Staff Sergeant Roderick G. "Rod" Strohl was a non-commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II. He was one of the original Toccoa men of Easy Company.
Roderick Strohl was born on June 24th, 1922. He is the son of a car dealer and he grew up in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania, a small village outside of Allentown. Strohl later enlisted and volunteered to the paratroopers with two of his friends, fellow Pennsylvanian Dutch speakers Forrest Guth and Carl Fenstermaker in 1942.
Both were assigned to Easy Company and became three of the 140 original Toccoa men of that unit. All of them would survive through the rest of the war. Strohl carried a camera with him in Europe and his friends Forrest Guth and Walter Gordon would share it through the war. He was trained at Camp Toccoa under Captain Herbert Sobel. It is unknown which unit he was a part of.
Strohl's first combat jump was D-Day where he became so overloaded with gear that he couldn't put on a reserve chute. His plane got hit, and Strohl saw the two pilots jumping out with the paratroopers. He linked up with fellow Easy Company members Shifty Powers, Buck Taylor and Bill Kiehn upon landing before him and the group managed to find their unit a few days later. Strohl participated in the battle of Carentan and later in the Battle of Bloody Gulch he was wounded and sent to Utah Beach where his Colt .45 and boots were stolen.
On September 16, 1944, Strohl got a one-day pass from a doctor and hitched a ride to Aldbourne to rejoin Easy Company where he ran into Captain Herbert Sobel. Even though he knew that Strohl had gone AWOL, Sobel gave him a ride on his jeep. The day after Strohl made another combat jump during Operation Market Garden, even though he felt "weak as a pussy cat". On 5 October 1944, while Easy Company was defending "The Island", Strohl and several others were chosen for a patrol mission which ran into German troops and was attacked; during combat Strohl was wounded and his radio was destroyed.
Later he participated in the Battle of the Bulge in the woods of Bastogne. Colonel Robert Sink had ordered Edward Shames to find out where the enemy positions were located upon which Shames, Strohl, and McClung went down a road and saw vague shapes in the distance. The shapes seemingly looked like haystacks, the sounds of engines could be heard and when the shapes came out from the light fog it turned out to be 19 heavily armored German tanks. Strohl later participated in the assault on the town of Foy without injury.
He continued to fight with Easy Company until the end of the war. While in Germany, Albert Kesselring, who was a German Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall came to Strohl and demanded to speak to a high-ranking officer since Kesselring would not surrender to a Sergeant.
Band of BrothersEdit
Strohl was not included in the Band of Brothers TV miniseries, apart from briefly appearing as himself at the beginning of the first episode, Currahee; nonetheless, he appeared in its companion documentary, We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company. In the TV miniseries, the incident of Strohl going AWOL to rejoin Easy Company before Operation Market Garden was reproduced, except that Strohl's role was replaced by Robert 'Popeye' Wynn. It was actually true that Wynn rejoined Easy Company from the hospital shortly before Operation Market Garden, but he was given light duty papers (which he threw away). He did not run into Sobel.