I met Gordon Yates sometime in the late 70's when he worked in the produce department of a Phoenix,
AZ grocery store. During this time we struck up a pretty good friendship and talk would always turn to the time he spent as
a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Divisions, H Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Gordon was the radio operator for his company, or as he put it, "Kidnap/Blue/How", (The designation
for his company).
Gordon made all of the battles and jumps the 101st made and fought in throughout WWII. He was awarded
the Silver Star in the invasion of Holland for keeping the all important lines of communication open for his company. Even
though while waiting to make the jump he was hit in the mouth by a piece of shrapnel that came up from the floor of the C-47
aircraft and knocked out several of his teeth.
He was very active in the national and local chapter of the divisional association and all of his
fellow paratroopers loved him. In fact, I have met many of the men that he fought with and each and every one of them has
spoken of him with the highest regard and respect. They all have said that he was "Airborne through and through".
Gordon Yates passed away in October 1999, two months after the passing of my father.
As with all of my collection, I bring Gordon's uniform, medals and other items to all of my school
and private group presentations. They are a huge hit as they bring that part of history that much closer to the people I share
it with as he was a local product.
The above picture shows the front of his Ike style jacket. This jacket is a cut down 4-pocket blouse
as evident by the pockets and brass buttons. Underneath his jacket is his shirt that features a cross stitched eagle patch.
Gordon did all the cross stitching himself as he was a married man and wanted to "keep out of trouble".
The picture above shows the cross stitching that he performed. The patch is a British made eagle
The picture above shows his awards. Note the combat stars attached to the jump wings and the Austrian
made 506th DI's on the collars.
In the above picture you can see more of Gordon's needle work on the Allied Airborne patch and rank
The above shows an interesting customization done to the lower inside portion of his jacket. This
shows camoflage chute material that he must have picked up after one of his combat jumps.
The picture above shows another set of his jump wings that feature two combat stars AND an invasion
arrowhead. The wings are attached to one of his 506th jump wing ovals.
Shown above are a few of his medals. The Silver Star and Bronze Stars are officially engraved and
the Purple Heart he had engraved at some point with his rank, name, company and regiment.
The above picture shows Gordon's M-42 Jump Jacket which he wore when he jumped into Normandy and
Holland and wore underneath a British Paratrooper smock in Bastogne.
It does not seem to be impregnated with CC2 as was the norm, but this makes sense as I have interviewed
Fred Bahlau who was his Sergeant in Normandy. He states that he and several of his men did not soak their jump suits
in preparation for the Normandy Invasion as ordered, but dusted the uniforms with foot powder, which gave them the appearance
of the CC2 chemical.
The picture above shows some more custom work that he made to his clothing. He has stitched to the
bottom inside skirt of his M-42 Jump Jacket a ammunition bandolier. It was probably done to carry smokes and other important
The back of his jump jacket shows the reinforced elbows.
This picture shows a close-up of the elbow reinforcing.
This jacket is in surprisingly good condition for having gone through three major battles.