History : May-Jun 2019
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 1 FROM THE EDITOR Amy Briggs, Executive Editor Our cover photograph was taken June 5, 1944, the night before D-Day. Surrounding Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower are the paratroopers of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. They are listening intently to their commander as he speaks. The man opposite Eisenhower, with a Screaming Eagles patch and a tag with the number 23, is jumpmaster 1st Lt. Wallace Strobel. It is his 22nd birthday. Many have speculated as to what Eisenhower was saying to Strobel. Perhaps he was echoing his order of the day: “We will accept nothing less than full Victory.” But Strobel remembered something different. According to him, the topic was fishing. In interviews and his writings, Strobel said that Eisenhower asked his name and where he was from. Strobel answered, “Strobel, sir. Michigan.” The general replied, “Oh yes, Michigan. Great fishing there. I like it,” before continuing to ask if the men were ready for battle. Strobel said they were “all set” and that he didn’t think they “would have too much of a problem.” The next day, in the dark morning hours of June 6, 1944, these brave young men jumped out of airplanes to start a European invasion that would herald the end of World War II. One of the lucky ones, Strobel survived D-Day and the war. He died 55 years later at age 77 in 1999.