Winters, Richard Davis “Dick”, born 21-01-1918 in Epharata, Pennsylvania, to Richard Nagle Winters and Edith Esbenshade Winters. His father was 26 when his son was born. Born August 19, 1891, he was the sixth generation of a family that traced its American roots to Timothy Winters, an Englishman who emigrated to colonial Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century.. His mother was a kind but reserved woman; at family gatherings, she and young Dick sat quietly and exchanged smiles amid the noisy chatter of the rest of the family. Dick moved to nearby Lancaster when he was eight years old. He graduated from Lancaster Boys High School in 1937 and matriculated to Franklin and Marshall College. At Franklin and Marshall, Winters was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity and participated in intramural football and basketball as a member of Upsilon Chapter. He had to give up wrestling, his favorite sport, and most of his social activities for his studies and the part-time jobs that paid his way through college. He graduated in 1941 with the highest academic standing in the business college. The war had broken out in Europe, and he enlisted in the Army. Winters enlisted in the army on 25-08-1941, in order to shorten his time in service. In September he underwent basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. Afterwards he remained at Camp Croft to help train draftees and other volunteers, while the rest of his battalion was deployed to Panama. In April 1942 he was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was there he met his friend Lewis “Nix” Nixon,
with whom he served throughout the war in the 101st Airborne Division . After the war, Nixon worked at his family’s Nixon Nitration Works in Edison (then Raritan Township), New Jersey, alongside his father, Stanhope, and longtime friend, Dick Winters. Lewis Nixon died of complications from diabetes in Los Angeles, California, on January 11-01-1995, age 76. Dick Winters gave the eulogy at Grace’s request.
Winters was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduation from OCS on 02-07-1942. In February 1944, First Lieutenant Thomas Meehan III
was given command of Easy Company, with Richard Winters. Meehan remained in command of the company until the Normandy invasion, when at approximately 1:15 a.m. on June 6, 1944, D-Day, the C-47 Skytrain transporting the company headquarters section was shot down by German anti-aircraft fire, killing everyone on board. Winters jumped that night and landed safely near Sainte-Mère-Église. Less luck had private John Steele who was caught on a piller church spire after having lost his weapon during the drop, Winters was able to orient himself, collect several paratroopers, including members of the 82nd Airborne , and proceed toward the unit’s assigned objective near Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. With Lieutenant Meehan’s fate unknown, Winters became the acting commanding officer of Easy Company, with sniper Darrel “Shifty” Powers Frederick “Fritz ” Niland Donald George Malarkey Clifford Carwood, Lipton and Forrest Guth, for the duration of the Normandy campaign.
Along the causeway to Utah Beach stands a new monument to combat leadership, dedicated June 6, in memory of Maj. Richard Winters, who led paratroopers from Company E, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, during the D-Day landings. In September 1944, the 506th PIR took part in Operation Market Garden, an airborne operation in the Netherlands. They liberated my hometown Eindhoven on September 17th . On 05-10-1944, a German force launched an attack on the 2nd Battalion’s flank, and threatened to break through the American lines. At the same time, four men in an Easy Company patrol were wounded. Returning to the headquarters, they reported that they had encountered a large group of Germans at a crossroads about 1.300 yards to the east of the company command post in estate Schoonderlogt.
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Winters took one squad from 1st Platoon, and moved off toward the crossroads, where they observed a German machine gun firing to the south, toward the battalion headquarters. After surveying the position, Winters then led the squad in an assault on the gun crew..Soon after taking the position, the squad took fire from a German position opposite them. Estimating that this position was held by at least a platoon, Winters called for reinforcements from the rest of the 1st Platoon, and led them in an assault. Later it was discovered there were at least 300 Germans. On October 9, Winters became the battalion executive officer, following the death of the battalions’ former XO, Major Oliver Martin Horton.
Horton was killed in action on 05-10-1944. Although this position was normally held by a major, Winters filled it while still a captain. On 16-12-1944, German forces launched a counter-offensive against the Western Allies in Belgium. After the 101stAirborne was moved by truck to the Bastogne area on December 18. Still serving as executive officer of the 2nd Battalion, Winters took part in the defense of the line northeast of Bastogne near the town of Foy during what became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The entire 101st Airborne and elements of the 10th Armored Division, nickname “Tiger Division” battled about 15 German divisions, supported by heavy artillery and armor, for nearly a week before the U.S Third Army under George Smith Patton broke through the German lines surrounding Bastogne. After being relieved, the 2nd Battalion carried out an attack on Foy on 09-01-1945. On 08-03-1945, following the 2nd Battalion’s move to Hagenau, Winters was promoted to major and shortly afterward he was made acting battalion commander of 2nd Battalion, when Lieutenant Colonel Strayer was elevated to the regimental staff. Second Battalion saw little combat after this. Robert Lytle Strayer
died old age 92 on 18-12-1990 in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Death and burial ground of Winters, Richard Davis “Dick” Band of Brothers.
Winters, a resident of Hershey, died on 02-01-2011, old age 92, at an assisted living facility in nearby Campbelltown, Pennsylvania. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for several years. Winters had requested a private, unannounced funeral service, which was held on 08-01-2011. Dick Winters was buried on the Bergstrasse Evangelical Lutheran Church cemetery in Epharata, Pennsylvania, in a private ceremony. He is buried next to his parents in the Winters’ family plot. His grave is simple marked Richard D Winters WW II 101st Airborne.
Ethel Winters, a Rutgers University graduate and wife of Dick Davis Winters for 63 years, seemed happiest by her husband’s side, friends said. She waited for him during World War II when he was a first lieutenant with E Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.