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Posted on Aug 17, 2007 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

In the Footsteps of Heroes

By Chad Weisensel

Day 8. Friday May 18th. Eindhoven to Arnhem.

Today we visit the site of one of the most famous battles of Easy Company called Crossroads. If you recall from the book or the film, this is the site in which Dick Winters leads a charge across an open field almost by himself for the first 10 seconds or so. By every account we had ever heard this actually happened the way it was portrayed. Winters tossed a smoke grenade and told his men to go on the smoke, Winters jumped up by himself and ran across an open field while the rest of his men waited for the smoke to appear. Winters ran to the top of the dike (and at this point he had no idea how many Germans were on the other side) and started shooting at hundreds of Germans resting on the other side. He had emptied two clips of his M1 Garand into the crowd before the rest of his men caught up.


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The night before this happened one of Easy Company’s men and a good friend to our Veteran Bill Wingett was killed. William Dukeman was apparently killed by a rifle grenade shot from the culvert by some Germans. Bill Wingett quietly stood looking in the direction in which his friend was killed, he didn’t say much but he didn’t have to. The look on his face said it all to me. Here was another place in which a friend, comrade and a brother in arms had lost his life.

The battlefield is so perfectly portrayed in the film. This was for me one of the high points of the tour so far.

We also were able to stop at one of Easy Company’s Headquarters in Holland and site of one of Dick Winters most famous pictures under the arch at Langoed Schoonderlogt. We all posed for a group photo as well as some single shots. My favorite picture from the tour is here.

We then made our way to the British Airborne Museum in Hartenstein. Lots of really nice displays inside the Museum, outside we once again posed with tanks and cannons.

Day 9. Saturday May 19th. Arnhem to Bastogne.

On our way to Bastogne we stopped at Margraten Cemetery. Here Bill Wingett’s good friend William Dukeman is buried along with other Easy Company men like Oliver Horton who was killed in the attack of Opheusden. We also met some very nice young men here at the Cemetery. There is a program in which people can volunteer to essentially adopt a grave site. They will spend there free time tending to the gravesite as well as do research on the men that are entombed here. Although the American Cemetery in Omaha is probably the most well known, this Cemetery is also very well laid out and almost as beautiful. Once again Bill was able to say hello and goodbye to his old friend. Bill has been very gracious to us, trying to explain his relationship to certain men. It was quite apparent that William Dukeman meant a lot to Bill as he had trouble getting the words to come out. It was another one of those moments that you will never forget and we owe it all to Bill and the men that gave everything they had once.


Well, here we are in Bastogne! From what everyone is saying this is certainly going to be a highlight for all involved. This is where the 101st Airborne became famous. The Battered Bastards of Bastogne. We were dropped off at Anthony Mcauliffe square and walked around Bastogne. We found lots of great shops here as well excellent food. We also had the opportunity to visit the Bastogne Historical center. After a quick lunch we then headed to what is referred to as "Cave Nuts", this is the actual building that General Mcauliffe gave the famous reply to the German commander. The actual room is pretty small, fitting only a handful of people at a time. Here I was able to get some great shots of Bill Wingett. Bill also has some not so fond memories of Bastogne, he was given a Purple Heart for having frozen feet. He said that of all the campaigns he was in Bastogne was the toughest, being so cold and hungry was hard on all the men.

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  1. Hi, this is a great page and i was in the same museum: bastogne Historical Center
    it was the greatest museum ever!!!!!!!!!

  2. Hello Chad glad you enjoyed your tour! I,m the Brit who has Harold Webb’s helmet,(to jog your memory) That your veteran kindly added his name to, He
    was a good man and i bet very entertaining company, Also in ,y collection is the jeep cap and shoulder eagle belonging to Ed pepping one of the medics
    from BoB bye for now Chris Freeman.

  3. Hello, this site is exactly what I have been searching for. I share your passion for these heroes and especially their campaigns. I know that Stephen Ambrose passed away, however, are these tours still going on or are people on their own when they visit these sites. Our WWII veterans are getting up there and I am not sure if they are still a part of the tours. In any event, thank you for publishing these wonderful comments and pics as well.


  4. Kathy please contact me on the forums. My name is Chad and I am under the name creeping death. Thanks for your interest and I can answer all your questions.

  5. I am trying to find out if my Grandfather is in the jake Power’s book about the 101st airborne in Normandy. My grandfather is now deceased but I do know that we was there that day and part of that unit. Can anyone help me check and validate and let me know if my Grandfather is in the book before i spend this kinbd of money on it that I really don’t have at this time. Thanks
    I can be emailed at Thanks

  6. Chad,

    What a great briefing you gave, thank you! My wife and I want to go on this tour this May, but we were wondering if anyone has been on the tour this past year 2009?? I talked to the folks at Stephen Ambrose tours and was told that they may not have an Easy Co veteran going this May, and they have Ron dong the tour by himself. So I wonder if the tour woudl still be a good thing?
    Thank you for any feedback.

  7. Hi Chad,

    Do you have an email address or better yet, a phone number where I can reach you to discuss a band of brothers trip? I heard from you some time ago but the email address that you used wouldn’t let me contact you again.