Dick Winters' contribution to American history was both simple and profound. He died last week at the age of 92 in Campbelltown, PA and is buried in a small Ephrata cemetery. Winters gained acclaim for his heroic leadership of Company E, "Easy Company", 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. He was, in the truest sense, a citizen-soldier. He answered the call of duty in war and led his troops with honor, dignity and bravery, and returned home in peacetime to work and raise his family. We will honor Major Winters on Thursday night at 8 on Smart Talk on WITF-TV. We welcome your calls and comments live at 1-800-729-7532 and at smarttalk@witf.org. You can also post a comment to www.facebook.com/witf.org."> Dick Winters' contribution to American history was both simple and profound. He died last week at the age of 92 in Campbelltown, PA and is buried in a small Ephrata cemetery. Winters gained acclaim for his heroic leadership of Company E, "Easy Company", 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. He was, in the truest sense, a citizen-soldier. He answered the call of duty in war and led his troops with honor, dignity and bravery, and returned home in peacetime to work and raise his family. We will honor Major Winters on Thursday night at 8 on Smart Talk on WITF-TV. We welcome your calls and comments live at 1-800-729-7532 and at smarttalk@witf.org. You can also post a comment to www.facebook.com/witf.org."> Dick Winters' contribution to American history was both simple and profound. He died last week at the age of 92 in Campbelltown, PA and is buried in a small Ephrata cemetery. Winters gained acclaim for his heroic leadership of Company E, "Easy Company", 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in World War II. He was, in the truest sense, a citizen-soldier. He answered the call of duty in war and led his troops with honor, dignity and bravery, and returned home in peacetime to work and raise his family. We will honor Major Winters on Thursday night at 8 on Smart Talk on WITF-TV. We welcome your calls and comments live at 1-800-729-7532 and at smarttalk@witf.org. You can also post a comment to www.facebook.com/witf.org."> Dick Winters: An American Hero | Smart Talk | witf.org
Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Dick Winters: An American Hero

Written by Craig Cohen | Jan 12, 2011 5:55 PM

Major Winters is known to many of us through the best-selling Stephen Ambrose book and the HBO miniseries, "Band of Brothers." Hollywood found gold, and we found inspiration, in his story of courage at one of America's darkest moments. He led his troops from the D-Day invasion – parachuting behind enemy lines at Utah Beach on June 6, 1944 – to fighting at the Battle of the Bulge, moving across Europe and liberating the concentration camp at Dachau, and finally reaching Hitler's Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden three days before the war ended in 1945. He earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his valor and sacrifice.

Men who served under Winters recall his calm leadership and wonderful sense of humor. "A great leader and a hell of a man," is how one of his soldiers put it in a tribute. Winters was born in Ephrata, moved as a child to Lancaster, graduated from Lancaster Boys High School and then Franklin & Marshall College. "Hanging tough" was his motto. Winters noted in his autobiography that success in war depends on character and bonding, not heroics. But heroics were a hallmark of his time in the army.

As the New York Times notes in his obituary, "Among many other missions, the book and the miniseries tell how Captain Winters climbed to the top of a dike near the village of Zetten, the Netherlands, on Oct. 5, 1944, and spotted hundreds of German soldiers on the other side. Had the Germans crossed over the dike, they would have posed a serious threat to American forces. Although his platoon was vastly outnumbered, Captain Winters ordered his troops to open fire. "With 35 men, a platoon of Easy Company routed two German companies of about 300 men," the book says. "American casualties were one dead, 22 wounded. German casualties were 50 killed, 11 captures, about 100 wounded.""

After the war, Winters bought a farm in Fredericksburg, PA, worked in the agricultural feed industry and raised two children with his wife, Ethel. The Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society maintains a museum that replicates the den in Winters' home and contains some of his World War II memorabilia. There is a condolence book which the public may sign for the rest of the month. A community memorial service is planned for March 19 at 2 p.m. at the Hershey Theatre, 15 E. Caracas Avenue in Hershey.

Our guests include former WGAL News 8 anchor Dick Hoxworth who produced and reported the television documentary, "Duty Bound: A Tribute to Dick Winters." We welcome your calls and comments Thursday night at 8.

Published in Smart Talk

Tagged under

back to top