The men as they storm up Currahee mountain.
Training for the invasion of Europe
"Currahee" is the first episode of Band of Brothers. It follows the men from basic training at Camp Toccoa under the strict command of Herbert Sobel, to the preparation in England for the invasion of Normandy.
As the men of Easy company prepare for the darkest night of their lives, they think back on their days in training and their time under the command of someone they hated almost as much as the Nazis: Captain Herbert Sobel.
The episode starts out at England, in 1944. Men are seen preparing for the drop. Some are chewing, some are getting mohawks, and some are praying. This is interrupted by 1st Lieutenant Thomas Meehan, CO of Easy Company, who announces that the invasion is postponed, due to bad weather conditions, much to the grumbles of the eager Paratroopers. It then shifts to the men watching a movie. 1st Lieutenant Richard Winters, and 1st Lieutenant Lewis Nixon go outside. After discussing if the rain is passing, they sit down. Nixon begins talking about the time in different places of America. After talking about the time in Chicago, Nixon says, "You know he's from there." "Who? Oh yeah, him." Winters says. Nixon grins, and says, "Two years with that son of a bitch, and here we are."
Two years earlier, 1942.
At Camp Toccoa, the men of Easy Company stand at attention. Suddenly, 1st Lieutenant Herbert Sobel followed by 1st Sergeant William S. Evans, comes and yells, "You people are at the position of attention!" He then turns to one of the men, "Private Perconte, have you been blousing your trousers over your boots like a Paratrooper?"
"Then explain the creases at the bottom?"
"No excuse, sir." Perconte says.
"Volunteering for the Airborne is one thing Perconte, but you got a long way, before you can prove you belong here. Your weekend pass is revoked."
Sobel does the same to everyone else. He goes to Private George Luz and revokes his pass for dirt on his rear sight aperture.
He then goes to Sergeant C. Carwood Lipton saying that, since he sowed them on only yesterday, he should have noticed the dust on his chevrons.
He goes to Private Donald Malarkey and says that the rust on the rear hindsprite spring is a reason to revoke his pass.
He finally goes to Private Joseph Liebgott, takes the soldiers rusty bayonet and hits him on the helmet with it. Sobel holds the bayonet high, yelling, "I wouldn't take this rusty piece of shit to war and I will not take you to war in your condition!" He then removes everyone's weekend pass, and tells them to change into their P.T. gear to run up Currahee.
In the cabin, Private Martin, and Private Perconte argue about how Perconte should stop giving Sobel excuses, where Perconte angrily denies this. As the men leave, Sergeant Lipton yells at a man sitting on his bunk. "Private White, why are you not in your P.T. Gear?" When unanswered, Lipton realizes that this man is quitting.
Sobel drives the men hard, as they run up the mountain. Private Muck twists his ankle. "Do not help that man!" Sobel yells. He then times each man as they come up. Winters is the first to do so at 23 minutes which Sobel says is good for the 506th but not for Easy Company. Winters runs to the top to motivate the men to finish the climb while Sobel says "Never thought I'd see the day Private Wynn." he says at Robert E. Wynn. Each man then runs all the way down.
"Lieutenant Sobel hates us sir!" Randleman says. "Lieutenant Sobel does not hate Easy Company, he just hates you." says Winters. "Thank you sir!" replies Randleman. This attracts a couple of chuckles from the men.
Sobel then checks every man's canteen, for water, and has them all dump them. He then notices that one man's canteen empties before the others. "Who is this? Christenson! You drank from your canteen, didn't you? Lieutenant Winters!". Winters replied, "Yes sir?".
"Was this man ordered to not drink from his canteen?". "Yes sir.". Sobel then talks to Christenson. "Private Christenson, you disobeyed a direct order! You will repeat the run! Fall out!" As Private Christenson leaves, Sobel angrily asks why Winters is letting men disobey direct orders. He then tells him, "This is not Fox Company, this is not Dog Company, this, this is Easy Company! And under my command, this will be the first and finest company in this regiment!" He then tells Winters to find infractions among the men.
The next day, the men go under intense training. From running over ropes, to crawling through pig guts under barbed wire. He then makes Private Gordon do another run up Currahee. It then moves to Colonel Robert F. Sink promoting Sobel to Captain. He then tells him he wants to promote Winters to 1st Lieutenant, but asks Sobel to give the insignia to him.
The story then goes to Sobel finding contraband in every man's closet. He then asks how Private Tipper has enough spare time to read letters. Winters asks if personal letters are considered contraband, where Sobel replies that they have no personal property. He then holds a can up and asks anyone what it is. "It's a can of peaches." says 2nd Lieutenant Lewis Nixon. "That is incorrect Lieutenant, your weekend pass is canceled. This is United States Army property, which was taken, without permission, from my mess facility. Whose footlocker is this?" "Private Parkes sir." says Winters. "Get rid of him." replies Sobel. Outside, he gives Winters his insignia, and tells him about his promotion. He then says he wants to privilege the men, by giving them a special meal. Spaghetti.
In the mess hall, Private Perconte and Private Guarnere gossip about spaghetti, when Sobel comes in and tells them orders are changed, and that they are running back up Currahee. Men are vomiting spaghetti as they run. He taunts Private Hoobler, Private Gordon, and Randleman, and tells Randleman that there is an ambulance at the bottom, and he will have no more Captain Sobel to deal with. Immediately the men start singing, "We call upon the risers, we call upon the grass! We never land on our feet, we always hit our ass! Hi-hi, Christ almighty, who the hell are we? Zim-zam, goddamn, we're Airborne Infantry!" Sobel is apparently annoyed by this, but is satisfied that he has made paratroopers out of them.
