Donald Malarkey

American army officer

Technical Sergeant Donald George Malarkey (July 31, 1921 – September 30, 2017) was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Malarkey was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Scott Grimes.

Donald Malarkey in 1945
Wearing that uniform with the screaming eagle on it, people knew two things about you: You were a damn good soldier- and half crazy.
Malarkey with soldiers of the 129th Transportation Company in Kuwait in 2008.

Quotes edit

Easy Company Soldier: The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant From World War II's "Band of Brothers (2008) edit

  • Strange thing, war.
    • p. 93
  • General Taylor spoke but we couldn't hear a word he said; a formation of C-47s passed over about that time. But we heard the names of the dead. All 414. I never talked with any of my buddies about that day, but I wondered if we were all wondering about the same two things: if the list would ever end. And if, down the road, our names would ever be on it.
    • p. 117
  • Bastogne was challenging us in ways no other place had. We had no artillery power and no airpower. We were low on ammo and food. The men were cold, fearful, exhausted. I've heard a soldier loses his effectiveness in combat after about 90 days; we'd been in action for 107 since Normandy. This wasn't exactly how any of us had expected to spend Christmas 1944. As if our situation wasn't ominous enough, word filtered through Easy's ranks from a medic back in Bastogne: The Germans had closed the circle. The 101st Airborne was now completely surrounded, but as Winters would remind us, "We're used to that. We're paratroopers."
    • p. 166
  • On New Year's Eve, I thought back to a year ago, Skip and I celebrating with the guys in England. Warm. Wild. All the food you could eat. Now, we sat in our foxholes and talked quietly. Then, with permission from Compton, just because we had ammo, we fired off six rounds of mortars to let the Germans know the worst was yet to come. A few days later, we were hunkered down when a jeep pulled up down the way, snow kicking up from its tires. It was Father Maloney. And who in the hell's with him but Joe Toye. Arm in a sling. Hadn't shaved since Adam was born. But there he was, walking across the field towards the front line. Winters saw him. "Where are you going?" he asked. "You don't have to go back to the lines." Toye looked at him. "Gotta get back with the fellas," he said. And he walked back to join the boys in Easy Company. Like the others, I just stood and watched in awe.
    • p. 172
  • Lieutenant Peacock, the guy who'd busted us back in Aldbourne for smuggling in the girls in leopard-skin tights, won a thirty-day furlough back to the States. OK, Lewis Nixon won it but had the guts to stay, and Peacock was the lucky runner-up. Most of the guys were happy for him, not because he got to go home, but because they got rid of him. Nice guy, but in over his head.
    • p. 173
  • We'd heard that General Taylor was now back in Bastogne. Everybody was ordered to shave within twenty-four hours and to remove their boots once a day and massage their feet. I refused the foot order, having tried and found it only made things worse. Come to think of it, I refused the shaving order, too, as did most of us.
    • p. 173
  • We'd heard from guys in Bastogne that the 101st was making headlines back home. We'd broken the German siege. Beaten the odds. All at a time when newspapers were looking for good hero stories and citizens looking for hope. But, believe me, we soldiers in those Bastogne foxholes weren't feeling particularly heroic. What we mainly felt was cold. Our beards grew longer, our patience shorter. The snow resumed, now halfway to our knees. It would snow again every day for a week. Somehow it didn't seem to bother the German planes, which were harassing us day and night. We had been on the front lines for fifteen days in Belgium, on top of seventy in Holland and twenty-three in Normandy. A total of 108 days, not that anybody was counting. In war, you count days the way prisoners mark walls. Will this ever end? Will we ever make it out alive? Will I get home to be with Bernice and pick blackberries? Will Skip marry Faye Tanner and live happily ever after? Such questions rattled around in your mind here and there, between the short spurts of combat and the much longer nights.
    • p. 173-174
  • Buck Compton looked nothing like the soldier who'd walked off the line a few days before. Well-starched Class A uniform. Hair combed. He was taking quick drags on a cigarette. His driver was waiting for him in a jeep. "I've been reassigned, Malark," he said. "Some desk job in Paris. Director of athletics and entertainment or something." He'd wanted to stay with the company but Winters wouldn't allow it. "That's great, Buck," I said. "Dick said I could come say good-bye." "I'm glad you did. I'm happy for you." He looked around. "Don, there's something I need to know." He paused and looked beyond me, back toward the woods where I'd just made fresh tracks in the snow. Back to where the others were. "What, uh- what do the other guys think of me?" I couldn't lie. "They think you're a hell of an officer, Buck." "Really?" "Really. They wish you the best. Honest." He nodded, his lips pursed a bit. "Thanks, Malark." He looked at me and saluted. I saluted back. And we left to go to the different places we needed to be.
