First Lieutenant Frederick Theodore Heyliger (June 23, 1916 - November 3, 2001) was an officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. Heyliger was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers byStephen McCole.
Heyliger was born inConcord, Massachusetts, a small suburban town inMiddlesex County, Massachusetts. Heyliger worked as a farm hand throughout his youth, he completed high school and went to college.Heyliger completed three years of college where he served with the Army National Guard. On November 25, 1940, he enlisted in theAir Corps(USAAC) and trained as an aviation cadet before entering and graduating from Officer Candidate School. In 1941, when the USAAC was abolished as an organization and transformed into a branch subordinate to theU.S. Army Air Forces(USAAF), Heyliger transferred to the US Army and volunteered for theParatrooperswhere he was eventually assigned to Easy Company.
Heyliger took part in theD-Dayinvasion force jump and was a part ofOperation Market Garden. AfterRichard Winterswas promoted to Battalion XO,First LieutenantHeyliger took command of Easy Company from Winters’ first replacement because that man failed to measure up. AsFirst Lieutenant, Heyliger was in command of Easy Company duringOperation Pegasuson October 23, 1944 and oversaw the rescue and evacuation of the British1st Airborne Divisionthat were stranded on the German side of the line after the failed Operation Market Garden, across theRhine. After the successful rescue of 138 men from the British 1st Airborne Division, for which he received the British Military Cross, he was accidentally shot on October 31, 1944 while on patrol and talking withRichard Wintersabout commanding Easy Company. He then underwent skin and nerve grafts before being discharged in February 1947
After Heyliger returned home toMassachusetts, he enrolled at theUniversity of Massachusettsand graduated in 1950 with a degree in ornamental horticulture. He married in 1964, to a woman named Mary. Heyliger died in 2001 inConcord, Massachusetts, at the age of 85.
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