Maj. Winters was the leader of Easy Company, having quickly ascended through the ranks to lead the men of "Easy", specifically, the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the Army's 101st Airborne Division.
Maj. Winters began his career as a volunteer paratrooper in the Army shortly before the attack of the Empire of Japan on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941. Winters and his men trained stateside prior to leaving for England and final preparations for the 'greatest, most noble undertaking of men' in the wee hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944 as he and the rest of Easy Company parachuted into Normandy hours ahead of the first troops to hit Normandy - it is this Allied Forces effort which lives in infamy as the 'Great Invasion'.
Maj. Winters, on the heels of Stephen E. Ambrose' "Band of Brothers", authored "Beyond Band of Brothers", his personal wartime memoirs - it is these published works that inspired the hugely successful and timeless HBO mini-series of the same name, "Band of Brothers" (2001), produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
Within hours of landing in Normandy, with airborne misdrops and limited, scattered weaponry and teams, Winters organized a group that attacked a key German artillery installation. Taking out nearly two dozen Nazi soldiers and four large cannons that had been firing upon the landing troops on the beachheads, Winters and his men were later recognized for their efforts as Winters himself earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest medal for valor awarded in the U.S. Military. Today, there is still in effort to have that medal upgraded to the Congressional Medal of Honor, (please make this a reality by visiting http://www.majordickwinters.com), an action that Maj. Winters appreciated, but never fully supported - believing that without his troops, the exercise would not be possible and that he alone - was not worthy. That is Maj. Winters - selfless, humble, and respected.
Maj. Winters and his men went on to Bastogne and not only survived with limited means but defeated the German onslaught in the infamous "Battle of the Bulge", taking their fight deep into Belgium and Germany and eventually taking Hitler's Mountaintop retreat "Eagles Nest" in Berchtesgaden. Maj. Winters left the Army shortly after WWII and went on to become a family man as well as a successful businessman, speaker and author. Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and the actor who played Maj. Winters in 'Band of Brothers,' Damian Lewis, all pay homage to Maj. Winters and his recent passing with great admiration, respect and love for a man who put others first, was a tremendous, respected leader, a 'citizen soldier' who truly was among the Greatest of the 'Greatest Generation' in U.S. History.
His story, his honor, like all veterans, lives on for us to study, contemplate and appreciate all they have done and, ultimately, that we must never forget their sacrifice on the alter of freedom - for it was Maj. Winters himself who remembered..."My Grandson once asked me - 'Grandpa, were you a hero?'"
"I replied, 'No - I was not a hero, but I served in the company of hero's!'".
Major Dick Winters - Thank you sir! May you truly rest in peace.
'From this day to the ending of the world...
but we in it, shall be remembered...
we few, we happy few, we Band of Brothers.
For today, he who sheds his blood with me
shall be my brother'.
William Shakespeare, Henry V, 1598
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