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LTC Herbert Maxwell Sobel

LTC Herbert Maxwell Sobel

Birth
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 30 Sep 1987 (aged 75)
Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, USA
Burial Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 19055620 · View Source
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World War II United States Army Officer. He served as the original commanding officer of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division, and the stories of he and his comrades were featured in the 2001 HBO television mini-series "Band of Brothers," based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. Born to Jewish parents, he worked as a clothing salesman after attending Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, and later graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. After the US entered World War II in December 1941, he volunteered for the paratroopers and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. Soon promoted to the rank of 1st lieutenant, he commanded Easy Company for all of their basic training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. He was known to be strict and earned the hatred of many of his men. However, because of the intense training he gave his men, he was credited with creating the finest company in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was then promoted to the rank of captain in recognition of his ability as a trainer. While he excelled at training, he displayed a distinct lack of judgment and competence in field problems, including his inability to read a map. After a period of training in England before the invasion of Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, he was removed from command of Easy Company. He did jump into Normandy on D-Day but not with Easy Company, and earned a combat infantryman badge as part of Regimental Headquarters Company. He was later transferred to command the Chilton Foliat Jump School in Wiltshire, England. Shortly before Easy Company took part in the invasion of the Netherlands, he was assigned to the 506th once again, as the regimental S-4 (logistics) officer for Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Later, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge. After the end of World War II, he returned to the US and worked as an accountant before being recalled to active duty during the Korean War, serving from 1950 until 1953. He remained in the Army National Guard, eventually retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Among his military decorations and awards include Bronze Star, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. In the late 1960s he shot himself in the head with a small-caliber pistol. The bullet entered his left temple, passed behind his eyes, and exited out the other side of his head, severing his optic nerves and leaving him blind. He died of malnutrition at the age of 75 in a Veterans Administration assisted living facility where he had resided for the last 17 years of his life. He was negatively portrayed as inept in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers" by actor David Schwimmer, a depiction which has proved controversial. In various interviews, Easy Company veterans have acknowledged the importance that his training at Camp Toccoa played in the company's successes in combat during World War II.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Douglas Brown
  • Added: 22 Apr 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19055620
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Herbert Maxwell Sobel (26 Jan 1912–30 Sep 1987), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19055620, citing Montrose Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .