Nicholas P. "Nick" Yatron (#13093737)

Picture taken August, 2013
Place of Birth
Date of Birth

Reading, Pennsylvania
January 10, 1924
83rd Reconnaissance Troop
83rd Infantry

Nicholas Peter Yatron of Berks County, Pennsylvania was born on January 10, 1924 in Reading, Pennsylvania to Peter H. and Rallio Yatron, both wher born in Greece.

At the age of 18, Nicholas Yatron (#13093737) enlisted the service on October 22, 1942 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nick took some of his basic training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, his name is listed on the Thanksgiving Menu from November 1942 (source: Thijs Hodiamont's website, see link below). He was in January 1944 at Camp Breckenridge before going to the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) from Camp Shanks, New York, and was a Pvt. in the 83rd Infantry Division, 83rd Reconnaissance Troop.

Nicholas "Nick" Yatron was a gunner in an armored car. The date was July 31, 1944. The place was Brittany, France. Three soldiers with him went on foot patrol. He stayed behind with the car. Along came a Messerschmitt, a German fighter plane with a 20mm cannon in its nose.
"I ran like mad, and threw myself under the car," Nick said. "He came down low and opened fire. He put a trench alongside the car. He missed me by about 10 inches."
Yatron was thinking about shooting down the plane, when the pilot started climbing and turning. Then he heard thousands of rounds being fired, and saw smoke and flames. The pilot bailed out, and started drifting toward Yatron. Nick Yatron thought about killing the pilot, who broke his leg when he hit the ground.
A short time later, a colonel drove up in a jeep with the pilot, and asked Yatron to sign a form confirming that the colonel's unit had taken the pilot prisoner. Nick signed.
"I said, 'Just a minute,' " he recalled. "That S.O.B. came close to finishing me. I cut out a panel of the chute. I wrote the story on it.
"How could he miss the car? All he had to do is put the nose of the plane on it." Yatron felt lucky to be alive.

That was just one incident of many in which Nick Yatron faced enemy fire. He never expected anyone to thank him for it.

In 2011, Nick Yatron was at the French Embassy in Washington, where he was inducted into that country's prestigious Legion of Honor for helping to liberate France during the war.
He said he wouldn't go, but his grandson Christopher Yatron insisted.

Some day Nick Yatron will give to his grandson, Christopher Yatron, the panel he took from a German parachute during World War II. On it is written the story of how Nicholas acquired it.

"To free another country is no small thing. A lot of human lives were sacrificed to do it."

Today, August 4, 2013 Nick Yatron, 89, is still living in Jefferson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Tanksgiving Menu on Thijs Hodiamont's website: