David Kenyon Webster

David Kenyon Webster (June 2, 1922 - September 9 1961) was an American soldier, journalist and author. During World War II he fought with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne, featured in the book and TV series Band of Brothers.


Before the War

Born in New York and educated at the Taft School, Watertown, Connecticut, he volunteered for the elite paratroopers in 1943 before having a chance to finish his studies as an English literature major at Harvard University.

World War II

Webster originally trained with Fox Company, jumped on D-Day with Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, then requested a transfer to Easy Company and served in the Company until discharged in 1945.

Webster was not a "gung-ho" GI. He hated the army. He was admittedly one of the worst marksmen in his company. He rarely volunteered for dangerous patrols. He had little ambition for promotion, finishing after 3 years with the rank of PFC. With his education and influential family, Webster could have been an officer stateside. But he wanted to be a "grunt", to see and document the war from a foxhole. He did love his fellow soldiers.

On D-Day, Webster landed nearly alone and off-course in flooded fields behind Utah Beach, and was wounded a few days later. He also jumped into Holland in Operation Market Garden. Later in this campaign, he was wounded in the leg by machine gun fire during an attack in the no-man's land called "the Island", near Arnhem, where the company was relocated after Operation Market Garden ended. While recuperating back in England, Webster missed the Battle of the Bulge fighting and rejoined his unit in February of 1945. All the veterans of Normandy went home first except for Webster.

His list of authorized medal and decorations are:


After the war, he went on to become a reporter with the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. He was also interested in sharks, which led him to write a book on the subject entitled "Myth and Maneater: The Story of the Shark." However, Webster's interest in sharks would eventually lead to his death, as he was lost at sea off the coast of Santa Monica in 1961.

His memoir, Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D-Day and the Fall of the Third Reich, was first published in 1994. Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers book quotes liberally from Webster's then unpublished diary entries. Websters' trained eye, honesty, and writing skills helped give the book and miniseries a color and tone not available in other G.I.'s diaries. He had hoped to publish his work soon after the war was over. It was based on his many letters home and memories written down during and just after the war. But publishers were not interested in his kind of book at the time. He was, however, able to get a few short articles into magazines, such as the Saturday Evening Post.

Webster is portrayed by Eion Bailey in HBO's Band of Brothers. Episode 8, "The Last Patrol," features Webster as narrator when he rejoins his unit.

External links

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