The dropping of the 101st ABN Division
Jack M Yerkes 501st PIR, 101st ABN Division
One of the men that jumped out of the planes in Eldon Sellers Group, was Jack Yerkes, he had joined the Screaming Eagle division three weeks before D-day and was not yet ready for action when the invasion started. The jump into Holland was going to be his Baptism of fire. Jack was a radio operator for battalion Headquarters and that ment that he had to carry the radio with him when he left the plane. The radio was in a big bag, attached to Jack's leg with a zipper. As soon as Jack left the plane, he opened the zipper and let the radio dangle from his leg on the end of a rope. That way he himself didn't get hurt from the impact on the ground of the radio.
Jack landed near Vechel. After he landed he went to the assembly point and from there to the point that had been chosen as battalion headquarters where he got is radio in working order. Later this radio would be very helpfull in monitoring the conversations between the Dutch underground and Jack's unit. The Germans reacted quickly to our arrivel and started shelling of the area where we had landed and also the town of Vechel. Jack dug a foxhole for himself, close to the battalion HQ. In the seventy-two days of battle that were to come he would never sleep outside of a foxhole.
Gerald Paulk, 101st ABN Div. 501st PIR, 2nd Bn Co. D
Gerald Paulk was on that same field as Jack Yerkes was, he remembers that there was no German resistance when they landed on that clear Sunday afternoon. When they marched of the field they came by an orchard. The Dutch lined up there to welcome their liberators. They handed out beautiful apples and some very good black bread, even with butter. (roggebrood?) Gerald remembers most clearly how happy the Dutch were to see the American soldiers. They thanked the soldiers, they cried and tried to do anything they could to help them. Entering the town of Veghel and later also other towns, Gerald noticed that the Dutch managed to keep their streets and towns very clean. Gerald was very suprised by that.
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