Technician 4th Class Irwin Wade
Despite exposing himself to enemy fire numerous times, Medic Irwin Wade (Giovanni Ribisi) performed his duties admirably, and survived the blood-soaked sands of Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944. When Captain Miller was ordered to assemble a squad in order to search for Private James Ryan of the 101st Airborne, Wade was among those chosen for the dangerous mission. Quiet and soft-spoken, Wade was always eager to employ his medical skills and help fallen comrades.
After Private Caparzo was fatally shot by a German sniper in the town of Neuville, Wade had to be held back so that his own life would not be at risk before the sniper could be dispatched. Caparzo was dead before he could be helped, and all that Wade could do was to retrieve a letter from his corpse that Caparzo had been writing to his father. Wade would later recopy the bloody letter so that it could be sent to Caparzo's father.
Later, as their squad was advancing towards Ramelle, they encountered a machine gun emplacement that Captain Miller decided to destroy. Most of the men considered the action too risky, but Miller insisted that they could not bypass it.
Prepared to render aid as quickly as possible, Wade followed Miller and the others in their attack, but it was Wade himself who was hit. The Rangers did what they could to help, but no amount of sulfa powder or morphine could counter the damage caused by multiple wounds to Wade's abdomen. Seeing that Wade's injuries were fatal, Miller authorized additional morphine to ease the pain of death. Before Wade's burial Miller retrieved the copy of Caparzo's letter.