Tag Archives: Easy Company

Screaming Eagles Headed Back to Europe After 80 Years

U.S Army Maj. Gen. JP McGee, right, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, left, case the division colors during a color casing ceremony at McAuliffe Hall, Fort Campbell, Ky., July 5, 2022. The ceremony was held to officially mark the Screaming Eagle’s deployment to the European Command theater of operations to assure NATO allies and deter Russian aggression in the region. The casing of the colors symbolizes their departure from Fort Campbell, Ky. Their colors will remain cased until they redeploy the European Command theater of operations. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sinthia Rosario, 101st Airborne Division Public Affairs)

While the 101st famously started their 1944-45 European vacation at Normandy– including the capture of Carentan– and ended 214 days later at the Eagle’s Nest, suffering 11,548 battle casualties along the way, the division’s post-WWII logs have seen it stay more Asia-way.

Earning 12 battle streamers in Vietnam as well as two for Southwest Asia service (along with a Meritorious Unit Commendation), the unit as a whole has kept out of Europe with the exception of exercises. However, that has changed as the division headquarters and the 2nd Brigade as a whole are headed there for the next several months.

From the Army:

Elements of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) began arriving to the Mihail Kogalniceanum Airbase in Romania June 20, and are scheduled to continue arriving during the next several days.

Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, will support the U.S. Army V Corps’ mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises with partners across the European continent in order to reassure allies and deter further Russian aggression.

The deploying 101st Soldiers do not represent additional U.S. forces in Europe, but are taking the place of Soldiers assigned to 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.

As noted by local media around E-Town: 

Considering Fort Campbell soldiers haven’t been deployed to Europe in 80 years, to put that in perspective – in 1942, gas was 20 cents.

The most-watched film that year was Bambi, and Bing Crosby released “White Christmas” in July 1942, which would be the Billboard top hit for three months that year.

The 4,700 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division began deploying to Europe in late June.

The latest troop will depart Fort Campbell at 10:30 Wednesday night.

In related news, it is almost ironic that Bradford Freeman, the last survivor of the Easy 506th’s famed “Band of Brothers,” died on Sunday in Columbus, Mississippi. He was 97.

Slow Salute to CAPT Dole and COL Shames

The “Greatest Generation” included over 16 million Americans who served during WWII in uniform. Today, the VA estimates that barely 300,000 of these Vets remain, a number that is growing smaller literally every day.

Case in point, over the weekend we lost esteemed Kansas lawmaker, and the man who charged at the windmill that was an incumbent Bill Clinton in 1996 at a time when the economy was peaking, Robert “Bob” Dole.

Dole, born in Russell, Kansas in 1923, interrupted his college studies at the University of Kansas to enlist in the Army, serving with the famed 10th Mountain Division in Italy where he was gravely wounded and initially left for dead on the battlefield. In postwar rehabilitation, he had to learn to write with his left hand after his right was left with limited mobility. He was medically discharged as a captain in 1947 and returned to his studies, eventually becoming a lawyer. 

Dole died Sunday, aged 98.

He was the last WWII Veteran to be nominated by any party for President. With that, check out his 2008 interview with the National WWII Museum about his service.

Edward Shames

The last surviving officer of the “Band of Brothers,” Edward D. Shames,  died at age 99 on Friday. Participating in some of the most critical WWII battles, Shames parachuted into Normandy during the Overlord as Operations Sergeant with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne. Earning a battlefield commission for his actions on D-Day, he transferred shortly thereafter to Easy Company as leader of 3rd platoon and fought in Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.

Notably, Shames, who was Jewish, was credited as being one of the first in Easy Company to enter Dachau to liberate the death camp in 1945.

As noted in his obit, “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.”

Postwar, he remained in the military and retired as a full colonel in the reserves in 1973, and worked for “No Such Agency” at Fort Meade until 1982.

Shames was played by actor Joseph May in Band of Brothers.

Shames is survived by his sons Douglas and Steven, four grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at 11 a.m. with Cantor David Proser officiating. In lieu of flowers, 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 here.