Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
One Of The Few World War II Paratroopers To Make 4 Combat Jumps With The 82nd Airborne Has Died
Fewer than 3,000 paratroopers made four combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II.
Following the death of retired 1st Sgt. Harold Eatman, fewer than 16 of those paratroopers are alive today.
First Sgt. Eatman, 102, died Friday at his home in Matthews, near Charlotte, according to the 82nd Airborne Division. He jumped into Sicily, Salerno, Normandy, and Holland during the war, taking part in some of the most famous battles of the European theater.
A spokesman for the division said fewer than 2,800 paratroopers were involved in all four of those combat jumps.
"Harold Eatman was among the generation of All American paratroopers who defeated Nazism, liberated Europe, and inspired many generations of paratroopers to follow," said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division. "We always say that when you wear the Double A patch, you walk among legends. One of those legends has passed."
First Sgt. Eatman was an original member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which now forms the core of the 82nd Airborne’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team.
He volunteered for the Army in early 1942, shortly after learning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in Hawaii, first, then re-enlisted to join the brand-new force of paratroopers trained to jump behind enemy lines.
“He heard about this new unit, the airborne, being formed and how tough they were supposed to be,” 1st Sgt. Eatman’s grandson, Michael Kelley, told the Observer in 2015.
In 2015, 1st Sgt. Eatman was one of eight North Carolina veterans recognized for their efforts to liberate France during World War II. The veterans received France’s highest honor, the Legion of Honor.
Kelley, who also served with the 82nd Airborne Division, said his grandfather was an inspiration.
“Some of my first memories of my grandfather are looking through an old, leather-bound edition of Saga, the WWII history of the 82d Airborne," Kelley said in a statement on Saturday. "I made my first five jumps with his wings in my pocket for luck and he pinned my wings on me at graduation from jump school. My grandfather influenced my whole life.”
“The 82nd is part of my family’s history, and my family is part of the division's history,” he added. “My grandfather was the first paratrooper in my family, but not the last. Myself, my older brother and his son all served in the 505.”
First Sgt. Eatman was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, two Army Commendation Medals and the Senior Parachutist Badge with four bronze stars.
After World War II, 1st Sgt. Eatman volunteered to stay on active-duty as part of a funeral escort service that transported soldiers’ bodies from Europe to America.
He later joined the 108th Infantry Division, an Army Reserve unit based in Charlotte, where younger soldiers nicknamed him “Pops.”
©2018 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.