Sunday 23 December 2018

WWII Operation Whitebox: Veteran sketches part 1

An ‘Old School Revival’ fan site I am working on is for Peter C. Spahn’s World War 2 themed game: ‘WWII: Operation Whitebox’. One of my inspirations for creating this fan site is a way of paying tribute to the brave men and women who served in World War 2.  I am planning to build veteran character generators, similar to the Iconic NPC Generators found on Artifact’s of the Ancient Ones, dedicated to specific World War 2 veterans.  In this blog post are the profile and sketches for T/Sgt Don Malarkey and Sgt “Smokey” Smith: two of the veteran character generators that I am planning to build.

Technical Sergeant Don Malarkey (U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division)

Technical Sergeant Don Malarkey was the last surviving member of Easy Company (popularized in the series Band of Brothers); passing away on September 20, 2017, at the age of 96.  Malarkey was one of the original members of Easy Company, starting his training with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (of the 101st Airborne Division) in the summer of 1942 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Malarkey participated in Operation Overlord (the invasion of Normandy), where, on June 6, 1944, he took part in Lt. Winter’s daring assault on four German artillery batteries (known as the Brecourt Manor Assault); for his heroic actions that day Malarkey received his first Bronze Star medal.

Technical Sergeant Malarkey participated in all of Easy Company’s campaigns: the airborne assault in Operation Market Garden (September to November 1944); the Siege of Bastogne/Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 to January 1945); and the occupation of Germany and taking of the Eagle’s Nest (May 1945).   Among the medals Malarkey received was the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster (to represent a second award), the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (from France) and the Croix de Guerre with palm (from France).

After the war, Malarkey returned to the University of Oregon to continue his studies (he was student there prior to joining the army), where he completed his bachelor’s degree in business in 1949.  Malarkey married in 1948 and worked as a sales manager in Oregon following the completion of his degree.  Malarkey and his wife, Irene Moor, raised a family of four children.

Sergeant Ernest “Smokey” Smith (Canadian Army, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada)

Sergeant Ernest “Smokey” Smith was the last living Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, passing away on August 3, 2005, at the age of 91.  Smith received his Victoria Cross for his actions on the night of October 21/22, 1944, at the River Savio in Northern Italy.  Smith, then a Private, led a two-man PIAT (Projection, Infantry, Anti-Tank) team against a force of 3 Mark V Panther tanks, 2 self-propelled guns and 30 infantry. Smith destroyed one of the German tanks, killed several infantry with his tommy gun, repelled the German attack and helped his wounded team member, Private Tennant, to safety.

Prior to the events at the River Savio, Smith received promotions to the rank of Corporal nine times but was demoted back down to Private nine more times.  It was even rumoured that Smith spent the night prior to King George presenting him with the Victoria Cross in a jail in Rome (Smith would neither deny nor confirm this).

In his later years, Smokey Smith became a member of the Order of Canada in 1995 and the Order of British Columbia in 2002.

In my next post in this series, I will be exploring three more veterans: Lt Daniel K. Inouye (U.S. Army, 442nd Regimental Combat Team), Sgt Tommy Prince (Canadian Army, 1st Special Service Force) and Eileen Nearne (United Kingdom’s Special Operations Executive).


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