|Private Albert Blithe|
|Status||Deceased as of December 17, 1967 from perforated ulcer.|
Blithe was born on 25 June 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 3 years of high school, Blithe volunteered for the Paratroopers on 18 August 1942. He was made a rifle man in 1st Platoon of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne at Camp Toccoa. After training, Blithe earned his jump wings at Fort Benning. Blithe is then sighted on the troop ship headed to Liverpool, England from New York, looking at the Statue of Liberty with men from First Platoon. After Aldbourne England, Blithe jumped into Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Blithe was then seen in episode three, as a lost Paratrooper from Easy Company. He participates in the Battle of Carentan but hid during most of the battle due to becoming hysterically blind as a result of the stress of battle. After talking to Winters, his sight miraculously returns.
Blithe and his unit head out into the fields to defend Carentan, away from the town due to fear of being over run. He confesses his fears to Lieutenant Speirs, who tells Blithe that there is no hope in war and how it relates to a man's ability to function effectively as a soldier.
Blithe later fought in the defense of Carentan. There, he is scared to death, shrieking and sobbing in his foxhole. When Lt. Winters gets him up, he is still crying but shoots his rifle anyway at Germans. In amazement, he then looks at Winters, who is having no trouble at all, even though he is directly exposed to enemy fire. This encourages Blithe, who finally abandons his fear and immediately improves in the battle. At the end, he kills a retreating German soldier: Blithe heads to and discovers the soldier's body, taking the edelweiss flower from him, reputed to be a symbol of a true soldier.
Days later, Blithe volunteers for a patrol: while scouting the position, just as he calls for his comrades to advance, he is wounded by sniper fire in the neck. After the bleeding had been stemmed, he is evacuated to a hospital. After Blithe is brought to his bed, Sgt. "Popeye" Wynn chastises Walter Gordon for getting three Purple Heart medals due to minor injuries, while a seriously injured Blithe gets only one.
Blithe eventually recovered and received the Purple Heart, but was unable to return to duty. He was eventually released on 8 October 1945 and found a job in Philadelphia for Westinghouse Electric. The Army stayed with him, however, and he reenlisted on 28 March 1949. He was discharged on 27 March 1952, but he reenlisted again on 24 March 1954. He won his Masters Parachutist Badge on 13 May and served with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team in post-war Korea. He eventually married a woman named Kay, had a son named Gordon and a daughter.
Blithe was later assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and made Division Trooper of the Year in 1958. He then went to the 82nd Quartermaster Corps, 82nd Quartermaster Maintenance Company, and was made Master Sergeant. He was then given a Military Assistance Advisory Group in Taiwan. Blithe died on 17 December 1967 while on active duty with the 8th Supply Battalion, 8th Infantry Division in West Germany at Wiesbaden Air Force Hospital.
A week before his death, Blithe 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 11 December and diagnosed with a perforated ulcer. Emergency surgery was performed on 12 December 1967. He subsequently developed peritonitis, and on 16 December he suffered renal failure and died at 0055 hours on 17 December. After a memorial service conducted by Chaplain (Major) Thomas F. DesChamps, Blithe was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia with full military honors on 28 December 1967.
None of the other Easy Company veterans found out what happened to him, and thought that he died in 1948 from his wound. Stephen Ambrose considered this as factual information, and wrote it in his book, causing the Series to relay the same thing at the end of the 3rd episode. This was later refuted by the Blithe family, which led to corrections in Ambrose's subsequent editions of the book, but not the movie or resultant DVDs and BluRay discs.
Blithe has a quiet nature, so the only known personality on him is his uncontrollable fear, which turns to bravery.
- The real Albert Blithe strongly resembles actor Marc Warren.
- Lt. Speirs tells Blithe that there’s no hope and to accept the fact that he’s already dead, Mr Speirs has stated via his stepson, that he himself never made such a comment.