American Hero The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B goes to Heaven today

Posted by Matt on February 4th, 2009 filed in Leadership, Respect

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B

Bill Arter's Medals during his service in WWII

Bill Arter's Medals during his service in WWII

My wife’s grandfather was a true American hero.  His name was Bill Arter.   Bill was about 4 things… God, Family, Country, Music.  This was a man whose life was one of service. As a teenager, he joined the Army and stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II.   Bill served as a medic… so understand that he saw the worst of the war.  If you have seen the movie, Saving Private Ryan, you remember the horrific scenes of men just getting shredded by the Germans.  Well, as a medic, Bill’s job was not to run and hide.  It was to go to the wounded.  It had to have been horrible.

In order to be able to function, Bill had to have electro-shock treatments to remove these horrible memories.  Well, without the ability to scale memory (especially back then), Bill came home from the war and literally had no memory.  He met his father for the first time off the bus!  Could you imagine???  What a sacrifice for our freedom.  He did begin to regain some memories as the years passed.

Now, one thing that also happened during the war, was something that would forever place Bill in the hearts of millions.  Here is an excerpt from an interview done with Bill on CNN explaining:


FEMALE (SINGING): And the company jumps when he plays “Reveille.” He’s the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.
It was part of the soundtrack of a generation. Troops landed on the beaches of Normandy with the music of a certain bugle boy ringing in their ears.

Oklahoman Bill Arter was on those beaches, too. The original “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.”

BILL ARTER, “BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY”: As I played songs and played all my calls, I would go over to Company C, which was an all black outfit, and we had our jam sessions. And that’s when they nicknamed me the “Bugle Boy from Company B,” because I fit that — I fit that like a glove, you know.

THOMPSON: Bill was discovered by the Andrews Sisters while he was in basic training. He took his music with him when he was deployed with a third wave of troops on D-Day. As a World War II medic, he cared for wounded soldiers but says he spread even more healing through his music.

ARTER: It’s something you can’t tell people about, because they wouldn’t understand. But it seemed like whatever I played, I played to entertain them, just to keep their mind off what they were going to go through next. We didn’t know what was up there in front of us.

THOMPSON: That was more than 60 years ago. Since then, Bill’s kept up with his trumpet, even recording a special collection for his wife for their 40th anniversary.

Edging up on 50 years now together, Bill is relearning to play the trumpet. A stroke stole the dexterity of his right hand. Now he’s learning to play again with his left hand.

ARTER: The lord knows, but I think I’ve blessed a lot of people.

THOMPSON: His legacy moves on through dozens of children, grand children, and great grandchildren. One grandson is even a veteran of the war in Iraq.

Still, Bill Arter will probably be best remembered as…

THE ANDREWS SISTERS, SINGERS (SINGING): The boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B.


Wow, what a man.  He and his beautiful bride, Lois, have been married for over 53 years.  He served wholeheartedly his Lord, Family, and his country.

When he went onto Heaven, he did so while being surrounded by his family singing “When the Saints go marching in”.  His son, James, played Taps as the family did a flag presentation of their own in Bill’s honor.  No words can describe how amazing this was.  I am not the greatest writer and believe me there are millions of amazing stories of Bill and his ways.  But I will leave that up to his kids to blog about… wink,wink, hint, hint Nicole!!!

What a legacy, what a life, what an example, what a HERO.  Bill, you will be missed.  Say hello to my dad up there :-).


James playing Taps in honor of his father

James playing Taps in honor of his father

8 Responses to “American Hero The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B goes to Heaven today”

  1. Steve Spillman Says:

    Real heroes are ordinary people acting extraordinarily, sometimes in the worst of circumstances. Bill was a real hero. We salute you Bill and we will remember you everytime we hear the song:

  2. Lee R. Noorda Says:

    I was almost 9 when the 2nd war started. What mimories of that time growing up in San Diego. Listening to the big band of that time. Mission Beach Ballroom, Pacific Highway Ballroom. I use to ride my bike along side the sailors and marines marching to the Mission beach plunge and Beaches to learn to swim. I’ve thought of a lot of those guys that didn’t come back. Thanks Guys.

  3. Lee R. Noorda Says:


  4. Joseph H. Peek Says:

    I was just 6 & 1/2 out in Hayden, AZ when Pearl Harbor was hit. Dad died 1 month later from kidney failure and my mom and I spent the rest of WWII in Tucson, AZ where I picked up the trumpet in 1947. I still play in a Concert Band and a Brass Quintet in Atlanta, GA. I also hold a membership in “Bugles Across America” to play taps at any military funeral that cannot obtain a military bugler. The old guys are moving on now. After graduating from USNA in 1960 I flew Navy for 7 years, Eastern Air Lines for 21 and then became a teacher, a locksmith and a computer tech. To play for a military funeral is such an honor. Two of my sons are Priests. My first boy is a Lt in the Navy Chaplain program and my second son is a Captain in the Army Chaplain Corps somewhere in Iraq. Pray for our servicemen and the return to sanity of our government.

  5. CAThy Diaz Says:

    Please let everyone know that Mrs Arter is in great need now that bill has passed away

  6. bill Says:

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work

  7. alan t Says:

    what a true hero

  8. alan t Says:

    a true hero.

Leave a Comment

Warning: require_once(/home/mdickerson/ failed to open stream: Permission denied in /home/mdickerson/ on line 684

Fatal error: require_once(): Failed opening required '/home/mdickerson/' (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php:/usr/local/php5/lib/pear') in /home/mdickerson/ on line 684