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William J. "Wild Bill" Guarnere, Sr
Birth: Apr. 28, 1923
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Mar. 8, 2014
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

World War II Military Figure. He served as a staff sergeant with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division, and the stories of he and his comrades were featured in the 2001 HBO television mini-series "Band of Brothers," based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. Born the youngest of 10 children whose parents were of Italian ancestry, he joined the Citizens Military Training Camp (CMTC) summer program in the 1930s during the Great Depression. He planned to become an officer in the US Army after completing the 4-year training program, but after his third year, the program was canceled due to the pending war in Europe. After the US declared war on Japan in December 1941, he dropped out of high school and obtained a job with Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, making Sherman tanks for the Army. At the urging of his mother, he returned to high school and earned his diploma while working nights at Baldwin. In August 1942 he enlisted in the US Army Airborne and started training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. As a member of Easy Company, he made his first combat jump on D-Day (June 6, 1944) in Normandy, France and fought in several major battles in the European Theater, including Operation Market Garden (September 1944) in the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium (December 1944). He earned the nickname "Wild Bill" because of his reckless attitude towards the enemy. He was also nicknamed "Gonorrhea," a play on the his Italian last name, as was depicted in "Band of Brothers." In October 1944 he was wounded while his unit was securing the line on "The Island" on the south side of the Rhine, and was sent back to England to recover. In his desire to return to Easy Company and not be reassigned to another unit, he put black shoe polish all over his cast, put his pants leg over the cast, and walked out of the hospital in severe pain. He was caught by an officer, court-martialed, demoted to private, and returned to the hospital. Informing them he would just go AWOL again to rejoin Easy Company, the hospital kept him a week longer and then sent him back to the Netherlands to be with his outfit. Because the paperwork did not arrive from England about his court-martial and demotion, he was put back in his same position. Arriving at Mourmelon-le-Grand, just outside Reims, France around December 10, 1944, where the 101st was on R and R (rest and recuperation), they were sent to the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium about a week later. While holding the line just up the hill south west of Foy, Belgium, a massive artillery barrage hit the men in their position and he lost his right leg in the incoming barrage while trying to help his wounded friend, and he returned to the US in March 1945. For his military service, he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart with 2 oak leaf clusters. The Good Conduct Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device, the World War II Victory Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster, the French Croix de guerre with palm, the French Liberation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the parachutist Badge with 2 combat jump stars. After the war, he worked at many odd jobs. He became an active member of many veterans organizations, and presided over many Easy Company reunions. He wrote "Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story" with fellow Easy Company veteran Edward "Babe" Heffron and journalist Robyn Post in 2007, outlining the activities of Easy Company from 1942 to 1945. He was portrayed in the HBO "Band of Brothers" mini-series by actor Frank John Hughes. He died of a ruptured aneurysm at the age of 90. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Burial:
Holy Cross Cemetery
Yeadon
Delaware County
Pennsylvania, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Judy Johnson-Lewitt
Record added: Mar 09, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 126101706
William J. Wild Bill Guarnere, Sr
Added by: Judy Johnson-Lewitt
 
William J. Wild Bill Guarnere, Sr
Added by: Judy Johnson-Lewitt
 
William J. Wild Bill Guarnere, Sr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: CHRISTINA GEORGE
 
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-Anonymous
 Added: Dec. 1, 2014

- Genealogy Girl
 Added: Nov. 9, 2014

- ARMYBRATGIRL
 Added: Nov. 8, 2014
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