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Interview of William (Billy) L. Leonard by Samuel Baker

March 25, 2013

Portrait Feature Article Transcript

The story of Mr. William (Billy) Leonard is nowhere near your traditional WWII story. Drafted as a Private right before his first semester at The Citadel, Mr. Leonard’s journey takes him from an ideal life in Charleston to paratrooper training—arguably the hardest training there was—in no time. After giving a highly descriptive account of his training and “how tough they were on us,” Mr. Leonard shares highly entertaining stories that take place between the major battles he was in, namely Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Whether it is the accidental killing of a French cow, landing by parachute and having tea with the Queen of Holland, or holding an American coffee stand hostage for his men, Mr. Leonard keeps his audience guessing the entire time during this account. Trying to keep it “funny and interesting” while giving his audience a raw account of all the major battles he participated in, Mr. Leonard’s interview offers us a gritty, gripping account of what it was like to be on the ground in the Second World War.

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