Band of Brothers' 'Wild Bill' Dies

He fought for 'Easy Company' during and after WWII
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2014 4:29 AM CDT
Band of Brothers' 'Wild Bill' Dies
Edward Heffron, left, and William Guarnere pose with their book "Brothers in Battle: Best of Friends" in Broomall , Pa. Heffron died in December.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

William "Wild Bill" Guarnere was lucky to survive 70 minutes after a combat jump into Normandy on D-Day, let alone almost 70 years. Guarnere, who has died at the age of 90 and who was part of the "Band of Brothers" celebrated in an HBO miniseries, landed in a firefight, itching to avenge an elder brother who had been killed fighting in Italy earlier in 1944. "I couldn't wait to get off the plane," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010. "I killed every German I could. That's why they called me 'Wild Bill.'"

Guarnere fought with the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division—"Easy Company"—until the Battle of the Bulge that winter, when he lost a leg while saving a wounded comrade. He received a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts. After the war, he returned to his native Philadelphia, where "he lived a good life," his son tells CNN. "He traveled a lot. He pretty much did everything he could have done." Guarnere was active in veterans' organizations, and the operator of a Band of Brothers tour company tells the AP that he worked hard to make sure his comrades got the recognition they deserved. "He did more things behind the scenes for other veterans than (for) himself," he says. (More Band of Brothers stories.)

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