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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

When a Soldier’s Bravery is So Great His Comrades Fear Him: The Story of Band of Brothers’ Ronald “Killer “ Spiers

00:00 38:53
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No paratrooper in the legendary “Band of Brothers” – a WW2 parachute rifle company part of the 101st Airborne Division in the U.S. Army -- was more enigmatic than Ronald Speirs. Rumored to have gunned down enemy prisoners and even one of his own disobedient sergeants, he was one of World War II’s most storied soldiers, a controversial man whose ferocity and courage earned him the nickname “Killer.” But who was the real Ronald Speirs?

Most accounts about him end in 1945, but today’s guest Jared Frederick, author of Fierce Valor: The True Story of Ronald Speirs and His Band of Brothers, unveil the full story of Easy Company’s longest-serving commander and, for the first time, tell of his lesser-known exploits in Korea, the Cold War and Laos.

We explore how
• Speirs was a complex, driven man, and not a dark caricature as some have imagined him
• Speirs was deeply shaped by his whirlwind wartime romance with Edwyna. Theirs was a marriage that tragically ended in divorce after she discovered her first love was not dead, but a POW. Decades later, Speirs wrote about her, “I loved her and still do”
• Speirs survived gut-wrenching Cold War assignments in Korea and grinding battles with the Chinese. These lesser-known exploits come to light fully for the first time in Fierce Valor

As Easy Company’s most colorful and controversial figures, Spiers was a soldier whose ferocious courage in three foreign conflicts was matched by his devotion to duty and the bittersweet passions of wartime romance.
July 21, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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