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This is not "Bill Leyden" the game show host.

Bill Leyden
Leyden.jpg
Bill Leyden in Peleliu

Actor

Brendan Fletcher

Rank

Private First Class

Battles

Battle of Peleliu

Battle of Okinawa

Status

Deceased as of 2008

Pfc. Bill Leyden was a marine in Sledge's unit in K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (K/3/5). He was wounded twice by explosions: once in Peleliu, the second time in Okinawa.

History[]

Bill Leyden was born on May 27, 1926 in Long Island, New York. He enlisted in the Marines at one point, meeting Eugene Sledge and Robert Oswalt at another.

Prior to Peleliu[]

Leyden, Sledge, and Oswalt disembarked from the ship that transported them to Pavuvu, where the rest of the 1st Marine Division was staying at the time. At first, they tried to find a place to stay in Robert Leckie's cabin, then they went to the cabin belonging to the veterans of the unit they were assigned to: Snafu, Burgin, and De L'Eau, the latter showing them around the camp.

Peleliu[]

Leyden on the airfield

Leyden and the rest of the squad boarded a boat headed for Peleliu, serving under Capt. Andrew Haldane.

Landing[]

Leyden does not have a significant role here.

Airfield[]

Leyden can be seen running next to Sledge for cover more than once, and even helps a fellow marine up. He receives orders from Ack Ack to take out a Japanese rifleman (or machine gunner) on the right.

Bloody Nose Ridge[]

Leyden was later part of the marines that took part in the fighting in the Bloody Nose Ridge. While fighting some Japanese soldiers just inside a bunker, Leyden is wounded by shrapnel and the concussion of a Japanese grenade. While Eugene Sledge comforts him, Sledge spots an enemy soldier and fights him off, with Leyden screaming frantically all the time. Eventually, it is revealed that Leyden survived, and he will be back in the squad in three months.

Okinawa[]

Leyden in Okinawa

Leyden was later part of the marines that served in Okinawa, returning just in time. In this battle, it would seem that Leyden's personality has drastically changed since Peleliu. Now he was more bitter, and he picks on the replacements, Pvt. Hamm and Pvt. Tony Peck, many times, mostly Peck, who he mainly taunts about the latter's wife. Eventually, Leyden gets some comeuppance when he is wounded a second time. He survives yet again, but he would be sent home shortly afterwards.

Later Life[]

After recovering from his wounds, Leyden becomes a professional golfer, despite missing his right pinky finger. He corresponded with other veterans, including Sledge, before he passed away in 2008.

Trivia[]

  • Bill Leyden in his elder days

    Bill Leyden in Real Life

    Leyden is never mentioned in Sledges memoir, With the Old Breed.
    • Leyden does get mentioned, however, in B.A.R. Rifleman veteran Sterling Mace's memoir Battleground Pacific: A Marine Rifleman's Combat Odyssey in K/3/5.
    • On Peleliu, Leyden is a rifleman using a M1 Garand, but on Okinawa he's a sub-machine gunner using a M1A1 Thompson, and a scout, just like Robert Leckie on Cape Gloucester and what he fought on Peleliu.
Since Leyden was a rifleman, he was not with the mortar section when they were clearing out the empty bunker. He was wounded, however. His platoon was attacking another bunker when an enemy soldier's grenade went off after Leyden killed him.

See Also[]

Eugene Sledge

Merriel Shelton

Romus Valton Burgin

Jay De L'Eau

Robert Oswalt

Tony Peck

Hamm

1st Marine Division

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