Reasonable Authority Figure: He is shown as competent, level-headed and harboring no illusions about his men having any desire to lose their lives. A major exception is in episode 8, when he shows really bad judgment and orders a very dangerous mission into enemy territory.note The previous mission had captured an enemy soldier who had information they could use, so he was hoping for a replay of that. However, the tactical and environmental situations had changed to the point where a second attempt would be a suicide mission.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Was known in real life to tell his subordinates, "You should have just shot the S.O.B. and saved us the trouble," when men under their command committed court martial-level offenses. In the series, tells the NCOs he could have them all shot when they threaten to resign if Sobel isn't replaced.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: As summarized by Nixon, "no flaws, no vices, no sense of humor". It's a bit of a deconstruction as well: Winters' men respect him, but are slightly suspicious of his moral behavior (in the first couple of episodes only).
Guarnere: I like Winters, he's a good man. But when the bullets start flying, I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me.
Neat Freak: All members of Easy Company forego shaving during the Battle of the Bulge (firstly, why bother, secondly, the conditions are unfavorable, thirdly, facial hair helps to keep warm). Winters, however, resolutely breaks out his shaving kit every morning.
Not So Stoic: The normally cool and collected Winters freaks out when a stray bullet strikes Nixon's helmet. He also accepts an offered drink of wine in the aftermath of the Brecourt Manor assault. Also when 1st Lt. Dike freaks out during the assault on Foy, he becomes so irate that he almost goes in to relieve Dike himself, until Sink reminds him he's the battalion commander and he can't go out. Winters tells Speirs to relieve Dike only because he was the first person Winters saw.
One-Man Army: In episode 5, he leads a charge on an entire company of SS, who are so surprised by him they start running away. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Crossnote second only to the Medal of Honor in US combat decorations for his actions in the climax of episode 2. The only he wasn't awarded the Mo H for that one was because someone else had already been awarded one during D-Day and had used up the "one per unit" allocation. After the release of this series a grassroots movement sprang up to have his medal upgraded, which Winters himself disagreed with.
Starving Student: His backstory. He had to give up sports and social activities in favor of part-time jobs that paid for his college studies.
The Stoic: He's not particularly emotive, and the times when he smiles can be counted on one hand.
Smug Straight Edge: Winters has elements of this, since he believes drinking clouds judgment. Ironically, his two best friends in the company (Nixon and Welsh) are notorious drinkers.
You Are in Command Now: On D-Day, the plane carrying Easy's CO and HQ section is shot down, leaving Winters the highest-ranking officer and effectively making him acting CO, until he's officially promoted to the position.
Captain Lewis Nixon (Ron Livingston)
Nixon is a 2nd battalion intelligence officer (eventually moved to a regimental position), known for his sardonic wit and his apparently endless supply of Vat69 whisky. He comes from a very privileged background (complete with prep schools and a sophisticated international upbringing), unlike the majority of Easy Company men who had to endure the hardships of The Great Depression.Throughout the series he develops a drinking problem (which gets him demoted from Intelligence to Operations) and a disenchantment with how things are run in the army. He is Winters' best friend and frequent confidant.Episode 9, "Why We Fight", is from his POV.
Accidental Hero: Winters claims Nixon may be the only man in the entire 101st (certainly the only named character) with 3 combat stars on his jump wings.note For parachuting into Normandy and Holland with the 101st, then made a third jump as an observer with the 17th. This despite being one of the most prominent Non-Action Guys in the series, having not once fired a weapon in combat.
To Winters. The two are both brave and competent officers, but they differ in just about everything else - background, attitude towards the war, role in it (Nixon's combat experience is limited for obvious reasons) and general moral makeup. Their friendship is thus a textbook case of Opposites Attract.
He's also a foil to Dike, who enjoyed a similarly privileged upbringing with all the perks it's bound to bring, yet has none of Nixon's competence.
Screw the War, We're Partying: Subverted. While Nixon does use drinking as a way to cope with the horrors around him, he's generally shown to be a good officer despite his alcoholism.
