Donald Malarkey in 2008
|Born||July 31, 1921(age 99)|
|Place of birth||Astoria, Oregon|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942-1945|
Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,|
101st Airborne Division
Bronze Star 1 OLC |
Presidential Unit Citation 1 OLC
American Defense Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
American Campaign Medal
Croix de guerre
Légion d’Honneur with Chevalier Status
French Liberation Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
-Irene Moor (wife)|
Technical Sergeant Donald G. Malarkey (born July 31, 1921) is a former 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 | edit source]
Donald Malarkey was born in Astoria, Oregon to Leo Malarkey, and Helen Trask. They were married in 1918. His father was Leo, who gained his nickname, "Tick", while attending the University of Oregon, where he played football, and had a job winding a huge campus clock. He was also a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. Two of Don's uncles, Gerald Malarkey and Robert Malarkey served in World War I. Gerald died in combat on August 11, 1918 in France by shrapnel from a German shell, and Robert died in 1926 due to complications of a mustard gas attack.
Don attended Star of the Sea, a Catholic school in Astoria, where he excelled as an athlete, most notably as point guard on the basketball team. He graduated from Astoria High School in 1939. As a youth, he worked on a purse seiner crew on the Columbia River. He also was a volunteer firefighter during the destructive Tillamook Burn forest fire, which destroyed thousands of acres of Oregon timber. He was in his first semester at the University of Oregon in the fall of 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Military service[edit | edit source]
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. 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.
He became a member of "Easy" Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He went to England in 1943 to participate in the largest amphibious invasion in history: Operation Overlord. In the darkness of the morning of D-Day, Malarkey parachuted into France with his unit. Later that day, he received the Bronze Star for his heroism in a pitched battle to knock out four German 105 mm artillery battery, an action now called the Brécourt Manor Assault.
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 Hagenau, France, and the Ruhr Pocket in Germany. He was promoted to sergeant before Operation Market Garden. Never seriously wounded, Malarkey 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 | edit source]
Malarkey returned to the University of Oregon in 1946 to complete his degree. He is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity (Gamma Zeta). While attending the university, he met and became engaged to Irene Moor of Portland. They were married on June 19, 1948. Don graduated in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in business. The couple lived in Astoria, Oregon, where Don became the sales manager for Lovell Auto Company. During this time, Don ran for the position of County Commissioner of Clatsop County, Oregon and was elected in 1954. The family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Don worked as an insurance and real estate agent. The couple had four children. Irene died in April 2006 of breast cancer.
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, Don traveled with Ambrose and other members of Easy Company, including Richard Winters and Carwood Lipton, to various sites where they had fought in Europe following the D-Day invasion. 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. Fritz, one of the four Niland brothers, was close friends with Malarkey. This episode was the impetus for the screenplay of Saving Private Ryan.
Malarkey lives in Salem, Oregon and travels and speaks extensively to high school and college students and other groups on his Easy Company experiences. He has traveled to Army posts and hospitals in the United States and Europe, where he has 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 has also 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, and together have done many leadership seminars through Day's Frontline Leadership by On-Point Strategies. Since its premiere in August 2010, the two have also had 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. The group and documentary project operate a website at www.brecourtmanor.net. As of 2012, Malarkey has since retired from public speaking events.
Medals and Decorations[edit | edit source]
|Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Good Conduct Medal|
|Belgian World War II Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal|
|Croix de guerre with palm|
|French Liberation Medal|
|Légion d’Honneur with Chevalier Status|
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Parachutist Badge with 2 jump stars|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- DeAngelis, Frank. "Malarkey's shadowbox". http://www.frankdeangelis.com/Sergeant%201st%20Class%20Donald%20Malarkey.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- Malarkey, p. 12.
- Malarkey, p.17.
- Malarkey, p. 18.
- "Sigma Nu Fraternity". Sigmanu.org. http://www.sigmanu.org/about/famous_sigmanus.php.
- Malarkey, pp.15-18.
- Malarkey, p.15.
- Malarkey, p.23.
- Malarkey, p.70.
- Malarkey, p.255.
- Malarkey, p.25.
- Malarkey, pp.29-30.
- Malarkey, p.281.
- Malarkey, p.36.
- Google Books
- Malarkey, p.64.
- Google Books
- Malarkey, p. 234.
- Malarkey, pp. 234–236.
- Malarkey, p. 236.
- Malarkey, p. 26.
- Malarkey, p.237.
- Malarkey, p. 251.
- Malarkey, p. 252.
- Malarkey, p. 250.
- Malarkey, p. 110.
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Malarkey, Donald G., with Bob Welch (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.
[edit | edit source]
- Photos of Don Malarkey & the Band of Brothers during their visit to the 1st Armored Division in Germany
- Photos of Don Malarkey during his 2009 visit with Prince Charles
- Interview from Men of Easy Company
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