Myron ‘Mike’ Ranney

When you watch Band of Brothers, there are the titular men such as Winters and Nixon, Guarnere and Malarkey. There are many other gentlemen that stood amongst the ranks of the 101st Airborne. Myron Ranney was one of these gentlemen.

Major Richard Winters, Easy Company Commander received a letter from Mike Ranney.  The letter that arrived on January 25, 1982, will live forever.  It said, “I’m thinking back on the days of Easy Company, I am treasuring my remark to my grandson who asked, ‘Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?’ ‘No, I answered, but I served with a company of heroes.’”.

Marcus Brothertons book, “A Company of Heroes: Personal Memories about the Real Band of Brothers and the Legacy they left us”, tells of Myron Ranney. His daughter Drew Cable commented in an interview, “He was a prolific letter writer and often wrote to his former company commander, Dick Winters, who saved everything he received. After Dad died in 1988 at age sixty-six from a heart attack, Dick sent us a bound folder of all the letters Dad had ever sent him.”

Drew also shared about her father’s attitude to life. She said “That was his philosophy in life: drive hard and never settle for mediocrity. If you’re going to be in the military, or a journalist, or a media representative, or a high school teacher—whatever you’re going to do—be the absolute best at it.”

Early life

In 1922, amidst the fierce embrace of a North Dakota blizzard, Myron Ranney took his first breaths, marking the beginning of a remarkable journey. Born to Lucy and Russell Ranney in the quaint town of Kensal, he was their cherished only child, destined to leave an indelible mark on the world.

World War II

As the tumult of World War II engulfed nations, Myron, known affectionately as “Mike,” found himself amidst the valiant ranks of Easy Company, part of the illustrious 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Rising swiftly through the ranks to the esteemed position of staff sergeant, his courage and leadership shone brightly. Despite a temporary setback following the mutiny against Captain Sobel, Myron’s steadfast dedication saw him reclaim his rank and his place among his comrades in the crucible of battle.

On the hallowed grounds of Normandy, Myron’s bravery echoed through history as he leaped from the belly of a plane into the heart of chaos on D-Day. Amidst the chaos of the Brecourt Manor Assault, his valorous actions earned him the Bronze Star, a testament to his unwavering resolve in the face of adversity.

After the war

With the echoes of war fading, Myron embarked on a new chapter, seeking solace and purpose in the realm of journalism. Enrolling at the University of North Dakota, he delved into the art of storytelling, eventually carving a path as a journalist for various esteemed newspapers. His passion for communication led him to dabble in public relations, but it was within the ink-stained pages of newspapers that his true essence thrived.

His personal life

In matters of the heart, Myron’s journey mirrored the complexities of life itself. Entwined in the bonds of matrimony with Julia Hutchinson in 1946, their union bore witness to the joys of five children. Yet, as with all the intricacies that we face in human relationships, their love faced its share of trials. It culminated in a 1971 divorce followed by a reunion and remarriage in 1975. Unfortunately, the marriage was over in 1977.  

Through the tapestry of Myron Ranney’s life, woven with threads of courage, resilience, and love, we glimpse not just a man, but a mosaic of human experience. Each chapter, from the plains of North Dakota to the battlegrounds of Europe and the corridors of journalism, paints a portrait of a life lived with unwavering conviction and unyielding spirit.

His family have fond memories. In Marcus Brothertons book, “A Company of Heroes,” his daughter Drew Cable shared her thoughts. “Five daughters were born into the Ranney household: Kathy, Christine, me, Laura, and Beth. I think Dad missed never having a son. He was a real man’s man and took us girls camping military-style with knapsacks and no pillows or pyjamas. “Just roughin’ it,” as he called it.”

She continued, “Dad was a good father in many ways. He was very charismatic, a great storyteller, and could be tremendously fun. He never enjoyed structured times. He loved being outdoors with his family, just going on picnics, or finding a watering hole somewhere we could all jump in. On Friday nights we often went to a nearby park where Dad barbecued. We took wax paper potato chip bags and slid down the playground slides, and Dad pushed us on the swings. He was always a big smoker. Turning off the bedroom lights, he performed fabulous light shows with his cigarettes, blowing smoke rings as we lay back in bed.”

Easy Reunions

Beginning in 1946, Ranney, Bob Rader and Smokey, started Easy Company reunions. Ranney was the principal organiser of the initial reunions.

Losing a hero

Ranney died on 22 September 1988 of a heart attack. He was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery.