David Kenyon Webster (1922-1961) was a private with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, in the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army during World War II.
Webster volunteered for the paratroopers in 1943, before he could graduate from Harvard University. He transferred to Easy after D-Day (June 6th, 1944; Normandy, France), and then fought in Operation Market Garden (September 17th-25th, 1944; the Netherlands and Germany) before sustaining a leg injury while stationed in “the Island” in Arnhem, Holland. The injury caused him to miss the Battle of the Bulge (December 16th, 1944-January 25th, 1945; Bastogne, France).
Webster never became a noncommissioned officer in his time of service, even though his fellow paratroopers wanted him to become a squad leader. He never did anything voluntarily or that would be cause for promotion, instead choosing to be “an observer and chronicler of the war” (which is touched on during episode 8 of HBO’s Band of Brothers). He did earn a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Good Conduct Medal while in combat, though.
After the war, he worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. He did try to write a memoir about his time in Europe, but it didn’t come to be until 1994. Webster had a keen interest in ocean life, sharks especially. This passion led him to write a book called Myth and Maneater: The Story of the Shark, and might also have led to his (untimely) death. Webster was lost at sea in September 1961, and his body was never recovered; it’s assumed that he probably drowned :(
Web was an English Lit major at Harvard, which is right up my alley. I tend to like the “sensitive writer” types, plus he’s really pretty (and not just in BoB). He got pretty cynical towards the end of the war, but can you blame him? I was super bummed when I found out he’d gone missing.