An old man explains how he learned about the Second World War: he was in a store a man told him to put on his uniform.
Another one explains his country was attacked, so he volunteered like many of his friends.
Two other men explain when they volunteered they never heard about the "airborne" which was looking for volunteers as well. One of them explains that at that time, four committed suicide out of his town as they couldn't go to the army.
As they explained you had to jump out of an airplane, nobody volunteered. But when they told the people they would be paid twice ($100 in total), people volunteered.
June 4th, 1944
Soldiers back things into airplanes. People are praying and all look a bit frightened. Some smoke, some get their head shaved. Some are in the mess praying. IT's the Easy Company. They gather up around, no jump tonight. Another 24 hours to wait.
At night people go to watch a movie, but most aren't watching. Most are just sitting there and wait for the time to pass.
One walks out and another one tells him things are clearing up. They are two commanders over mean. They talk about home. It's Capt. Lewis Nixon and Richard D. Winters. They talk about the 712 days behind them.
Two years earlier: Camp Toccoa, Georgia.
An army base. We see Nicon again as well as Winters, a commander makes an inspection. He revokes a few weekend passes. He revokes all weekend passes. They have to go running instead. Some people don't want to go, but in the end, only one doesn't go. One can't do it any longer. The others mock the Easy Company. They run up that hill. They have only 13 minutes to run up that hill. Only a few make it in time. The next day they run up that hill in full combat outfit. They walk home at night. Still in full uniform. It's Friday night, and they walk 12 miles. The solders think they are unpopular with the commander. Winters, their Lieutenant brings them back home for inspection. One drank out of his canteen so he has to repeat his march. Winters has to pick 6 men and punish them. Winters tells Nixon over lunch the next day. Winters makes it to a turn. Every turn six men.
Next are exercises. Physical as well as jumping out of plane models. The commander sends a soldier up the hill and back in 50 minutes. The soldier tries everything to accomplish so. Three join him. Sobel gets promoted as his Easy Company is the fittest in the regiment. He is now Captain Sobel. Winters gets a promotion as well. Sobel makes another inspection and finds a lot of violations. Again all weekend passes are canceled. Then he promotes Winters. They talk about the next day and some special food for that day: spaghetti.
The guys love that. Then the orders change. All throw up while running after just eating. Sobel plays the hard guy. Then the soldiers start to sing as Winters joined them. Sobel is happy about that.
An airplane with everyone inside. They have five exits planned for today. The first jump. 12 jumpers each. Some of the soldiers are sweating as it's their first real jump. They jump four times more. Those who fail are out of airborne.
In the evening they celebrate as they are real airborne soldiers now. They passed their exam. They all have a great time drinking beer. They are pretty drunk already, then the base commander enters and tells them paratroopers are something new and they'll be the first ones in the US history. He congratulates them and shouts Currahee!!
On June 23rd, 1943; in Camp Mackall, N.C.; Nixon and his men prepare for a training battle. Sobel demands the map. They are in the wrong position and Winters tell him to put tight. However Sobel tells them to move out despite their perfect position for cover. They soon are in a trap and Sobel gets a really bad review as he acted against the advice of all his men.
Nixon and Winters discuss the problem and welcome a new Lieutenant. Then Sobel enters, the second platoon is moving out. The soldiers laugh while they prepare and discuss the problem of Sobel. They want to kill before he gets them killed.
They are in the train, Nixon and Winters sit in the train. Nixon tells Winters they are going to New York City and there on a ship to England. They discuss future plans what will be after the war.
September 6th, 1943
Brooklyn Naval Shipyard.
The troops board the ship. They pass The Status of Liberty. Everyone watches the passing.
In the ship, it's really crowded. They speculate if they go to Europe or to North Africa. The troops discuss who's better Sobel or Winters. They don't trust them. Then a fistfight starts as one calls Sobel a Jew and a Jewish soldier takes offence on that.
September 18th, 1943
Some plains fly low over the field. The soldiers prepare close combat. That is interrupted by some theoretical lessons and maneuver trials.
Winters has his troop in place and Sobel is late as always. He got lost again. His men are upset. The soldiers fool him as one pretends to be the Major. So Sobel cuts the fence and moves on.
Winters moves on with his platoon on his own.
And old men on his bicycle has to stop as soldiers are blocking his way. It's Winters' and his men. Winters and the men talk. Sobel arrives with his men.
Sobel has to explain himself to his commander. The troops are somewhere in a small village. Winters' gets mail from Sobel. Sobel disagree on how Winters leads his troops. Winters refuses to take the punishment and requests a trial. He leaves. Sobel has a problem on his end.
Winters' men are disappointed. They don't want to be with Sobel. They wanna do something. They prepare to be executed for their refusal to follow Sobel into combat. They all write a letter to the commander. They all wanna quit Easy Company. One takes the letters to the commander. They have to report to them who spares their lives. Some are degraded and one has to go.
Outside Winters is taking notes and his men pass him. They leave.
Sobel has to report to the commander. He congratulates Sobel for his excellent work. He offers Sobel a commander position for a paratroopers school. This hits Sobel hard. A new Lieutenant will replace him.
Later on Sobel leaves the village by car. Winters thinks his part.
May 31st, 1944
Troops get out of a van. They have put up a base with tents and prepared a nearby airfield. They also have fake Nazi uniforms there. Winters explains to the new commander what his troops are like.
The last training jump was just behind them. Winters wonders how far they flight went. They know now they will land in the Normandy.
Nixon explains the landing in the Normandy on a map to the soldiers. The soldiers are concerned. They will be the first on enemy land. Later on the soldiers prepare all their stuffs. They have to sign the life insurance problems. They all get a letter that they will be jumping tonight. They got Ice Cream. But then the jump gets canceled (remember: the first scene).
The soldiers watch a movie. One finds that he got the wrong jacket and finds a letter in it.
At night, Winters writes a letter. Then he once again inspects the airfield.
June 5th, 1944.
Everyone prepares again to jump. This time it's real. They load their planes. The Bits say goodbye to the American soldiers. Fear is in the men's eyes. One learns that his brother died somewhere in Italy. They get airsickness pills.
Winters talks to his second Platoon. He helps his men up and they board the plane. They know they are on their way to war and possibly to death. It's difficult to board the plane withal the equipment they have on. Winters boards last. The engines start. Operation Overload on D-Day has begun.
The planes take off one by one. The ones left behind know what it means. In the planes nobody says anything. All are focused and wonder what will happen.
Winters looks out into the dark night and over the North Sea and the hundreds of planes and ships.
Text is shown from original letters by Eisenhower.