Leo Boyle

Leo D. Boyle
Nickname(s) Fearless Phosgene
Born 1913
Douglas, Oregon
Died December 1997 (age 84-85)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Staff Sergeant
Unit Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
101st Airborne Division

World War II

Staff Sergeant Leo Boyle was a non-commissioned officer of the Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division, United States Army during the Second World War. Boyle was one of the 140 Toccoa men of Easy Company. Boyle was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Nigel Hoyle.

Military service

Born and raised in Pacific Northwest, Boyle joined the army for a three-year stint in 1934.[1] He then worked as a mechanic for Standard Oil in California.[2]

Boyle was drafted by the army in 1942.[3] He volunteered for the paratroopers and received training in Toccoa, Georgia with Easy Company. He started as a private, and rose to the rank of sergeant in Camp Mackall.[4] Boyle was the gas non-com in charge of the gas training for the company, so he was given the nickname Fearless Phosgene.[5]

While in Aldbourne, Boyle met an English girl called Winifred Hawkins.[6] He decided to marry her, and was given permission by Richard Winters, his platoon leader at the time.[7] First Sergeant Bill Evans of Easy Company served as his best man.[8] The wedding day was on May 20, 1944, nine days before Easy Company left for the marshaling area.[9] The wedding was not without pranks. On the wedding day, his comrade Bill Guarnere 'kidnapped' the bride from the church with the help of smoke grenades and dumped her off somewhere ten miles away before he showed up and acted innocent in the church.[10]

Boyle made his first combat jump on D-Day into Normandy as part of Operation Overlord. He was the last man on his plane. As the plane was flying at a tilt, he had to pull himself to the door and rolled out of the plane.[11] Boyle marched toward Ste Marie-du-Mont and found Easy Company, after the Brecourt Manor Assault had taken place.[12] Boyle was wounded by a machine-gun of a tank near Carentan. He was taken to Utah Beach for evacuation to England.[13] Boyle was promoted to Staff Sergeant for headquarter section in company after the battle in Normandy and became Richard Winters's 'right-hand man'.[14]

Boyle also participated in Operation Market Garden and the action in defending the Island. In October 5, 1944, Boyle was severely wounded by a shell landing nearby on the dike.[15] Boyle spent nine months in hospitals in Belgium, England and the States. He was discharged on June 22, 1945.[16]

Later life

Boyle was given a 30 percent disability at first. He worked as railroad brakeman and then in a post office. But his legs gave out. He was declared 50 percent disabled after checking in the VA hospital. Boyle attended the University of Oregon, majoring in political science and earned an MA degree. He became a teacher and eventually working with the educationally handicapped. He was awarded the Phi Delta Kappa Service Key for Leadership and Research in Education for the Handicapped when he retired in 1979.[17]

Boyle died in December 1997 from the effect of Parkinson's Disease.[18] Former Easy Company comrades Donald Malarkey and Bill Wingett served as his honorary pall-bearers.[19]



  1. p.85, Alexander
  2. p.85, Alexander
  3. p.85, Alexander
  4. location 603, Guarnere
  5. Location 604, Guarnere
  6. 735, Guarnere
  7. p.119, Winters
  8. p.119, Winters
  9. p.59, Alexander
  10. Location 739, Guarnere
  11. Chapter 4, Ambrose
  12. Chapter 5, Ambrose
  13. Chapter 6, Ambrose
  14. p.85, Alexander
  15. Location 1968, Guarnere
  16. Chapter 19, Ambrose
  17. Chapter 19, Ambrose
  18. p.273, Winters
  19. p.273, Winters

External links

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