The plot then moves to Fort Benning. There, the men will take the real jump and earn their jump wings. First, Sobel and the officers jump. Sobel hesitates, but does it anyway. Then the enlisted men jump. Finally, the men of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division, have become Paratroopers.
It then moves on to a celebration for the 506th for becoming Paratroopers. Perconte comes over to Martin, and says with his style someone might mistake him for something. "Oh you mean like your fucking Sergeant?" replies Martin, as he shows Perconte the chevrons on his sleeves, showing that he has been promoted to Sergeant. Colonel Sink then comes in, as every man stands at attention. "Well at ease, Paratroopers." he says. "Now I want you to know that I'm damn proud of you." He then recieves a beer from Sergeant Grant. "Now I want you to have fun, and remember our motto. Currahee!" he continues. The men repeat the motto, as they raise their glasses.
Next year, in 1943, the men are doing Paratrooper training at Camp Mackall. Sobel eventually fouls up during a mock battle, as he leads his men into an ambush. Later, Easy Company is joined by a new officer named Harry Welsh. Finally, the 101st airborne docks a ship to England. In the ship, a couple of guys are discussing about it. "It doesn't matter where we go, since the only guy you can trust is yourself, or the guy next to you." says Guarnere. "As long as that man's a paratrooper." says Cpl. Toye. "Oh yeah, well what if that paratrooper turns out to be Sobel?" says George Luz. The guys say either the Krauts will get him, or they will. One guy says Winters is fine. "Winters is a good man, I like him. But when the bullets start flyin', I don't think I'd wanna fight with a Quaker." "How do you know he's a Quaker?" asks one guy. "He ain't catholic." answers Guarnere. "Neither is Sobel." quips Malarkey. "Heh. Prick's a son of Abraham." replies Guarnere. Liebgott looks over. "Huh?" he asks. "He's a Jew." says Guarnere. Liebgott walks over, and growls "I'm a Jew." "Congratulations. Get your nose outta ma face." says Guarnere, evidently not realizing he angered Liebgott. Liebgott throws a punch at him. The men try to break them up.
It then moves to Aldbourne, England. The men are training with all kinds of weapons, as well as fist fights. It then shows a scene where Sobel leads the 2nd Platoon in a race with Winters and the 1st Platoon. He is stopped by a barbed wire fence. He sends the Platoon to take cover behind a bush, while he, Evans, and Pvt. Edward Tipper figure out their location. Suddenly, George Luz begins talking like Major Horton.
"Is there a problem Mr. Sobel!?", Luz said. "Who said that?! Who broke silence?!", Sobel asks. Tipper then said, "I think it's Major Horton, sir.", to which Sobel replies, "Major Horton? What's he doing here?" "Maybe he's moving between the platoon, sir?", Tipper replied. "I said, what is the goddamn holdup Mr. Sobel!?" "A fence, sir! (Goddamnit) A barbed wire fence!" "Now that dog just ain't no hunt!" Luz said as he tries to get his friends to shut up. "Now you cut that fence and get this goddamn platoon on the move!!" "Yes sir!" Sobel then asks Tipper, "Where's my goddamn wire cutters?" Later Sobel recieves hell from Lt Col. Robert L. Strayer, the battalion commander, who tells Sobel that Horton is on leave in London.
Sobel later punishes Winters, for not following an order. Winters protests that he cleaned the latrines, but Sobel tells him he changed the time. He tells Winters he can request Court martial, or have a pass removed. Winters requests Court Martial, which is not what Sobel wants.
Soon, Sgts. Mike Ranney, and Floyd M. Talbert hear about this, and say that "They lost Winters," in front of Staff Sgt. Salty Harris. Harris asks if Winters can't go, and they play dices with Sobel. So Ranney and Harris call on the other Sergeants in the Company. They all agree to not serve in Easy Company under Sobel. Col. Sink gives them hell, and transfers Harris out of the Regiment, and busts Ranney to Private. He then talks with Sobel about this. Sobel says they are good men, and he can handle them. Then, to Sobel's surprise, Sink transfers Sobel to Chilton Foliat because he was a good training leader. 1st Lt. Thomas Meehan replaces Sobel.
It then moves to Upottery England in 1944 where the men prepare for the invasion. They have a newcomer named 2nd Lt. Lynn D. "Buck" Compton. He gets very friendly with the men, too friendly in Winter's opinion. Toye complains that most of the stuff he has weighs more than him. Later, Lipton and Martin talk over Guarnere's brother, who has been killed in Monte Cassino, Italy. Martin decides not to tell Guarnere. The men then hear the news that the invasion is postponed. While watching a movie, Guarnere discovers he has Martin's jacket, and finds the letter explaining about his brothers death. Guarnere slumps over in grief.
Finally the men prepare for the invasion. Guarnere meets Martin, and explains that he got his jacket by mistake and read the letter. "Where the fuck is Monte Cassino?" he asks. "I don't know, Italy somewhere." says Martin." "I'm sorry Guarnere." "I'm sorry for my ma. He was..." before Guarnere trails off. "Lets get this over with", he says. Finally the men are flying in the clouds in their C-47 planes. Winters looks out his window at the clouds.
The invasion begins.
It then shows in writing words of encouragement from Gen. Eisenhower. "Good luck! And let us all beseech the blessing under the almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."