Dick Winters, a decorated Army officer whose World War II service was recounted in the best-selling book and HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," died Jan. 2. News reports listed his age at 92.
Based on the 1992 book by historian Stephen E. Ambrose, the HBO mini-series came out in 2001 and was produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
The story follows the tragedies and triumphs of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, E Company.
To Mr. Winters, these citizen-soldiers came to be known as the men of Easy Company -- paratroopers who jumped into combat on June 6, 1944 above Normandy, France.
According to Ambrose's account, Easy Company suffered 150 percent casualties throughout the war.
One of the soldiers who served in Easy Company, David Webster, once wrote that among his colleagues the Purple Heart "was not a decoration but a badge of office."
Mr. Winters, who separated from the Army at the rank of major, and his men fought together through D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge and later occupied Adolf Hitler's mountainside retreat, the Eagle's Nest, near Berchtesgaden.
A charismatic officer who led by example, Mr. Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross, the country's second highest decoration for valor, while conducting combat operations on D-Day.
Mr. Winters led a small group of men on a raid of German cannon emplacements near Utah beach on Normandy's coastline.
While taking out the heavily fortified bunker, Mr. Winters and his men killed 15 German soldiers and took 12 more as prisoners, helping to save countless American lives from the withering cannon fire.
Later in the war, one of Mr. Winters's soldiers, Floyd Talbert, wrote a letter to the officer from a hospital in Indiana expressing gratitude for his loyalty and leadership.
"You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you," Talbert wrote to Mr. Winters in 1945. "I would follow you into hell."
For Mr. Winters, his soldiers were his Band of Brothers and their experiences together in the war "created a bond between the men of E company that will last forever."
A man I never knew, but admired from the book and TV series. May he rest in peace.
Here's a video tribute to him.