Army Col. Edward Shames, Last Officer From World War II's 'Band of Brothers,' Dies at 99

Edward Shames
Edward Shames with Paula Abdul at D-Day celebration in 2015.Getty

The decorated World War II veteran was remembered as "a stubborn and very outspoken soldier who demanded the highest of standards from himself and his fellow soldiers."

Retired Army Col. Edward Shames, the last officer from the renowned World War II "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 99.

The decorated veteran died peacefully at his Virginia home, according to his online obituary.

Shames was drafted in 1942 and became a member of the now-famous Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The unit's extensive battle experience during World War II became the inspiration for a best-selling book and the 2001 HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers."

Shames was portrayed by actor Joseph May.

He fought in some of the war's most significant battles. His first combat jump was into Normandy on D-Day and he served with Easy Company in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium, during a brutal, bloody winter in 1944-1945, which changed the course of European fighting in World War II.

He "gained a reputation as a stubborn and very outspoken soldier who demanded the highest of standards from himself and his fellow soldiers," his obituary said.

"In Germany, he was the first member of the 101st to enter Dachau concentration camp, just days after its liberation," the obit said.

After Germany surrendered in 1945, Shames and Easy Company entered Adolf Hitler's Eagle's Nest retreat for visiting dignitaries and "managed to acquire a few bottles of cognac, a label indicating they were 'for the Fuhrer's use only,'" said the obituary. "Later, he would use the cognac to toast his oldest son's Bar Mitzvah."

After the war, he served in 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.

Shames was married for 73 years to his beloved wife, Ida, who preceded him in death, his obituary said.

He is survived by two sons, four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations in his honor to the Wounded Warrior Project or the American Veterans Center in Arlington, Virginia.

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