Col. John William Fippen (1922-1997)
Co-founder of the Heirloom Research Group, John Fippen began breeding Arabian horses in 1977, following his retirement from 33 years of distinguished military service. After high school, he entered pilot's training in the Army Air Corp in 1941, then graduated from the University of Illinois in 1949. He was recalled to active duty in 1951 and served two tours of duty flying surveillance flights for the Air Force from Wiesbaden, Germany. Upon returning stateside, he held Comptroller positions in Omaha, Vietnam, the Pentagon, and Chanute AFB. After retirement, Fippen and his wife Elizabeth devoted twenty years to the preservation of the asil Arabian horse. He served on the Board of Directors of Al Khamsa, Inc. and was frequently seen at horse farms across the country, videotaping the horses and interviewing their breeders. No project captured his imagination as much as his beloved Heirloom horses, inspiring both his own breeding program and his comprehensive book, Heirloom Egyptian Arabian Horses, 1840-2000 (2004).