William Francis “Bill” Kiehn, born 10-10-1921, in Olmsted County, Minnesota, United States, an only child from William H. Kiehn en Florence Kiehn and he entered service there. Kiehn volunteered for paratrooper and received training in Toccoa, Georgia under Captain Herbert Maxwell Sobel . In the late 1960s, Sobel, not loved by his para’s, shot himself in the head with a small-caliber pistol. The bullet entered his left temple, passed behind his eyes, and exited out the other side of his head. This severed his optic nerves and left him blind. He was later moved to a VA assisted living facility in Waukegan, Illinois. Sobel resided there for his last seventeen years until his death due to malnutrition on 30-09-1987, age 75.
In ‘Shifty’s War’, the biography of Darrell Powers, a good friend of Kiehn, Kiehn was described as a muscular guy who would still go strong long after other guys were exhausted. But he was at risk of being washed out because he had a chip on his shoulder. Therefore, one day, Technical Sergeant Amos ‘Buck’ Taylor, , here in the green jacket, who saw the potential in Kiehn, took extra time to teach Kiehn close order drill one-on-one real early in the morning to help Kiehn shape up. Buck Taylor survived the war and died 24-08-2011, aged 90, in Orange City, Florida. Powers did not like Kiehn at first, but the two became good friends and Kiehn came home with Powers to Clinchco once after receiving their jump wings. Kiehn made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day.
He had lost his cricket in the jump, and was almost shot by Powers because he failed to respond to the cricket challenge. The two, together with Taylor and Staff Sergeant Rod Strohl, one of the 140 original Toccoa men of 506th Parachute Infantry “Easy Company” , saw some action with soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division under command of Major General Ridgway, Matthew Bunker, “Old Iron Tits”. . They left to search for their own 101 Airborne unit as Taylor was worried that the ranking officer there would order them to stand guard over the prisoners and the wounded. The foursome found a jeep in a glider on the way and thought they could drive it. Kiehn suggested that they could blast the jeep out with some C-4. Unknown to them the jeep was leaking gasoline, and everything blew up when they hit the charge. The group linked up with Easy Company later. During his fight with Easy in Carentan, Kiehn was wounded and was sent to a hospital in England. Kiehn missed the jump for Operation Market Garden in my Holland. He was put in a replacement depot and was about to be sent to another unit because he was out of action for too long. He went AWOL, Acronym of absent without leave, to rejoin Easy toward the end of the campaign. He was almost shot by Powers again because he did not know the password used at that time.
Death and burial ground of Kiehn, William Francis “Bill”.
Kiehn fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. In 10-02-1945, during the fights in Haguenau, while Kiehn was taking a nap in the basement of an empty house, an artillery shell hit the house. The ceiling collapsed and Kiehn was killed before medic Eugene “Doc” Roe
could hear the call for a medic. Doc Roe survived the war and became a construction contractor. He then married and had two daughters, named Marlene and Maxine, and a son named Eugene Roe, Jr. and died of cancer 30-12-1998 in Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA. Bill Kiehn is buried in Epinal American Cemetery, Epinal, France, Plot A Row 19 Grave 14.