BREAKING: American Hero Reported Dead – Rest In Peace

American lost one of its heroes this week with the Associated Press reporting that World War II veteran passed away on Friday at the age of 99. 

Shames was the last surviving member of “Easy Company,” a group of soldiers who provided inspiration for the HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” as well as a book by the same name. Both followed the men from their training in Georgia to the war’s end in 1945.

He served with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and his obituary explained that Shames “made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord.”

Shames helped liberate concentration camp

“He volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.”

What’s more, Shames held the distinction of being the first first member of the 101st to go into Dachau concentration camp, a place where over 28,000 people are believed to have been murdered between 1940 and 1945.

“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,’” the obituary explained.

It added that Shames would eventually “use the cognac to toast his oldest son’s Bar Mitzvah.” He went on to work for the National Security Agency and eventually retired from the Army Reserve Division as a colonel.

Shames was depicted in “Band of Brothers” by British actor Joseph May. The series was created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, who previously collaborated on the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan.”

Only a fraction of those who served in WWII remain alive

A summary of the book “Band of Brothers” provided by publisher Simon and Schuster states that the men of Easy Company “learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.”

Shames is said to have died peacefully at his home in Norfolk, Virginia, and a graveside service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Sunday morning. He is survived by sons Douglas and Steven along with his four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

According to the National World War II Museum, just over 240, 000 of the more than 16 million individuals who served in World War II were still alive as of September of this year, with an average of 234 dying each day.

 

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