The Band of Brothers Edwin Doc Pepping Talks About World War II: It’s our great honor to have on the program World War II veterans.  It”€™s such an important part of preserving freedom for future generations, making sure you honor the ones that have sacrificed before not only those who paid the ultimate sacrifice but those that went through some very tough times and were willing to pay that ultimate sacrifice. Today we will be talking with Edwin Pepping a World War II vet and his experiences in the war. 

Air Date: 06/06/2017


Guests: Edwin Doc Pepping, David Barton, and Rick Green.


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

Rick:

You found your way to the intersection of faith and politics, WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green. Websites are WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.  Check us out there.

One of the things we love to do on this program is honor those that have been willing to sacrifice for the freedoms that we get to enjoy. It”€™s such an important part of preserving freedom for future generations.  Making sure you honor the ones that have sacrificed before not only those who paid the ultimate sacrifice but those that went through some very, very tough times and were willing to pay that ultimate sacrifice.

It’s our great honor to have on the program some of those World War II veterans. Not many left David, but we”€™re going to get the chance to have these interviews with them. Their stories are all amazing.  Some of them in their 90″€™s, just incredibly coherent and sharp and just is great to hear their stories. So this is going to be fun today.  We”€™ve got one coming on today.

David:

Well, the one coming on today was really part of becoming nationally famous just in the last few years because he’s one of the key guys in The Band of Brothers. And when they did The Band of Brothers people got to recognize, and learn these, guys and learn the names.

And so one of The Band of Brothers we get to talk to today. He’s the guy that we’ve been having correspondence with off and on for years with WallBuilders because he just loves history, he loves God, he loves country, a great patriot, and he does a lot to teach others, and implicate what he knows into to young kids, and speaking as much as he does. So this is going to be a real fun meeting for a lot of folks to get to talk and get to hear one of The Band of Brothers.

Rick:

One of the greatest generation and one of those guys from Band of Brothers. It’s such an honor for me to get to talk to this guy. I’m thrilled about it, back in a moment. Edwin Doc Pepping with us here on WallBuilders Live!

Moment From American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Our Founding Fathers, despite their common love for America, did not always agree with each other in politics. Such was the case between John and Samuel Adams. John was a leader of the Federalist Party and Samuel was the leader of the Anti-Federalist Party.

Consequently, political disagreements were not unusual between these two. On October 4, 1790, Sam wrote John and told him, “€œLet ministers and philosophers, statesmen and Patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by educating their little boys and girls and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”€

Two weeks later John wrote back and told Samuel that on this issue they both agreed. While these two prominent Founding Fathers disagreed on much they both agreed on the importance of education the next generation in the principles of Christianity. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8 REBUILD.

Moment From American History

Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. As we remember the anniversary of D-Day, the heroism and sacrifice of those who served and laid down their lives, and the cunning and success of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, let me remind you, serving in the military is a calling.

Just like any other job or ministry, Psalm 18 and Psalm 144 both talk about God training hands for battle and giving skills for war. While those who serve and have served may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, let us not forget or overlook that they make numerous sacrifices daily.

As we recall D-Day and those who fought and the numerous sacrifices they made, let’s remember to continue to pray for the men and women who still serve and their families. As General Patton once explained, “€œIt is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”€ If you see a soldier or a veteran, please remember to thank them for their service and the freedom that they are fought for.

From all of us at WallBuilders to all of those who have served or are currently serving, thank you.  We’re praying for you.  May God bless you, and may God bless America.

Only By A Miracle Is Doc Pepping Alive  

Rick:

Welcome back to the intersection of faith and politics, WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green. Thanks for staying with us.  We are thrilled and honored today to have with us Edwin Doc Pepping. He”€™s a World War II veteran who you saw portrayed in Band of Brothers. He’s now with us to talk about his experience and we’re just honored to get the chance to visit with him. Sir, thank you so much for coming on.

Edwin:

You’re very welcome.

Rick:

Well, one of the guys that was in the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment for the 101st Airborne Division you saw a lot of action and a lot of interesting things there with Easy Company, didn’t you?

Edwin:

I sure did.

Rick:

And when you first landed, as I understand, when you guys jumped you were actually originally on a plane that apparently God was looking out for you because you were on the plane for the Normandy invasion about to take off and they came and got you off that plane and put you on another one. Tell us what happened.

Edwin:

Well, what really happened was I was about to get onto a plane and we had 270 aircraft on the on the tarmac as the engines were actually turning over. They were warming up getting ready to go. And they banged on the door of the aircraft C47 Douglas and said, “€œ You”€™re on the wrong aircraft.”€

So they replaced me and to this day I don’t know what aircraft they took me in. As you know, things were a bit scrambled in the mind of those days. And I’ve been thinking today about that, you know.

