Captain Lewis Nixon was the S-2 (Intelligence Officer) for the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Lewis Nixon was born on 30 September 1918 in New York City. He was the grandson of Lewis Nixon, a battleship designer. He went to Yale and to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became owner of his family's Nixon Nitration Works.
In 1941, Nixon enlisted in the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and completed Basic Training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He then attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. While there, he met Richard Winters. He left a 2nd Lieutenant, and was assigned duty at Fort Ord, California attached to a MP (Military Police) unit. He joined the Paratroopers early on along with Winters, and was assigned to Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division as commander of 2nd Platoon. He was placed under the command of 1st Lieutenant Herbert Sobel. Sobel was strict, reminding Nixon of his headmaster at school.
During training, Nixon was moved to Battalion staff (apparently as a request to get away from Sobel), and was made S-2. He then earned his jump wings at Fort Benning and completed the rest of his training at Camp Mackall. He and his unit were later sent to Aldbourne, England.
On 6 June 1944, Nixon dropped into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord, and managed to link up with Battalion headquarters. Here, he was given a map by Winters, detailing all the German artillery positions in Normandy, and, realizing its importance, ran 3 miles to Utah Beach to pass it up the chain of command. Command was so thrilled with the map, that they sent the first two tanks that landed at Utah Beach to aid the 101st, providing Nixon a ride back to Battalion headquarters.
During Operation Market Garden, part of the Allied plan to recapture Holland, Nixon was nearly killed when a stray shot glanced off his helmet, lightly burning the side of his head. Later on he was promoted to Captain, and was made Regimental S-2.
In the Battle of Bulge, Nixon received a telegram, informing him he was selected to go to the States on a War Bond drive. He didn't want to go, and he told Winters that he could be replaced by 1st Lt. Peacock, who was a new officer who was deemed "Too G.I." and unpopular with the Company.
Nixon then participated in the occupation of Germany. He was the focus of an episode, which was set there and titled "Why We Fight". He was eventually demoted to Battalion S-3 because of his fondness for liquor. During the occupation, he got a letter saying his wife was divorcing him, and that she was taking everything.
At Landsberg, they eventually came to a concentration camp, which revealed to Nixon and the men the horrors of the Holocaust, and showing him why they were fighting. They eventually captured Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" and the war thereafter ended, with Nixon having not fired a single shot. Nixon was eventually 'given' first pickings to Herman Goering's alcohol storeroom by Winters.
After the war, Nixon married Grace Umezawa in 1956, and gave up alcohol. He and Winters remained good friends all their lives. Winters was best man at Nixon's wedding to Grace. They lived at Grace's hilltop home in Sherman Oaks, CA until his death on January 11, 1995 due to complications from diabetes.
Nixon was a friendly, easy-going officer described by Winters as "a free spirit who enjoyed the wild life and partied with the best of them." While Nixon was an exemplary officer in the field, he never fired his carbine in the line of duty, despite serving in Holland, Normandy and Bastogne; the latter particularly surprising according to Winters. Nixon was rather cynical of his lack of action, leading to a dismal outlook on the war after he lost his squad when jumping in to Germany. He wasn't away from the front lines however, almost being shot in the head when the Company retreated from their attack on a town in Holland, saved by his helmet and was an observer in reserve in other battles such as the battle of Foy.
CIB (Combat Infantryman Badge)
Parachutist Badge with 3 combat stars
American Defense Medal
European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon with 3 Battle Stars and a Bronze Arrowhead
World War Two Victory Medal
World War Two Army of Occupation Award with Germany Clasp
French Croix de Guerre (Cross of Valor)
Presidential Unit Citation with Bronze Oak Leaf
5 Overseas Service Stripes
Ruptured Duck Patch (WWII Discharge Patch)