircraft.  He was 25 years old.

He was survived by his wife, Nanette, and daughter, Michele, his parents and two brothers, Joe and Robert.  He was buried at West Point with full military honors.

Sipos received numerous medals including the Purple Heart, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star. 

I was a USAF aircraft mechanic with the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron at Danang Air Force Base, and saw Capt. Sipos off on his last flight.  He was one of those remarkable people you know only a short time but never forget, and the whole squadron was hit hard by his death.

For the most part, there was only professional interaction between enlisted personnel and pilots - a kind of friendly, mutual respect, but distant, military and correct.  Capt. Sipos was thoroughly professional, but he was a different sort of officer, one who maintained the dignity of his rank while being able to express camaraderie with the enlisted men, and he drew the affection of everyone.  He always had a smile and a kind word, talked about his family with great love, and never missed a chance to show us photos of his wife and daughter.  And he was one of the bravest of the brave.  I have always felt so sorry for his daughter in particular, not ever really knowing what a great guy her father was, though I am sure people have told her so.

Written by David Sciacchitano, Veteran

The following was written by classmates from West Point and published in the July/August 1996 Distinguished Graduates publication, Assembly.

"The good die young."  Daniel Defoe must have had Bill Sipos in mind.

Bill was not just good; he was one of the best of the Class of '63.

Bill grew up in Garfield, NJ, the middle of three sons of Joseph and Violet Sipos.  He attended Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic, NJ, where he was an excellent scholar and athlete.  Scholastically, he ranked 16th in his graduating class of 168.  As an athlete, Bill was a nine-letterman in football, basketball and baseball; and he had the distinction of being named captain in all three sports during his senior year.  Subsequent to his death, in 1968, the school established the William Sipos Scholar-Athlete Award, which is presented to a deserving senior each year.

Bill entered West Point in July 1959 with the Class of 1963.  His family, being close by in northern New Jersey, spent many weekends at West Point.  They were definite morale boosters, throwing picnics and bringing "boodle" frequently.  We were impressed with how close his family was and how much they enjoyed each other.  His parents loved having him and his friends around, and they opened their home to us.  Bill was especially close to his brothers and followed their athletic careers with keen interest.

Bill was instantly likable, as well as an acknowledged natural leader.  People wanted to be around him because they knew he would do the right thing.  He was serious about his cadet career, diligent in his studies and dedicated to athletics with a tremendous natural ability.  He started as a defensive back for three years on the football team and was a member of the varsity baseball squad and the plebe basketball team.  Also, he was secretary of our class and served as G-2 company commander in his first year.

When we reflect on Bill, the first word that comes to mind is our class motto, "Quality."  Bill Sipos was quality.  He was a man of many talents:  a superb athlete; intelligent though not overly committed to the books; and a natural leader.  Also, he had a quiet, clever wit and an itch for mischief and adventure.  We admired his boldness for the occasional escapes out of the back of the "Lost Fifties" for a trip "over the wall."  Bill was serious when it was needed but never took himself or the "the system" too seriously.  His integrity was unquestioned, as was his loyalty to his country and his friends.

An integral part of Bill's leadership was determination and perseverance; he had great mental toughness and resiliency.  During our Cow year, Bill received a severe slug for a questionable academic infraction.  He was confined to quarters for six months and forced to walk the area for a substantial number of hours.  Many with lesser commitments would have thrown up their hands and quit, but Bill fought back.  He accepted his punishment with equanimity, walked off his hours with a smile, and redoubled his efforts to make it through.  The fact that Bill was named our company commander Firstie year was a testament to the admiration that his classmates, and even the Tactical Department, had for him.

Bill was a quiet and private person, not much for words, but he had a kind of profound gentleness about him and always was ready with a quick smile.  He appeared to enjoy a quiet solitude that radiated inner peace.  The Catholic Church was a very important part of his cadet life, and he attended mass frequently.  He had a quiet but strong devotion to God and a deep and abiding faith.

After graduation, Bill went into the Air Force and went through pilot training.  After all these years, we still remember it - going through the Stars and Stripes and seeing the name "William Sipos, USAF" on the KIA list.  We hoped that it was someone else with the same name, but deep down we knew that was unlikely.  We felt as if we had lost a member of our family.

Surviving, in addition to his parents and his two brothers, were his wife Nannette and daughter Michelle, less than a year old.

Our lasting thoughts are these:  although we knew him for only a short time, he made a deep impression on our lives.  We are thankful to have known him as a classmate and a friend.  He personified for us what West Point was all about.  And we are better for having known Bill Sipos.

Sources: Clifton War Veterans Monument Committee, West Point, David Sciacchitano and NJVVMF.


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