Jack M Yerkes
501st PIR, 101st ABN Division
Jack 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 Veghel. 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 helpful in monitoring the conversations between the Dutch underground and Jack's unit. The Germans reacted quickly to our arrival and started shelling of the area where we had landed and also the town of Veghel. 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.
Jack Meredith Yerkes, Sr., age 86, of Northport, passed away July 25, 2009, at Hospice of West Alabama. Jack was born April 17, 1923, in Mobile, Ala. to Isthma Joshua Yerkes and Florence Maude Larrimore. He attended Murphy High School.
Jack was a U.S. Army 1st Sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War ll. He had five combat jumps and fought at the Battle of the Bulge, Bastogne, Belgium where the 501st received two Presidential Unit Citations. He was later commissioned an officer, served during the Korean War and retired at the rank of Major.
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