Gerald B. Marlatt
Biography: Gerald Bernard Marlatt was born on June 29, 1920 in Rensselaer, Indiana. He was the son of Harry Raymond Marlatt and Laura Chupp and attended Hammond Technical Vocational High School through the 10th grade. He then went to work for Greenwald’s Furniture Company. His enlistment record indicates he was a truck driver prior to the war.
Service Time: Gerald entered the service on March 16, 1943, at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN. After his initial training, he was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 653rd Tank Destroyer Battalion and trained with them at a number of military facilities within the U.S. The 653rd was formed on March 20, 1943, at Camp Bowie, Texas, but was disbanded on May 10, 1944, while stationed at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. All the personnel transferred to the 144th Infantry Regiment.
At some point, Gerald was sent to Company K of the 377th Infantry Regiment as a replacement, probably after the unit had already been deployed in Europe. The 377th was part of the 95th Infantry Division and had landed in France on September 15, 1944. Gerald received credit for participating in all of the unit’s campaigns, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He was wounded and received the Purple Heart as well as being awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the EAME and Good Conduct medals. He left the service at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Now back in the U.S., Gerald would return to his job at Greenwald’s Furniture. He later worked as the store manager for the L. Fish Furniture Company in Hammond, IN, from which he would later retire. On March 11, 1946, he married the former Audrey Jean Adkins, who was born in Hammond, and was the daughter of Ernest Admiral Adkins and Iva Hammers. The new couple would make their home in Hammond and have three daughters, Judith, born in 1947, Geraldine in 1949 and Cynthia in 1954. In his spare time, Gerald enjoyed woodworking and fishing in Wisconsin. He was a member of the Hessville Baptist Church and the Briggsville, Wisconsin, American Legion Post #329.
Gerald passed away on March 24, 2000, and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Garden in Schererville, Lake County, Indiana. I want to thank Gerald’s grandson, Michael, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.