Last “Easy” Company (Band of Brothers) officer passes away

| December 4, 2021

Edward Shames circa 1945

KoB sends in the sad word that the last officer of Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne Division, World War II has passed away at age 99. Shames was portrayed by actor Joseph May in the Band of Brothers mini-series in 2001. He appeared in the seventh episode “The Breaking Point”. That episode dealt with the 101st’s valiant stand at Bastogne in the harshest winter in decades, surrounded by the enemy.

Shames was from Norfolk, Virginia. Enlisted in 1942, he volunteered to become a paratrooper. Joining the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne, he was assigned as a private to “I” (Ida) Company. When the division deployed to the ETO, Shames was promoted to Operations Sergeant and built the sand tables the division used in their planning for the Normandy Invasion.

Shames jumped with Ida Company into Normandy in the pre-dawn hours of D-Day, 6 June 1944. A week later he received a battlefield commission. The new second lieutenant was moved to a new unit (as was SOP). This is where he became part of the storied Band of Brothers, Easy Company under Captain Richard “Dick” Winters.

With Easy Company, Shames jumped in Operation Market Garden, participated in Operation Pegasus, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. In the latter, near Foy, he is said to have used a bazooka to destroy an enemy tank.

Shames was the first man of the 101st Airborne to enter the Dachau Concentration Camp, just a few days after its liberation (one of the limited-series’ creative licenses was having the 506th PIR liberate the camp, which they didn’t). Unsurprisingly, this greatly effected the young lieutenant.

The 506th had been sent to occupy Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. Expecting heavy SS resistance, the men found none. They were there in the most opulent location of the Reich when the German government surrendered. According to Shames’ obituary “When Germany surrendered, Ed and his men of Easy Company entered Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest where Ed managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac, a label indicating they were ‘for the Fuhrer’s use only.’ Later, he would use the cognac to toast his oldest son’s Bar Mitzvah.”

After the war Shames worked for the NSA as a Middle East expert. He remained in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1973 as a colonel. He is survived by his sons Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

According to this site, here are Shames’ awards and decorations.

While many of these are unofficial commemorative medals, the actual awards are more than impressive on their own. The colonel received three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, two Presidential Unit Citations, and the French Croix de Guerre with Bronze Palm (indicating a citation at the Army-level). He’s also the recipient of the Combat Infantryman Badge and has two “mustard stains” on his jump wings. The above linked page has some links that are worth reading. One is a letter about the colonel’s actions in Bastogne, the other an interview with him.

Rest easy, Sir. You’ve earned it. You stand relieved, Colonel. Godspeed.

Category: Army, Historical, Real Soldiers, Veterans in the news, We Remember

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Planet Ord

Rest Easy, sir. We will take it from here. You drank cognac from Hitlers personal stash in his house. And fought you way to get there. You did more than most, for sure. Rest In Peace.

Cptsmith

He wrote a book about his WW2 experience and gave my son his card so he could talk about it after he read it. We met him in Toccoa at a reunion. My son was about 12 at the time. I think the title is “Tonight We Die as Men

Skivvy Stacker

The fact that he used some of Hitler’s personal stash to toast his son’s Bar Mitzvah is a piece of poetic justice that will never be duplicated.
L’CHAIM!

Jay

That is about as big a “GO FUCK YOURSELF” as I have ever heard!

Planet Ord

On a side note…..for all those overs, fakers, liars and stolen valor turds…..Shane Lardner being my favorite turd…..he only had a single CIB. No star. And this guy fought his way across Europe in Hitlers house.

OldManchu

That’s why the SV bullshit matters right!? When people say “just ignore them don’t let it bother you…”

Men like Shames are WHY stolen valor bothers me so much. They deserve to have it silenced.

KoB

Hardcore! Rest Easy Good Sir…you’ve earned it.

Because such men lived…other men stayed alive.

Bet The Colonel is having a Grand Reunion in Valhalla about now.

Poetrooper

Currahee, Sir! You troopers of WWII were a tough and inspiring act for us to follow.

From a former trooper of the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 1964-65.

Hatchet

‘That such Men lived’..

Truly, an incredible man that led a truly incredible life.

RIP Colonel Shames.

Thank you. God bless and God speed, Sir. *slow*salute

Particularly LOVE that one of the facts that made up Col. Shames much-storied career/life, was him commandeering/liberating Der Fuehrer’s sacred cognac stash and also stashing a bottle to serve yr’s later at his son’s Bar-mitzvah. Oy Gavolt, such a Mensch! Mazel Tovs!!

Thank you KoB & Mason.

RGR 4-78

Rest in Peace, Sir.

Roh-Dog

COL Edward Shames is in the Final AA with the other men who dared so much.

Good on ya, Sir. Currahee!

(admin note: are ranks proper nouns, or…? lieutenant x 2, colonel x 1)

Roh-Dog

Got it. Thanks for the course correct, Mason.

Roh-Dog

And here I sit *knowing* they is boats!

I’ll keep an eye out for some engwish lessens.

Hondo

Some of them are. Just ask any submariner. (smile)

Poetrooper

Ed is no authority on English grammar.

However he is an accomplished speaker of Squiddish…

Just An Old Dog

Believe the story was incorrect in Identifying it as ” Ida” Company vice ” Item” Company.
Rewatched the scene where he was portrayed… it wasn’t very flattering. A few seconds of him screaming at the men.
BOB was a good show but it just had snapshots of some men.

Sapper3307

Slip away. Airborne.
RIP

BennSue

Army Col. Edward Shames, the last remaining member of World War II’s ‘Band of Brothers,’ dies at 99“ states CNN.

I bet Private First Class Bradford Freeman is shocked that he’s dead.

Not to rant, but THIS IS WHY NO ONE TRUSTS THE MEDIA. You can’t even get a simple headline correct, that took me 5 seconds to research.

Old tanker

Title says last Officer, not last member when I read it.

Col. I have no doubt your reunion with your Brothers was joyous. May you all rest in honored Peace and thank you so much for our freedom.

BennSue

I was referring to CNN’s headline, not the proper headline used here. Sorry for the confusion

AT1 (Ret)

*slow salute*

Devtun

More sad news everyone. Former Senator, and decorated WW2 Army officer, Bob Dole, has passed on at 98. Dole was the GOP presidential nominee in 1996. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel by an act of Congress in 2019. RIP.

https://myfox8.com/news/former-senator-bob-dole-dies-at-98/

A Proud Infidel®™

Another Senior Warrior joins his Comrades in Valhalla, rest easy Sir.

*Slow Salute*

STSC(SW/SS)

Rest easy Sir.

Your chute will open on every jump and every landing will be soft.

May Hitler’s bottle of Cognac never be empty and when you take piss it lands on his head.

Poetrooper

The 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association notified members today:

“LTC Dale Marrou, Commander, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, and a team from 2-506 will represent the Regiment at the service.”

Berliner

506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed at Georgia’s Camp Toccoa next to Currahee Mountain. Paratroopers in training ran from Camp Toccoa up Currahee Mountain and back with the shout “three miles up, three miles down!”. The Cherokee word, pronounced Currahee, translates to “Stand Alone”, also became the unit’s motto. Members of the unit wear the spade (♠) symbol on the helmet outer and the Screaming Eagle patch. I took Infantry OJT/AIT with B Co 1/506… Read more »

Jay

Good Grief. I still remember watching the 50th anniversary specials on D-Day. So many veterans were full of piss and vinegar in their late 60s/early 70s then. Shit…was that REALLY 27 years ago?