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Meeting a Hero: An Afternoon with Maj. Dick Winters | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Meeting a Hero: An Afternoon with Maj. Dick Winters

I recently changed cable providers and in the process of learning how to locate my favorite channels I discovered my new package included an On Demand feature, allowing me to access a long list of TV shows and movies from the online library. While I was browsing the library, I came across the HBO Series “Band of Brothers” and spent the remainder of the weekend watching every episode one after the other and remembering the day I was lucky enough to meet Maj. Dick Winters.

In the acclaimed miniseries and book “Band of Brothers,” we were introduced to the members of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.  As with any unit, Easy Company contained a host of characters, but as with any book or TV show it was necessary to focus on a few select members, and it must include a hero. Dick Winters was that hero. “Band of Brothers” could have easily been the story of Dick Winters. Viewers see him rise from being one 2nd Lt. among many to Easy Company XO, CO and eventually rise to the rank of Major and CO of the entire 2nd Battalion. Throughout the series, Winters is portrayed as a born leader who was always thinking of his men and an excellent tactical planner. I will leave it to those who served with him to make that determination. What I will comment on is the profound impact meeting him had on me.

Dick Winters
Maj. Dick Winters

In 2007, I was a Sgt. and representing my agency in the command center for a Presidential visit to the area. I had participated in several similar details and they were usually a couple hours of total boredom mixed with a few minutes of organized chaos as Air Force One landed and the President was quickly whisked away. As I arrived at the command post, I had no reason to expect this detail to be any different than those before and was even less enthusiastic when it was learned a delay in D.C. meant Air Force One would be almost an hour late. Then, as we were all settling in for a long afternoon, a young National Guard officer walked in and asked if a guest could wait with us – as many of us turned to see what he was talking about we recognized that visitor as Dick Winters.

Over the next hour, Maj. Winters quietly signed copies of the book for any of the officers who had a chance to run to the nearby bookstore to get one and answered questions posed to him. But what made the biggest impression on me was that someone who we all clearly regarded as a hero, someone who had recently been the subject of an award winning book and mini-series, appeared to be surprised at our reaction to his presence. He had just as many questions for us as we had for him. When the subject of being a hero came up, he simply replied that Hollywood exaggerates or that the real heroes were the men of Easy. He truly appeared to think that he was just an ordinary man forced to serve during extraordinary times who the writers and producers has picked to be the focus of the series – an honor he claimed could have gone to a host of other men more deserving.

The fact that Maj. Dick Winters did not claim to be a hero only strengthened my own belief that he truly deserved the honor.  I doubt I was the only one in the command center that afternoon who felt this way.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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