What happened was, they replaced me and took me in another aircraft. Like I said, I can’t remember which one. I have a list of all the aircrafts.  Someday I may learn. But what happened was the aircraft that I was supposed to be in was number six which might be significant a little bit, and it took a direct hit. Apparently, in the package underneath had explosives in it and it disintegrated. I didn’t know the Lord in those days, but apparently, he knew me.

Rick:

So you didn’t yet know him, but he was already looking out for you.

Edwin:

He was, he was. I hope he’s never disappointed.

How Edwin Pepping Got His Bronze Star

Rick:

Well, that obviously wasn’t the last time he was looking out for you, a lot of experiences like that throughout the war. You received the Bronze Star actually for valor and courage under fire and in a scene that is hard for us to imagine today. But you had a very respected officer that had been shot and you were willing to run out there in the front of that tank line in with enemy fire all around to try to get that tank moving. So all those guys could get out from the line of fire. Tell us about that one as well.

Edwin:

Well, actually, I was the only medic so I was chosen to do the job. What happened was my second battalion had gone to the left about 100 yards. And Colonel Sink, our regimental commander said, “€œPepping, get up there. We don’t have a medic.”€

There was not much choice.  So I went up behind these tanks and followed them up the street. And the small arms fire was so great that nobody really knows how any of us survived.

As described in the book, come across no farmhouses and the hedgerows both side. There was a group of snipers at the end of the street, which is an interesting story, I’ll tell you. And the lieutenant colonel got up there on the tank and he had been an artillery officer and he joined our unit, Lieutenant Colonel Turner. And he was told by our commander to get up and observe for the 75 millimeter gun on the tank and to try and wipe out the people at the end of the street.

Well, he got up there and he went down into the tank and he got up and as he raced up one of the snipers nicked him in the hands and he dropped down in on top of the commander which held up the whole process for votes because he just couldn’t move.

So Colonel Sink had sent me forward and I had to climb up, and to this day I don’t know how I climbed the back of that tank because it was so high. But you do those things in a situation like that.

So I lean down in the turret, and by the way, on the landing, they were supposed to drop us 700 hundred feet at 95 miles an hour. Well, the young pilots, and you can’t blame them, panicked on their first flight into combat and they dropped us at 300 feet and 160. And it just gave our parachute time enough to open. I hit the ground, I came in backward, my helmet hit the back of my neck and cracked three vertebrae and gave me a concussion. That was a little pre-requisite to my work.

Rick:

That was that was your welcome to Normandy, huh?

Edwin:

It was.

Rick:

So, you normally would have been dropped at 700 feet and they dropped you at 300 feet so less than half. How did you even get time for your parachute to open?

Edwin:

It just had.

Rick:

Just barely.

Edwin:

Anything lower and I would have to be a real good man with a shovel.

What It Took To Keep Our Nation Free

Rick:

Now, here you are in Normandy, with a cracked vertebrae.  How did you even operate after that? I mean, how did you even move in and be able to participate?

Edwin:

Because I didn’t know. Remember that old saying, “€œWhat you don’t know won’t hurt you.”€

Rick:

You just dealt with the pain and moved on, huh?

Edwin:

When I leaned down into the tank I almost passed out. But fortunately, the tank commander was able to help me raise Colonel Turner. Of course being a stubborn and hard-headed I just didn’t pay any attention to it.

And of course, let’s face it, we were just doing our job, my friend. I have never considered myself a hero or my friends because we did the job that we were trained to do. And if everybody would do that this would be a different world.

Rick:

You’re right. Mr. Pepping. And the thing is that too often in my generation we don’t recognize what had to be done for us to be free today. We’re getting to enjoy the blessing and the fruit of your labor and your sacrifice and your friends that were there with you. And we just don’t we don’t recognize it. I think we’re spoiled sometimes and we need to hear these stories and we need to know what it took to keep our nation free.

And so we want to honor you.  Even though you say you’re not a hero, you’re a hero to us because we get to live in freedom.  We get to have our families and our jobs, and all the things we love about America because of you.

How Ed Got Into The Military

Edwin:

You know?  My most important document is the American’s Creed.  That always meant a great deal to me. I was born on the Fourth of July and when I was seven years old my mother said, “€œEd, do you know that this is also the president’s birthday?”€ Do you know which president it was?

Rick:

Oh man, no I don’t.

Edwin:

Calvin Coolidge.

Rick:

No kidding.

