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Title:The Face in the Surf
Author(s):Getz, Lowell L.
Subject(s):World War II
Omaha Beach
Capa, Robert
Riley, Huston "Hu" S.
GI in surf
Abstract:One of the enduring images from World War II is the photograph of the face of the GI in the surf on the Normandy beachhead, taken by Robert Capa and originally published in Life Magazine. The photograph now appears in most accounts of the Normandy invasion and has been listed as one of the most important images of the 20th Century. The infantryman in Capa’s photo was not identified. The photo was captured in the confusion of the men in the first wave fighting their way to the shore. There was no opportunity for Capa to find out who he had photographed. Over the years several men suggested they were the GI in the photo; none has been able to verify such a claim. The research reported on this web site proposes that a very likely candidate for the GI in the photo is PFC Huston Riley of Fox Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. Because of copyright laws, we cannot include Capa’s photograph on this web site. It can be seen in a variety of venues, as listed below, so that the reader can compare the image captured by Capa with those of Huston Riley included in this web site. In addition to the text and maps of Omaha Beach showing where Hu and Capa came ashore and photos of Hu taken summer 1945, the audio of an interview of Hu’s recollections of D-Day is included with the web site. This interview was recorded as a part of a video documentary (Omaha Beach, D-Day, Volumes I and II) made by Larry Cappetta on Omaha Beach 7 June 2004. Hu and Larry made the documentary at the exact place on Omaha Beach where Hu came ashore with the first wave on 6 June 1944.
Issue Date:2007
Citation Info:A previous version of this essay was published as: Getz, Lowell L. World War II: Who is the Face in the Surf In Robert Capa's Photo from 'Bloody Omaha'. World War II. June 2004.
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Text copyright Lowell L. Getz. All rights reserved. Audio copyright Larry Cappetto. All rights reserved.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-10-31

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