Why Nixon Was Demoted In Band Of Brothers

Captain Lewis Nixon's demotion in the Band of Brothers miniseries, despite being hard to watch, was for a significant reason. He featured as one of the main characters in the series, and Band of Brothers episode 3, "Why We Fight," focused entirely on his story. It was revealed in this episode that not only was he demoted from Regimental S-2 to Battalion S-3, but also that his wife was divorcing him and taking everything. The horrors of war and his wife's letter can explain some of his motivations behind the reason he was demoted but by the end of the episode, why they fought was made clear.

Played by Ron Livingston, alongside a stellar cast in Band of Brothers, Captain Lewis Nixon was based on a real person. In June 1944, Nixon was dropped into Normandy on D-Day. In a mission like Operation Overlord, rapid communication of the enemy's movements was vital. When Nixon received a map from Major Richard Winters (then First Lieutenant) that detailed the German artillery positions in Normandy, he ran three miles to Utah Beach to pass it to the chain of command. Command was thrilled with such important intel and this, coupled with his bravery in Operation Market Garden, earned Nixon the promotion to S-2.


Related: How Band Of Brothers Holds Up After 20 Years

However, the horrors of war impacted Nixon so much that he took to excessive alcohol consumption to help him through the war as shown in Band of Brothers, consistent with his true story. This subsequently led to his demotion to S-3 when he became somewhat unreliable. His fondness for alcohol was an important theme in Band of Brothers episode 3 when the battalion's arrival at a German concentration camp in Landsberg highlighted why they were fighting. Indeed, once the battalion captured Hitler's Eagle's Nest, Nixon was given the first choice of Goering's liquor cabinet by Winters. His alcoholism was thus recognized by other members of his Battalion, but it was also accepted as they realized this was one of the only ways he could cope with the war.

Nixon Didn't See A Lot Of Action In Band Of Brothers

Band of Brothers Ron Livingston Lewis Nixon

Throughout the series, Nixon would often bemoan his lack of action having been promoted to S-2 very early on in the war. Since S-2 denoted intelligence and security, he would not have as influential a role on the frontline as a soldier such as Richard Winters and the rest of Easy Company. He was the only soldier to appear in Band of Brothers who never once shot his carbine. However, this is not to say Nixon did not involve himself in the dangers that were at the frontline. Running across to Utah Beach in Normandy was a certain act of bravery, as was his brush with death in Holland after a bullet ricocheted from his helmet.

The subtlety of alcohol dependence in wartime was a subject handled with nuance in Band of Brothers, with Nixon's story being especially compelling. Whether Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's Masters of the Air - a sequel to be released in 2022 - will also deal with such a subject matter is yet to be confirmed. Soldiers played by stars such as Austin Butler and Barry Keoghan who are set to appear in Spielberg's Masters of the Air may exhibit similarities with the characters of Band of Brothers, but this will only be confirmed by its expected release on Apple TV+.