Major William Winter was ‘Marine’s Marine’
MADISON – Major William Ellis ‘Bill’ Winter was dedicated to the U.S. Marine Corps and felt serving in the corps was his duty and calling.
“He loved being a Marine, he loved his family, he loved God, and he loved his country,” daughter Amanda Winter said.
“My dad’s last set of orders took him to Beirut, Lebanon in May 1983. As Captain, he served as Supply Officer for Battalion Landing Team-BLT 1/8 stationed in Beirut as part of a multi-national peacekeeping mission,” Amanda said.
“On Oct. 23, 1983, my father, along with 240 other service members (mostly Marines), were killed when a suicide bomber drove a truck that was laden with explosives into the building that the Marines of BLT 1/8 were using as their barracks,” Amanda said.
Amanda noted that many people view this event “as the first shot fired in the Global War on Terrorism. It was the deadliest single day death toll for the Marine Corps since World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima and the deadliest single-day death toll for U.S. Armed Forces since the first day of the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive.”
Bill Winter received a posthumous promotion to Major. He could have been buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but his wife Melia decided on Athens City Cemetery.
“My mom thought it would be beneficial so she could take my brother Michael and me to visit his grave as frequently as we wanted,” Amanda said. Soon after Major Winter’s funeral, Melia moved her family to East Limestone to live in proximity to Bill’s relatives.
“I’m very thankful that he’s buried locally. I can place flowers on his grave and visit him with my children often,” Amanda said. While very Amanda’s children learned about Grand-daddy Bill.” During cemetery visits, Amanda shares about sacrifices by their grandfather and all soldiers and their families every day for our freedoms.
Major Winter’s grandchildren are Brookes and Harper Winter and Cary, Madison, Ainslee and Everley Moore.
Winter was born in Birmingham. His family primarily lived in Capshaw in Limestone County. He graduated from Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas and Auburn University, where he was a NROTC member.
He completed Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va., commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Winter earned multiple promotions, service medals and ribbons.
Amanda enjoys activities with Survivor Outreach Services and mentoring surviving families. An Army program, SOS assists Gold Star Families. Amanda plans for her children to ride as Grand Marshals in Madison Street Festival’s parade.