The U.S. Army has bid farewell to a fine soldier.
Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre was the last surviving member of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion “Currahee,” 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He was portrayed in the HBO series “Band of Brothers,” and revered as a dedicated medic who never hesitated to put his own safety aside to help others.
Mampre passed away on May 31, 2019. He was laid to rest on June 15. He was 97 years old.
“He was always humble. He never talked about himself. Absolutely a down to earth man,” said Mampre’s great nephew, Staff Sgt. Paul Mampreian told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He definitely influenced me to become a medic.”
“I really wish I had the chance to meet him. I would have listened to his stories all day long,” Staff Sgt. John Saxby, Reconnaissance Team Leader, 3rd Brigade, 2-506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, told the Army. “It’s such a big part of our Army history. Those guys in World War II were trained to fight and sustain themselves with the bare minimum. You never know when your equipment will fail. The Soldiers from World War II went days on end without food or bullets. It’s something to really be proud of.”
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Upon hearing of Mampre’s death, soldiers assigned to the same unit he served in travelled to Illinois. They served as the honor guard during his funeral.
“The minute we heard about this we were going to support this (funeral) 100 percent,” Maj. Scott Krasko, Operations Officer, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, told the Army. “We wanted to respectfully honor the legacy of Al Mampre. The current Soldiers draw strength from those who went before,” he said.
In 2018, during an interview with Stars & Stripes, Mampre said that seeing what modern Army medics are equipped with made his colleagues in WWII seem like “neanderthal men.”
“My basic training in being a medic was Boy Scouts,” Mampre said. “Most of what they reviewed with me was what I learned in Boy Scouts, except giving shots, because we were to give all the shots. We practiced on oranges. Well, we never ran into an orange in combat.”
After the war, Mampre got married and went into psychology. He and Virginia Mampre were married for 63 years until Virginia dies in 2009.
“He had as they say true grit,” said reverend Larry Handwerk, Speaking at Mampre’s funeral. “He was the most generous of men. Wherever he went he was like the sun. His ability to connect with all was like sunshine.”
Hear some of Mampre’s characteristic wit and advice in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.