Ike is named after the 34th President of the United States - Dwight D. Eisenhower!
Born on October 14, 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower spent his youth in the small farm town of Abilene, Kansas. Called “Ike” as a young man, he played football and other sports and graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. Eisenhower applied to West Point and was admitted in 1911.
After graduation, Eisenhower received his commission as a second lieutenant. He married Mamie Geneva Doud on July 1, 1916 while he was stationed in Texas. They had two children. He served in the Panama Canal and Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s and graduated first in his class from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in 1926.
He was promoted to brigadier general in 1941. Eisenhower directed the allied invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy from 1942 to 1943. In December 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him Supreme Commander, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In this capacity, Eisenhower was in charge of the planning and execution of the Normandy Invasion, which occurred June 6, 1944 and ultimately led to victory in Europe the following May.
In this iconic photo taken June 5, Eisenhower spoke to paratroopers in England, just before they boarded their airplanes to participate in the first assault of the invasion. At this particular moment, the future president is talking about fly fishing with Wally Strobel — (No. 23 - which coincidentally June 5 happened to be his birthday) — a hobby both men loved.
Eisenhower knew that at his command, many of these men were going to lose their lives in a matter of hours for the cause of our freedom and wanted a personal attachment to the bigger picture.
"He humanized the numbers under his command. Ike was proud to be known as 'a soldier’s soldier,'" said Mitzi Bankes Gose, Director of IKEducation with the Eisenhower Foundation. "We are certain that his humble Kansas upbringing gave him this character trait."
Running on a campaign of “I Like Ike,” he was twice elected president. Serving from 1953 to 1961, Eisenhower presided during a post-war period of great prosperity for the nation.
On March 28, 1969, Eisenhower died at Washington's Walter Reed General Hospital. His body was returned to Abilene and buried at the Eisenhower Center.
For more information on Eisenhower or the Eisenhower Foundation, click here