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Kentucky National Guard Memorial

Honoring Their Sacrifice

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Tapp, Willard W. (P2, C4, L22)

tapp willardTechnical Sergeant Willard W. Tapp, 24, of Livermore, McClean County, died on 8 December 1944. Tapp wounded on 5 December  while serving with his unit Company K, 3-149th Infantry Regiment  in the kamikaze attack on the S. S. Marcus Daly as they neared Leyte Island in the Philippines.

Tapp was born 14 April 1920, at Guffey, McLean County, Kentucky.  He enlisted in the Kentucky National Guard on 19 October 1939, at Livermore, McLean County, Kentucky, with Company K, 149th Infantry. At the time of his enlistment with the Kentucky National Guard he was still a student. He was inducted on to federal active duty with his unit on 17 January 1941.

He is buried in Plot N, Row 10, Grave 44 in the Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippine Islands.

On October 20, 1944 U.S. forces landed on east coast beaches of Leyte as part of the Allied invasion of Leyte. The 38th Infantry Division including the 149th Regiment moved from New Guinea to Leyte in a convoy of ships. There were frequent aerial attacks by Japanese aircraft including kamikaze attacks,

On December 5, 1944, the convoy was north-east of Mindanao when they were attacked by Japanese aircraft again. Around 3 p.m., the SS Marcus Daly, a liberty cargo ship converted to troop transport duties, was struck by a kamikaze. The dive bomber crashed through the deck into the forepeak area and a 500 pound bomb it was carrying exploded. The explosion made a hole on the sides of the ship described as "large enough to drive a train through". A significant fire was started by the aircraft impact which was not brought under control until midnight.

marcus daly damage

AT RIGHT: Photo of S.S. Marcus Daly bow damage. Date and location of photo unknown.

Some 200 of the 3-149th troops aboard were listed as killed, wounded or missing. The ship continued to Leyte arriving on the 6th of December 1944. No list of casualties from that attack has been found.

    Battle Wounds Prove Fatal

    The Owensboro Messenger (Owensboro, Kentucky) 6 Feb 1945, Tue Page 3

    Wounds received in action by Technical Sergeant Willard W. Tapp on Leyte, Dec. 5, 1944, proved fatal, death following three days later, his family has been informed. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tapp, of Livermore and the husband of Mrs. Mary Ann Girten Tapp. 1725 Bluff avenue, Owensboro.

    Sgt. Tapp was a member of the National Guard, Livermore, and had been in the Anny six years.

    Surviving are the widow, his parents, six sisters, Mrs. Edmond Bratcher, Evansville, and Mrs. Harold Bishop, Evansville; Misses Mary Helen, Gladys, Betty and Merel Ann Tapp of Livermore: four brothers, Charles Lester Tapp, U. S. Army; Gene, Robert and Roger Thomas Tapp, Livermore.

SEE The Kentucky Guard Dive Bombed Off Leyte .


The Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3). EIN 26-3705273

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