|Wilbur "Bud" "Runner" Conley|
Runner in Peleliu
Private First Class
Battle of Cape Gloucester
Battle of Peleliu
Deseased as of 1997
Private First Class Wilbur "Bud" "Runner" Conley was a Marine in the 1st Marine Division. He was best friends with Pfc. Robert Leckie, Pfc. Lew "Chuckler" Juergens, and Pfc. Bill "Hoosier" Smith. He was known to be a survivor, as he had, thus far, survived the runs, malaria, and the Airfield assault of the Battle of Peleliu.
Runner was born in Cleveland, OH and grew up in Buffalo, NY, where he met his childhood friend Maryetta. Before enlisting in the Marines, he was a sprinter in prep school, which earned him strong legs and his nickname. He enlisted in the Marines at an unknown date and at boot camp, he met fellow Marines, Leckie, Chuckler, and Hoosier, who he made friends with throughout the war.
Battle of the TenaruEditRunner was first seen in a navy boat bound for Guadalcanal with his friends. Runner was part of the group of Marines who went to the Tenaru. That night, the japanese attacked, and most were easily mowed down by machine gun fire in what Chuckler described as a turkey shoot.
Later in GuadalcanalEditWhile Sgt. John Basilone was fighting with the 7th Marines, Runner and his friends listened to Leckie read aloud a letter for his friend Vera Keller. At some point, he lived up to his name by catching the runs, and while he was taking a crap on a log, he saw his friends eat some peaches, much to his chagrin. He decided to call Leckie "Peaches" because Leckie was puking peaches during that time.
That night, Runner was back on his log when a heavy bombardment started. He and his friends managed to survive, but they are visibly shell-shocked
Runner is later seen with his friends on a navy ship headed for Melbourne. They are told that they are heroes for their part in the Guadalcanal campaign in Austrailia and America. This hardly has any impact on the exhausted and somewhat derelict Marines.
At Melbourne, many Marines went AWOL and went into the town in Melbourne, including Runner. He is later seen with the rest of the Division walking through the outback.
According to Leckie's memoirs, Runner, Leckie, Chuckler, and another Marine nicknamed "Chicken" went afoul of some MPs one night. Runner was caught, but he was the only one, and he got to spend some time in the brig just like Leckie and Chuckler. He is then seen on another navy ship destined for Cape Gloucester.
Cape GloucesterEditRunner is later seen with his friends in the Battle of Cape Gloucester, where Runner mans a machine gun with Chuckler against an enemy attack. He is later seen after the battle, where Runner talks with Leckie about the Japanese that attacked the Marines that night, saying that they were either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Runner is later seen in a field hospital being treated for Malaria while Leckie once again reads a letter for Vera. He survives, and he is later seen playing a game with his friends just after Leckie visits Pfc. Gibson.
Meeting the ReplacementsEdit
Some time later, Runner and his friends met Eugene Sledge, Bill Leyden, and Robert Oswalt trying to find their bunk. While Runner was sleeping, Leckie and Sledge had a talk about religion, God, and the things he creates, Them, the Japanese, even "Sleeping Beauty over there" referring to Runner.
Runner, Leckie, Chuckler, and Hoosier were later part of the Peleliu campaign. Prior to this, their commanding officers wrongly assured them that this would be short. During the landing, Hoosier was wounded and Chuckler was missing, later to be found on a stretcher wounded but just barely alive. Runner found Leckie a few minutes later, where the latter gloomily said to Runner, "Hoosier got hit". Runner is later seen sleeping in a safe position.
Peleliu AirfieldEditRunner was later part of the Airfield assault along with Leckie. During this time, they couldn't get word on Hoosier's status. The Marines rushed into action and were met by Japanese machine gun, mortar, and tank fire, killing and/or wounding many Marines. Runner was hit in the leg by mortar shrapnel and then shot in the arm during the assault, so Leckie went to get a corpsman (along with a radioman to replace the one who died of his wounds earlier), but he failed to find one before he was knocked back by the impact of an explosion. Runner and Leckie managed to survive the brutal campaign, Runner with his arm in a sling. Runner reveals that Hoosier's status is still unknown and that Chuckler was still on the island before he brings Leckie topside to look at Peleliu before the ship leaves.
Runner and Leckie would later reunite with Chuckler and Hoosier offscreen, both having survived their wounds. The four friends eventually split up again into different hospitals, explaining his disappearence in Episode 10.
After the WarEdit
Runner returned home in November 1944 and married Maryetta. He sold cars for forty years and died in 1997. He is survived by six children, eleven grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren.
- Runner's first name has been confused time and again, having been changed several times between Wilbur and Bud. It turns out that Bud is another nickname for Runner and his real first name is Wilbur, as shown in Leckie's memoirs.
- While Runner, Chuckler, and Hoosier are all confirmed in Episode 10 to have gone home after the war, Runner is the only one who was actually confirmed to do so before then.
- The name "Runner" was given to him because of his highschool days where he was a track "star" and you could see it in his hardens calves.
- Runner was the first of Leckie's friends to return home after Peleliu.
- Runner was wounded just some hours before Leckie did.