Albert Blithe, (June 25 1923 - December 17 1967), was a career soldier in the United States Army and a World War II paratrooper with the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was featured in the Stephen Ambrose history and subsequent HBO mini-series Band of Brothers as one of the Easy Company paratroopers featured in the third episode "Carentan", played by British actor Marc Warren.
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 alone in a part of France that he did not recognize. After an unknown period of time, Blithe was joined by a number of other paratroopers who were also part of the misdrops. They teamed up together and went to St. Marcouf, where they found the rest of Easy Company.
As portrayed in Band of Brothers, 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. Unfortunately, he was shot by a sniper in the right shoulder. Albert received a Purple Heart on June 25th, 1944. Fellow Easy Company Currahee veterans interviewed while writing the mini-series Band of Brothers had thought that Blithe did not recover from his wound, which they mistakenly recalled as a neck wound, and had died in Philadelphia in 1948. After viewing the mini-series, the Blithe family publicly corrected this historical error.
However, he did recover from his wound and attended the 1st Annual Reunion of the 101st Airborne Division Association. Blithe was released from the Army Hospital October 8th, 1945. He returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and started a career with Westinghouse Electric.
Before his military career ended in 1967, Albert Blithe had achieved the rank of Master Sergeant and had fought in the Korean War, completed over 600 parachute jumps, and was given a MAAG assignment in Taiwan. He married and had two children, a son and daughter.
Blithe died December 17th, 1967 while on active duty in Germany at Wiesbaden Air Force Hospital. A week before his death, he had attended a weekend at Bastogne, Belgium commemorating the Battle of the Bulge, from which he had returned feeling unwell. He was taken to the emergency room on December 11th and diagnosed with a perforated ulcer. Emergency surgery was performed on December 12th, 1967. He subsequently developed peritonitis and on December 16th, he developed kidney failure and died at 0055 on December 17th, however this kidney failure had nothing to do with his wound in Normandy. After a memorial service conducted by Chaplain (Major) Thomas F DesChamps, Blithe was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on December 28.
- Photos, documentation, and memorabilia
Recipients of the Purple Heart medal
Burials at Arlington National Cemetery
United States Army soldiers
American military personnel of World War II
American military personnel of the Korean War
Recipients of the Combat Infantryman Badge
Band of Brothers characters
Operation Overlord people
Recipients of the Silver Star medal