U.S. Army M-1 Helmet Belonging to Maj. Dick Winters, Korean War
In the mid-1990s, Major Richard “Dick” Winters, the well-known D-Day commander of Easy Company, 101st Airborne Division, gave his Korean War era helmet to Robert Hoffman, a good personal friend of his who he knew was a military helmet collector. Mr. Hoffman kept the helmet in his personal collection until October 2011, when he gifted it to the Wilson History & Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, founded by Robby Wilson.
Major Winters wore this helmet after he was recalled to service for the Korean War, serving as a regimental training officer of the 364th Infantry Regiment stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, from 1951-1952. The helmet is a late WWII type with hinged chinstrap loops and a latter production heat lot number of 1189C (around early 1945). Featured on the front over the textured olive drab paint finish is a hand painted gold-colored oak leaf insignia for the rank of major.
The helmet liner features Winters’s name boldly in white on the front below another hand painted gold-colored oak leaf. The 364th Infantry Regiment coat of arms is well rendered on either side, hand painted in white, blue, and green above a silver scroll bearing the regiment’s motto, “Cross and Oak.” An officer’s vertical white stripe is painted to the back. Inside, the liner shows all the makings of late WWII construction with a light shade olive drab cotton twill webbing and leather sweatband. Winters positioned the back of the sweatband onto the rear neck strap, which was a popular adjustment during WWII.
Dick Winters’s storied World War II journey took him through some of the toughest fighting of the European Theater: Normandy, Market Garden, and Bastogne. He began the war as a lieutenant and platoon commander in E Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and ended the war in 1945 a battle-hardened veteran and commander of the 506th 2nd Battalion, holding the rank of major. Major Winters received several medals for his WWII service, including the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership on the successful assault against a German artillery battery at Brécourt Manor, which he was also recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was deeply respected by the troops serving under him for being a great combat leader.
After the war Major Winters was discharged from the Army and began working with his good friend Captain Lewis Nixon, whom he served with in the 506th, at Nixon Nitration Works in Edison, New Jersey. He married his wife Ethel in 1948. In 1951 the Army recalled Major Winters to active duty and he served as a training officer in the 364th Infantry Regiment stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Having seen enough combat and war, Major Winters hoped to avoid going to Korea and did so after he was offered the chance to resign his position shortly before being shipped out.
Major Winters worked several jobs after his discharge until settling down with his wife and family in Hershey, Pennsylvania, retiring in 1997. His heroic actions and those of “Easy” Company during World War II gained him worldwide fame through the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose and the HBO miniseries of the same name. In 2006 he published his memoir Beyond Band of Brothers. Major Richard “Dick” Winters passed away on January 2, 2011, at the age of 92.
|United States||World War II|
|Infantry Helmet||1941 — 1988|
|McCord Radiator and Manufacturing Company|