Share This Article

William J. 'Wild Bill' Guarnere. U.S. Army.William J. “Wild Bill” Guarnere, who was popularized by the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers, died March 8 at the age of 90. He was rushed to Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia early Saturday and died that evening of a ruptured aneurysm.

Born April 28, 1922, in a Philadelphia suburb, he was the youngest of 10 children. He left South Philadelphia High School following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, and performed war work at Baldwin Locomotive Works, building battle tanks. He enlisted in the paratroops in 1942 and earned the Silver Star for his actions at Brecourt Manor during the D-Day operations. He later received two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Regarded as fearless in combat, he lost his right leg while trying to aid a wounded soldier on the battlefield. After the war he was active in veterans organizations.

Band of Brothers, based on Stephen Ambrose’s book of the same name, told the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Actor Frank John Hughes portrayed Guarnere in the miniseries.

World History Group salutes this American hero and mourns his passing.