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kyle cassidy

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back to the important stuff.... [Mar. 21st, 2007|09:41 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra: Valencia]

lest you think i'm slacking off in serious photography....


"I killed a lotta Germans. Christ, I killed a lotta Germans on D-Day..."


Last night it was my great pleasure to photograph "Wild" Bill Guarnere of the 101st Airborne. Bill parachuted into Normandy on D-Day, fought across France, then parachuted again into Holland for operation Market Garden, lost a leg in the Battle of the Bulge, won a Silver Star for bravery and two Purple Hearts, and to this day takes no guff from local hoodlums. "You picked the right guy you @#$@# @!#$@$#er," he said to someone who threatened him on the street several years ago, "I've killed before and I ain't done yet." Then Bill chased the guy down the street on his crutches.

Despite that, he's excruciatingly open and accommodating to polite people. He's been back to Germany fifteen times and when meeting old German soldiers he says "It's a good thing you're meeting me now, now you get a hug, back then, you woulda got a bullet, right between the eyes, if I'd seen you."

Thanks so much to smileitsme, for introducing us.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: fiascofarm
2007-03-21 01:53 pm (UTC)
wow
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[User Picture]From: 60s_man
2007-03-21 01:54 pm (UTC)
cool brave old man. Have you heard about our veterans in Russia?
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:03 pm (UTC)
i saw "enemy at the gates" if that counts -- and i saw someone's photos on lj photographers of a parade about two years ago. but apart from that, no.
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[User Picture]From: smjayman
2007-03-21 01:55 pm (UTC)
Awesome photo and story.
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[User Picture]From: petitbout
2007-03-21 01:58 pm (UTC)

You, my dear, do NOT slack

I finally saw Band of Brothers while recovering from surgery.

It's a good photo. The decor looks familiar.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:06 pm (UTC)

Re: You, my dear, do NOT slack

he told a really interesting story about that. they filmed his interview in the summer, and it was hot out, and they had to turn the air conditioner off because the microphones picked up the noise. and they filmed for hours and hours. finally, they decided to take a break and go get some food. they opened the front door and two kids ran down the street, one of them shooting at the other one and bill shouted "every man for himself!" and dove back in the house, leaving the baffled HBO guys standing on the stoop with bullets flying around them. one of the two kids got killed, right there in front of the HBO crew.

that's how he survived so long -- a sharp mind and cat-like reflexes!
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-21 01:58 pm (UTC)
Now that's an interesting face...
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[User Picture]From: fala_redwing
2007-03-21 01:59 pm (UTC)
Y'know what? LJ is fired. That's me.
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[User Picture]From: kitsch_witch
2007-03-21 02:00 pm (UTC)
That's such a great story. It seems like a rare opportunity these days to hear WWII stories from the folks that actually lived them - glad you and your camera were there!
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[User Picture]From: karmalingoist3
2007-03-21 02:00 pm (UTC)
oh my.

what an incredible person.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:07 pm (UTC)
wild bill rocks my world.
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[User Picture]From: karohemd
2007-03-21 02:17 pm (UTC)
Great character photo but the mix of the wallpaper, the curtains and his shirt make my eyes water...
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:27 pm (UTC)
welcome to south philly.
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[User Picture]From: christianet
2007-03-21 02:37 pm (UTC)
Wow. An amazing guy. Love the HBO story too.

Thom's great-uncle was a WWII hero, also served in Korea. At the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he had just joined the Philadelphia Eagles. The bombing was announced while the team was practicing. He took off his helmet, dropped it on the field, and walked straight to the nearest Army enlistment center. In WWII, he captured Hermann Goehring's staff car. He raffled it off to raise money for war bonds. It's in a museum in Canada now. While serving in Korea, he established at least two orphanages. After Korea, he became mayor of Kingsport, Tenn. He died in the 1970s from a heart attack.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:47 pm (UTC)
that's quite a resume.
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[User Picture]From: kookamess
2007-03-21 02:38 pm (UTC)
Wow.

Since I've seen Band of Brothers about 5 times this is an exciting post for me.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 02:45 pm (UTC)
While i was there Edward "Babe" Heffron called on the phone. They're going to europe with Compton and Malarky and a couple of others to visit "kids" from Iraq recouperating in hopsitals.
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From: frosted_sun
2007-03-21 02:45 pm (UTC)
What an amazing man.

There should be more livejournal posts like this floating around.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2007-03-21 03:16 pm (UTC)
I'll see what I can do in the next 12 months or so.
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From: ex_neke
2007-03-21 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. :)
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[User Picture]From: ravens_circle
2007-03-21 03:55 pm (UTC)
What a character.

Wonderful photo. (Slacking? Pffft.)

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[User Picture]From: barjack
2007-03-21 04:15 pm (UTC)
Even before "Band Of Brothers" I revered E Company and the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st. The humility of the Allied and Axis men that fought World War Two will always shine in the dark history of war.

You're very lucky for the chance to talk to a true American Hero. Currahe!
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[User Picture]From: rapier1
2007-03-21 04:50 pm (UTC)
Talking about the war is difficult for some vets. Part of it is the fact that it was a pretty awful time and wasn't the sort of thing you went on about to women and children. Part of it is that any of the vets felt that no one really could understand what you were saying unless you'd been there.

My grandfather would occasionally talk about his experience. He enlisted in 1939 and was able to finagle things to get him assigned to the Royal Army where he became a liason to the french command (he was fluent in french and picked up the patois of sodlier's french easily). Then he trained as a combat engineer - unexploded bombs and booby traps. He liked telling us about the different types of mines and traps the germans would use. He was the only guy in his regiment to survive - though he lost a leg to a schu mine. He was also the only guy in his reg to not take anyone out with him when he screwed the pooch (everyone will at some point - the real measure is if you can keep from killing anyone else in the process). He ended up marrying the daughter of a British brigadeer general who helped devise all of the ruses used leading up to Normandy. Anyway, it turns out that almost all of the stories he told my brother and I were sanitized. I overheard him once talking to his brother about when he saw a guy get literally torn in half by shrapnel during a bombing and how the legs took a couple of steps even after the top half of the body was shorn away. He told me a story about the same bombing raid and the big thing he told me was about how a stack of glasses in this bar were still upright and unbroken even though there were no walls left. He ended up getting the Soldier's medal and a couple of purple hearts. Course, he also ended up being a drunk. Only way to deal with having a near photographic memory and being in combat I suppose.

Anyway, I liked Ambrose's book. He's not a terribly good historian but he writes some damn fine books.
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