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Richard 'Dick' Winters, 'Band of Brothers' inspiration, dies at 92

Richard 'Dick' Winters of Easy Company, Band of Brothers Retired Maj. Richard "Dick" Winters, a World War II veteran made famous by the miniseries "Band of Brothers," died last week in Pennsylvania at 92 after a years-long battle with Parkinson's disease.

The leader of the Army 101st Airborne division's Easy Company was among those Stephen Ambrose talked to for his 1992 book "Band of Brothers," which Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg brought to the HBO small screen in 2001. In addition to dramatizations of Easy Company's exploits, including the invasion of Normandy, the miniseries featured documentary interviews with the company's surviving veterans, Winters among them.

"He was one hell of a guy, one of the greatest soldiers I was ever under," said Edward Heffron, 87, who had the nickname "Babe" in the company, and said thinking about Dick Winters brought a tear to his eye.

"He was a wonderful officer, a wonderful leader. He had what you needed, guts and brains. He took care of his men, that's very important." Heffron was portrayed by actor Robin Laing.

Winters was portrayed in the 2001 miniseries by British actor Damian Lewis, who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the role.

Damian Lewis as Richard Winters in Band of Brothers "Band of Brothers" actor Scott Grimes shouted out on Monday: "Love you major dick winters!! You changed many lives!!"

When people asked whether he was a hero, Winters echoed the words of his World War II buddy, Mike Ranney (played by Stephen Graham): "No, but I served in a company of heroes."

Winters asked that news of his Jan. 2 death be kept private until after his funeral. Read a full obituary here.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: (top) A December 1945 photo of retired Maj. Richard "Dick" Winters, who died Jan. 2. Credit: Courtesy of retired Sgt. Maj. Herman W. Clemens

(bottom) Damian Lewis, left, and David Schwimmer as Winters and Herbert M. Sobel in "Band of Brothers." Credit: David James / HBO

 
Comments () | Archives (13)

Thank you Major Winters for your service. You are an American hero and will never be forgotten

God Bless you Major Winters and your family.

A very sad day rest in peace

Its because of men like you that make me proud to be an American .
thank you for your great service to this country !!!!

Major Winters you will be sorely missed. I never had the pleasure of knowing you personally but I saw the mini-series "Band of Brothers" and read your book "Beyond Band of Brothers". You were a great patriot and an amazing man. I would love to have had the opportunity to have met you. I will end with a quote from episode one that I hope you had the opportunity to fulfill. God Bless You Sir.

"That night, I thanked God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. I also promised that if some way I could get home again, I would find a nice peaceful town and spend the rest of my life in peace. "

Another of the greatest generation gone. A leader of men, a man's man. May God bless Dick Winters and his family. You will never be forgotten.

You may not have considered yourself a hero Major, but i certainly do. I would not live in peace and freedom were it not for men like you and the rest of easy company. Your sacrifice and service are not lost on me. May God Bless You and all soldiers who freed the world during that time. I hope that you find your quiet peace now that the Lord has called you home.

A humble and honorable man - Rest In Peace Major Dick Winters. We should all be thankful to men like this who did what had to be done in WW2 so we have the freedom we take for granted everyday. Pay your respects to him and every other man who fought for you and all those men that never got to come home.

God bless you sir from England

As an exserviceman in the UK I have been always respectful of our brothers in arms no matter what service or country we live in. Major Winters has been a brilliant role model to everyone and such a brave man. He will be sorely missed by his Band of Brothers and also his cousins in the UK.

Rest in Peace!
Kindest Regards
Pat aka Buccaneer

Rest in Peace Maj. Winters, you and your entire generation saved this world from a tyrannt. God Bless you and your family, you will be missed greatly!

Very sad news to hear that another great man has passed, you were a true hero to me and thank-you for all that you and your men did for us the younger generation,
Thank you may you rest in peace, you will never be forgotten.
A true gentleman and hero to me

Granted he was very old, and I'm sure he lived an extremely fulfilling life. For some reason though, when I heard about his passing it hit me hard. God bless you and all that you've done for your men and this country. I will surely never forget it.

My the lord receive him as a hero and a person who changed many lives. In his privet life and his service to his country. I bought his book and saw the Series "Band of Brothers". Every June 6th, I see the entire series. I'm a former Grunt myself. I know what these men went through from Boot Camp to the invasion of Panama, to Kuwait. If the series is like real life, He was the essence of an officer and a gentlemen. I also voted so that major winters would be given the Congressional Metal of Honor.


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