Capt. Herbert Sobel (David Schwimmer)
The training officer at Camp Toccoa. He's petty and nasty, finding fault with the smallest (occasionally imagined) infractions, which earns him the hate of Easy Company men. He's obsessed with Easy being the best company in the Division and drills his men to near-perfection by methods that are somewhat sadistic. As it often happens, he himself is not particularly competent and as a result is relegated to being a supply officer.Episode 1, "Currahee", is from his POV.
Artistic License - Gun Safety: Spends much of "Currahee" running around with his .45 in hand and his finger on the trigger. Most seriously, when asked to select three of his men to be "wounded" during a field exercise, he does so by pointing his pistol directly at their faces, sweeping the muzzle across a number of other men in the process. Note that this may have been a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers, as it illustrates Sobel's deficiencies as a field commander, as well as his disregard for his men's welfare.
Bungled Suicide: Attempts to shoot himself later in life, only for the bullet to severe his optical nerves and render him blind for the remaining 20 or so years of his life.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Nearly every member of Easy Company has gone on record as saying that they personally hated Sobel, but admit that he gave them motivation to unite as a unit, and his over-the-top training standards made them the best troopers in the army.
Due to the Dead: Sadly averted. Sobel received no services at the time of his death in 1987, despite the fact that he served in many battles and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retirement. The only member of Easy Company to seek him out was Bill Guarnere, who paid Sobel's membership dues into a veterans group but otherwise had no contact with the man.
Evil Is Petty: Evil is a stretch, but he is extremely petty and nearly wrecks Dick's career over a screw-up that Sobel himself made.
Glory Seeker: He wants Easy to be the best company in the Airborne and is visibly distraught when command is taken away from him. All in all, he's shown as lacking in competence and unflappability rather than determination or desire to prove his worth.
The Resenter: To Winters. It is especially evident when by the end of the war he has to salute the (by that time higher-ranking) man he used to bully.
Zero Approval Gambit: Everybody at Easy loathes him, yet the men end up being the best-trained soldiers in the Airborne thanks to his training.
Capt. Ronald "Ron" Speirs (Matthew Settle)
Initially one of Dog Company's platoon leaders, he takes command of Easy during the Battle of the Bulge and stays with them for the remainder of the war.Fearless, professional and nonchalant, Speirs is perhaps the most absurdly badass member of Easy and one of the few to stay in the army once the war's over. He is the subject of many rumors regarding his treatment of German prisoners of war and the fact that he shot one of his own men for disobedience.
Blood Knight: Probably the only one in the series (unless you also count Guarnere, who is a less obvious example).
Brave Scot: Edinburgh-born, though moved to the States as a child.
Creepy Awesome: In-universe. Men of Easy respect yet also find him extremely frightening at the same time.
The speech he gives to Blithe. Unlike most examples of the trope, it actually works.
Speirs: The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you'll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function: without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.
In an interesting twist, Speirs applies this trope to himself, not just the soldiers under his command.
Kleptomaniac Hero: While most soldiers participate in looting German homes, none (save for Pvt More) are as prolific as Speirs. (He also attempts to steal Perconte's lighter at some point).
Vest: Boy, your folks are sure gonna have quite a collection by the time you get home, sir. [pause; Speirs stares at Vest, then slowly smiles] Speirs: Finders keepers.
Memetic Badass: In-universe, since the stories about him become more and more overblown with each retelling.
One Last Smoke: He supposedly guns down a number of German prisoners after handing them cigarettes and afterwards gets amusement out of offering smokes to Easy men, who are understandably horrified every time.
Refuge in Audacity: His daring run through the German line in episode 7 is successful only because the Germans can't believe what they're seeing. Note that he really made this run in real life!
Father (Captain) John Maloney (Doug Cockle)
The regimental chaplain, who administers last rites to dying soldiers even when under fire.
Badass Pacifist: The below-mentioned DSC that he was awarded was for going into an active battlefield, unarmed, to provide comfort to the wounded and Last Rites to the dead and dying.
Badass Preacher: He got the Distinguished Service Crossnote 2nd only to the Medal of Honor in terms of awards, and the same medal awarded to Winters for his actions at Brecourt Manor for his actions during the Battle of Carentan.
First Lieutenant Lynn "Buck" Compton (Neal McDonough)
Buck was a star athlete at UCLA and played pitcher for the college baseball team. Considered to be one of the best officers of Easy, despite being overly friendly with his men and treating them as fraternity brothers rather than subordinates.
Back for the Finale: He's evacuated at the end of episode 7, is absent for the next 2 episodes and returns to Easy at the very end of episode 10.
Break the Badass: His reaction to the loss of his friends in "The Breaking Point" was used to not only relate Compton's personal story, but to help show the viewers just how shitty it was for the troops during the Battle of the Bulge.
"Dear John" Letter: Gets one during the Battle of the Bulge, a fact which does nothing good for his already low morale.
Serves as company leader during the Battle of the Bulge, which is highly unfortunate since he's incompetent, cowardly and takes to hiding in his foxhole instead of trying to run things. He is eventually relieved of his duty by Winters, much to the joy of Easy men.
Foil: To Nixon. Both come from similarly rich and privileged backgrounds (complete with Ivy League colleges and nepotism), yet Nixon is a capable officer and a good person while Dike is incompetent and cowardly.
The Neidermeyer: To the point when Lipton has to ask Luz not to add fuel to the fire with his impersonations.
Nepotism: How he got to be Lieutenant in the first place.
1st Lt Henry Jones (Colin Hanks)
A young officer fresh out of West Point, he joins Easy late, at Haguenau, and the war-hardened veterans of Easy brush him off as naive and incompetent. However, he exceeds their expectations and proves his worth in combat.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The soldiers of Easy Company write him off as useless, but change their opinion of him after he acquits himself well in the patrol and even manages to take charge of the chaos that ensues afterwards.
Kicked Upstairs: Sadly, since he has all the makings of a good leader. Ironically, the book notes that he died in a car accident shortly after his promotion.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite being fresh out of training, and as such, unused to the bending of rules and regulations that combat necessitates, he is quite reasonable. After Major Winters tells a patrol that they were to ignore Colonel Sink's orders to go out on another patrol, Jones looks on disapprovingly for a moment before letting it go when he realized how pointless and dangerous the mission would be for the exhausted men of Easy.
1st Lt Thomas Meehan (Jason O'Mara)
Easy's CO after Sobel and before Winters, he's killed when the plane with Easy's CO and HQ sections is shot down.
An invariably cheerful Easy Company CO and a friend to Nixon and Winters. While in training he would often get demoted for picking fights but would inevitably get promoted again thanks to his leadership abilities.A Running Gag involves him lugging his reserve parachute all through Normandy in hopes of turning it into a wedding dress for his bride, Kitty. Spoiler: the plan works 100%.
The Alcoholic: Not very noticeable in the series (especially in comparison to Nixon), but real-life Welsh was famous for his crazy drunken exploits.
Idiot Ball: Making a fire during the siege of Bastogne, which a) wastes precious supplies, b) calls attention to their position and c) gets himself wounded in an ensuing barrage when the enemy sees the fire.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Very much a "follow me" kind of leader, who charges first into enemy territory to set an example for the troops.
1st Lt Frederick "Moose" Heyliger (Stephen McCole)
Easy company's CO after Winters is promoted. Served as commander in Holland and led Easy during its rescue of survivors of the British 1st Airborne Division. Replaced by Dike after being wounded by one of his own men. Appears in Episode 5, "Crossroads."
The Cavalry: Awarded the British Military Cross for leading Easy in Operation Pegasus, the rescue of stranded British paratroopers.
Unfriendly Fire: Wounded by one of his own men after he forgot the password at a checkpoint.
2nd Lt Carwood Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg)
A quiet and unassuming NCO, Lipton is the focus of episode 7, "The Breaking Point", wherein he tries to keep Easy Company's morale up while Lt Dike hides in his foxhole and Lt Compton slowly falls apart.Thanks to his leadership abilities and his good heart, the Battle of the Bulge goes smoother than it could have, and Lipton is given a commission in recognition of his bravery.Appears in all 10 episodes.
Cigarette of Anxiety: After a mortar shell (which is, thankfully, faulty) lands in his and Luz's foxhole, Luz lights a cigarette and Lipton, previously a non-smoker, takes a drag as well. He picks up smoking after the event.
Disappeared Dad: His father died in an automobile accident when Lipton was 10.
Every Scar Has A Story: Gets a nasty cheek gash at Carentan, which then slowly fades to a (very noticeable) scar.
Desk Jockey: He was a supply officer before being transferred to Easy.
Kicked Upstairs: Reassigned during the Battle of the Bulge on a stateside recruiting drive. The soldiers are all glad to see him go home, both because he is a genuinely nice guy that they like, and also because his tactical skills are almost nonexistent.
2nd Lt Ed Shames (Joseph May)
An Easy officer who "thinks he has to yell all the time". Holds the distinction of being the only 2nd Lieutenant in the regiment who is also a platoon leader.
Genre Savvy: Despite his hot-blood, he is seen making reasonable suggestions at times, such as when he recommends falling back during Bastogne (enemy artillery knew their exact position, and he recommended moving to avoid a direct barrage) and when he tells Dike to call Winters (trying to snap Dike out of his BSOD by putting him in touch with higher command).
Sobel's right hand man. He's killed on D-Day when the plane carrying Easy Company's HQ and CO sections is shot down.
Bit Character: Has 3 lines, despite the actor's name being in the opening credits of episode 1.
The Dragon: To Sobel. Although it is intimated that he knows what's going on when Luz impersonates Major Horton and gets Sobel into trouble, but doesn't say anything so as not to be annoying.
Technical Sergeant Donald Malarkey (Scott Grimes)
The everyman of the series, Malarkey is a college student who enlists after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Never seriously wounded, he ends up serving more time on the front lines than any other member of Easy Company.One of the few characters to appear in all 10 episodes.
Beard of Sorrow: Grows one after two of his best friends die in the Battle of the Bulge.
Heroic Fatigue: Shows signs of combat fatigue after episode 7, but keeps on going nonetheless.
Nice Guy: YMMV, but this is his defining characteristic. He fraternizes with the enemy as early as episode 2, when he chats up a German POW.
Refuge in Audacity: During one of the battles he spots what he thinks is a Luger on one of the dead Germans and crawls out into the open to retrieve it. The only reason he's not shot is because the enemy confuse him for a medic.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the book, he gets a medical discharge due to cartilage issues in his knees. He only mentions this condition to the medics after he is passed over for promotion one too many times.
Self-Made Man: He founds his own company after the war and becomes a multimillionaire.
Staff Sergeant William "Wild Bill" Guarnere (Frank John Hughes)
A young man of Italian descent, remarkable for his reckless abandon in battle (he's not called "Wild" for nothing), a tendency to go AWOL from hospitals and very blunt demeanor. Despite his apparent harshness, he is a true friend, as evidenced in episode 7 when he disregards artillery fire and tries to drag the injured Toye to relative safety, an attempt that proves futile when his leg is blown off.
No One Gets Left Behind: His modus operandi. He gets the wounded Compton to safety in episode 4, organizes a party in search for Bull Randleman in the same episode, and attempts to drag Toye to a foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Between the events of "Carentan" and "Replacements" he was wounded while leading a platoon on a mission. The men were too spread out, he used a stolen motorcycle to go between them, was shot by a sniper, crashed and injured his leg.
Philadelphia: He has the characteristic Philly accent and bonds with Babe Heffron thanks to their shared background.
A mild-mannered, soft-spoken young man from rural Virginia and the best sharpshooter in the company.One of the six characters to appear in all 10 episodes (along with Winters, Nixon, Lipton, Malarkey and Roe).
To clarify, in Real Life, he was credited for two major feats during the Battle of the Bulge. One, having just run a farm field under fire, he threw himself to the ground, and, using the iron sights on his rifle, shot a machine gunner between the eyes who was a couple hundred yards away, in a building, and busy shooting at Shifty and the rest of his platoon at the time. Second, he located an enemy artillery battery by noticing, in the middle of a forest, that a tree had appeared overnight a mile down the road, which turned out to be part of the battery's concealment. To reiterate, this man was able to tell that there was one more tree in the forest one morning than the day before. One tree. In a forest. A mile away. And he didn't even have a box of scraps.
The book mentions that he kept getting written up during inspections because his rifle had a divot in the barrel. Becoming tired of constantly being in trouble for something he couldn't fix, he got a replacement rifle but couldn't get used to it and confessed that he never hit anything he intended afterwards. Luckily the fighting was dying down by this point and he was sent home soon after.
S/Sgts Charles "Chuck" Grant (Nolan Hemmings) and Floyd Talbert (Matthew Leitch)
Easy NCOs who do not get much focus devoted to them.
Determinator: He was wounded numerous times. Whenever this happened he, undeterred by his injuries, would inevitably head back to the line without spending much time convalescing. At least until he lost his leg in the Battle of the Bulge and returned to the USA.
Made of Iron: Takes two point-blank grenade explosions without any serious injury in episode 3, and when he loses his leg and hit by German artillery twice, he's still conscious and able to banter with Guarnere.
Mercy Kill: He puts a wounded horse out of its misery in episode 3.
Sgt Warren "Skip" Muck (Richard Speight, Jr)
Member of the mortar squad along with Penkala and Malarkey, and the latter's best friend. His playful sense of humor can almost, but not quite, rival Luz's.He's among the few Easy men to have gone to college.
Casting Gag: At one point late in the series Winters asks Christenson if he or his men know German; none do, including Christenson. Fassbender is German-born.
Hidden Depths: Christenson is a talented artist, a fact which is not evident in the series.
Nice Guy: Christenson, who consistently treats the replacements in a friendly manner, unlike most of Easy men.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Ranney, who isn't seen after the first couple of episodes. Especially Ironic, as it was Ranney who proved the closing quote of the series ("I cherish the memories of a question my grandson asked me the other day when he said, "Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?" Grandpa said "No, but I served in a company of heroes.")
Technician 4th Grade George Luz (Rick Gomez)
A Portuguese American from a family of 10 whose talents include a) being able to imitate just about anyone and b) causing trouble. Whenever wacky hijinx ensue, it's usually thanks to him.Despite his lightheartedness, he is a highly competent paratrooper and one of the few Easy men to be with the company from Toccoa to Germany (he manages to get through war unscathed).As the ending narration reveals, it is a testament to the sheer force of his personality that 1,600 people attended his funeral in 1998.
Man of a Thousand Voices: Has a remarkable talent for parodying and mimicking. His actor, Rick Gomez, is well-known for his voice-acting work.
Plucky Comic Relief: His irreverent sense of humor is what kept the other men's morale up throughout the war. He's responsible for most of the funny moments in an otherwise grim series.
Sad Clown: Considering the setting, he has elements of this (especially after episode 7), but it's not particularly noticeable.
The Scrounger: A minor example compared to works of fiction, but he unfailingly manages to procure cigarettes, including two packs of Lucky Strikes during the siege of Bastogne when supplies are extremely scarce.
Smoking Is Cool: While many characters smoke, he's the one most often seen with a cigarette, which lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the character.
T-4 Frank Perconte (James Madio)
A young man of Italian background, most often seen in the company of Luz.He survives the war and works as a postman afterwards. Until his death on October 24, 2013, he was the oldest surviving veteran of Easy Company.
The company's medic, he steadfastly performs his highly stressful job in the direst circumstances, including under fire, and as a result starts to suffer from Combat Exhaustion as war goes on. While compassionate, he is reluctant to form any emotional attachment to other soldiers (since it's easier to have a random soldier, rather than a friend, die in your arms). However, he starts to connect with others during the Battle of the Bulge.He is half-Cajun, and his knowledge of French helps him strike a friendship with a nurse in Bastogne.Appears in all 10 episodes and is the POV character for episode 6.
Beware the Nice Ones: Quiet, gentle little Roe is probably the only one who can just yell at his superior officers for doing something stupid (like giving a wounded man too much morphine and thus putting his life in danger) and they'll just meekly listen and do as he says. It wasWinters and Welsh he was yelling at, but still.
