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 complete transcript of Mr. Tapp's interview.

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 of Gaylord Tapp

Gaylord Tapp's service in World War II
  • September 21, 1942: Sworn in the US Army at Camp Dodge, Iowa
  • October 5, 1942: Left for the Army service
  • October 12, 1942: Arrived at Camp White Oregon, near Medford, Oregon, at 11:30 p.m. We were assigned to Company "A" 50th Engineer (Combat) Battalion. Other camps we trained or stayed at in the States: Camp Applegate on the border of Oregon and California; Foster Park near Ventura, California; Camp Ojai near Ventura, CA; Camp Lockett, CA, on the border of CA and Mexico; Fort Ord, CA, near the cities of Salinas and Monterey, CA.
  • April 24, 1943: Holy Saturday - Left the states for Attu on USS Zelin
  • May 11, 1943: Landed on Attu
  • May 30, 1943: The Japanese attacked our area on Attu this morning. The hill is now called Engineer Hill.
  • June 1, 1943: The Japanese us [sic] again not far from Engineer Hill, Attu
  • July 11, 1943: Left Attu on the USS Flaval, a Liberty ship, for Adak. Don't know the date the first time we left Adak on the USS Filmore to attack Kiska. No Japanese on Kiska so we came back to Adak harbor and transferred on an LST. Then went back to Kiska.
  • September 4, 1943: Landed on Kiska
  • September 25, 1943: Left Kiska for Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, on the USS Monroe
  • October 2, 1943: Landed in Honolulu. We also had water maneuvers to the island of Maui, Hawaiian Islands. While on Oahu we camped in Tent City and Schofield Barracks.
  • January 21, 1944: Left Oahu, Hawaiian Islands, to attack the Marshall Islands. We went on the USS Zelin.
  • February 1, 1944: Landed on Carlos Island, one of the Islands in the Marshall group. We were there a week, and then we landed on Kwajalein Island, also one of the islands of the Marshall group.
  • June 24, 1944: Left Kwajalein Island for Honolulu on the Aircraft Carriers, Thetis Bay.
  • July 5, 1944: Arrived in Honolulu
  • August 25, 1944: Left Honolulu for Leyte, Philippine Islands on the USS Custer. On this trip we went down under the equator.
  • September 20, 1944: Arrived Nanus Islands in the Admiralty Group
  • October 15, 1944: Left the Nanus Islands to attack Leyte Island
  • October 20, 1944: Landed at Dulag, Leyte Island
  • October 25, 1944: Was bombed on Dular beach. Here is where many of our boys in our motor pool were killed. Some buried alive in their foxholes.
  • November 25, 1944: Were bombed again in another area. This is the area Leineweber was killed.
  • March 12, 1945: Left Abuyor, Leyte for Okinawa, on the USS Freestone
  • April 1, 1945: Easter Sunday morning we landed on Okinawa
Have been on the Bering Sea, China Sea, North Pacific, South Sea, Central Pacific, and East Pacific Ocean

Last updated: April 2, 2018

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