George Yakovich was born in Rathburn, Iowa in 1921.1 Yakovich would quickly dedicate his life to military service. During World War II, Yakovich was placed in the 82nd Airborne Division.2 This Division was one of the most decorated divisions in the great world war. The 82nd Airborne Division held many responsibilities in World War II. The division’s main job was to participate in parachute assaults into denied areas on the ground.
After months of training the 82nd was sent to Italy in 1943 to be deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. There the 82nd and Yakovich had its first two assaults, one in Sicily, and the other in Salerno. These assaults were important for the division because it gave them necessary experience for what would become one the most drastic land, air, sea assault in world history.
D-Day, as the Allied invasion of Normand would be called, took place June 6th, 1944. The 82nd was tasked with gliding into enemy lines and assaulting German lines. After thirty-three days of assault, the 82nd was finally relieved, but not after having been dealt casualties that eliminated up to 46% of its force. Yakovich was one of the men who survived.
Yakovich would receive a bronze star for his actions on the battlefields of Europe. He returned home, and began work with the Illinois National Guard. Yakovich went to work for the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Unit. He also rose all the way up to shop chief, where he was the leader of men at the National Guard Armory.3 Eventually he was asked again to leave his family to go train with the 133rd National Guard Anti-Aircraft Battalion.4 Yakovich won many awards throughout his life for his dedication to service. He was a true hero, and sacrificed time, blood, sweat and tears for the United States Military.
4 National Archives Veterans’ Service Records