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May 23, 2008

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Dick Winters

He is 90 this year, a frail old man gripped by Parkinson's disease. But in 1941, when he went to war, he was a recruiting-poster-handsome 6-footer, a lieutenant in one of the toughest units ever to wear American uniforms--Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Winters

He became an officer because he saw incompetent officers and swore that he could do better. He went Airborne because he wanted to be part of an elite unit, with men he could depend on alongside him. But like every man who fought in that war he was a reluctant soldier;  he wanted nothing more than to get the job done and go home.

When his unit shipped to England Winters was billeted with an English family and had a room to himself. In the spare time he had, he locked himself into that room with a book of tactics and turned himself into a soldier--as it turned out, a remarkable one.

He was brave--unfailingly and almost suicidally so. The men of his unit who survived marvel that he lived. He always put his soldiers first. He was always fair. And in combat, he always made the right decisions. In the first action he commanded, his squad took out a German artillery emplacement, doing it with such efficiency that the action is still used at West Point as a model of how to attack a fixed position.

He was given the Distinguished Service Cross, and there are people working today to have it upgraded to the Medal of Honor. But Dick Winters shows no interest; he agrees with the other paratroopers who jumped on Normandy that the real heroes are the men who lie there forever.

When Band of Brothers aired in 2001, Dick Winters became a celebrity. His mail--already considerable--grew to the point where he was unable to answer it. He does not believe that he is a celebrity, or that he deserves fame. He sees himself simply as a soldier who did the best he could and was lucky to emerge from the war alive. He knows that he and Easy Company are only representatives for other men and other units who fought just as hard and suffered just as much, and that it was by sheer chance that he--and they--became famous.

There are men just like Dick Winters wearing the uniform today, but it is not their fate to serve in a war where the sides are clearly drawn and a united country stands behind them. We will probably never know their names, but that does not detract from what they are or what they do for us.

Monday, May 26, is a good time to thank them.

         

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Comments

BA

I'm proud to see that some still respect the Military and our Veterans. It's about time that our Military got some of it's stature back. We've been taking an a.. kicking from the liberals like the Clintons for far too long. The average citizen hasn't got a clue. They're living in a different world. I learned to hate Richard Nixon for granting amnesty to draft dodgers/traitors. When the work ethic in this country went down the drain it was mainly because of doing away with the DRAFT. The private sector owed the Military a large debt for training people to take orders, get the heck out of bed in the morning and go to work, and to be tidy, neat, and clean. Since the Military Obligation has been downgraded, the work ethic has gone to s..t. It's time for all Veterans to stand tall and band together. Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. BA/USN/1964-1968. There's a hell of alot of HEROES out there and in the grave but you'll never hear about most of them.

Will Becker

Thankyou Mr Petzal for your words and support of our military.

Dick Mcplenty

The likes of Dick Winters will never be seen again,for the simple fact that the america that created Dick Winters no longer exsists.

The irony of Dick Winters generation or truly the "greatest generation",is that due to the hardships they endured wether it be the great depression or a world war,they managed to raise one of the most useless generations known as the baby boomers.A bunch of silver spoon mfer's that have since managed to spawn the X and Y generation,which is arguably even more worthless then they are.

Can't see how anybody could ever confuse what took place in world war two,with the abortion that has taken place in iraq.

brian

You would never see Dick Winters' America run by Obama

Dick Mcplenty

Hopefully nobody will have to see that POS running america.

Dick Mcplenty

Hopefully nobody will have to see that POS running america.

Del in KS

My son gave me "Band of Brothers" as a gift. I've watched it many times. Dick Winters was/is a fine Soldier and an honorable man. One of our finest. Like Audie Murphy he was a survivor.

To all who don't know. The "Screaming Eagles" I served with in 'Nam (C CO. 1/501 Infantry) were all Airmobile. Meaning we got there by helicopter. Sometimes we had to rappell down a rope but The 101st was and I expect still is Airmobile in 'Nam. My 85 year old Uncle L.D.Wells served in the same company during WWII, was captured in France and was a POW until the war ended. He was a replacement and did not make the D-Day jump.
IMO a "leg" is just an Infantryman smart enough not to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft.

KUDOS to Dave for honoring our veterans.

Yep, there are some SOB's in our generation but there are also some damn fine soldiers too. Like my friend CSM Craig Maxum the toughest soldier I ever knew. He was an original member of D-force and on board that C-130 that burned in the Iranian desert. He told me they all expected to die in Iran but went anyway. The man could go for days without sleep. I lost track of Craig years ago but wish him well. Also knew MSG K. Stumpf who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in RVN.

Del in KS

IMO we should bring the draft back so the elitist pinko liberals would have to serve and maybe get their hands a little dirty.

Gman

I think we should bring the draft back with no deferments so Right Wing silver spooners like the Bush twins have to get their hands dirty, Del.

Jim in Mo.

I'll bet those girls would serve more honorably than Chelsy.

Dartwick

Honestly most of you disappoint me.

It was bad when that guy said the honoring of dead soldiers and veterans was just a ploy.

Memorial is day important for what it is and the memories should be celebrated.

But then most of you turn around and do just it as an excuse knee jerk politics.

Jim in Mo.

Dartwick,
Point well taken.

In other news;
Unfortunately in my neck of the woods its been raining like, well you know what. This is the biggie of parades here and I hope they can pull them off.

