Technician Fourth Grade Eugene Gilbert Roe, Sr. (October 17, 1922 – December 30, 1998) 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. Roe's life story was featured in the 2010 book A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us by Marcus Brotherton. Roe was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Shane Taylor.
Eugene Roe was born in Bayou Chene, Louisiana to Ed Roe and Maud Verret. He was third of five children, and he quit school during his elementary years. He went to work at a young age. Due to floods and levees brought into Bayou Chene, the Roe family moved to Morgan City, Louisiana in the late 1930s.
Roe enlisted on December 12, 1942, in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Roe was one of Easy Company's medics. While stationed in Aldbourne, England, Roe met his first wife Vera. Their wedding was set for June 6, 1944, but had to be postponed because of D-Day, when Roe and the rest of the 101st made their first combat jumps into Normandy as part of Operation Overlord.
By the time Easy Company was taking Carentan, Roe was already a seasoned medic, able to patch and diagnose wounds in a methodical way. For instance, he was able to tell fellow Easy Company soldier Donald Malarkey that he had a Purple Heart wound without looking up from wrapping another soldier's wound.
Roe participated in the British-controlled American military operation Operation Market Garden and jumped into the Netherlands. He landed on some barbed wire and cut his calf.
Roe also took part in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne. Allied supplies were low and Roe had to go from man to man to get more supplies. In the extreme cold weather, he had to tuck plasma bottles into his armpits to keep them from freezing.
Roe was with Easy Company for occupation duties in Germany and Austria. He was discharged on November 17, 1945, and arrived back in the United States eleven days later.
With the war over in Europe, Roe married Vera in July 1945 in England. They had a quiet quick wedding with a taxi driver as one of their witnesses, along with someone else they did not know. Roe's Easy Company comrades presented the couple a set of forks and knives from Hitler's Eagle's Nest as a wedding present. The forks and knives were later donated to the Louisiana World War II Museum's Hall of Honor at Baton Rouge.
After his discharge, Roe and his wife moved to Baton Rouge and had three children. The couple divorced twenty-seven years later, and Roe remarried five years later.
Roe became a construction contractor post-war. He died of lung cancer on December 30, 1998 in Louisiana.
Band of Brothers and Renée Lemaire
While Roe was mentioned only three times in Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers, it was said that he was a very brave and heroic medic. Roe was mentioned in the biographies of other Easy Company veterans, for example, in Clancy Lyall's biography Silver Eagle and in Donald Malarkey's Easy Company Soldier.
Roe was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Shane Taylor. Episode six of the miniseries, entitled "Bastogne'", is told from his point of view. He was portrayed as a soft-spoken Cajun medic. In reality, Roe was much rougher and tougher, and did not have as strong of a Cajun accent as portrayed in the miniseries. In that episode, Roe's grandmother was said to be a traiteur, but this is not true.
Also in "Bastogne'", Roe was shown befriending a Belgian nurse called Renée (portrayed by Lucie Jeanne) in the aid station in Bastogne. While it was unclear if in reality Roe had met the nurse, a nurse called Renee Lemaire was indeed working in an aid station in Bastogne at the time. Lemaire volunteered her services at the battalion aid station on 21 December 1944. She helped in tending to over 150 seriously wounded patients per day without adequate rest or food, and offered great assistance. Lemaire was killed during the Christmas Eve bombardment when a bomb made a direct hit on the aid station. She was wrapped in a parachute and buried in Bastogne by the soldiers.
Medals and Decorations
Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Presidential Unit Citation with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device