11 January 2011

RIP: Richard Winters

Richard D Winters
21 Jan 1918 - 2 Jan 2011

Major Richard "Dick" Winters, famous for his role as company commander of E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, during World War II, has died. ZUI this article from the Washington Post:
Richard "Dick" Winters, 92, a decorated Army officer whose courageous leadership through some of the fiercest combat of World War II was featured in the best-selling book and HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," died Jan. 2. He had Parkinson's disease.

The Patriot-News in central Pennsylvania reported that Maj. Winters, a longtime Hershey resident, died at an assisted-living facility in nearby Campbelltown.

Stephen Ambrose's 1992 book "Band of Brothers" followed the men of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.


Maj. Winters excelled as a infantry leader and a paratrooper and became a hallowed figure among his men for his "follow me" attitude.

He received the military's second-highest decoration for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross, for his actions on D-Day.


Toward the end of the war, Maj. Winters turned down the opportunity to make the Army a career.

He returned to the United States and joined an Army colleague's company, Nixon Nitration Works, in New Jersey. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War as a training officer.

For the rest of his career, Maj. Winters owned a farm in rural Pennsylvania and sold animal nutrition products to animal-feed companies. He married Ethel Estoppey in 1948 and had two children. He lived the quiet and peaceful life he'd promised to himself after surviving the war.

Bills were presented in Congress in an effort to have Winters's DSC upgraded to a Medal of Honor, but none of them passed.

In addition to Band of Brothers, by Stephen E Ambrose, his story is told in Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, by Dick Winters and Cole C Kingseed, and Biggest Brother: The Life Of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led The Band of Brothers, by Larry Alexander.* He was portrayed by Damian Lewis in the HBO miniseries based on Ambrose's book.

* For further reading on E Company, see Easy Company Soldier, by Don Malarkey and Bob Welch; Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends, by William Guarnere, Edward Heffron and Robyn Post; Call of Duty, by Lynn Compton and Marcus Brotherton; We Who Are Alive and Remain, by Marcus Brotherton; In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers, by Larry Alexander; and Parachute Infantry, by David Kenyon Webster, amongst other books.

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