Col. Edward Shames, the last surviving officer and oldest surviving member of "Easy Company," died on Friday at the age of 99.
Shames joined the military in August 1942 and was part of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, famously known as the “Band of Brothers.” After a life filled with numerous achievements and stories, including a role in some of the most important battles of World War II, he passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, according to the Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory.
"We mourn the loss of this legend," the U.S. Army wrote on social media. "We will continue to be worthy of your service."
FOUR INJURED IN WWII BOMB EXPLOSION AT CONSTRUCTION SITE IN MUNICH
We mourn the loss of this legend.— U.S. Army (@USArmy) December 4, 2021
We will continue to be worthy of your service. https://t.co/oKOLpGlYB6
During his time in the army, Shames "gained a reputation as a stubborn and very outspoken soldier." He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. He also volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. On June 13, 1944, he was recognized by command for outstanding leadership and received a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant, according to his obituary.
In Germany, he was the first member of the 101st to enter the Dachau concentration camp, just days after its liberation. When Germany surrendered, Shames and his men of Easy Company entered Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, where he managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac labeled to indicate they were “for the Fuhrer’s use only.” He would later use the cognac to toast his oldest son’s 13th birthday, the obituary read.
The story of Easy Company was later turned into a New York Times bestselling nonfiction novel named Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose in 1992. An HBO miniseries executively produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks was released under the same name in 2001, according to CNN.
After the war, Shames worked for the National Security Agency as an expert on Middle East affairs. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve Division and later retired as a colonel. On Nov. 6, 2021, a month before his death, the American Veterans Center gave a final toast to him, presenting him with the distinguished Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Wings of Valor Award, according to his obituary.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
Shames was preceded in death by his wife, Ida, with whom he "had a beautiful and loving marriage for 73 years." He is survived by his two sons, his four grandchildren, and his 12 great-grandchildren.