Edwin:

And being seven years old, I said, “€œMom, can I send him a birthday card?”€ And so I sent him a birthday card and I got a birthday greeting back on White House stationery from the president. And I also did it a second year.  My son today has those letters. And the second letter came back with a little blue pencil mark, “€œTwo cents postage.”€

Rick:

How “€˜bout that. So you actually from an early age you were loving America. I guess for a guy like you when the war started what was your personal response in terms of your desire? Did you want to serve in a particular branch? How did it come about for you?

Edwin:

Well, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, the first thing I thought of was my Boy Scout oath. “€œOn my honor, I will do my best to God and my country.”€ It’s the first thing I thought of and I found a number of guys did. I signed that oath when I was 12 years old and it meant a great deal. And that’s the first thing I thought of.

And I thought of was going down with two friends to join the Air Force as an aerial gunner. And there is no, really, no worse job than that. And so we were all walking up the hall in Los Angeles and here in the middle, half halfway up, were some guys standing at a table.  Real good looking guys in their summer tans.

And there was a sign over the top that said, “€œDo you dare?”€ And they had parachutes on their hats and uniforms. And that”€™s as far as we got. So that’s where we actually signed up.

The Band-Aid Bandits

Rick:

How did you end up being a medic?

Edwin:

When I got back, I don’t know whether you read any of the book called, “€œUntold Stories of the Brothers of Brothers.”€

Rick:

Yes, sir.

Edwin:

Thing was, I wasn’t sure actually if I could just * see somebody. So they asked me if I would go in and be a medic. And so I joined up with my friend, Al, who was still my sergeant. And in fact, I talked to him today. We’re still friends for 70 years.

Rick:

Wow. And you guys were the originals, right? You were the two original medics for Easy Company?

Edwin:

Yep, that’s right.

Rick:

What was this nickname the Band-Aid Bandits?

Edwin:

Well, we were called the procurers. Whenever the battalion needed something we were to procure it. My friend, Al, would get an ambulance.  An example, one time we needed a refrigerator in England for our penicillin. And Alan found out that in some infantry camp there was a refrigerator and so he picked up an ambulance and we went out there and went to the gate and told the guards, “€œWe’re here for the refrigerator.”€

So he told us exactly where it was and we went in. And there was a bunch of guys standing around this Pizza Hut and so we said we told them, “€œWe’re here for the refrigerator.”€ So they helped us unplug it and loaded it into the ambulance and they’re probably still looking for it.

Rick:

I like your word that you use. “€œprocurement.”€ Y’all were procuring these things that were needed.

Edwin:

Actually, we were excellent at splitting the screens in the commissary with a razor blade and passing food out the window. You know, that”€™s the kind of thing. So Alan and I were known for this kind of stuff.

Don”€™t Forget One Thing, Pray

Rick:

The Band-Aid Bandits, I love it. Well, sir, I tell you what, I can’t tell you what a privilege and honor it is for me to get to visit with you. I’m so looking forward to telling my boys about getting to talk to you today.

And just tell you, thank you. And I want to tell you from them, they are in the habit of anytime they see somebody in uniform they walk up to them and shake their hand and thank them for their service.

When they get to meet a World War II veteran it is a very moving thing to them because they acknowledge that they wouldn’t get to enjoy their freedom if it wasn’t for you. So I’m going to be telling them about you tonight and I just want to say from them and everybody else from our listening audience, thank you, sir, for your service. You are a hero and we’re honored to get the chance to visit with you.

Edwin:

Well, thank you very much. How old are your boys?

Rick:

I”€™ve got my oldest is 16, and I also have a 13-year-old, an 11-year-old girl, and then a nine-year-old boy. So three boys and one girl.

Edwin:

Well, if you will send me your address I will send them something.

Rick:

Wow! That would be a treat. I’ll tell you what, absolutely I will. I’ll get the address to you and that would be something else. Man, we’d be honored.

Edwin:

I wanted to tell you, how much WallBuilders means to me. I talk about them.  In fact, I put something from WallBuilders in every book I hand out.

Rick:

Do you really?

Edwin:

It’s been very, very important to me because I have people all over the country now talking about WallBuilders. Well, of course, my actual favorite document, I guess I told you Rick, is written by William Tyler Page.  It”€™s the American’s Creed. And we repeat this when I was in fourth grade.

Rick:

So you had an embedded in your heart and mind from a young age.

Edwin:

I did.  I certainly appreciate you people down there. And appreciate the opportunity to tell people how important this country is. We must stand behind it today.

Rick:

Well, I can say this with all conviction, sir, there would be no WallBuilders if there hadn’t been an Edwin Doc Pepping willing to serve and protect freedom. So it is a mutual admiration.  We appreciate you more than you know.

Edwin:

Don”€™t forget one thing.  Pray.

