Band Of Brothers©

E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, 1945

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This page is dedicated to the men of E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division that were portrayed in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers". Have you ever wondered what the guys in E Company looked like, or what their names were? Here's your chance to find out...

Michael Priester

AB_Lt_Cmd_Riker

Commanding Officer

ABSquad

 

 

In an instant-view TV age of surgical missile strikes and conflicts that last for a few days or weeks, the sprawling history of World War II seems remote—until you meet a man like retired letter carrier Frank Perconte.

Perconte, now 86, is one of the “Band of Brothers” whose battle across Hitler’s Europe was featured in the history of E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division that became the award-winning television mini-series. A member of NALC Branch 305 in Joliet, Illinois, Perconte was 25 when he left his job in the steel mills to join the parachute infantry in July 1942. “I think back now about how young I was then,” he said with a chuckle, “but I was the oldest one (in his platoon). Most of them were 19, 20.”

Life in Easy Company was anything but—from the rigorous training of the original 147-man unit to the brutality of battle. To start, only one of three who entered jump school earned his wings. Ultimately, the company suffered 150 percent casualties from the Normandy invasion to the end of the war in Europe—in the first six months of combat alone, Easy Company lost 120 men to death or injury, each replaced with a new face.

Although Perconte and his fellow paratroopers are generally modest about their exploits, historian Stephen Ambrose was fascinated by the core group who managed to stay together from basic training to Germany’s surrender. His 1992 bestseller, “Band of Brothers,” was the basis for the recent 10-hour HBO miniseries and the source of many of the statistics in this article.

The “Screaming Eagles” of E Company jumped into Normandy hours before the June 6th, 1944 D-Day invasion—60 years ago. Perconte’s days of combat ended 19 months later when he was seriously wounded January 13th, 1945 after surviving the siege known as the Battle of the Bulge, when 29 German divisions made one last, desperate counterattack. (With the 101st and 82nd Air borne surrounded at Bastogne, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe rejected a demand to surrender with one word: “Nuts!”)

Frank Perconte holds the Best Miniseries Emmy Award alongside James Madio, the actor who portrayed in in "Band of Brothers".Perconte recuperated in Europe and re joined the company in time to ship home, arriving stateside September 5th, 1945. Only then did he see his son—a boisterous, 23-month-old toddler— for the first time. The young man had married his sweetheart Evelyn in January 1943 on his first furlough after getting his paratrooper wings, and she was pregnant when Easy Company shipped out for England in early 1944.

Back home in Joliet after the war, Perconte returned to his job in the nearby Gary, Indiana mills, but “get ting there was a real pain. I didn’t have a car. Nobody had a car just after the war.” “One afternoon when the mailman came we got to talking,” he said, “and I noticed that his bag was empty. I thought, ‘That’s the job for me!’” Told his status as a wounded veteran would give him extra points, Perconte took the postal exam and was hired. “That’s when I found out the job wasn’t that easy,” he said. “And the Post Office wasn’t paying crap in those days, either!”

Despite the wages, Perconte enjoyed the work and his fellow letter carriers. But “we always had trouble with the postmaster.” A half-century later, he’s still a little peeved about the arguments over putting the union name on the Post Office baseball team’s uniforms. An active NALC member, Perconte attended state conventions and made it to the National Convention in Honolulu in 1970. He retired in 1979 with more than 34 years service.

Today he lives independently in Joliet and spends his days with Evelyn, his wife of 58 years, who is con fined to a nursing home. His son has two sons of his own, one graduating from law school this year.

Perconte (on the right) and GordonCarson, who was seriously wounded during the Battle of the BulgeWhile the HBO miniseries was being made, Perconte and several other Easy Company members were flown to England, to watch the filming and to talk with the actors, who quizzed the veterans for details to enrich their performances. (A couple of Perconte’s vivid recollections as recounted to The Postal Record accompany this story). The aging paratroopers and the young actors—Perconte was portrayed by James Madio—then traveled across the Channel to visit Normandy and Paris. Perconte also got acquainted with executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg—easily two of biggest box office draws in Hollywood today—and he was invited to join them along with his “Band of Brothers” buddies for the Emmy Awards last year.

“That Tom Hanks is the nicest. When we were at a restaurant after the ceremony, he came in with the statue for Best Miniseries, and the first thing he did, he brought it right over to our table and put it down in front of us,” Perconte said. “He said it was really ours.” Asked about the “Band of Brothers” series, Perconte said, “It’s pretty accurate. If you sat down with somebody who was actually there, you know, they’d say, ‘Well, that’s not right,’ and ‘That’s not how it was.’ But overall, it’s a good movie.”Frank Perconte stands next to Tom Hanks, executive co-producer of the docudrama. The DVD features interviews with Perconte and other veterans

“I’m in nine of the 10 episodes,” he added. “And they heard that my wife always sent me toothpaste, so there’s all these times they show me brushing my teeth.”

T he phrase “band of brothers” comes from Shakespeare’s play “Henry V,” when the English king exhorts his outnumbered army of commoners. It looks hopeless, Henry admits, but he vows to fight to the death with them in a battle that will make history:

And [Saint Crispin’s Day] shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered—

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother....

 

 

ENLISTED MEN:

Cpl Alex Penkala, Jr.

 

 

Cpl Donald Hoobler

 

 

Cpl Walter "Smokey" Gordon

 

 

Cpl Eugene Roe (Medic)

 

 

Pvt Ed Pepping (Medic)

 

 

Pvt Ralph Spina (Medic)

 

...more images to come.

 

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS (NON-COM's):

Sgt Al Mampre (Medic)

 

 

Sgt Burton "Pat" Christenson

 

 

Sgt George Luz

 

 

Sgt Warren "Skip" Muck

 

 

SSgt Darrell Shifty Powers

 

 

SSgt Floyd "Tab" Talbert

 

 

SSgt Frank Soboleski

 

 

SSgt Joseph Toye

 

 

SSgt Bill Guarnere

 

 

TSgt Don Malarkey

 

 

TSgt Robert "Burr" Smith

 

...more images to come.

 

OFFICERS:

 

...more images to come.

 

Those who I do not have a photo of:

NON-COMS:

1st Sgt William Evans

Sgt Alton More

Sgt Charles "Chuck" Grant

Sgt Denver "Bull" Randleman

Sgt Myron "Mike" Ranney

Sgt Terence "Salty" Harris

Sgt Wayne "Skinny" Sisk

SSgt John Martin

 

 

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Date last modified: May 13, 2010

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