Donald Malarkey

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Donald Malarkey
Don Malarkey 117381 (cropped).jpg
Donald Malarkey in 2008
Nickname(s) Don, Malark
Born (1921-07-31)July 31, 1921
Astoria, Oregon
Died September 30, 2017(2017-09-30) (aged 96)
Salem, Oregon
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank US Army WWII TSGT.svg Technical Sergeant
Unit 506 patch.jpeg Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
US 101st Airborne Division patch.svg101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star 1 OLC
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Presidential Unit Citation 1 OLC
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur
Croix de guerre 1939–1945 stripe bronsepalme.svg Croix de guerre
Combat Infantry Badge.svgCombat Infantryman Badge
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gifParachutist Badge
Spouse(s) Irene Moor (1948–2006; her death)
Other work Sales manager
Author

Technical Sergeant Donald George Malarkey (July 31, 1921[1] – September 30, 2017)[2] was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Malarkey was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Scott Grimes.

Youth[edit]

Donald Malarkey was born in Astoria, Oregon, on July 31, 1921,[1] to Leo and Helen (née Trask) Malarkey,[3]:12, 17 married in 1918. He graduated from Astoria High School in 1939.[3]:23 As a youth, he worked on a purse seiner crew on the Columbia River.[3]:70 He was a volunteer firefighter during the destructive Tillamook Burn forest fire, which destroyed thousands of acres of Oregon timber.[3]:255 He was in his first semester at the University of Oregon in the fall of 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.[3]:25

Military service[edit]

After Pearl Harbor, Malarkey tried enlisting in the Marines, but was rejected because of dental problems. He then tried the Army Air Corps, but lacked the requisite mathematics background. As such, when he was drafted in July 1942, he volunteered for the paratroops of the United States Army, after reading a Life magazine article about them being the best.[3]:29–30, 281 He trained at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Of the enlisted men who trained at Toccoa, only one man in six received certification as a member of the fledgling paratroops. He received his jump certification in 1942.[3]:36

He became a member of E ("Easy") Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He went to England in 1944 to participate in Mission Albany, the airborne landing portion of Operation Neptune, the largest amphibious invasion in history, which was the assault portion of Operation Overlord.[3]:64 Malarkey parachuted into France with his unit. Later that day, in a pitched battle, he helped knock out four German 105 mm artillery battery, an action now called the Brécourt Manor Assault, for which he received the Bronze Star for his heroism.

Donald Malarkey in 1945.

He fought for twenty-three days in Normandy, nearly eighty in the Netherlands, thirty-nine in the Battle of Bastogne in Belgium, and nearly thirty more in and around Haguenau, France, and the Ruhr Pocket in Germany. He was promoted to sergeant before Operation Market Garden. Malarkey, who was never seriously wounded, served more consecutive time on the front lines than any other member of Easy Company. Malarkey was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, and others.

Later years[edit]

Malarkey returned to the University of Oregon in 1946 to complete his degree. He was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity (Gamma Zeta).[3]:234 While attending the university, he met and became engaged to Irene Moor (1926–2006) of Portland.[3]:234–236 They were married on 19 June 1948.[3]:236 Malarkey graduated in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in business.[3]:26 The couple lived in Astoria, Oregon, where Malarkey became the sales manager for Lovell Auto Company. During this time, he ran for the position of County Commissioner of Clatsop County, Oregon, and was elected in 1954.[3]:237 The family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Malarkey worked as an insurance and real estate agent.[3]:237

Malarkey and his wife Irene had four children, a son and three daughters.[3]:237 Irene died in April 2006 of breast cancer.[3]:251

In 1987, Malarkey was introduced to author and University of New Orleans Professor of History Stephen Ambrose at an Easy Company reunion in New Orleans. In 1989, Malarkey traveled with Ambrose and other members of Easy Company, including Richard Winters and Carwood Lipton, to various sites where they had fought in Europe.[3]:252 The oral history and first-person recollections that Malarkey and the others provided became the basis for Ambrose's book Band of Brothers, which was published in 1992. During Ambrose's collection of anecdotal information for the book, Malarkey told of the saga of the Niland brothers of Tonawanda, New York, how two had died on D-Day and another was presumed killed.[3]:250 Fritz, one of the four Niland brothers, was close friends with Malarkey's best friend and fellow Easy Company member Sergeant Warren H. "Skip" Muck who was from the same town as the Nilands. This episode was the impetus for the screenplay of Saving Private Ryan.[3]:110

Malarkey lived in Salem, Oregon, and formerly spoke extensively to high school and college students and other groups on his Easy Company experiences. He traveled with the USO to Army posts and hospitals in the United States and Europe, where he met with soldiers wounded in the Iraq War. In 2005, he appeared in an advertisement urging repeal of the estate tax. For many years Malarkey extensively traveled with his friend Vance Day, who is a circuit court judge in Oregon and a former trial attorney and chairman for the Oregon Republican Party. Together they have done many leadership seminars through Day's Frontline Leadership by On-Point Strategies. Following its premiere in August 2010, the two also held events around a new documentary titled The Battle at Brecourt Manor (Brecourt Manor Assault) executive produced by Day according to the group's promotional manager Justin Alderman.[4] The group and documentary project operated a website at http://www.brecourtmanor.net which was archived in August 2011. In 2012, Malarkey retired from public speaking events.

Following the death of Sergeant Paul Rogers on March 16, 2015, Malarkey became the oldest surviving member of Easy Company. When Malarkey died on September 30, 2017[2] He was interred at Willamette National Cemetery.[1]

Medals and decorations[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Good Conduct Medal ribbon.svg Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Arrowhead
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Service Stars and arrow device
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur[5]
Croix de guerre 1939–1945 stripe bronsepalme.svg Croix de guerre with palm
French Liberation Medal ribbon.png French Liberation Medal
War Cross (Belgium) with palm
BEL Commemorative Medal of the War 1940-1945.png Belgian World War II Service Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
Cp2j.jpg Parachutist Badge with 2 jump stars

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Obituary: Donald George Malarkey". The Daily Astorian. October 3, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-07. 
  2. ^ a b "Donald Malarkey, portrayed in 'Band of Brothers,' has died". ABC News. October 1, 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Malarkey, Donald G.; Welch, Bob (2008). Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from World War II's "Band of Brothers". St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-37849-3. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  5. ^ "France Gives Highest Award To WWII Vets" (PDF). Vet News. September–October 2009. p. 3. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 

External links[edit]