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James Alley

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Nickname(s)  "Jim", "Moe"
Years of service  1942-1945
Name  James Alley
Allegiance  United States
Rank  Staff Sergeant
Service/branch  United States Army
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Born  July 20, 1922 Mount Ida, Arkansas, United States (1922-07-20)
Battles/wars  World War II Battle of Normandy Operation Market Garden Battle of the Bulge
Relations  Grace V. Davis (mother) James H. Alley (father)
Died  March 14, 2008, Sedro-Woolley, Washington, United States
Battles and wars  Operation Overlord, Operation Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge, World War II

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Staff Sergeant James 'Moe' Alley Jr. (20 July 1922 - 14 March 2008) was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Alley was one of the 140 original Toccoa men of Easy Company. He was portrayed by George Calil in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

Contents

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Early life

Alley was born in Mount Ida, Arkansas. Alley attended school in Arkansas and enlisted there in 1942.

Military service

Alley volunteered for paratrooper and was sent to training in Toccoa, Georgia. One time, Easy Company was ordered to march up Currahee: on the way up, Alley suggested to comrade Dewitt Lowrey that they could sit down to wait and rejoin the company when it went back down. Major William Boyle spotted them, and could have busted them, but he did not; instead, he ordered the two to run up Currahee after him. They went up the hill, came down and ran two more hills before Major Boyle let the two go. Richard Winters later told Alley and Lowrey that Major Boyle was a cross-country runner.

Alley made his first combat jump on D-Day into Normandy. He had to be thrown out the door by comrade Paul Rogers because he had difficulties getting out and was about to be pulled in half by his leg bag he thrown out the door. Alley landed near Ste. Mere-Eglise and crashed into a wall behind a house, cut by the broken glasses embedded in the top of the wall. He later found Rogers and Earl McClung and the three fought with the soldiers from the 505th Regiment until reunited with Easy Company.

Alley participated in Operation Market Garden and fought defending The Island. On 5 October 1944, Alley was chosen for a patrol mission led by Sergeant Art Youman with Joseph Lesniewski, Joseph Liebgott and Roderick Strohl. When the patrol ran into a larger German patrol, a German soldier threw a grenade at the men. Lesniewski called out a warning and Alley turned his body from the blast just in time; still, Alley was blown to the ground and received 32 wounds in his body. Alley commented that he would surely have been dead if Joe Lesniewskiy had not warned him of the German grenade. In 1994, when Alley went to the hospital, pieces of shrapnel from the blast could still be found in his body.

Alley spent two months in the hospital. He was then sent to 12th Replacement Depot and was about to be reassigned to another company. He did not want that and decided to go AWOL. Selling a German Luger for money to get to Paris, he found Richard Winters, former Easy Company commander, who helped him arrange transportation to return to Easy Company. He arrived at Mourmelon on 15 December 1944, a few days before the 101st Airborne was deployed to Bastogne.

Alley fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne with Easy Company. While in Noville, Alley and Edward Shames had mistaken a German tank as friendly armor. The two were able to hide from the tank and were not attacked. While in Austria, according to a letter Captain Ronald Speirs wrote to Forrest Guth, Alley was busted because he got drunk. Alley was discharged in 1945.

Retirement from service

Alley moved with his family to California, and stayed there until 1951 when he moved to Washington state. He became a general contractor, remodeling and building homes and commercial buildings. He eventually had his own construction company in California.

Alley married Elizabeth 'Bettie' Riley in Seattle in 1975 and they had three children. After his retirement in 1987, the family moved to Marblemount before finally settling in Sedro-Woolley. Alley died at the Clayton House on 14 March 2008.

References

James Alley Wikipedia


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