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.
Did You Know?
A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.