Joseph J. Toye (1919 – 1995) was a Staff Sergeant veteran of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) attached to the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during the Second World War. He was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Kirk Acevedo.
Joseph Toye was the son of a Pennsylvania coal miner. He enlisted in the army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He completed basic training and was stationed in Washington, DC in early 1942. Eager for a bigger salary, Joe volunteered for the paratroopers and joined what would be come Easy Company at Camp Toccoa.
Joseph Toye joined Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, to fight in World War II. He made his first combat jump on D-Day as part of the Allied invasion of France. Joe Toye was known as the “toughest of the tough” and was one of the most respected soldiers in the company.
Joe Toye was wounded several times during the war, earning him a total of four Purple Hearts. Like many Easy Company soldiers, Joe would often head right back to the line after being injured, not wanting to leave his friends. He was wounded in Holland and also in Bastogne during the infamous “Battle of the Bulge”. He earned his three last Purple Hearts there. Bastogne is also where Joe lost his leg on January 3, 1945. One of his best buddies William “Wild Bill” Guarnere also lost a leg while trying to drag Joe to safety after he had been hit.
This incident is portrayed in the mini series Band of Brothers, episode The Breaking Point. In the Band of Brothers bonus documentary, Bill Guarnere quotes Joe as saying “What do I have to do to die around here!”, as he had been already injured numerous times.
After the War
Joe Toye spent about nine months in hospitals, finally discharged from the army hospital in Atlantic City, NJ. He had been a coal miner, foundry, mill worker in his life prior to the war, but with one leg such work was no longer possible. He retired from Bethlehem Steel in Reading, PA as a drill bit grinder at Grace Mines.
He was married twice, had three sons and one daughter (Pete, Steven, Jonathan, and Anita), and had many grandchildren (Cory and Nick, sons of Pete Toye, Michael, Stephen, and Katie, children of Steven Toye, and Jennifer, Melissa, and Alica, daughters of Anita). Joseph Toye died of cancer in 1995. Major Richard Winters delivered his eulogy.
Wikipedia contributors, “Joe Toye,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joe_Toye&oldid=181791578 (accessed January 11, 2008).