Jim in Mo.

Thomas,
Thanks for Hooahhh info, listening now and in 'favorites'.
Got a laugh out of military terms site. Been a long time since I heard some terms

semp

AAAAAAtennnnn Huttttttt ... May God Bless Dick Winters and all who serve!

Matt

For those who want to heard Blood on the Risers...

http://www.west-point.org/greimanj/west_point/songs/bloodontherisers.htm

Yep , Del

Yeah, who hasn't heard the "jump out of a perfectly good airplane" ditty.

There are two kinds of troops: Those with enough stones to be Paratroopers and those who wish they were....LOL

Happy Memorial Day

Del in KS

There are also those that have the stones to sign their posts.haha.

Today the last living veteran of WWI was in town to visit The WWI memorial and museum. Mr.Buckles is 107 yr old.

Tomorrow I'm taking the wife to visit her dad's grave. He was a pilot in the Navy 27 yrs. Flew in WWII, Korea and RVN. He was also involved in the H bomb testing. Bone cancer took John in 1986 at the age of 62. He took me Elk hunting in Colorado back in '79. I still have the mauser 3006 he used to shoot his Elk. The family believes his death was related to all the radiation exposure.

Jim in Mo.

Del,
Do you remember seeing on tv (history channel?) the testing of those bombs and the boys were practically sitting out there like they were going to watch a fireworks display? Talk about blind faith.

ishwooa

Off topic but too good not to pass along. Yesterday my friend who is making his second African hunt in June, our sons, and I decided to shoot a few prairie dogs. We shot everything from a .17 Rem to a 7 x 404. Then my friend, Frank, went back to the truck and returned with another rifle case. Upon opening it was the Heym .470 NE S x S that I mentioned he had custom built. He received it just a month or so ago. It also has a set of 20 gauge barrels which point like the finest from London. After attaching a Swarovski 1x-6x to some kind of claw mount we proceeded to shoot more p-dawgs. Talk about fun and very effective when we actually hit the target. By the way the targets we missed had dirt thrown on them so either way if it had been a cape buff he would have been hit. The double triggers take some getting used to but recoil was nothing like I had anticipated with 500 gr. Federal Bearclaws. I now have some empty brass to load for him to practice with before the hunt. Great rifle/shotgun combo with hand picked highly figured wood checkered about 24 lpi. I only wish I had the $30,000 to $40,000 to buy one.
We followed this little adventure up with four rounds of trap. After all of this we gathered around the trap house and said a prayer of thanks for all the men and women who have served and especially those who gave their lives or were wounded in order that the rest of us might enjoy days such as this...GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Del in KS

Jim in Mo.

Yes I do. My father in law said he observed one or more (I can't remember how many) nuclear blasts in the late 40's and/or early 50's. he was told to cover his face with an arm and not watch the blast. he said it was so bright he could see the bones in his forearm. He received the maximum radiation dose allowed at the time. The Gov tracked those guys in groups. John said he was the last one alive in his group. Most (like him) died from cancer.

He had some good war stories too. He was so good at flying the big 4 engine passenger planes John became an instructor. Grandad told me sometimes he would be out plowing and a huge plane would fly over low and tip it's wings. He knew it was John on a training flight from Pensacola. His flying time totaled over 2 years in the air. He had several close calls but never crashed a plane. He once landed at Liverpool in bad weather and low on fuel (just after the war). Radar was in its infancy but they used it for him to find his way down. John said he broke out of the low clouds and there was the runway right below. He sat 'er down and immediately lost 2 engines to fuel starvation. Only one engine ran until he taxied up.
Another time John landed in the Azores to refuel on Christmas eve. He taxied out and had just started his take off when the radio tower called and said they had a group of GI's looking for a hop to the states. That was the only time in 27 yr he ever aborted a take-off (a major NoNo). On Christmas morning he landed at Norfolk with all those guys on board. Many years later John was the Commander of American Legion Post 153 here in Olathe. At a National meeting the guy that called him from the tower that day walked up and asked him if he was that pilot.

Del in KS

Forgot to mention John also flew the Bob hope troup to RVN. He and Bob Barker were roommates in flight school.

Del in KS

John could have made big $ flying for the Airlines but he loved the Navy. He retired in '68 and was active in the VFW and American Legion nearly to the end. He never flew another plane after retiring.

remmy

I spent my memorial day listening to my grandmother tell me stories about my grandfather who served in the pacific and died before I got the chance to know him as well and I wish. I cant think of any better way to spend my day off from work. I challenge all of us young people to have these discussions, one day you wont be able to.

Jim in Mo.

Dave,
Just finished watching an hour program on History channel of the
d-day landing. This was a version I hadn't seen before, thought I had seen them all. Several men were interviewed but Dick Winters was the main man. He also was a big reason the city of Cains or Carne (whatever) was taken. He captured the maps for how Utah beach was defended and got them to Battalion.
He spoke very humbly and reverently about the men he served with. Nothing really about himself.

Dr. Ralph

Just got done playing Poker with an 80 year old man who was in Nam in 1969, came home for a year and went back in 1971. He retired after his second tour and 26 years of service because they were going to send him to Germany and he wanted to go back to the jungle. Said he enlisted hoping to fight in WWII but just missed out. There are heroes everywhere and I was proud to lose $80- to the man. GOD BLESS AMERICA




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