Lt. Wally C Strobel and Corporal Louis Philip Merlano talked to Eisenhower before D-Day.

20-03-2018

Wallace Strobel was born on June 5, 1922 and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan; the son of Carl and Elizabeth Strobel. After graduation from Arthur Hill High School, Wallace enlisted in the National Guard and consequently the United States Army. He served as a first lieutenant in the “Screaming Eagles”, the 101st Airborne Division, 502 Parachute Infantry Regiment. Lieutenant. Strobel strobelmb90  also served as company liaison during the invasion of Holland, parachuting into France in the early morning hours of D-Day and later serving in Bastogne, Belgium, during The Battle of the Bulge. He returned to Saginaw at the end of the war and founded, with his brother, the Carl-Wal Market. He married Josephine Grant in 1946. She survives him. He became president of Central Warehouse Company in 1947, a position he held until 1999. Mr. Strobel was a founder and served on the Board of Directors of the First State Bank of Saginaw. He served as county chairman of the Republican party and had a lifelong interest in politics. Wallace Strobel was for many years a civilian participant of The Naval War College and The Army War College. Wallace Strobel is survived by his wife, Josephine and his three children, Susan S. Waters of Ellicott City, MD; Sarah S. King of Saginaw, MI; and John F. Strobel of Westport, Conn; and six grandchildren. The picture displayed shows General Eisenhower talking to the troops before D-Day. Lt. Strobel is in the center of the picture next to General Eisenhower. Strobel survived the war and died age 77 on 28-08-1999. Wallace C Strobel Urn in Columbarium of cemetery Arlington, Virginia. The casualties of the

101st Airborne 244px-us_101st_airborne_division_patch-svg Division, 501, 502 and 506, Band of Brothers  506_patch_130Regiments during their campaign in Europe; In Normandy, killed/died of wounds 868, wounded in action 2.303, missing/captured 665. In Holland killed 752, wounded 2.151 and missing 398. In the battle of the Bulge in Belgium, killed 482, wounded 2.449 and missing 527, in total killed 2.043, wounded 2.782 and missed 1590.

Another man to meet Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.before D-Day, but not so famous, was Corporal Louis Merlano “Lou” of Able Co. 502 PIR a personal friend for many years.

  Lou was the only survivor of his glider nearing the French coast. On board Lou a tall man exchanged places with his small friend Louis Perko and came second in row of the glider on their way to Normandy. Near the coast of Normandy the glider was hit and a crash followed. The first man and Lou were the only two able to jump from the plane and landed on the beach, while the plane felt in the Channel. We, a few years ago, laid flowers on the graves of the comrade victims, on the Vierville American cemetery, in the name of the Merlano family, specially the grave of Perko. Lou Merlano got off the beach fast, ignoring mines. He climbed over a barbed-wire fence and ran for a hedgerow. Someone else was already there, Merlano didn’t stop. He ran across a road and started to climb a stone wall. Just then he heard an agonized cry behind him. He whirled around, a flame thrower was hosing the hedgerow he had just passed and outlined in the flame was the figure of a fellow paratrooper. He kept hidden and only after three days met the first American warriors. Lou survived this battle and went back to England to recover with his Company. The next two operations he survived also, Operation Market Garden, the liberation of our little Holland, on 17-09-1944, were Lou landed near Eerde (see Dick Winters).   We visited Lou Merlano in Port St Lucy Florida, where he died old age 82 on 24-06-2006, 62 years after his landing in Normandie.

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