Another member of the “Band of Brothers” passes away.
William “Wild Bill” Guarnere passed away over the weekend in Pennsylvania.
Guarnere trained at CampToccoa and was a member of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment depicted in the HBO miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”
Stephens County Historical Society Executive Director Brenda Carlan said Guarnere felt the same way about his time at Camp Toccoa and at Currahee Mountain as many of the other men did.
“I think he said the same thing that every other soldier said that came to Toccoa,” said Carlan. “They hated that mountain. He hated that mountain, but he respected it. I think being here in Toccoa and Currahee Mountain meant a lot to him and he often would credit it with helping to save his life.”
Guarnere lost a leg during World War II and earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.
After the war, Carlan said Guarnere was often referred to as the “glue” of Easy Company.
“I think he instigated some of the first reunions, up until the most recent years,” said Carlan.
According to Carlan, Easy Company started its reunions not long after the war.
“Most of these men (in other units) did not get back together until the last 15 or 20 years of their life,” said Carlan. “Easy Company, on the other hand, started getting back together right after the war, which is a little unusual.”
Guarnere visited Toccoa on numerous occasions throughout the years.
Carlan said it was also easy to see where he got his nickname, “Wild Bill.”
“He had no limitations and was always up for a good time, but had a really big heart to go with it,” said Carlan.
Carlan said that there are only 18 Easy Company men left and only four of those 18 trained at Camp Toccoa.
She said it is reminders like that which make the effort to preserve their legacy all the more important.
“I always felt here like we are running against the clock to try to find as many of these men as we could,” said Carlan.
“Wild Bill” Guarnere was 90 years old.