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Lewis Nixon (U.S. Army officer): Wikis

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Lewis Nixon
30 September 1918 – 11 January 1995 (aged 76)
Cpt Lewis Nixon.jpg
Captain Lewis Nixon
Nickname Blackbeard, Lew, Nix
Place of birth New York City, New York
Place of death Los Angeles, California
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941-1945
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards *Purple Heart
*American Campaign Medal
*European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
*World War II Victory Medal[1]
Relations -Katherine Page (wife)
-Stanhope W. Nixon (father)
-Lewis Nixon (naval architect) (grandfather)
-Sally Lewis Wood (grandmother)

Lewis Nixon (September 30, 1918 - January 11, 1995)[2] was a commissioned officer with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Nixon was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Ron Livingston.

Contents

Early life

Lewis Nixon was born to Stanhope Wood Nixon and Doris Ryer Nixon on September 30, 1918 in New York City. He was the elder brother of Blanche Nixon (born 1923) and Fletcher Ryer Nixon (who died in infancy in 1922).[3] He was a grandson of shipbuilder Lewis Nixon (1861-1940) and Sally Wood Nixon (died 1937). At age seven, Lewis took third place in the model yacht regatta at Conservatory Lake in Central Park on May 22, 1926, earning a gold and bronze medal in the 35-inch (890 mm) boat class.[4] As a youth, Nixon lived in New York City and Montecito, California; he traveled the world extensively, including Germany, France, and England. Nixon attended Yale University[5] for two years.[6]

He enlisted in the army on January 14, 1941 in Trenton, New Jersey.[6] On December 20, 1941, he married Katharine Page of Phoenix, Arizona.[7]

World War II

After graduating from Army Officer Candidate School in 1941 as a second lieutenant, Nixon made the decision to join the paratroops. He was assigned to Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Nixon went through the regimental unit training and pre-airborne training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, eventually training at many locations throughout the United States and England for the invasion of France.

Nixon was appointed as the 2nd Battalion intelligence officer[8], and showed enough skill at his job to be moved up to the regimental level as 506th Infantry S2, shortly after Easy Company took Carentan on June 12, 1944. He served in Normandy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, though he never fired a shot. However, in Holland he was hit by a stray bullet from a German MG-42 machine gun. The bullet went through Nixon's helmet, but only grazed his forehead and left a small burn mark. He developed a drinking problem,[9] and was eventually removed and assigned back down to the 2nd Battalion as the operations officer (S3), where he continued to display his skill at planning and operations, but did not have to deal with the politics and high visibility at the regimental level. In Berchtesgaden, he had first choice of a captured, extensive wine collection originally assembled at Hermann Göring's orders, which were confiscated from wineries across France and other occupied territories.[10][11]

Nixon was one of the few men of the 101st Airborne to jump with another division or regiment. On March 24, 1945, Nixon was assigned by General Maxwell Taylor as an observer with the 17th Airborne Division on Operation Varsity.[12] Nixon's plane took a direct hit after he and three others got out.[13] He is also one of a very few men in the 101st to earn three Combat Jump Stars on his Jump Wings.[12]

He ended the war with the rank of captain. He saw the defeat of Germany, and returned home in September 1945.[14]

He is known and remembered for his love of the blended whisky VAT 69.[15] This is commemorated several times in the book and miniseries Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. Lewis Nixon was also remembered as always having a source of whisky no matter where the company was.

After the war

After the war, Nixon worked at the family-owned Nixon Nitration Works in Nixon, New Jersey alongside his father, Stanhope. Stanhope had his share of vices as well. Wartime friend Richard Winters was offered a job by Nixon and eventually became a personnel manager at the firm.[16] After World War II, the plastics industry evolved from nitrate-based products to acetate-based products, and the company failed to make the transition.[16] In 1951, as the company downsized, it gave 48 acres (190,000 m2) of land, and a dam, to New Brunswick.[16]

Nixon had two failed marriages before marrying his last wife, Grace, in 1956.[15] He got his life back together and overcame his alcoholism during this marriage.[15]

Lewis Nixon died of complications from diabetes in Los Angeles, California, on January 11, 1995.

Nixon, New Jersey, is now a section of Edison Township; it is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey. The former site of the Nixon Nitration Works lies beneath Middlesex County College and Raritan Center Industrial Park.

Medals and decorations

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg
Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
Arrowhead device
Bronze service star
Bronze service star
Bronze service star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrowhead device
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
MasterBadge3Jumps.gif Parachutist Badge with 3 combat jump stars

Notes

  1. ^ DeAngelis, Frank. "Nixon's shadowbox". http://www.frankdeangelis.com/Captain%20Lewis%20Nixon.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-15.  
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index SSN 574-03-0785
  3. ^ "Died" New York Times. 1922-05-23.
  4. ^ "Young Nixon Wins Yachting Honors" New York Times. 1926-05-23.
  5. ^ Winters (2006), p.13
  6. ^ a b WWII Army Enlistment Records: on-line NARA Archival Database
  7. ^ "Katharine Page's Marriage" New York Times. 1941-12-21.
  8. ^ Ambrose (1992), p.103
  9. ^ Winters (2006), p.240
  10. ^ Ambrose (2006), p.270
  11. ^ Winters (2006), pp.220-221
  12. ^ a b Winters (2006), p.205
  13. ^ Ambrose (1992), p.245
  14. ^ Winters (2006), p.252
  15. ^ a b c Winters (2006), pp.275-277
  16. ^ a b c Winters (2006), pp.256-258

References

  • Winters, Major Dick, with Cole C. Kingseed (2006). Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters. Berkley Hardcover. ISBN 9780425208137.  
  • Ambrose, Stephen E. (1992). Band of Brothers: Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780743464116.  

External link(s)

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