Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dick Winters, American Hero

On June 6th, 1944, 1st Lt Dick Winters parachuted behind German lines, assembled a small strike team, and neutralized four enemy artillery pieces that were wreaking havoc on nearby Utah Beach. The Brecourt Manor Assault, as it was later dubbed, represented one of the most brilliant examples of small unit assault tactics in recent military history. Winters had no intelligence on the size of the enemy force holding the guns or the structure of the German defenses. With a numerically inferior force, Winters evaluated the situation and, by brilliantly employing his limited firepower to maximum effect, swiftly routed the Germans and destroyed all four "Kraut 88s."

Winters was awarded the Army's second highest decoration for his heroism, the Distinguished Service Cross. Sixty years later, Tom Hanks depicted the successful assault in his widely acclaimed mini-series, Band of Brothers.

Now, a group led by two of Winters' soldiers are working to permanently entrench the assault on Brecourt Manor into the annals of history, by raising money to construct a statue of Winters near Utah Beach. Via Blackfive, former Easy Company soldiers Babe Heffron and Bill Guarnere are leading the charge:
...both 87, the veterans are fighting together again, this time for a Normandy monument that honors their former commander, Richard Winters, and leadership of the Americans on D-Day.

"He was a good man and a good officer," Guarnere said of Winters, who has been in ill health in recent months and no longer gives interviews. "He knew what he was talking about and took care of his men. A monument is a wonderful idea."
via The Weekly Standard