Greyhawk links to a story about one of my heroes - Dick Winters - who led Easy Company after the invasion of Normandy. Paratroopers rock, people!
Anyway, after I had read Greyhawk's post over coffee, I went back to my office. I have most of my military momentos on the walls of my office. Guidons of units I commanded, unit crests, the very Airborne wings that were punched into my chest over 20 years ago, a picture of my 3rd ID flag football champs, etc. Then, I've got pictures from various Airborne operations since WWII.
Here's one of my favorites (click on the thumbnail for a larger version):
It was taken by Wild Bill Guarnere (Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division) during the invasion of Holland.
During the invasion of Normandy, Sergeant Guarnere was part of an operation to knock out German artillery that is still taught in military classrooms as an example of small unit tactics and leadership.
Two weeks after he took that picture, Wild Bill got hit by shrapnel and was evacuated to England. He went AWOL to get back to his unit (that's right, he went AWOL with a shrapnel injury and found his unit in Belguim), and, during the Battle of the Bulge, lost his right leg attempting to save Sergeant Joe Toye (he did save him). And if medical technology was as advanced as it is now, Wild Bill would have gone back again. I'd bet a year's pay on it.
Years ago, I thought that Dick Winters and Wild Bill were part of a great generation that would never occur again.
But you all know I was wrong.