Tracy Compton


Marcus Brotherton said, “Working with Buck Compton on his memoirs was an absolute honour. He was a legend, kind and humble in demeanour, intellectually sharp in his recollections and insights. We became genuine friends and stayed in touch after his book was published, visiting regularly and traveling together to book signings until his passing in 2012. I miss him greatly.”

Donald Malarkey explained, “Buck Compton came to us late but was a good egg, and a sort of honorary Toccoa boy.”

Lieutenant Buck Compton himself said, “Today, when people thank me for my service, I figure three years of my time is a cheap price to pay for this country. Nobody owes me a thing.”




Lieutenant Buck Compton was just one of the men that made up E Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, otherwise known as the “Screaming Eagles”.

In order to find out more about the man, his life and family, I spent some time interviewing his daughter, Tracy Compton.

Thank you for your time Tracy. As the saying goes, let’s start at the very beginning.

Many people do not know the name Compton, let alone Band of Brothers. Let’s start with you. Would you share a few sentences for me about yourself?

I am the youngest daughter of Buck and Donna Compton. I have an older sister. I have two daughters and my husband and I live in Washington State. I am a water fitness instructor at a local health club. 

Can you share who your dad is.

My Dad is best known, in recent years, because of “Band of Brothers.” He always said the war was only three years of his life. After the war he came home and began a long career in law. He prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the murder of Bobby Kennedy. Later in his career, he was appointed to the California Appellate Court by the then Governor Ronald Reagan. Before the war he was athletic, playing several sports at UCLA. He had several well-known teammates, one of whom was Jackie Robinson. 

What is the earliest memory you have of your dad?

Most of my earliest memories of my Dad also include my Mom. I’d have to say the earliest memories are ones that revolve around holidays, especially Christmas. My birthday is the day after Christmas and my dads was on New Year’s Eve. Our family had a cabin in Lake Arrowhead, and we spent the week after Christmas there. Many of my memories are of my dad driving. He loved to drive. We made lots of stops along the way, everywhere we went. He was patient but he wanted to get to wherever we were going.

I remember being at the cabin in the snow, birthday cake, being cold, him making us snow cones with metal cups and root beer. I remember him telling me not to be afraid of the giant dead bear skin hanging on the wall. 

Many memories include him carrying me to bed and it was usually up some stairs. 

We spent many days sledding. He was always there. I was less than 4 years old. We learned to swim as soon as we could walk, almost. Many memories of swimming in our backyard pool but I think my earliest memories are driving in the car to a destination- maybe even swimming lessons.

Do you have a favourite memory of your dad?

I have so many favorite memories and they are divided into two groups. Before my mom passed away and after. She died in 1994 and my dad lived with me afterwards until he passed away in 2012. Anytime he was laughing is a good memory. He was a great joke teller. He had a wonderful laugh. Whenever he was the honoured guest, and we were in attendance is a great memory. I also loved going to work with him. 

After our mom passed away, he was devastated. We kept him busy as best as possible. My favorite memories then would be any time he attended a school play or choir concert or sporting event that my girls were in. He was proud and it showed. I loved having him in the audience or the bleachers. So did my girls. 


Best recent memory might be his book release. He was so proud.  We are truly grateful to Marcus Brotherton for helping him complete it. 

If I were to ask you for 5 qualities your dad had that you admired, what would they be?

Only 5 qualities? He had so many.  He would have made an excellent Boy Scout!

1) Love for his Family 

2) Love of his Country 

3) Intelligent

4) He had a strong constitution-he was determined to succeed 

5) Integrity/Honesty 

Your father talked in his book of his brush with Mickey Rooney and Charlie Chaplin. Did he talk of his ‘movie life’?

He used to talk about his movie career because we asked. Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in the picture business. He was thrown into it as a child. He told us the funny and sometimes embarrassing stories of being a little boy on set. He was the only child of an overprotective mother. She doted over him like nobody’s business. He didn’t like that, but he was a good son. She was a good mother. Decades later he met my mom who also worked at the studios. It was a setup by his aunt’s husband. Thankfully they hit it off!

United States Senator John McCain stated in your dad’s book that “his memoir does his story the service it deserves”. He also said, “He knew that there is no greatness without courage, no faith in country without devotion to fellows, no commitment to duty without service to others.”   

Donald Malarkey called him “an honorary Toccoa boy” – how does it feel to hear and read such comments.

Of course, I feel so much pride when I read the comments written by such amazing men. I always say to myself that he was just my dad. He was the best dad. 
I was truly grateful that John McCain wrote the foreword. 
My Dad and Don were the best of friends after the war. Because of their friendship, our families became very close. It doesn’t surprise me what Don said, he loved my dad, and the feeling was mutual. To this day I remain very close to Don’s family. I love them. I often wish we were actually sisters.

