Albert Blithe at Camp Toccoa, Georgia in 1942.
June 25, 1923|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
|Died||December 17, 1967
Wiesbaden, West Germany
|Place of burial||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942–1967|
Master Sergeant Albert Blithe (June 25, 1923 – December 17, 1967) was a career soldier who had been a Private First Class with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Blithe was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Marc Warren. Blithe's life story was featured in the 2010 book A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us.
World War II
Blithe trained at Camp Toccoa, Georgia in August 1942 under Captain Herbert M. Sobel. Blithe jumped with the rest of Easy Company into occupied France as part of the massive Airborne invasion; however, when he landed, he found himself lost. Blithe was joined by a number of other paratroopers who were also part of the mis-drops. They teamed up together and found the rest of Easy Company.
As portrayed in Band of Brothers by Marc Warren, Blithe was struck with a temporary case of hysterical blindness following the fierce fight to capture Carentan. He recovered and was part of a patrol investigating a farmhouse a few days later, where he was shot by a sniper in his collar bone. He would recover from the wound and receive a Purple Heart on June 25, 1944, his 21st birthday. Due to his wound, on October 1, 1944 he was sent home and never returned to the European Theater of Operations.
Blithe was released from the Army Hospital October 8, 1945 which has been verified by his discharge paperwork at the end of World War II. He attended the 1st Annual Reunion of the 101st Airborne Division Association. He returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and started a career with Westinghouse Electric.
On December 10, 1967, while on active duty in Germany, Blithe felt nauseated when he returned from a weekend at Bastogne, Belgium, where he had taken part in the ceremonies commemorating the Battle of the Bulge. On December 11, 1967 Blithe was taken to the emergency room at Wiesbaden Hospital, Germany, where he was admitted with a diagnosis of a perforated ulcer. He died in the intensive care unit, on December 17, 1967 after surgery, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.
In the mini-series and the book it incorrectly states that Blithe died December 17, 1948, due to never fully recovering from his injury (bullet to the neck). The writers wanted to give him a heroes death, from a combat wound. Fellow Easy Company Currahee veterans interviewed while writing the book and mini-series had believed that Blithe was wounded in the neck, and that he did not recover and as such Ambrose's book stated that Blithe had died in Philadelphia in 1948. This carried over into episode 3, "Carentan," which ends with a slide stating that "Albert Blithe never recovered from the wounds he received in Normandy. He died in 1948." Though his family publicly corrected this error, not all editions of the book, or of the series, have the correction.
- Blithe's DA-638 Recommendation for Award lists the Silver Star, 3 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts.
- Blithe G., Albert (October 24, 2007). "MSG Albert Blithe". Currahee. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
- "RootsWeb: Database Index". ancestry.com. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- "NARA - AAD - Display Full Records - Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records)". archives.gov. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Ambrose, p.98.
- Ambrose, p.103.
- Patterson, Michael Robert. "Albert Blithe, Sergeant, United States Army". arlingtoncemetery.net. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-6411-6.
- Brotherton, Marcus (2010). A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us. Berkley Caliber. ISBN 978-0-425-23420-4.