He was a hated man.
He was an admired man.
Anyone I’ve ever talked to who served under Captain Herbert Sobel—the one-time commander of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne—has an opinion about him.
Some of the veterans from this elite group (the WWII paratroopers commonly known as the Band of Brothers) describe Sobel as an inflexible tyrant of a drill sergeant. They say he was a man who drew hard lines over petty issues. He was a poor map reader and an all-around lousy leader. He was so incompetent he was going to get others killed in battle, thus he needed to be removed from his position of leadership, which he was.
Yet other describe Sobel as a strategist. They say he became an integral part in shaping the company into the best it could be. Sobel’s role as a drill sergeant was not to win any popularity contests, but to harden young men into combat soldiers. Men lived because Sobel chiseled them into top warriors.
Sobel died in 1987 at age 75 after shooting himself in the head, and none of his family members attended his funeral, but even these parts of his life have not quite been portrayed accurately in times past.
Here's a more nuanced look at Herbert Sobel.
He's far more human that David Schwimmer's portrayal of him in the HBO series.
Read the whole thing.