Rick:

Amen to that. Well, God bless you, sir.  I look forward to meeting you in person someday soon.

Edwin:

Thank you very much.

Rick:

Ladies and gentlemen, that was Edwin Doc Pepping, one of our great World War II veterans from Easy Company. It’s been an honor to have him with us. Back in a moment with David Barton.

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.  Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.

You have friends and family that also served.  If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at Radio@WallBuilders.com.  Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

What It Takes To Preserve Freedom

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Very very special thanks to Doc Pepping, one of the Band of Brothers, one from Easy Company.  In fact, one of the two original medics that was trained for those guys. David, what an honor for us to have him. How cool is it to bring to life a lot of those stories and things that they went through?  We are blessed.

David:

Can you imagine?  I’m just thinking of 270 aircraft on the tarmac on D-Day waiting to take off.  What that would have been like. And they come grab him out of one plane. And 270 aircraft lined up on the tarmac, that would be unbelievable all by itself much less what they did on that day.

Rick:

Just to see that.

David:

And then, I guess he’s a perfect example of what you don’t know won’t hurt you. I mean, he breaks bones and he didn’t know he’d broken them and nobody told him so he just kept on. Can you imagine breaking bones like that?  Had broken bones, he didn’t know he had broken bones, and so he just kept doing what he was supposed to do. And that’s remarkable stuff.

Rick:

And at their age, I mean, these guys who we get to interview like this 18, 19, 20, 21 years old. I mean, it’s phenomenal. We think of people that age today as kids but these kids were fighting this incredible war and became the greatest generation as a result of it. I mean it’s no wonder I think that sometimes they look at our generations and say, “€œWimps. You guys you don’t have any idea what it takes sometimes to preserve freedom.”€

The American”€™s Creed

David:

I love the creativity. What did he say? He said that their name was “€œprocurers.”€ I think a face on the A-team, you know? And so they actually get these guys to load up the refrigerator for the antibiotics.  It’s just great, it’s great stories that they have. But that’s using your brain, just common sense.

And I thought it was interesting that what got him started was the first thing he thought of after Pearl Harbor was the Boy Scout creed, “€œI promise on my honor to do my duty to God and my country.”€ And that’s what brought him in was that Boy Scout Creed.

And the other creed that he mentioned, he said that had been embedded in him from a very young age was the American’s Creed. And I don’t think many people today know what the American’s Creed is.

It was actually adopted by Congress in 1918. And I’ll just read it to you here, this is what these kids used to memorize.

It says, “€œI believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Those just powers are derived from the consent of the governed. A democracy and a republic. A sovereign nation of many sovereign states. A perfect union one and inseparable established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I, therefore, believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”€

If you grow up learning that from a kid and you memorize that and you go over that day after day after day. What does that do in shaping your thinking about what your duty is to your country? This is powerful stuff.

Rick:

I wonder when we stopped doing that and why. Just like the Pledge of Allegiance is a piece of that. But man, what you just read would embed and in the hearts and minds of the young people what it means to be an American.

David:
That’s American exceptionalism, that’s American constitutionalism, that’s the concept of duty, not just privilege, and it’s a concept the responsibilities, not just rights, there is a lot there.

And when I heard him say that about how that is embedded in him from a young age that reminded me of John Quincy Adams. Because John Quincy Adams wrote that his mother Abigail did not let him get out of bed any day until he first said the Lord’s Prayer and recited Collins Ode on the Patriot Wars which was a patriotic poem.

So before he gets out of bed on any day he starts with the Lord’s Prayer and then he says a patriotic poem. Well, today we ought to do the same thing, we ought to not get out of bed until we say the Lord’s Prayer and the American’s Creed.

Rick:

That’s a great idea.

David:

Those are the two things that we ought to be training our kids with and our adults with as well.

Of The People, For The People, And By the People

Rick:

That’s great, I”€™m stealing that, bro. I’m going to borrow that from Abigail Adams, we’re going to start doing that in the Green house. That’s a really good idea. Both of those, let’s do it. 

The beginning of that quote comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and right before that line about “€œof the people, for the people, and by people”€ he talks about taking an increased devotion to the cause for which these guys like Doc Pepping gave their last full measure devotion. We need to be devoted to that cause.

We talked about it before the election but this is an ongoing thing. We’ve got to learn about freedom, we”€™ve got to honor these guys like Doc Pepping by teaching that freedom to the next generation, and I hope folks listening will have enjoyed the interview.

But it will motivate and inspire them to go home and teach their kids and their grandkids what it means to be free. The price has been paid and the duty they have to help preserve it for the next generation. Thanks for listening today, folks.  You’ve been with us here on WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green.