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PFC. Alex Penkala was a soldier from Easy Company

Biography[]

Early life[]

Alex Mike Penkala Jr. was born on August 31, 1924 Niles, Michigan to Polish parents Alec and Mary Penkala. His mother died after giving birth to another child, and Penkala's oldest sister Irene looked after him and his 12 other siblings.

He dropped out of high school in 1939 when he was in his sophomore year, and found a job as a cook.

WWII[]

He was drafted into the Army on February 27, 1942, at Toledo, Ohio, and volunteered for the paratroopers. He was sent to Camp Toccoa, Georgia, where he was assigned to Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th, where he was put under the harsh leadership of Herbert Sobel. After completing training in August, he was sent to Fort Benning, where he earned his jumpwings as a paratrooper. After completing more training at Camp Mackell in 1943, he and the rest of the unit were sent to Aldbourne, England.

Penkala dropped with the 101st Airborne into Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, part of Operation Overlord. He grouped up with his Company at Ste. Marie-du-Monte. On June 10, he and the 506th headed to Carentan, where they fought a fierce battle for the town. They eventually won with only a few wounded. While relaxing, he, Private Blithe, Sgt. Muck, PFC. Malarkey, and Pvt. More chatted about how 1st Lt. Speirs killed a few Germans on D-Day, before heading out. They met a fierce counterattack by the Germans, but won the fight.

They then headed back to Aldbourne in July, where they waited for their next mission. He and the unit the landed in Holland on September 17, part of Operation Market Garden. They met little resistance when they landed, but were bested at Nuenen on September 20th. The Operation eventually ended on September 25, and the 2nd Battalion was sent to an area known as "The Island" on October 2. They fought against a unit of German SS soldiers, and beat them on October 5.

He and his unit were pulled off the line on November 26, and were sent to France. They were eventually sent to Bastogne in the Ardennes forest, Belgium on December 18 to relieve the 28th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. Sometime around the battle, Penkala was wounded by a Mortar explosion in the arm. Doc Roe tended to him, but Penkala insisted he didn't need to go to the aid station. Roe replied, "Well, you're in luck Penkala, we ain't got no aid station," meaning Penkala was still in the fight.

They were eventually sent to the town of Foy. On January 10, while preparing to invade Foy, they were bombarded by heavy artillery. George Luz was knocked down by an explosion, and Penkala and his buddy Muck yelled at him to get into their foxhole, when they took a direct hit from a shell, blowing him to pieces and killing him instantly. Luz was able to dig up their remains, and Penkala was buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery, Plot I, Row 9, Grave 5, Lumbourg City, Luxembourg.

The real Alex Penkala

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