• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Gaylord Tapp

In World War II Gaylord Tapp became part of the 50th Engineer Combat Battalion, Company A. He served in the Pacific Theatre building facilities where needed; roads, barracks, bridges, runways. He learned to lay and retrieve land mines as well. He talks about having gone through five D-days with landings on Attu where he was nearly killed in a Japanese Bonzai attack, Kiska, Kwajalein, Leyte - where a bomb in an ammunition dump buried Tapp's company alive - and Okinawa. He survived where many in his company perished.

For his service he received the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with bronze stars, four overseas service bars, no time lost lapel button, four discharge emblems, a Good Conduct medal, and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster for injuries sustained in battle.

Learn more by listening to this interview with Mr. Tapp, conducted by his granddaughter Brooke, and by browsing photos, his service record and a history of the 50th Combat Engineers.

Download a full transcript of Gaylord's interview with his granddaughter Brooke, and read a short story she wrote about him.
composite image of Gaylord Tapp in 2012, and in uniform in 1942
Gaylord Tapp, in uniform during World War II and in 2012.
Courtesy Gaylord Tapp

Did You Know?

Image of floor tiles with acronym ALSEC

At Dutch Harbor, some Marines enjoyed the Bachelor Officers Quarters (BOQ) of the Naval Operating Base. The BOQ was the officers' club, holding a long bar, nice lounge area and fire place. In the center of the floor laid a terrazzo symbol of the Alaskan Sector Command (ALSEC). This terrazzo symbol was designed by Armand Rizan, and was laid in 1943. Today, it is located at the Museum of the Aleutians.