WWII ‘Band of Brothers’ officer Edward Shames dead at 99

Edward Shames, a member of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division during World War II, died Friday at age 99. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons

Dec. 5 (UPI) — Col. Edward Shames, the last surviving member of the World War II parachute infantry regiment known as the “Band of Brothers,” died Friday. He was 99.

Shames died “peacefully at home,” according to an obituary posted online by Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home and Crematory. He was born in Norfolk, Va., on June 13, 1922, to David and Sadie Shames.

Shames enlisted in the Army in 1942, parachuted into Normandy and fought in the Battle of the Bulge as part of the “Easy Company,” 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division that inspired the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, the Virginian-Pilot reported. The miniseries was based on a New York Times bestseller by Stephen Ambrose.

Only 19 at the time of his enlistment, Shames reportedly forged his mother’s signature to join the Army. He trained at Camp Toccoa, Ga.

Shames “gained a reputation as a stubborn and very outspoken soldier who demanded the highest standards from himself and his fellow soldiers,” his obituary said. “He not only earned the respect of his men, but was recognized by command for outstanding leadership and on June 13, 1944, he received a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant.”

He was the first member of the 101st Airborne Division to enter Dachau concentration camp in Germany after its liberation. After entering Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, Shames “managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac, a label indicating they were ‘for the Fuhrer’s use only.'” according to his obituary.

Shames later worked as an expert on Middle East affairs for the National Security Agency and served in the U.S. Army Reserve Division.

Shames was the last surviving officer of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, CNN reported. Sgt. Donald Malarkey died in 2017 at age 96.

Shames was preceded in death by his wife, Ida, who died in 2019 after 73 years of marriage. He is survived by sons Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.


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