Major Richard (Dick) Winters passed away 02JAN2011 aged 92 years.
He was a paratrooper and an officer during World War II with the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne. Most notably as a platoon commander within and then company commander of Easy Company who were the subject of the bestselling book written by historian Stephen E. Ambrose and published in the early 1990s. The book was then adapted into a television miniseries, it was called Band of Brothers.
Easy Company exploits as a result are well known including those of Winters himself who was often noted as a commander who led from the front. On D-Day he landed in France without a weapon or equipment “Not a good way to start begin a war.” he later recalled. Later that day he led twelve men in a successful attack of a German gun battery consisting of roughly 50 enemy and four 105mm Howitzers. The Howitzers were firing onto a causeway exit at Utah Beach where US troops had landed. The successful attack saved countless Allied lives. It’s still taught at West Point as a textbook assault on a fixed position. His war was just beginning, he later served in Operation Market Garden and was Battalion XO when the 101 famously held the line at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Sgt. Floyd Talbert, one of the many men under his command wrote to him a the end of the war “I would follow you into hell. When I was with you I knew everything was absolutely under control.” On the evening of 06JUN1944 Lt Winters lay down to sleep and made a promise to himself: if he lived through the war, he was going to find an isolated farm somewhere and spend the remainder of his life in peace and quiet. He did. Happily married for 52 years he leave behind his wife Ethel Estoppey and two children.
Talbert once wrote to him later in life “Do you remember the time you were leading us into Carentan? Seeing you in the middle of that road wanting to move was too much!…Dick this can go on and on. I have never discussed these things with anyone on this earth. The things we had are damn near sacred to me.” Talbert was and is right. Some things are sacred.
Some people too.
20 thoughts on “MAJOR RICHARD WINTERS”
Thanks for a fitting tribute to this brave man, Lloyd.
The book and TV series were both excellent, and gave a real insight into the terrors of day to day combat, as well as the relentless nature of the later stages of the war.
Best wishes, Pete.
An excellent post about a brave man. I just love it when you find out that the person in the post lives to be 92…a bit like the crew of the Memphis Belle. I suppose it’s because so many of them didn’t.
Care to fill us in more about the Memphis Belle crew? I’d be interested to know.
A great tribute to an honorable and courageous man.
I read the memoir by Buck Compton and started on this one but handed it back to the library years ago and never got back to it. I don’t need to tell you this, they were a special breed.
You said it Lloyd!!
A fine tribute, Lloyd. I can’t think of many men I’d follow into hell with the assurance I’d survive when the shooting stopped. Thanks for introducing Dick Winters to me today.
Thank you Cindy, it’s the last of the ones I did for a newsletter a few years ago. I wrote it just after Major Winters had passed in January 2011. I’ve never forgotten Talbert’s words. Something special about that type of bond.
It can’t be easy to find words to do justice to a man like Richard (Dick) Winters but you managed it. Beautifully written Lloyd!
Thanks Paul, but Ambrose and Winters themselves wrote books about it. They really did justice to the story.
Nice tribute, Lloyd, to an American hero, a citizen soldier, an airborne volunteer.
I thought you might appreciate one about a paratrooper Don. You guys are nuts, jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft.
Would you believe we jumped for an extra 55 bucks a month.
What an awesome thing to share.
Thanks Jay, he was quite the man.
What a wonderful post! I was glad to hear that after all he had been through, Major Winters was able to achieve his dream of a quiet, happy life after the war.
He certainly earned it, I’m always touched by tales of war when soldiers declare a truce for a while on the battlefield. Really brings home the futility and loss of war. Why are they dying when they all just want to go home and live. We can’t forget their sacrifice.
Yes, I agree with you about that.
Thanks for stopping by Bun.
You’re welcome! 🙂