By Spc. Elayseah Woodard-Hinton
Six members from the [HBO miniseries] “Band of Brothers” visited service members in Kuwait, during a tour hosted by the [USO] on September 14-19, 2008.
The men, who served together in E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during World War II, traveled 12 hours from the U.S. to thank deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for their service to our country. The members were “Wild Bill” Guarnere, Clancy Lyall, Amos “Buck” Taylor, Forrest Guth, Edward “Babe” Heffron and Don Malarkey.
[The group made] a stop at Camp Buehring, Kuwait [and had plans to move] forward to meet with troops in Iraq … [but] they were not able to make their trip north [to Iraq] due to inclement weather.
However, that did not keep them from fulfilling their goal of meeting with troops to show their appreciation for their service. Instead of going into Iraq, the USO made it possible for the [group] to make various stops around military camps in Kuwait to talk to service members.
“They are happy as long as they are seeing troops,” Dana DePaul, the USO tour producer.
“It’s an honor to come and visit,” Lyall said. “We wanted to boost the morale and show that we care.”
Although it has been over a half century since these men made their contributions…their stories and experiences are not much different from service members who serve in the military today.
“I am no different from any soldier here,” Lyall said. “We just have good P.R. people.”
Much like today, each service member served and fought for their country during a time of war. Some volunteered for different reasons and others were drafted. But war-fighters of both eras faced their own unique challenges.
During World War II, some of the challenges lay in the fact that the fighting conditions were different, the climate was cooler and the technology was not as advanced.
Many challenges that today’s warfighters face involve improvised explosive devices and concerns of suicide bombers who threaten the lives and safety of service members and civilians.
“We had an enemy,” Guarnere said. “Here, you don’t know who the enemy is.”
He also spoke of how – although it was extremely cold when they fought at Bastogne – he was amazed that service members fight in the hotter climates of the Middle East.
“The heat, the heat,” Guarnere said. “How you do it, I don’t know.”
During one of their final stops at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, many excited service members waited in a long line to shake hands, take pictures and show their appreciation for these six men.
“I think it’s amazing getting a chance to see real-life heroes in person,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jarod Perkioniemi. “It’s just a tribute that they came out to see us soldiers.”
But these men were just as excited to see the troops who are currently making the same sacrifices they made over 60 years ago.
-This story has been edited for grammar, brevity and style. It was originally published on DVIDS in 2008.
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