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Earl McClung

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Earl Ervin McClung
Nickname(s)"One Lung"
Born(1923-04-27)April 27, 1923
Inchelium, Washington
DiedNovember 27, 2013(2013-11-27) (aged 90)
Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1942–1947
RankUS Army WWII SSGT.svgStaff Sergeant
Unit506 patch.jpeg Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
US 101st Airborne Division patch.svg101st Airborne Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
Relations- Jess McClung (father)
- Irene McClung (mother)
- Jean McClung (wife)

Staff Sergeant Earl "One Lung" McClung (27 April 1923 – 27 November 2013) was a non-commissioned officer in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment with the 101st Airborne Division, United States Army during the Second World War. The Company was made famous by the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, in which McClung was portrayed by Rocky Marshall. Information about McClung appeared in the 2009 book We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers.

Youth[edit | edit source]

McClung was born on Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, and was 3/8 Native American. He went to school in Inchelium, Washington.[1]:21-22 McClung learned to shoot as a boy and shot his first deer when he was eight.[2]:59 He became an excellent marksman and this skill would prove useful during his war service with Easy Company.

Military service[edit | edit source]

On 15 February 1943, McClung was drafted into the United States Army.[citation needed] He received Basic Combat Training at Fort Wolters, Texas.[1]:64 He then volunteered for the paratroopers and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for further training.[1]:64 He joined Easy Company in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he instantly befriended "Shifty" Powers, fellow Easy Company member.[1]:65

McClung made his first combat jump into Normandy on the night before D-Day, landing in the town square of Ste. Mere Eglise. He and two other Easy Company members fought with the 82nd Airborne Division for several days[1]:103 before linking up with Easy Company 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 not to be killed by the explosion.[1]:105 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 had to shine his boots and press his trousers for him for a retreat parade after the fighting in the Netherlands, because they knew that he would not have done any of these things.[2]:121

McClung participated in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. He and Sergeant Buck Taylor were able to kill a sniper.

When Easy Company was sent to Haguenau, McClung was selected as the lead scout for the patrol mission across the Moder River to capture German prisoners.[3]:236 McClung was in 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.[1]:204

Nickname[edit | edit source]

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.[2]:85 While 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 involuntarily 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.[1]:103

Later life and death[edit | edit source]

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.[1]:103

At the time of his death in 2013, Earl McClung was living in Pueblo West, Colorado, with his wife.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Brotherton, Marcus (2009). We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from Band of Brothers. Berkley Trade. ISBN 0425234193.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Brotherton, Marcus (2011). Shifty's War: The Authorized Biography of Sergeant Darrell 'Shifty' Powers, the Legendary Sharpshooter from the Band of Brothers. Berkley Caliber. ISBN 978-0-425-24097-7.
  3. Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-6411-6.
  4. "Earl Ervin McClung". Tributes.com. Retrieved 2017-11-12.

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