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First Lieutenant Harry F. Welsh was a commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II.


Early Life[]

Welsh was born on 27 September 1918 in Wilkes Barre Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.


Welsh enlisted in the army in 1942 and volunteered for the Paratroopers. He was sent to Fort Benning and was put in the 504th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division as a sergeant. However, he would often get in fights and kept being demoted to Private. But his commanders saw leadership potential in him, and they kept on promoting him back to Sergeant. He had been busted six times. Three officers decided to send him to OCS, since they realized he was great for the job.

The real Harry Welsh

He graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant and was assigned to Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne while at Camp Mackall, and was made commander of 1st Platoon. He and the 1st Platoon's original commander, 1st Lieutenant Richard Winters became quick friends. Soon, the 506th PIR shipped off to England.

Welsh jumped into Normandy on 6 June 1944 and, due to a misdrop, wasn't able to find Easy until the next morning, shortly before Easy was given the task of taking Carentan. When he joined the rest of his company, Welsh was placed in charge of 1st platoon after Winters took charge of the company.

On 17 September 1944, Welsh dropped into Holland for Operation Market Garden and remained there for the duration of the operation. After the failure of the operation, Welsh and the rest of Easy Company returned to Mourmelon-le-GrandFrance to await the next assignment.

Welsh fought in the Battle of Bulge where he was wounded in his right upper leg. He was reunited with E-Company while they were in Hagenau.

Medals and decorations[]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
File:Parachute Badge.jpg Parachutist Badge with 2 combat stars
Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster
American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal

From Wikipedia

Later years[]

Welsh returned home and married Catherine "Kitty" Grogan. For her wedding dress, she used silk from Welsh's reserve parachute. They had one son, Kevin, who predeceased Welsh. Welsh spent time after the war at different jobs, including a teacher at area schools, a tax collector for Luzerne County, and finally became a director of pupils for the area. He retired in 1983. Welsh died of heart failure on 21 January 1995, on his good friend Richard Winters' 77th birthday. His wife Catherine died three years later in 1998. He is buried in the St. Mary's Cemetery, Lot G, in Wilkes Barre, PA.