The Washington Post reports:
Richard “Dick” Winters, 92, a decorated Army officer whose courageous leadership through some of the fiercest combat of World War II was featured in the best-selling book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” died Jan. 2. He had Parkinson’s disease.
Stephen Ambrose’s 1992 book “Band of Brothers” followed the men of E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The group came to be known as Easy Company.
One of Easy Company’s officers was Maj. Winters, a charismatic and compassionate leader who entered Army service as a private and returned home after World War II as a major.
He and his men jumped into combat on June 6, 1944, above Normandy and later fought together through Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge.
One of the most harrowing experiences of his military service came in late April 1945. The men of Easy Company discovered a German working camp near Landsberg that was part of the Dachau concentration camp. Maj. Winters found wheels of cheese piled in a nearby cellar and ordered that the nourishment be distributed among the inmates.
“The memory of starved, dazed men who dropped their eyes and heads when we looked at them through the chain-link fence, in the same manner that a beaten, mistreated dog would cringe, leaves feelings that cannot be described and will not be forgotten,” Maj. Winters wrote of the experience. “The impact of seeing those people behind that fence left me saying, only to myself, ‘Now I know why I am here.'”