Early this year, the Veteran community lost one of its very best: Major Richard ‘Dick’ Winters passed away at age 92. He was the XO for Easy Company, 2/506 of the 101st when the unit conducted a combat jump into German held Normandy. When his commander did not report (later he would be identified as KIA), then Lieutenant Winters took command of Easy. What followed was one of the most legendary stories of small unit infantry action. Winters led a charge on artillery batteries firing on the landing beaches, which put the success of D-Day at risk. The aggressive assault on the batteries was not only instrumental in an Allied victory in Normandy, but it instructed future leaders for years to come. The assault is still taught to West Point cadets today.
The exploits of Major Winters became widely known after the book and miniseries Band of Brothers, where a generation seemingly disconnected from World War II was introduced to history that changed the world. The series premiere had a rendezvous with destiny all its own: the show debuted just two days before September 11, 2001. The country was in a fragile state after the attacks, and many found inspiration and hope watching the characters of Easy Company, lead by Major Winters. The men of Easy became celebrities afterward, particularly Major Winters. One can only gather that his humility persevered long after the war.