The United States has lost one of its treasured heroes. Richard C. Winters, whose chronicles of the European war from the viewpoint of a junior officer in the 101st Airborne Division inspired Stephen Ambrose to write Band of Brothers (made into the acclaimed HBO miniseries), died on 2 January 2011 after a long illness. He was 92 years old. We who espouse the warrior ethos should pause and remember him, and his magnificent recollections of those humble heroes who fought and suffered and endured and sometimes died, to defeat Nazi Germany and liberate Europe. For anyone who has not seen the HBO series Band of Brothers, it is recommended viewing from start to finish. I had the privilege of hearing Dick Winters speak about 15 years ago. His words were as inspirational half a century after the war as they were as he led Easy Company into the fight. A leader and a warrior, through and through. He shall be missed.

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Semper Fidelis, Major Winters. The Army never had a finer one.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Army, Books, History, Marine Corps, Navy

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  • Byron

    A giant has left us and the world is a smaller place for it. MAJ. Winters should have received the Medal for his assault on the 88mm position the second day, and in fact he was nominated for it. Unfortunately, some chair warming SOB denied it. Never mind, for anyone who saw the excellent mini-series (which was vetted by MAJ. Winters and the survivors of his Band) or read the book knows that he was the consumate warrior.

  • Smiley1081

    Thanks, Major.

  • Wharf Rat

    Thank you Major Winters – good and faithful servant.

  • Matt Yankee

    Thankful he shared his story so many years later. One of the greatest of The Greatest Generation.

    Godspeed Major.

  • Paul

    The gentleman epitomized the ideal of selfless sacrifice and leadership by example. I’d follow him through whatever he deemed necessary to complete the mission.

    Rest in Peace, Major.

  • Thank you for posting this

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Hey, admin, it’s what you pay me for! 🙂

  • Jerry

    He passed on the 2nd, but his death wasn’t announced until this past Sunday evening. He didn’t want to make a fuss, but wanted only to be put into the ground by his family and friends quietly. He was humble unto the end, which is why we revere and respect him. He shall be missed more that he could know. We looked at him and saw not ourselves, but who we hoped we could become.

  • Surfcaster

    Godspeed, Major.

  • Richard

    Thank you for your service Major, you will be missed. Rest in Peace, Sir.

  • CuraheeCandy

    God speed to the good Major. May he land oh so softly on this, his final jump. Thank you Major Winters. Curahee!

  • Beth Galloway

    I didn’t know until tonight that Dick Winters had passed away. I was wondering about him,and so I checked. I have been crying ever since I found out. I have felt so attached since watching Band of Brothers, and learning what a great,strong,heroic leader and person that he was. I am very saddened. We have lost a great man. I hope and pray he is with our Lord. God bless him and his family. Beth

  • Colin Rumary CSM

    Here we are on the last day of 2011, and I just finished Band of Brothers for the goodness knows how many’th time. So I looked to see who has left us this year as these gentlemen get older and older and there will soon be so few left. It saddened me deeply to find out that both Shifty Powers and the Major have passed by without my knowledge. This incredible series of Hanks and Spielberg really was a piece of art, as in no other presentation have I found myself knowing and appreciating such a group of individuals. So much so, that when playing Reveille at Rememberance Day this year, I could not bring myself to do it for a moment as I began thinking of the series and the men of Easy. A truly powerful series worthy of these men, and bringing home the truth and the evil to non-war people such as myself.
    Thanks Major, becaue tonight not only has another year passed, but another brave hero among heroes has gone to be with his Lord.
    Amen and Amen. Currahee!