RIP 1SG Harold Eatman, WWII Paratrooper with 4 combat jumps

 
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RIP 1SG Harold Eatman, WWII Paratrooper with 4 combat jumps

We've lost another legend:

One of the original members of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment — and one of fewer than 2,800 All American paratroopers to have made all four World War II combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne Division — has died.

Retired 1st Sgt. Harold Eatman was 102. He died Friday at home in Matthews, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division announced this weekend.

“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, in a statement. “We always say that when you wear the Double A patch, you walk among legends. One of those legends has passed.”

Eatman was one of fewer than 2,800 paratroopers to have made all four World War II combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne Division — in Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland. Fewer than 16 now remain living, according to the 82nd Airborne.

Looks like being Airborne is a Eatman family tradition:

“Some of my first memories of my grandfather are looking through an old, leather-bound edition of ‘Saga,’ the World War II history of the 82nd Airborne,” Eatman’s grandson, Micheal Kelly, told the 82nd Airborne. “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.”

Here's a good interview from a few years ago with Eatman:

RIP First Sergeant, you earned your rest.

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You WWII Vets are the people we can never repay for your sacrifice, courage, and patriotism. You truly saved the world. Let's hope and pray the current leaders don't make it all in vain!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.