Staff Sergeant Earl Boling served with E company of the 2nd Battalion. He entered the service from Akron, Ohio on October 31, 1942 reporting to the Army Induction Center at Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio. It was here that Earl volunteered for parachute training. Not yet assigned to a parachute company he became part of a replacement unit with the shipping code of E.G.B. #448. Later, many troopers from that unit became replacements for the 505.
In April of 1943, Earl boarded the
U.S.S.George Washington to make the Atlantic crossing. Their convoy landed in North Africa May 10th 1943. He was still with E.G.B.
(Extra Government Baggage as troopers sometimes joked) unit #448 when the regiment jumped
into Sicily July 9, 1943. When the 505 returned from operation Husky mid August, 1943,
Earl was assigned to the 1st squad, 1st platoon of E company. On September 5th 1943
the regiment was flown to an airfield in Sicily. On the 13th they were dropped on the
beach head at Salerno, Italy to take pressure off the troops and equipment coming ashore.
One night, while dug in on a hillside over looking Naples, a German plane dropped a bomb that
landed 25 feet from Earl. He heard the bomb coming in and jumped into his fox hole. The
sides collapsed, completely burying him. Fortunately, nearby was Sgt. Julias Axman, he knew
exactly where Earl was positioned and dug him out before he suffocated. His right hand and
arm was badly damaged by shrapnel and debris from the bomb's near miss. Ralph Hopkins the
platoon medic, cleaned and bandaged the arm for him. Within days his hand and arm became
infected and the chance of amputation was increasing. He was operated on by a surgeon in
Naples on November 17th, 1943. Fortunately, the operation was a success and his hand
Earl traveled back to Algiers by hospital ship in late November 1943 and remained in North
Africa until the end of January 1944. He then sailed to England, catching up with the regiment at
Camp Quorn in February 1944. For the next several months the 505 trained for the invasion of
the Continent. Pfc. Boling participated in the Normandy campaign and the capture of hill 131. Next was the Holland jump (Sunday, September 17, 1944) where he participated in the taking of Hunner Park and the Nijmegen bridge. Earl received a Bronze Star with Valor device for actions against the enemy while patrolling the area on the north side of the "big bridge" (towards Arnhem). While the regiment was off the line and at camp Suippes, France, he was promoted to corporal.
During the campaign in the Ardennes, Corporal Boling was awarded the Silver Star medal on January 4th 1945 for eliminating one machine gun position by himself and leading the charge against a second machine gun near Arbrefontaine, Belgium. He was then promoted to Staff Sergeant by passing
a grade. After serving over a month on the front lines, in below average temperatures and deep snow,
frostbite took hold of the hand he nearly lost in Italy. Once again facing the loss of his hand,
he was taken off the line at the end of January 1945 and sent to the hospital in Paris. Earl returned to duty March 18th 1945 and remained with
E company for the remainder of the war. He was a high point veteran having a 104 points, well over the
required 85 needed to muster out. He shipped home from Marseilles, France on the U.S.S. Mariposa
arriving in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts on September 15th 1945.
(The picture below and information for above bio is from Earl Bolings' written
account of his WW II activities he called "Echoes of the Warriors".)
Private First Class Earl Boling May 1944
The following awards and brochure are shown courtesy of the Michael J. Belles collection.
This brochure was printed for the 7th annual convention of the 82nd Airborne Division, hosted by the Akron, Ohio chapter in 1953. Earl was a member of the Akron chapter and served on it's Board of Directors.
Front and rear cover(left side) shown below.