Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Charles Speirs wasn’t your typical officer. A man of steely nerves and unwavering resolve, he carved his name into history, leading paratroopers of the legendary “Screaming Eagles” in World War II.

While some hailed him as a fearless hero, others whispered of a ruthless streak. Yet, there’s no denying Speirs’ impact.

From daring reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines to controversial command decisions, discover the life of this complex and captivating figure who embodied the grit and turmoil of war.

Early Life and Military Calling

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1920, Ronald Speirs’ early life holds few clues to the formidable soldier he would become.

Speirs, the youngest of five, emigrated to the United States with his family at a young age and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts.

In his later biography, Speirs noted that he first came across his calling in the military in high school, where attending the Citizens Military Training Camp (CMTC) during summer vacations was encouraged.

He didn’t enlist right after high school, however, and instead went to college and earned his certificate in accounting.

Nonetheless, his experience of basic military training in high school led him to a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army.