Eugene Roe

"A Medic`s Courage in the Heart of Battle"


In the annals of military history, certain individuals emerge as unsung heroes, their stories tucked away in the folds of time, waiting to be unfolded and celebrated. One such figure is Eugene “Doc” Roe, whose indomitable spirit and unwavering courage left an indelible mark on the battlegrounds of World War II. As a combat medic in Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Roe’s journey was not only a testament to the resilience of the human spirit but also a poignant narrative of sacrifice, camaraderie, and the healing touch amidst the chaos of war.

As we examine the life and experiences of Eugene Roe, we uncover a mosaic of emotions, from the harrowing moments on the front lines to the tender acts of compassion within the medic’s tent. Roe’s story is not merely a chronicle of wartime heroics; it is a profound exploration of the human capacity for bravery in the face of adversity, the bonds forged under fire, and the profound impact one man can have on the lives of those he touches.

There is a journey through Eugene Roe’s remarkable life that deserves to be shared, as we navigate the battlefields of Europe, where he faced the brutality of war with resilience and an unwavering commitment to saving lives. In the shadows of combat, Roe’s actions spoke louder than words, and his legacy continues to echo through the corridors of history, a testament to the courage that thrives in the most unlikely of places.

In his book “Band of Brothers” Stephen Ambrose said, “The medics were the most popular, respected, and appreciated men in the company. Their weapons were first-aid kits, their place on the line was wherever a man called out that he was wounded. Lieutenant Foley had special praise for Pvt. Eugene Roe. “He was there when he was needed, and how he got ‘there’ you often wondered. He never received recognition for his bravery, his heroic servicing of the wounded.”

In his memoir, ‘Easy Company Soldier’, Don Malarkey explained, “Our medic, Eugene Roe, was up to his elbows in blood, patching soldiers right and left. By now, he was already a seasoned veteran with the wounded, able to patch and diagnose in a quiet, methodical way.”

Early Life

On October 17th, 1922, Eugene was born in Bayou Chene, Louisiana to Ed Roe and Maud Verret. He quit school during his elementary years to learn a trade. He was semiskilled in oilers of machinery. The Roe family moved to Morgan City, Louisiana later in life.  Eugene enlisted on December 12, 1942, in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Military Service

Eugene “Doc” Roe was a combat medic in Easy Company, part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, of the United States Army during World War II. While stationed in Aldbourne, Roe met his first wife Vera. Their wedding date was set for June 6, 1944, but had to be postponed.  It was the day when Roe made his first combat jump into Normandy, into war. As quoted in Marcus Brothertons book ‘A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy They Left Us’, “Eugene Roe, a no-show at his own wedding. (As his bride waited at the altar, Doc Roe was parachuting into Normandy—how’s that for an excuse?)”


Roe also participated in the British controlled American military operation Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands. The 101st Airborne Division, including Easy Company with their medic Eugene Roe, played a crucial role in the defence of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.  The town was surrounded by German forces, and the 101st was tasked with holding the vital crossroads. The soldiers endured harsh winter conditions, including cold weather, shortages of supplies, and constant enemy attacks.

As a medic, he provided medical aid to wounded soldiers under challenging circumstances. His character’s experiences, as depicted in “Band of Brothers,” offer a glimpse into the hardships faced by the soldiers during this intense and pivotal battle. The Battle of the Bulge was one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the United States during World War II, and the defence of Bastogne is often remembered as a symbol of American resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Of the time in Bastogne, Don Malarkey, in his book ‘Easy Company Soldier’ wrote, “Our medic, Eugene Roe, was busy that day, and the nearest aid station was in Bastogne, a few dangerous miles away. Wounded men were Roe’s stock-in-trade. And he’d seen more death than anyone else in the unit. To the rest of us, death was some rogue wave that would crash down on us from time to time. Hell, Roe was standing out in the surf every day, taking one shot after another. Since we’d got to Bastogne—bloodier than any other place we’d been—Roe was getting a bit of that thousand-yard stare himself. Quieter. You could tell it was getting to him. And who could blame him?”

Following consultation with Joe Muccia, a distinguished veteran, author, and historian, Roe’s courage and heroism continued to garner well-deserved acclaim. Joe explained that following a conversation with Don Malarkey, information about Roe`s actions in Foy showed what endurance and bravery he had. During all incoming fire, Doc Roe was running back and forth treating those injured in first platoon.

Jack Foley who was leading 1st Platoon at the time also shared his thoughts on Roe and his actions. He said “what amazed him about Roe was, once he was done treating 1st Platoon, he sprinted to 2nd Platoon and then onto 3rd, doing the same. To get to 3rd, Roe ran through German positions.” Despite everything and being put in for a Silver Star, it was never awarded.”

After the war

When the war was over in Europe, Roe married Vera on May 8, 1945, in England. After his discharge, Roe and his wife moved to Baton Rouge and had three children. The couple divorced twenty-seven years later, and Roe re-married five years later. Roe became a construction contractor post war.  He died of lung cancer on December 30, 1998, in Louisiana.

Band of Brothers

Eugene Roe was played in the HBO series Band of Brothers by actor Shane Taylor. When interviewed about his role in episode 6, “Bastogne”, Shane said, “It was intense and all consuming which was exactly how I was hoping it would be. I moved closer to the studio during that period. I felt so privileged to have an episode highlighting Roe. 

But I felt it was an important one in the grand scheme of things, because the idea of following a medic, especially in something as heavy as the Battle of the Bulge, seemed pretty unique. I hadn’t really seen that done before. There was a great luxury in essentially being the protagonist for Bastogne. I got more time with the director for a start! And to have the ability to exchange meaningful ideas was key. It was like becoming Damian Lewis for a month! David Leland, as a director, was great for me. He remains a good friend to this day.

I also asked Shane how does it feel 20 years later to be still seeing the reaction to it from the public? Shane responded, “Band was more than a job. We were representing families in a moment of history. The show is a gateway to conversation and study. It’s now considered an iconic series and we’re all very proud to be connected with it.”