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A Ranger Who Led the Way!

Honoring Bill Toler, 5th Ranger Battalion "C" Co
A more elite soldier who arrived by land or sea ... 




As shared by his son, Terry Toler:

My Dad was a Staff Sergeant with the Combat Engineers from the time he was in the US with Army Service Forces, until training in England for D-Day.  After a fatal accident that killed a friend, he volunteered for the 5BN Rangers and became a Private and a BAR man in Co. C for the invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day.  He recounted how he was the human “ramp”, up which the platoon ran to cross the barbed wire barricade set up by the Germans. He always swore, the US won the war due to such innovations implemented by the American GI to reach their objectives. 


Once, while Dad's unit was set up along a river in France, an advance party from Gen. Patton’s army came looking for a suitable crossing.  Dad told them that he could build a Bailey Bridge for them and  had the sections up that same day.  Dad built the bridge and Patton’s tanks began crossing the river immediately.  Dad also told us four kids about the footrope crossing of the Saar River, where every Ranger carried half his weight in gear and ammo.  


He was also part of the Irsch-Zerf battle and liked the friendly artillery fire that was provided (that comment led me to be a Field Artillery officer).  During this conflict, German artillery fire threw him in the air and he landed on his back, on a tree stump.  He was evacuated February 27, 1945 and sent to Paris for recovery from that wound.  He was discharged October 1945 in Emporia, Kansas.  


Photo and narrative submitted by 

Ranger Toler's son

Terry Toler


January  2003

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