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MAJ Richard Davis “Dick” Winters

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MAJ Richard Davis “Dick” Winters

  • Birth 21 Jan 1918 Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death 2 Jan 2011 Palmyra, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Burial Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Memorial ID 63966599

World War II US Army Officer. He served as the commander of Easy Company (Company E), 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division, and the stories of he and his comrades were featured in the 2001 HBO television mini-series "Band of Brothers," based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. After graduating from Lancaster Boys High School, Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1937, he attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster where he participated in a variety of sports activities and was an academic scholar. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall in 1941 and enlisted in the US Army in August of that year. He attended basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. and remained there to help train draftees and other volunteers. In April 1942 he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia and was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduation in July 1942. He decided to join the parachute infantry and after completing his training, he returned to Camp Croft to train another draft as there were no positions available in the paratroopers at that time. After five weeks he received orders to join the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) at Camp Toccoa (formerly Camp Toombs) in Georgia, arriving in mid-August 1942, and was assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR. The 506th PIR was an experimental unit, being the first regiment to undertake airborne training as a formed unit. He initially served as a platoon leader in charge of 2nd Platoon, but in October 1942, he was promoted to first lieutenant and became the acting company executive officer, although this was not made official until May 1943. In September 1943 his unit was sent to England for additional intense training, in preparation of the invasion of Europe that was planned for the following year. In the early morning hours of D-Day (June 6, 1944), he parachuted and landed safely near Sainte-Mère-Église, France and became acting commander of Easy Company (the assigned commander was killed when his aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire), and he led the unit for the duration of the Normandy campaign. In July 1944 he was promoted to the rank of captain. He participated in Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands (September 1944) and the Battle of the Bulge in the Bastogne area of Belgium (December 1944 - January 1945). In March 1945 he was promoted to the rank of major and was made acting commander of the 2nd Battalion. In April 1945 the battalion carried out defensive duties along the Rhine River, before deploying to Bavaria later in the month. The following month, the 101st Airborne Division received orders to capture Berchtesgaden, Adolph Hitler's alpine retreat in Bavaria, where he spent the remaining days of the war. He remained in Germany until November 1945 and returned to the US where he was separated from the US Army later that month and officially discharged in January 1946. Among his military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the American Defense Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device, the World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, the French Croix de guerre with palm, the French Liberation Medal, Belgian War Cross with palm, and the Belgian World War II Service Medal. He also wore the Combat Infantryman Badge and the parachutist Badge with two combat stars. After the war, he worked for Nixon Nitration Works of Edison, New Jersey, rising to become general manager in 1950. In June 1951 he was recalled to active duty in the Army during the Korean War and was initially ordered to join the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky but it was changed to Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he was assigned as a regimental planning and training officer. While at Fort Dix, he volunteered for ranger school. He was ordered to deploy to Korea and travelled to Seattle, where during pre-deployment administration he was offered the chance to resign, which he did. He was discharged from the Army and returned to New Jersey where he became a production supervisor at a plastics adhesive business in New Brunswick. In 1972 he went into business for himself, starting his own company selling chocolate byproducts from The Hershey Company to producers of animal feed. He relocated to Hershey, Pennsylvania where he retired in 1997. During the 1990s, he was featured in a number of books and television series about his experiences and those of the men in Easy Company. In 1992 Stephen Ambrose wrote the book "Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest," which was subsequently turned into an HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers." He was also the subject of Larry Alexander's 2005 book "Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, The Man Who Led the Band of Brothers." His own memoir, "Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters," co-written by military historian and retired U.S. Army Colonel Cole C. Kingseed, was published in early 2006. He also gave a number of lectures on leadership to cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In May 2009, Franklin and Marshall College conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters upon him. He was portrayed in the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" by actor Damian Lewis. He died from complications of Parkinson's disease at the age of 92.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Calypsosmommy
  • Added: 9 Jan 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 63966599
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MAJ Richard Davis “Dick” Winters (21 Jan 1918–2 Jan 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 63966599, citing Bergstrasse Cemetery, Ephrata, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .