1st Lieutenant Edward D. "Ed" Shames was a Commissioned Officer with Easy Company.
Shames was born in Norfolk, Virginia. His father died when he was five years old.
In September 1942, Shames joined the Army, Volunteering for the Paratroopers. He was sent to Toccoa, Georgia for training. He started as a private for Item Company, Third Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and was promoted to Operations Sergeant in England. Prior to the paratroopers making their jump into Normandy, he built the sand tables the Airborne unit used in planning the airdrop into Normandy.
Shames made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. On 13 June 1944 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, although the formal commission was completed in England. He was the first NCO in the Third Battalion to receive a battlefield 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 Lt. Frederick "Moose" Heyliger. He was wounded once in his left leg during campaigns and fought in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne. In Foy, he was ordered, along with Sgt. Paul Rogers, by Lt. Dike to knock out a German tank with a bazooka. According to Band of Brothers, Capt. Winters opined that Shames wouldn't make a good leader, commenting "...he's seen too many war movies..." and "...thinks that he has to yell all the time". Sgt. Malarkey also casually commented that it would be nice if Shames left with Dike. Although he did shout and yell, he was considered a good officer. Herbert Suerth, who also served in Shames' platoon, thought he could make a good leader, but it was Speirs who would eventually command Easy Company following Dike.
Shames fought through to Germany and helped liberate imprisoned European Jews in a concentration camp in Landsberg, Germany. Shames was deeply affected because of his Jewish heritage. After World War II, he served in the Army Reserve and retired a Colonel.
Later Life and Death
Shames lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia as the last surviving officer of Easy Company. He died peacefully on December 3, 2021 at the age of 99.