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Maj. Winters was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his leadership at Brécourt Manor, but the recommendation was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second highest award for combat valor, due to the policy of awarding only one Medal of Honor per division (Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Cole was the 101st Airborne Division's soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for the Normandy Campaign). After the release of the Band of Brothers television miniseries, a letter-writing campaign to have Winters awarded the Medal of Honor retroactively was started, but so far without success.
Major Winters was 1st Lieutenant of Easy Company in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. He and his men parachuted into enemy territory during the early hours of D-day. After landing and finding his men, Winters realized that his Company Commander's plane went down. He was given command of Easy Company when dawn broke on D-day. Winters and a squad of twelve men were told to take out four German guns that were firing down upon the men on Utah Beach. Winters successfully completed his mission, destroying four guns at Brecourt Manor. Winters capturing of the guns on D-day is still taught at West Point today. While there, Major Winters found a map, pointing out every German defense firing upon Utah Beach. The map was passed up the ranks, and, though the Major will never admit it, saved many lives that day. Major Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions there. Only one Medal of Honor was awarded to his division; Major Winters did not receive it.
Throughout the course of World War II, Winters proved himself to be a leader. He led his men from England, to France, to Belgium, and Holland, and he eventually became Battalion Executive Officer and a captain. Captain Winters was then faced with his toughest challenge. He was to lead his men into the Ardennes Forest to hold the front line, while short of warm clothing, food, and ammunition. This experience in the Ardennes Forest, Foy, and Bastogne, would later be known as the Battle of Bulge. Winters faced the challenge as any good leader would; he cared for his men to the best of his ability.
The freezing men survived Christmas in snowy foxholes, while listening to the German soldiers sing "Silent Night." It was there that many of the men became united, where they began to realize how truly amazing Captain Winters was.
After surviving the Battle of the Bulge, Captain Winters was then promoted to Major. The planning of more patrols and liberating a concentration camp marked Easy Company's arrival into Germany. There, Major Winters and Easy Company were the first Americans to enter Hitler's Berchestgaden, or "Eagle's Nest," his own private hideaway. It was there that they received the news of Hitler's surrender. After such, Easy Company moved onto Austria.
In Austria, Winters was forced to try to find ways for his men to go home. It was thought that the United States would be invading Japan soon. To leave the Army, a man needed 85 points. Points were accumulated through wounds or Purple Hearts. As a result of this high number, usually only officers had enough points to make it home. The rest of these men, men who had simply joined up to fight for America, not knowing how long they would be gone, would now be stuck in Japan. Now, these men who had fought on D-day, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge, would begin to train to go to war with Japan.
Shortly after training began, news of the Japanese surrender reached the men. For the men of Easy Company, it would be D-day plus 434. They had not seen home in more than two years. Each man would be forced to re-enter the world back home as best he could.
That was sixty years ago. Some of the men of Easy Company are still alive today, and they are all fighting for the Medal of Honor for their commander who fought to protect them. In 2002, some of the surviving veterans traveled down to Washington, D.C., in a personal attempt for Winters Medal of Honor. Some of these veterans have passed on, some are in decline, and, yet, during their time here, they fought for something for Major Winters. Still, you have yet to sign. Again, why?
Sadly, this matter has become urgent because of both the increasing age of Major Winters and his health. He has written that his health was failing. Some who have seen him recently mentioned that he did indeed look frail. Sadly, with his increasing age, Major Winters also suffers from Parkinsons Disease.