Earl McClung

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Earl Ervin McClung
Nickname(s) "One Lung"
Born (1923-04-27)April 27, 1923
Inchelium, Washington
Died November 27, 2013(2013-11-27) (aged 90)
Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1942–1947
Rank US Army WWII SSGT.svgStaff Sergeant
Unit 506 patch.jpeg Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
US 101st Airborne Division patch.svg101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars World War II
Relations - Jess McClung (father)
- Irene McClung (mother)
- Jean McClung (wife)

Staff Sergeant Earl "One Lung" McClung (27 April 1923 – 27 November 2013) was a non-commissioned officer in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment with the 101st Airborne Division, United States Army during the Second World War. The Company was made famous by the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, in which McClung was portrayed by Rocky Marshall. McClung's life story was also featured in the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers.

Youth

McClung was born on Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, and was 3/8 Native American. He went to school in Inchelium, Washington.[1] McClung learned to shoot as a boy and shot his first deer when he was eight.[2] He became an excellent marksman and this skill would prove useful during his war service with Easy Company.

Military Service

On 15 February 1943, McClung was drafted into the United States Army.[3] He received Basic Combat Training at Fort Wolters, Texas.[4] He then volunteered for the paratroopers and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for further training.[5] He joined Easy Company in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he instantly befriended "Shifty" Powers, fellow Easy Company member.[6]

McClung made his first combat jump into Normandy on the night before D-Day, landing in the town square of Ste. Mere Eglise. He and two other Easy Company members, James Alley and Paul Rogers, fought with the 82nd Airborne Division for several days[7] before linking up with Easy Company later to fight in Carentan.

McClung also jumped into the Netherlands for Operation Market Garden. The bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal was blown up by the Germans right after McClung got across the canal. He flopped down behind a tree just in time not to be killed by the explosion.[8] McClung was considered a very good combat soldier: he was an excellent shot, and even had the reputation for his ability to 'smell' Germans. However, he was said to be the worst garrison soldier. His comrades like Powers and William Kiehn had to shine his boots and pressed his pants for him for a retreat parade after the fights in the Netherlands, because they knew that he would not have done any of these things.[9]

McClung participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. After Walter "Smokey" Gordon was hit by a sniper, McClung and Sergeant Buck Taylor went looking for the sniper. A German pointed his machine gun at McClung, but it misfired; the two were able to kill the sniper.

When Easy Company was sent to Haguenau, McClung was selected as the lead scout for the patrol mission across the Moder River to capture German prisoners.[10] McClung followed Easy Company until the end of the war.

McClung returned to the United States in December 1945. In February 1946, McClung reenlisted for another 18 months. He met his wife in South Carolina and the two got married before he was discharged.[11]

Nickname

McClung got his nickname during the fight in Ste. Mere Eglise. Because of his scouting skills, McClung was repeatedly sent into the city by the officer in charge.[12] While McClung was sleeping after a night patrol, a Second Lieutenant asked for the service of a machine gunner; James Alley and Paul Rogers placed their machine guns next to McClung, indicating he was the machine gunner. McClung was not happy about being involuntarily made a machine gunner, and Rogers wrote a poem about the incident, with a line 'Who hung the gun on One-Lung McClung?' And the nickname 'One Lung' stuck.[13]

Later life

McClung worked in a trucking garage, and then as a mail carrier for 17 years. He then worked for the police department, and retired as a game warden in 1988.[14]

At the time of his death in 2013, Earl McClung was living in Pueblo West, Colorado, with his wife.[15][16]

Bibliography

External links

References

  1. p.21-22, Brotherton
  2. p.59, Brotherton, 2011
  3. Official Website
  4. p.64, Brotherton
  5. o.64, Brotherton
  6. p.65, Brotherton
  7. p.103, Brotherton
  8. p.105, Brotherton
  9. p.121, Brotherton, 2011
  10. Chapter 14, Stephen Ambrose
  11. p.204, Brotherton
  12. p.85, Brotherton, 2011
  13. p.103, Brotherton
  14. p.103, Brotherton
  15. Earl's Story, Earl McClung's Official Website
  16. "In honor of Earl McClung (1923-2013)". Marcus Brotherton. 1923-04-27. Retrieved 2013-11-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>