My father, Donald E. Yapp, was in the Big Red One, 1st Division, 16th Infantry, G Company storming the Easy Red sector led by commander Joe Dawson during the first wave. Some of his friends were Sergeant Ed Tatara, Joseph Pilck, Laverne Smith, Lawrence Krumonacher, and James Krucas. My dad never talked about the war nor his experiences to his children until I was an adult around age 30. I remember when he got the big packet from Steven Ambrose during the mid '80's, but even with the long period of time the vets had to complete the packet my dad never once took a look at it. We simply could not convince him to look into it. We had to respect his privacy and inability to take himself back to those horrific days.

Luckily, one of his friend's son decided to write an Essay about G Company on D-Day as part his History Class at Yale University in 1994. He came to visit my dad, Joe Dawson, and several others over a period of months to collect information. So, I now know his movements in large part. 

His friend, Sergeant Ed Tatara, used his bangalore torpedo to shoot a hole in the barbed wire which allowed the men to move off the beach. My father was one of a few men with Tatara and Dawson who moved across the minefields, made the ascent up a narrow path perhaps made by animals and dealt with the Germans in the pill box above. He was decorated for extraordinary heroism pinned on him by General Eisenhower in a private ceremony for the 16th Regiment on July 2, 1944. 

He somehow survived the onslaught that day and for another 120 days pushing inland through the French countryside before he was hit by a German sniper in his gun belt sending shrapnel throughout his body. This young German soldier didn't shoot him on site; rather, he plopped him over his shoulder and carried him until he saw a wheel barrow to place him in and wheeled him to the German army's makeshift hospital set up in a barn. 

My father had a very rich wartime history escaping death many times. He was shuttled around to numerous prisoner camps until liberation day. At 79 lbs. and gangrene set in his legs he was racked with infection in over 150 leg ulcers. He was ultimately rescued by the German farmer whose land was being used for a camp by secretly taking him to the Catholic Hospital in Neumarkt-St. Veit. There the German Doctor, Dr. Fritz Kobl, and his nurses hid him away, fed and treated him which saved his life in the weeks before liberation day. 

He passed away in 2002.


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