Did he ever talk to you about his experiences at war and how/what did he tell you?

He didn’t talk to us about the war. We knew he had been shot in the rear end, but we didn’t understand the extent of his wounds. We had no idea what he went through. We knew he had medals because my sister found them while snooping around my mom’s dresser drawers. The only indication we had when we were younger about how bad it was would be the times when he would talk on the phone to Malarkey. Our Mom told us not to interrupt him when he was on those calls. She said they were talking about the war, and we wouldn’t understand. It wasn’t until the BoB book release that I started to realise there was more to the medals in the top drawer. Once the miniseries came out, I began to learn. Our mom had been gone for about 7 years when the series came out. I often wonder what she would have thought. 

There is of course, the episode that deals with how your dad was after the shelling that injured Toye and Guarnere. There are comments from one officer about your dad having a “serious mental trauma”. Your dad has written himself of how he was taken off the line for a rest by Colonel Sink. He’s also talked of his memory of Malarkey saluting him. Did he ever speak of this with you?

He didn’t speak about being taken off the line until I watched the episode with him. I asked a lot of questions as you might imagine. He explained that he had just witnessed his friends being severely wounded and killed. He said Dike was not helping the situation. He also said HBO used a lot of dramatic license. I asked about the helmet drop. To this day the scene bothers me. Of course, that’s Hollywood. I learned recently that one actor refused to drop the helmet, but Neal didn’t challenge the director and did exactly what was asked of him. 
I always felt bad for my dad after that scene. He didn’t care for it. 

Were there a lot of wartime events that you were unaware of until the series and his book were published?

I didn’t know much about the war, before the series. We studied it in school but nothing up close and personal. When I was in my first year of high school my dad took us all to Europe. We visited some places he was at during the war. He took us to Aldbourne to see where he lived but when he knocked in the door he was turned away. That made him sad. He drove us by a field in Normandy. I’m assuming he was remembering something as he was very quiet if I recall correctly. He took us to Bastogne and a few other locations, but it wasn’t like a tour. He mostly did it for him. We just rode along with him. When he wrote his book, he lived with me. That was fun. I’d have to say his book release is one of my favorite memories of present day (after my mom).  I often wonder what she would think. There weren’t any surprises in his book, really. I am so grateful to have Call of Duty as a reference for some of the stories we heard growing up. 

After the war, your father turned down minor league baseball and gained his law degree.During his time with the DAs office, he prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for Robert F. Kennedys murder. From everything I’ve read, would I be right in thinking he loved his time in law?

His dream was to play ball, but fate took him down a different path. 

Thank you for your question “Did he love his time in law?” 

I mentioned earlier that he always commented the war was only three years of his life. What he meant was he was always asked about Easy Company and BoB but what he was most proud of was his amazing law career. He had influential friends and tried important cases. We had the most interesting conversations at dinner time. 

He was the smartest person I knew. He still is and I’d love to have some more conversations with him. 


Would you talk about maintaining Easys legacy?

In 2012 the reunions were turned over to the Easy Kids. The Vets were getting older, we were losing them at a rapid pace. We established a foundation, and we continue to honour our families. We have reunions each year in their honour. I go to as many as I can. We are reaching out to family members who may not have come to a reunion, or it’s been a while since we’ve seen them. We are growing in size and support. 

Several family members have written books, and they tour, all the while honouring Easy Company. Chris Langlois writes children’s books that describe Easy Company’s history. We all work to get the books into elementary schools so that Easy’s legacy will continue to live on. We are all spread out across the country, but we manage to keep in touch. George Luz is the phone guy. He likes to check in with phone calls regularly.

My husband and I just hosted a little barbecue for any Easy family members near us. We ended up with about 20 family members. Some had never met each other so that was the best part of the day. Plus, it poured rain so at least we had new friends to play with. 

Anything else you’d love to share; I’d love to hear.

I have so much to say about my dad. He worked so hard, but he came home in time for dinner every night. He tied my Brownie tie for me, helped me with my homework and then he’d ask for more!  We went on vacation every summer, usually pulling a trailer behind the station wagon. I was a lucky daughter! 


Tracy – This has been such a pleasure to spend time learning about your father. Thank you for sharing your memories and stories. 

Neal McDonough – Thank you for your portrayal of Buck in Band of Brothers. 

Lt Lynn “Buck” Compton – Thank  you for your service and devotion to your unit and your country.