Edward Philippe was born on November 23, 1921, in Visalia, California. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve V-5 program on March 28, 1942, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on August 5, 1942. Philippe was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on December 1, 1942, and was designated a Naval Aviator at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, on December 28, 1942. Ensign Philippe next attended Pre-Operational Training at NAS Miami, Florida, from December 1942 to February 1943, and Carrier Qualification Training at NAS San Diego, California, and at NAS Glenview, Illinois, from February to March 1943. He joined VF-3 (redesignated VF-6 in July 1943) at NAS San Diego in April 1943, and deployed with his squadron as an F6F-3 Hellcat pilot to Hawaii in June 1943. Ensign Philippe next deployed with VF-6 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVL-22) during August 1943, followed by service with VF-6 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23) from August to September 1943. During this time he was credited with partial credit for shooting down an enemy Japanese aircraft on September 3, 1943. He again moved with VF-6 to the aircraft carrier USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) in late September 1943, and was killed in action during a Combat Air Patrol near Wake Island on October 5, 1943. His remains were never recovered, and he was officially listed as Missing in Action from October 5, 1943, until he was declared dead on January 10, 1946. On the date he died, Ensign Philippe was last seen attacking several Japanese Betty bombers and Zero fighters, with some of them already smoking badly and were probably brought down by him.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary courage and devotion to duty while participating in aerial flight as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron SIX during action against enemy Japanese Forces in the Pacific War Area in the vicinity of Wake Island on October 5, 1943. Upon sighting a flight of Japanese aircraft consisting of seven heavy bombers and five fighters, while on combat air patrol with his division, Ensign PHILIPPE dove to the attack. He completed several aggressive attacks before he became separated from his division. When last seen, Ensign PHILIPPE was pressing home a determined attack on the formation of bombers, several of which were smoking badly and probably did not reach their base. His aggressive fighting spirit, skill and courage were an inspiration to all with whom he served. From this action Ensign PHILIPPE failed to return.