"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.