The Skeptics

I Met the Real "Band of Brothers" (And Their Story Is More Amazing Than You Think)

He struck me as a kind and gentle soul. It was hard to imagine him as the vicious, fearless killing machine depicted in the Band of Brothers. According to his family and friends, prior to the premier of the Band of Brothers, he had never boasted in his remarkable accomplishments in World War II, merely noting that he had fought and lost his leg. During my visit it was, to be honest, just a little frustrating because getting him to tell me about his personal experience was difficult. He spent most of the time telling me about the amazing things his friends had done.

To his dying days he remained focused on helping others, shunning personal acclaim and being a good family man. From a 2006 interview, Guarnere admitted that though he had seen the toughest combat and been decorated as an American hero, he did not venerate war.

“There is no glory in war . . . it is simply hell,” he explained:

I can’t explain it. You have to be there to experience it. It is like trying to explain freedom to kids who don’t know about it. You don’t know what freedom is until you lose it. When you look at the war, you survived it.

Daniel L. Davis is a retired U.S. Army colonel who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. He is a senior fellow with Defense Priorities. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.

Image: Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach. Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy