World War II memorial ceremony
World War II memorial ceremony Reuters

Edward Shames, the World War II veteran who was the last living member of “Easy Company”, the inspiration behind the HBO miniseries and book “Band of Brothers,” has died at 99.

Shames's obituary said that he died peacefully at home on Friday, ABC News reported.

The “Band of Brothers” was a unit of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment that was assigned to the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division during World War II.

As part of the unit, Shames participated in some of the most consequential missions of the war.

“He made his first combat jump into Normandy on D-Day as part of Operation Overlord. He volunteered for Operation Pegasus and then fought with Easy Company in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne,” his obituary said.

Shames, who was Jewish, was the first member of the 101 Airborne to set foot in Dauchau concentration camp, only days after it was liberated.

“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,” the obituary said.

After World War II Ended, Shames was employed by the National Security Agency as a Middle East affairs analyst. He was also in the US Army Reserve Division where he retired as a colonel.

The 2001 HBO miniseries about Easy Company – “Band of Brothers” – was based on Stephen Ambrose’s 1992 book.

The miniseries was produced by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg. It told the story of Easy Company, from training in Georgia in 1942 up until the end of the war in 1945. In the show, Shames was played by British actor Joseph May.

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