Staff Sergeant Earl 'One Lung' McClung (April 27, 1923 - November 27, 2013) was an NCO in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment with the 101st Airborne Division, United States Army during World War Two.
McClung was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Rocky Marshall.
McClung's life story was featured in the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers
McClung was born in Colville Indian Reservation, Washington. He went to school in Inchelium.
McClung learned to shoot as a boy and shot his first deer when he was eight. He became an excellent shot, and during service was one of the best in Easy Company.
On February 15, 1943, McClung was drafted into the United States Army. He received basic training at Fort Wolters, Texas. He then volunteered for the paratroopers and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia. He joined Easy Company in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He instantly befriended Darrell Powers, fellow Easy Company member.
McClung made his first combat jump into Normandy on the night before D-Day. He landed 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. The three linked up with their own unit 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 to not be killed by the explosion.
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 press 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.
McClung participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. After Walter 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 misfired, otherwise McClung would surely have been killed. The two were able to kill the sniper.
While in Haguenau, McClung was selected as the lead scout for the patrol mission across the Moder River to capture German prisoners. 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.
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.
When 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 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.
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.
At the time of his death on November 27, 2013, Earl McClung was living in Pueblo, Colorado, with his wife. He was 90 years old.