Robert Capa’s Iconic D-Day Photo of a Soldier in the Surf
A young GI Huston Riley, disembarked from his landing craft into water over his head — and sank straight to the bottom, weighed down by his gear. Riley activated his flotation device and quickly became a sitting duck for German machine gun fire as he bobbed on the surface. Over the course of 30 minutes, Riley made his way to shore while bullets ricocheted off his shoes and pack. Just as he hit land and began to run, Riley caught four bullets in his right shoulder, two of which stayed lodged in his body. Two men quickly came and helped him reach cover, one of whom, Riley later recalled, had a camera around his neck. The photographer was Capa, and somewhere between the moment when Riley reached the surf and when he was being lifted, wounded, out of the water, Capa made the photo that for generations has defined the chaos and the courage witnessed on D-Day.