“Dukeman had a way of beating night problems and skipping off to London every weekend that was truly marvelous to be hold.”David Webster
Pvt. William “Bud” Heister Dukeman Jr. trained at Camp Taccoa where he became good friend with fellows Easy Company troopers John Martin, Frank Perconte and Albert Blithe. He would later move to Camp Mackall for some basic training. During the invasion of Normandy, he was wounded by a bullet which penetrated his jaw, although face-to-face with death, Dukeman was primarily concerned with his appearance. Described by his buddies as a playboy, he was afraid that the scars would make him less attractive to women.
He took part in the battle of Carentan, in the battle at Bloody Gulch, in Operation Market Garden and he also took part in the battle for Nuenen. During a night patrol at a crossroads in Holland, Dukeman stood up to shout at the men to spread out when three Germans fired a rifle grenade. Dukeman gave a sigh and slumped forward; a chunk of steel went in his shoulder blade and came out through his heart, killing him. The survivors opened up with their rifles on the Germans in the culvert and killed them in return.
The corporal remained there in relative anonymity until 1949, when Peter Schroyen adopted his grave and Dukeman’s remains found their final resting place at the American Cemetery in Margraten. “I was already very interested in the Airborne Division, when I read Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose I had two wishes. First, I wanted to adopt the grave. Second, I wanted to contact the surviving relatives of Dukeman to tell them that there was somebody taking care of his grave.”
At the end of 2005 he established a monument for Dukeman in Heteren. A flag which had been laid on Dukeman’s casket six decades ago was officially presented to his surviving family. The tribute earned during World War II by Dukeman - who was also decorated with two Purple Hearts - has finally been given.
“William Dukeman was a fine soldier. When the shrapnel hit him right in the heart it bothered me a lot becaue he had become a good firend.” Clancy Lyall