Remembering Edward Shames - WWII Veteran
Friday, August 12, 2022

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Colonel Edward David Shames (June 13, 1922 – December 3, 2021) was a United States Army enlisted man and officer who later served in the U.S. Army Reserve. During World War II he was assigned to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. At the time of his death, Shames was the last surviving officer and, following the death of Roderick G. Strohl in December 2019, oldest surviving member of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was Jewish and reported being deeply affected by his personal viewing of Nazi Germany's concentration camps.


 Edward Sames at 99

Colonel Edward David Shames (June 13, 1922 – December 3, 2021)


Shames was born in Norfolk, Virginia in June 1922, to David and Sadie [Winer] Shames. Born in Latvia, David and Sadie were Russian-Jewish immigrants who came the the United States in 1904 probably emigrating from Odessa.  Edward was the youngest of 4 brothers and sisters.  Their father died in 1927 when Edward was five.  Sadie's brother Ben Winer moved in to help raise the family. By age 18 Edward was married to Lillian Hoffman age 16, and lived with his in-laws, Sam and Gussie Hoffman in 1940. Edward was divorced and remarried Ida Aframe in 1946.


 Edward Shames with another officesr of the Easy Company 1

Edward Shames with Another Officer from the Easy Company 


Edward Shames enlisted in the US Army, September 25, 1942.  Shames read about and applied for duty with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was sent to Toccoa, Georgia for training, starting as a private in I Company, 3rd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. In England, Shames was promoted to Operations Sergeant. Prior to the paratroopers making their jump on D-Day, he built the sand tables the airborne unit used in planning the airdrop into Normandy. 


 D Day June 1944

Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. On 13 June 1944 


Shames made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. On 13 June 1944, he received a battlefield commission to second lieutenant, although the formal commission was completed in England.  He was the first NCO in the Third Battalion to receive such a commission in Normandy. He was transferred to Easy Company and took charge of its third platoon. Shames fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and volunteered for Operation Pegasus led by Frederick Heyliger.  He was wounded once in his left leg during the campaigns. He then fought with the rest of E Company in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. In Foy, Shames and Paul Rogers knocked out a German tank with a bazooka. In Germany, he saw some of the concentration camps in which the Germans imprisoned and murdered Europe's Jews and, like many American soldiers, was deeply affected.



Col. Ed Shames is a veteran of the famed Easy Company, 101st Airborne Division, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II. The division, best known for its portrayal in the miniseries "Band of Brothers," saw action from the D-Day invasion to victory in the European theater. Col. Shames, a natural storyteller, reflects on his experiences that have stayed with him 75 years later.


Band of Brotehrs book


They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world. From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.


paratroopers support invasion normandy 1500x1000


They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.


Normany Invation June 1944 1


They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they 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.


D Day June 1944


This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.



On Sunday the 9th of September 2001, HBO aired the first two episodes of Band of Brothers. This World War II miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that dramatizes the real-life 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment's "Easy" Company during World War II. Production costs totaled at about $12.5 million per episode, which made it the most expensive TV miniseries ever created at the time and would go on to be regarded as one of the greatest television series ever created, noted for its powerful recreation of some of the most iconic battlefields of World War II. During this amazing live show we will interview family members of the veterans of the Easy Company and actors of the series. Reg Jans will start the live show with a short presentation about the Easy Company in Bastogne.


Edward Shames with Ed McClung both Army Company E of 506 regiment 1 2 

Edward Shames Embraces Ed McClung both Army Company E of 506 Regiment 


After World War II, Shames worked for the National Security Agency as an expert on Middle East affairs from 1945 to 1982. he also served in the United States Army Reserve and retired as a colonel in 1973. He married Ida Aframe (April 9, 1922 – February 21, 2019) in 1946 and remained married for 73 years until his wife's death on February 21, 2019 at the age of 96. Shames died in his home in Norfolk on December 3, 2021, at the age of 99. Shames is survived by his sons Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.


Shame and actor Band of Brothers

Ed Shames (left) and Actor Joseph May  who played him on "Band of Brothers" Mini-Series 




Shames was portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers by Joseph May. He also provided an audio interview for the documentary Greatest Events of World War 2: In Colour where he briefly described the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes, Belgium.



Band of Brothers is a ten-part, 11-hour television World War II miniseries, originally produced and broadcast in 2001, based on the book of the same title written by historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambrose. The executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. The episodes first aired in 2001 on HBO and are still run frequently on various TV networks around the world.