SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Donald Malarkey, a World War II paratrooper who was awarded the Bronze Star after parachuting behind enemy lines at Normandy to destroy German artillery on D-Day, has died. He was 96.
Malarkey was one of several members of “Easy Company” to be widely portrayed in the HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.” He died Sept. 30 in Salem, Oregon of age-related causes, his son-in-law John Hill said Sunday.
Malarkey fought fight across France, the Netherlands and Belgium and with Easy Company fought off Nazi advances while surrounded at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.
He was often praised for his actions during the war, and was presented with the Legion of Honor Medal — the highest honor awarded by the French government — in 2009.
Malarkey was haunted by memories of combat and the devastation of losing fellow soldiers and friends, his family members said. Still, the release of the “Band of Brothers” miniseries was cathartic for him and helped him come to terms with the emotional scars of the battle, Hill said.
Malarkey was born on July 30, 1921 in Astoria, Oregon. He was a freshman at the University of Oregon when he was drafted into the Army in 1942 and volunteered to become a paratrooper.
He returned to the University of Oregon after the war, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business in 1948. While a student at the school, he met and fell in love with Irene Moore. The two married