PFC. William A. Stump
‘C’ Co., 5th Ranger Battalion. KIA Dec. 2 1944, Saar Campaign
For nearly five years, Able Company, 5th Ranger Battalion Living History Association has been attending the Eisenhower Farm National Park’s “World War II Weekend” in Gettysburg, PA. Gettysburg has always served as a historical mecca and home-away-from home for the organization. We’ve always had a vested interest in portraying a quality vignette of 5th Ranger history at this event site, however, in 2011, the weekend changed course for us dramatically when our good friend Brian Schade from one of our sister units, the 94th Division (ironically a unit that served side-by-side with the 5th in the Saar at Irsch Zerf), told us of a 5th Ranger who was interred at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
With Brian’s help, the unit quickly located PFC. Stump’s burial place. We prepared what we felt was fitting, a blue and yellow bouquet to place upon his grave with a short ceremony and a few words…and a present arms to this young man for the service and the last full measure he gave to his nation. Since then, the mid-September weekend in Gettysburg is no longer a “re-enactment event” for the organization, but rather a fitting trip to honor a young man who, at the age of 19, gave all in the service of his country.
Each year, the words that are said to honor William in our short ceremony are to be posted on this webpage. It’s an important part of the narrative, and fitting to what we do: keeping the memory alive. In that duty, we must also reflect on those who have given all to secure the American way of life we so cherish today. William, again at the young age of only 19, gave his future to see that we could be the young men we are today. For this, our appreciation and respect are without words. When we, as a group of friends, perform this sacred visit, we look into each other and reflect on the truth of it all…the fact that William was just a teenager…a young man who was called to do his duty, did it with the upmost of courage, and gave his life. But at the end of the day we reflect more not upon the soldier, but rather the young man. The bravery and the grit it took to do what he did.
We are proud that we can now tell William Stump’s story in the slightest way, while at the same time he has become an endearing part of our organization, typifying and reminding us of just why we do what we do.
With that all being said, please see the gallery of photos below, commemorating each year’s visit to William Stump’s grave. God bless you PFC. Stump, you were and are today in every sense of the word, a United States Army Ranger.
Written by: Thomas Frost