    • p. 181-182
  • I didn't cry after learning Skip Muck was dead. That would come later. Much later. Not that it didn't hurt. Hell, I'd never felt pain so deep. He was like my brother. No, closer than my brother. But by January 9, when he'd died in a shelling about one hundred yards east of where I was, I was too mentally numb to really react. Too tired. I didn't sleep a wink for two nights after Roe broke the news to me. And after seeing Toye and Guarnere carted off, and Compton leaving, it was like dumping ice on a guy who was already frozen stiff. But the main reason I didn't crumble at his death is I couldn't. That wasn't allowed. With Compton gone, I realized I had to step up and lead. After Guarnere went down, Winters had promoted me to permanent sergeant status. Now, Buck was gone. From day one, you're taught that the good of the whole is more important than just you. That you can't let your emotions get in the way of the task at hand. So like a doctor who deals with pain and death each day, you just bury it somewhere deep down inside, thinking it'll go away on its own.
    • p. 183-184
  • When General Maxwell Taylor, back in the war zone after conveniently missing a tiny skirmish called the Battle of the Bulge, came through for an inspection, I mentally rolled my eyes. "Sergeant, were you wearing your helmet when it was hit?" he asked, looking at a helmet with a chunk missing after I'd taken a bullet from that P-47 that the krauts had apparently stolen and used to dive-bomb us. I wanted to shake my head and say, "What do you think?" Instead I said, "Yes, sir." "Well, in that case you can continue wearing it." The incident showed how little the pencil-pushing brass knew about frontline duty. Anyone with a helmet with that kind of damage wouldn't have had a friggin' head if the helmet hadn't been on his head when he was hit. I continued to wear it. And would have even if he'd told me I couldn't.
    • p. 200
  • Wearing that uniform with the screaming eagle on it, people knew two things about you: You were a damn good soldier- and half crazy.
    • p. 205
  • One afternoon, in the basement bar of the Regent Palace Hotel, I noticed two red-beret sergeants from the British 1st Airborne Division sitting down the way. In London, these guys were honored above all; nobody in a red beret was to be arrested for drunkenness. Eventually they noticed my 101st Airborne patch, the screaming eagle. "We owe a tip of the hat to the 101st," said one. "Got us across the Rhine one black night after we'd been trapped behind enemy lines." I jiggled the ice cubes in my Scotch. "I knew," I said. "That was my company, E Company, 506th." They scoffed a bit and looked around each other, obviously thinking that I was trying to take some credit that wasn't due me. "Oh, really?" one said with a touch of doubt. "Yeah," I said. "I was on the rescue team." "Well, of course you were, old chap- so was my dead aunt Lucille," said one, and they both laughed. My Scotch was settling in. I paused, then took another sip. "Say, how's that tank sergeant, the commander from the Seventh Armored Division who headed up that outfit known as the Rats of Tobruk? Guy was in my boat." Their eyes widened. "After we got him safely across the Rhine, he told me his wife had already been a widow and he was gettin' out of this 'bloody war.'" They froze in silence, then one of them cleared his throat. "To E Company," he said, holding up his drink. I clinked my glass with the others and nodded, then held mine high. "To E Company."
    • p. 205-206
  • The previous July, two months after V-E Day, I was on a three-day pass and wound up in the "U" section of one of Hitler's stadiums in a city called Worms. In the morning, the head of the facility came to me, the ranking noncom, and asked us to come salute Patton, who was coming by for an inspection. At the appointed hour, we heard sirens. Motorcycles led Patton's staff car in, flags flying. His car stopped. I called our group to attention. Patton looked us over and said something about the 101st Airborne Division I'll never forget: "If I had two divisions of you bastards, I would have had the Germans blowing straws up their asses by Thanksgiving and you would have been home by Christmas."
    • p. 227
  • We are Americans- we lead and are looked to as leaders in the fight for liberty. We dare not shirk this responsibility.
    • p. 257

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