Today marks the 75-year anniversary of D-Day, and it’s a great time to remember Richard Winters and the brave paratroopers.
Richard Winters served as an officer in Easy Company, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, and led the charge against the Germans on that fateful day in France when America showed up to liberate Europe from the boot of the Nazis. Just how badass where the paratroopers? Well, many of them hit the ground without a weapon, which is exactly what happened to the legendary warrior on June 6, 1944.
Warfare History Network wrote the following about Winters hitting the ground without a weapon:
The C-47 transport plane he had just jumped out of had been flying too fast and too low for a safe fall. The prop blast had ripped off his leg bag, which was filled with equipment, as he exited the plane. He described his short drop as “too close for comfort.”
With only his knife, Winters approached an Airborne soldier with two rifles. Winters was about to ask for one, but the trooper was shaking so badly with fright that Winters merely said to him: “Follow me.” He spent the next few hours gathering men and getting situated. When he drove his knife into the ground to drape a poncho over his head to examine a map with a flashlight, someone stole the knife. A soldier handed him a grenade. Eventually he came across a dead American and picked up his rifle and ammunition.
Easy Company was tasked with taking out German artillery firing down on the boys on the beaches, and the enemy had absolutely no idea what was about to hit them when Winters and company showed up.
The airborne soldiers landed spread out all over behind the German line hours before the beach landing and unleashed hell on them. (RELATED: Watch ‘Band Of Brothers’ Scenes In Honor Of Memorial Day)
American guys armed with M1s, Thompson submachine guns, BARs and whatever they could scrounge cut loose as they stopped the artillery from raining down.
It didn’t end there. They then took the town of Carentan so armor from the beaches could link up, repelled a German offensive and sent a massive middle finger the whole way to Hitler. Without Winters leading the way, I’m not sure Easy Company could have gotten the job done.
Watch some of the moments as shown in HBO’s hit mini-series “Band of Brothers“:
Hitler honestly thought he could take over the world. He got slapped in the face by what I like to call a massive dose of reality when he realized he was no match for American boys hitting the beaches and falling behind the line.
June 6, 1944, was a day of reckoning for the Nazis. America kicked down the front door of Europe, introduced ourselves in style and then walked right to Germany to end arguably the worst war the world had ever seen.
Our brave paratroopers are a shining example of American exceptionalism and what it means to represent everything great about this country.
We owe all the brave men who picked up a weapon to fight on this day 75-years ago a massive debt. They liberated Europe from an evil that modern generations couldn’t possibly ever imagine.
Also, I encourage all of you to watch “Band of Brothers” and read the book if you haven’t already. The story of Winters and the rest of the men involved is truly an unreal story.