Edward D. Shames

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Edward D. Shames, age 99, passed away peacefully at home on December 3, 2021.

Ed was born in Norfolk, Virginia on June 13, 1922, to the late David and Sadie Shames.

In August 1942, Ed was called to duty in World War II. During the war, he was a member of the renowned Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division now known globally as the “Band of Brothers.” Ed was involved in some of the most important battles of the war. He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overload. He volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. Ed gained a reputation as a stubborn and very outspoken soldier who demanded the highest of standards from himself and his fellow soldiers. 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. This made him the first non-commissioned officer in the Third Battalion to receive a commission in Normandy. In Germany, he was the first member of the 101st to enter Dachau concentration camp, just days after its liberation.

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. Ed was the last surviving officer and oldest surviving member of the “Band of Brothers.” On November 6, 2021, the American Veterans Center at its annual Veterans Conference and Honors program gave a final toast to Ed and presented him with the distinguished Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Wings of Valor Award.

After the war, Ed worked for 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.

Ed was preceded in death by his devoted and beloved wife, Ida. They had a beautiful and loving marriage for 73 years. They traveled the world together making lifelong friends. Ed is survived by his beloved family: his sons, Steven (Linda) and Douglas (Ilene); his grandchildren, Sarah (Matthew), Samuel (Holly), Aaron (Rachel), and Rebecca (Anthony); and his 12 great-grandchildren.

A graveside service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery with Cantor David Proser officiating. Memorial contributions in his honor (memory) may be sent to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516 and the American Veterans Center, 1100 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 910, Arlington, VA 22201. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com.