FILE--Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower visits paratroopers, including Bill Hayes, at center behind Ike's right hand, in England on June 5, 1944, moments before the troops boarded transport planes bound for Normandy and the June 6 D-Day invasion. Hayes, who now lives in Fargo, N.D., recalls how he told Eisenhower that he was "damned scared" before the mission, his first combat jump of the war. This photo became a pre-invasion classic and continues to bring Hayes a measure of celebrity.
Not many know the story behind the iconic photo of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower speaking with a group of U.S. paratroopers on the eve of the D-Day invasion. Former Sun librarian Susan S. Waters told reporter Frederick N. Rasmussen details of the encounter for a story published in The Sun in 1999. Wallace C. Strobel, the young paratrooper with the blackened face and jumpmaster’s No. 23 standing in front of Eisenhower in the photo, was in fact, Waters’ stepfather. So what did Ike say to the soldiers? The obvious guess would be that Eisenhower was rallying the paratroopers with words of victory, a great crusade and defeating the Nazis, but as Rasmussen wrote, it was actually fishing that was the topic of conversation. (AP Photo/File)