Edward Shames, last surviving Band of Brothers officer, dead at 99 – New York Post

Col. Edward David Shames, the last surviving officer from the World War II Army unit immortalized by HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” died Friday. He was 99.

The veteran “passed away peacefully” at his home, according to an obituary from the Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory in Norfolk, Virginia.

Born in Norfolk on June 13, 1922, Shames was the oldest surviving member of the “renowned Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division now known globally as the ‘Band of Brothers,’ ” per the obituary. The late vet was “involved in some of the most important battles of the war,” according to the tribute, which noted that he made his “first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord.” He later volunteered for “Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne,” noted the obit.

Shames attends the American Veterans Center’s "2019 American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes" Veterans Day Special at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Shames attends the American Veterans Center’s “2019 American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes” Veterans Day Special at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington, DC.
Getty Images

The Virginia vet was also the first member of Easy Company to enter the Dachau concentration camp, mere days after it was liberated.

During his service, Shames developed a reputation as a “stubborn and very outspoken soldier who demanded the highest of standards from himself and his fellow soldiers,” according to the eulogy, which noted that Shames’ perhaps most memorable exploit came after Germany surrendered and he and other 101st members stormed into Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.

“Ed managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac, a label indicating they were ‘for the Fuhrer’s use only,’” according to the obit. “Later, he would use the cognac to toast his oldest son’s Bar Mitzvah.”

Shames was portrayed by British Actor Joseph May in HBO's acclaimed miniseries "Band Of Brothers."
Shames was portrayed by British actor Joseph May in HBO’s acclaimed miniseries “Band of Brothers.”
HBO

Shames and his fellow company members’ exploits were documented in the seven-time Emmy-winning HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, which was based on the 1992 book of the same name by Stephen A. Ambrose. The former infantryman was portrayed in the series by British actor Joseph May.

Following the war, Shames worked for the National Security Agency as an expert on Middle East affairs and served in the US Army Reserve Division until finally retiring after earning the rank of colonel.

Edward Shames, center, hugs Ed McClung, center left, both members of the World War II Army Company E of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne, with veterans Jack Foley, left, Joe Lesniewski, right, and Shifty Powers, far right, at the Library of Congress in Washington on July 16, 2003.
Edward Shames, center, hugs Ed McClung, center left, both members of the World War II Army Company E of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne, with veterans Jack Foley, left, Joe Lesniewski, right, and Shifty Powers, far right, at the Library of Congress in Washington on July 16, 2003.
AP

Aside from being a courageous soldier, the colonel was also a dedicated family man, preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Ida, according to the funeral home. Shames is survived by two sons, Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

With Shames’ passing, 97-year-old Bradford Freeman is now the last remaining member of Easy Company.

Shames famously helped raid Hitler's Eagle's Nest after Germany surrendered in 1945.
Shames famously helped raid Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest after Germany surrendered in 1945.
U.S. Army