Technician 5th Grade Joseph Liebgott (Ross McCall)
The only Jew in the company other than Sobel, Liebgott is an angry young man whose participation in the war is motivated by his hatred for Nazis.After the war, he returns to cab driving and cuts off all contact with other members of Easy.He is a big fan of Dick Tracy novels.
Cunning Linguist: One of the two employed by Easy (along with Webster). His parents emigrated from Austria, which is where his knowledge of German comes from.
Informed Judaism: Understandable, given that real-life Liebgott was actually Roman Catholic. Men of Easy thought he was Jewish due to his appearance, name and hatred of Germans, and he went along with the assumption.
Manly Tears: In episode 9, after the discovery of a concentration camp.
Matzo Fever: Dreams of marrying a Jewish girl with "big titties and a smile to die for".
Satellite Character: He's portrayed mainly through his interactions with Muck and Malarkey, both of whom get more screen time and character development.
PFC David Kenyon Webster (Eion Bailey)
A Toccoa veteran who misses the entirety of Battle of the Bulge while recuperating from a wound and is thus treated as New Meat upon his return to the company. His significant diplomatic skills help him win back the trust and respect of others.Episode 8, ""The Last Patrol", is from his POV.
Can't Believe I Said That: Almost word-for-word in "Replacements", concerning his exclamation of "They got me!" after he's shot. Especially humorous in light of the next trope...
Foil: To Guarnere. While Wild Bill is eager to get back to the line after being wounded, Webster takes his sweet time convalescing. This is not the only contrast (e.g. Webster is well-spoken, WASP, erudite, etc), but it's the one expressly pointed out in-series.
Ineffectual Loner: Self-consciously intellectual, he's as ambivalent about the other Easy men as they are about him.
Ivy League: Was a Harvard scholar before enlisting.
Knight in Sour Armor: Real-life Webster strongly disliked both the army and the war and kept fighting due to a sense of duty.
Never Found the Body: His eventual fate, as revealed by the ending narration (he was lost at sea in 1961).
Precision F-Strike: Webster is normally well-mannered, so when he starts spewing rants at the surrendering Germans in episode 9 the effect is quite jarring.
A soldier who has been in the army way longer than other Easy Men yet never got a promotion. This has made him somewhat unfriendly, especially to new recruits. He is portrayed as a complainer and a bit of a coward.
Hypocrite: Chews out Pvt Miller for wearing the regimental distinction badge despite not having fought in Normandy. Cobb didn't either; on D-Day, the plane he was in was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Shrapnel penetrated the hull of the plane and punched through one of Cobb's legs. The rest of his platoon made the jump and fought in Normandy. Cobb was left on the plane, returned to England, and spent the next month in an Army hospital
The Resenter: To other Easy men whose military careers are more successful.
What Happened to the Mouse?: He's led away by military police at the end of episode 8 and isn't seen again in the series. The reason is that he got drunk, attacked Lt Jones, and was discharged as a result.
A young man who suffers severe shell-shock during D-Day landings and has to try and overcome his fear of death and wounds.He's the POV character for episode 3 "Carentan".
Angst: He's practically the living embodiment of the emotion.
Death by Adaptation: A strange meta example. The veterans of the Easy company had assumed that Blithe had died, since they didn't hear from him after 1948, which lead Stephen Ambrose to assume the same thing when he wrote the book, and the mistake was then carried over the TV series. But in fact, the real-life Blithe lived quite a bit longer than his series counterpart.note In real life, Blithe went on to attain the rank of Master Sergeant, served in the Korean War, and died in 1967, while on active duty in West Germany, of complications from an ulcer.
A Belgian girl who works as a nurse at the hospital in Bastogne and strikes a friendship with Doc Roe.Her character is a tribute to all the civilians who helped the war effort.
Blessed with Suck: Doc Roe notes that she has a "healing touch", which seems to calm wounded and dying soldiers. He calls it a gift from God; she retorts that God would never be so cruel as to bestow something like this upon a person.