Monday, January 10, 2011
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
We have lost a true hero.
Major Richard D. Winters, born Jan 21, 1918, has passed away. Most know him from the HBO mini series "Band of Brothers" where he was portrayed by Damien Lewis. He was born in Ephrata, Pennsylvania and moved to nearby Lancaster when he was eight years old.
Major Winters had a distinguished military service, being involved in the Battle of Normandy, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.
His awards include:
Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze Star (2)
Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Croix de guerre
French Liberation Medal
Oorlogskruis (a military decoration of both France and Belgium)
Belgian WWII Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Major Winters was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his leadership at Brécourt Manor, but due to the quota system this was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Military's second highest award for combat valor.
Despite his numerous awards Major Winters was humble about his service. When people asked him if he was a hero, he liked to answer the way his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney, did. “No,” Ranney said. “But I served in a company of heroes.” That became the tag line for the miniseries.
Ambrose, the author of “Band of Brothers,” said in a 2001 BBC interview that he hopes young people say. “I want to be like Dick Winters.”
“Not necessarily as soldiers, but as that kind of leader, that kind of man, with basic honesty and virtue and an understanding of the difference between right and wrong,” Ambrose said.
Winters died on January 2, 2011. He had requested a private, unannounced funeral service, which was held on January 8, 2011.
"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." ~ John F. Kennedy
Good Bye Sir and Thank you for your service and your example,
Dan Emplit WBFD
US Navy (1986-1992)