|E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Size||140 soldiers listed, but "162 soldiers and officers" is said in part 7 of Band of Brothers because of replacements|
|March||Blood on the Risers|
World War II:|
* Battle of Normandy
* Battle of Carentan
* Operation Market Garden
* Battle of the Bulge
|Colonel Robert Sink|
Major Richard Winters|
Capt Herbert Sobel
Capt Richard Winters
Capt Ronald Speirs
First Lt. Norman Dike
First Lt. Frederick Heyliger
First Lt. Thomas Meehan†
Easy Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the "Screaming Eagles", is one of the best-known companies in the United States Army. Their experiences in World War II are the subject of the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers based on the book of the same name by historian Stephen Ambrose. In 2009, twenty of the last few remaining survivors from Easy Company recounted their stories in the oral-history book project We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories From the Band of Brothers.
History[edit | edit source]
The 506th PIR was an experimental airborne regiment created in 1942 at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Easy Company missions were to involve being parachuted from C-47 transport airplanes over hostile territory.
Major Richard Winters described the original organization of Easy company as follows:
"[Easy] company included three rifle platoons and a headquarters section. Each platoon contained three twelve-man rifle squads and a six-man mortar team squad. Easy also had one machine gun attached to each of its rifle squads, and a 60mm mortar in each mortar team."
The training was not easy. Besides attending the standard airborne school, the unit had to perform battle drills and excruciating amounts of physical training. One of the more famous exercises was the regular running of Currahee, a large, steep hill. The phrase "3 miles up, 3 miles down" was derived from this run. Easy Company, while training at Toccoa, was under the command of Herbert Sobel, who was known for his extreme strictness.
Also as part of their physical training, the members of Easy Company performed formation runs in three-four column running groups. The purpose of this training was to push the soldiers to their limits, and to teach them how to work together as a team.
Missions[edit | edit source]
Operation Overlord (D-Day)[edit | edit source]
For Operation Overlord, Easy Company's mission was to capture the entrances to and clear any obstacles around "Causeway 2", a pre-selected route off Utah Beach for the troops' landing from the sea a few hours later. The company departed from Upottery airbase in Devon, England, and dropped over the Cotentin Peninsula of Normandy, France in the early hours of the morning of 6 June 1944. After assembling on the ground, the men of Easy Company disabled a battery of four German heavy guns on D-Day that threatened forces coming along Causeway 2.
Eindhoven, the Netherlands[edit | edit source]
Easy Company was assigned to support the British forces around Eindhoven, by defending the roads and bridges, so that the British armored divisions could advance into Arnhem and force a crossing over the major bridge across the Rhine River in September 1944. The story of the ill-fated Operation Market Garden is told in the book A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan.
Easy Company landed on its designated drop zone in the Sonsche Forest, north west of Son and marched down the road into Son behind the 2nd Battalion's other two companies. When the 2nd Battalion reached the Son Bridge they were met by enemy harassing fire whilst the bridge was destroyed by the Germans. After the Regiment's engineers constructed a makeshift crossing, Easy and the rest of the 506th moved out for Eindhoven. These events were omitted from Band of Brothers, with Easy having been portrayed as landing in the Netherlands and then marching into Eindhoven to join up with the British Army advancing from the south.
During the days following the link up, Easy made an unsuccessful attack towards Helmond and successfully defended the towns of Veghel and Uden until XXX Corps infantry took up the task of defending the area. As Market Garden progressed, Easy and the rest of the 101st joined the 82nd Airborne on "the island" north of Nijmegen.
At the conclusion of Market Garden, Easy Company was involved in the rescue of over 100 British troops trapped outside Arnhem. Operation Pegasus was a military operation carried out on the Lower Rhine near the village of Renkum, close to Arnhem in the Netherlands. Overnight on the 22–23 October 1944, the Allies evacuated a large group of men trapped in German occupied territory who had been in hiding since the Battle of Arnhem. On the south bank of a Dutch river, Canadian engineers and a patrol of E Company observed the signal and immediately launched their boats, but the British were some 500-800m upriver of the crossing point. Upon reaching the north bank E Company established a small perimeter while men headed east to locate the evaders. The men quickly moved downstream and in the next 90 minutes all of them were evacuated, with the exception of a Russian who was captured by the Germans. The Germans opened fire sporadically and some mortar rounds fell near the crossing, but the fire was inaccurate. Once on the other side the escapees were led to a farmhouse for refreshments, before being driven to Nijmegen where Dobie had arranged a party and champagne. The men were later flown back to the UK, rejoining the men who had escaped in Operation Berlin.
Battle of the Bulge[edit | edit source]
During December 1944 and January 1945, Easy Company and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division fought in Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. The 101st was in France in December when the Germans launched their offensive in the Ardennes. They were told to hold the vital cross-roads at Bastogne and were soon encircled by the Germans. Easy Company fought in cold weather under German artillery fire without winter clothing and with limited rations and ammunition. The Allies defeated the German offensive. Afterward, Easy Company and the rest of the 506th PIR moved into Germany. The 101st Airborne Division was awarded a unit citation for holding the line at Bastogne.
Occupation duties[edit | edit source]
Toward the end of the war, Easy Company was assigned to occupation duty in Germany, specifically to Berchtesgaden, which was home to Adolf Hitler’s famous Eagle's Nest. Following Berchtesgaden, Easy Company moved into Austria for further occupation duty. The company mostly attended to various patrols, awaiting the end of the war.
Post-war[edit | edit source]
Easy Company and the rest of the 506th PIR was disbanded in November 1945 and reactivated in 1954 as a training unit.
Personnel[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Major General Maxwell Davenport Taylor (101st Airborne Division CO) (26 August 1901 – 19 April 1987)
- Brigadier General Anthony Clement McAuliffe (101st Airborne Division Artillery Officer, later acting 101st Airborne Division CO) (2 July 1898 – 11 August 1975)
- Colonel Robert Frederick Sink (506th Regiment CO) (3 April 1905 – 13 December 1965)
- Major Richard D. Winters (2nd Battalion XO, later acting 2nd Battalion CO) (21 January 1918 – 2 January 2011)
- Captain Lewis Nixon (2nd Battalion S-2, 506 PIR S-2, 2nd Battalion S-3) (30 September 1918 – 11 January 1995)
- Captain Herbert M. Sobel (506 PIR S-4) (26 January 1912 – 30 September 1987)
Commanding officers[edit | edit source]
- Captain Herbert M. Sobel (26 January 1912 – 30 September 1987)
- First Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III (8 July 1921 – 6 June 1944)
- Captain Richard D. Winters (21 January 1918 – 2 January 2011)
- Unnamed officer 
- First Lieutenant Frederick Theodore Heyliger (23 June 1916 – 3 November 2001)
- First Lieutenant Norman Staunton Dike, Jr. (19 May 1918 – 23 June 1989)
- Captain Ronald C. Speirs (20 April 1920 – 11 April 2007)
Other officers[edit | edit source]
- First Lieutenant Lynn D. Compton (31 December 1921 – 28 February 2012)
- First Lieutenant Jack Edward Foley (18 August 1922 – 14 September 2009)
- First Lieutenant Harry F. Welsh (27 September 1918 – 21 January 1995)
- Second Lieutenant Clifford Carwood Lipton (30 January 1920 – 16 December 2001)
- Second Lieutenant Thomas A. Peacock (18 February 1920 - 27 June 1948) 
- Second Lieutenant Edward G. Shames (b. June 13, 1922) 
- Second Lieutenant Robert B. Brewer (31 January 1924 - 05 December 1996)
Enlisted men[edit | edit source]
- In order of rank, then alphabetically by last name.
- Technical Sergeant Donald George Malarkey (31 July 1921 – 30 September 2017)
- Staff Sergeant Charles E. Grant (1922–1984)
- Staff Sergeant Darrell C. Powers (13 March 1923 – 17 June 2009)
- Staff Sergeant Floyd M. Talbert (26 August 1923 – 10 October 1982) (served as First Sergeant for a time, requested demotion)
- Staff Sergeant Joseph J. Toye (14 March 1919 – 3 September 1995)
- Staff Sergeant Denver Randleman (20 November 1920 – 26 June 2003)
- Sergeant Gordon Carson (July 30, 1924- November 13, 1998)
- Sergeant Clancy Lyall (14 October 1925 – 19 March 2012)
- Sergeant Warren H. Muck (31 January 1922 – 10 January 1945)
- Technician Fourth Grade George Luz, Sr. (17 June 1921 – 15 October 1998)
- Technician Fourth Grade Frank Joseph Perconte (10 March 1917 - 24 October 2013)
- Technician Fourth Grade Eugene Gilbert Roe, Sr. (17 October 1921 – 30 December 1998)
- Corporal Walter Gordon (15 April 1920 – 19 April 1997)
- Corporal Forrest L. Guth (6 February 1921 – 8 August 2009)
- Corporal Donald B. Hoobler (June 1923 – 3 January 1945)
- Technician Fifth Grade Joseph D. Liebgott (17 May 1915 – 28 June 1992)
- Private First Class Edward James Heffron (b. 16 May 1923 - 1st December 2013)
- Private First Class Alex M. Penkala, Jr. (1924 – 10 January 1945)
- Private First Class David Kenyon Webster (2 June 1922 – 9 September 1961)
- Private Albert Blithe (25 June 1923 – 17 December 1967)
- Private Roy W. Cobb (18 June 1914 – January 1990)
- Private William Joseph Guarnere (28 April 1923 - 8 March 2014) (served as a platoon leader at Staff Sergeant, before demotion)
- Private Joseph A. Lesniewski (29 August 1920 – 23 May 2012)
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Beyond Band of Brothers, pages 16–17. ISBN 978-0-425-21375-9
- Ambrose, p159
- Waddy, p187
- Van der Zee, p 135
- Digby Tatham-Warter
- Waddy, p188
- "Easy Company, 1942-1945" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhd4J2kbxG8
- Ambrose, Stephen (1992). Band of Brothers.
[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to E Company, 506th Infantry Regiment (United States).|
- Band of Brothers History, pictures and testimonies of the Easy Company
- Men of Easy Company
- Easy Company veterans' Middle East USO Tour
- Easy Company veterans' visit with Prince Charles
- Easy Co – In Photographs—A signed book of the personal photographs and memories of 23 surviving Easy Company veterans
- Social Security Death Index
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