World War II ended in 1945 but there are still people who remember the Important Battles in Europe and years of bloodshed. Some of the men who fought in European theatre are still alive today. Some of these men served with Major Dick Winters in the 101st Airborne Division. Who was Dick Winters? This is a question generations still ask and hopefully, will never stop asking. It is almost impossible to say anything about Richard Winters not mentioning Easy Company, his service in the war, his love for his wife or his brilliant tactical sills. It is one and the same story.
Richard Winters, a man from Lancaster County, born in a Mennonite family and raised to follow an honour code. He was a talented strategist, an athlete and a paratrooper.
Born Richard Davis Winters, he enlisted in the United States army at the age of 23, and in 1942 he was selected for the Officer Candidate School in Georgia. This is where he met Lewis Nixon and the two became close friends throughout their service and afterwards.
The parachute infantry was a new concept in the military, and Winters decided to join the unit under Colonel Robert Sink's command.
In 1942 Winters was assigned to Easy Company. A company that became legendary throughout the war since it participated in some of the most Important Battles in Europe.
Easy Company dropped into Normandy on D-Day, hours before the amphibious landings started, and led an assault on a battery of German guns, which were firing onto the causeways on Utah beach, stalling the landings.
Winters was promoted to captain, and later made the regimental XO, a role normally fulfilled by a major. He served with E Company till the end of the war, got promoted to Major and afterwards worked with Lewis Nixon in a family company.
Although he was called upon to serve in Korea, after speaking to General Anthony McAuliffe, Winters did not join the active troops, but fulfilled his duties as a regimental planning and training officer. His brilliant mind was put to good use, training the new officers at Fort Dix.
Major Winters was a man of few words, he was calm and collected, but every man he served with in the war always said they would do anything for Winters.
Stephen Ambrose wrote a book about Easy Company, and in 2001 Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks created a mini-series of the same name. Band of Brothers has since become a phenomenon in Television and Film history, as new generations fall in love with the stories and the men of Easy Company.
Dick Winters passed away in 2011 and is still missed by those who knew him, the actors of the mini-series and every new generation who learns about his story. His methods are still used at West Point while training the new officers, and his legacy and achievements live on. A Dick Winters leadership memorial, a 12-foot tall bronze statue was created inFrance, and it is as if Dick is still standing guard over Europe.