WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Veteransday–Retired Col. Edward Shames, the last surviving officer of the historic
“Easy” Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th
Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st
Airborne Division, was the guest speaker at the Veterans Day
breakfast GEICO holds each year to honor associates for their military
Shames’ Easy Company, made famous in the book and miniseries “Band of
Brothers,” fought in some of WWII’s most important battles, including
Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.
While the heroics of Shames and the Easy Company are now legendary,
Shames told breakfast attendees that few paratroopers felt brave on
D-Day as they prepared to jump from G-47s onto the shores of Normandy.
“Anyone who said they were not sacred or nervous was either an idiot or
lying,” said Shames, who still calls his native Hampton Roads, Virginia,
Though Shames had the misfortune of parachuting into Carentan, a town
heavily defended by Axis forces, he demonstrated the leadership and
survival skills that would quickly earn him a battlefield commission to
“If you work hard and if you want something bad enough, then you can get
it,” said Shames, who is now 96. “I wasn’t the best, but I worked hard.
I was a good soldier.”
Shames and his men fought from France into the Netherlands and Belgium
and eventually into Germany, where they were the first to reach Hitler’s
Eagle’s Nest in Bavaria. Along the way, they liberated concentration
Wayne Petro, an Air Force veteran who leads GEICO’s
Military Team, called Shames “living history.”
“What an incredible experience it is to have him here at GEICO to speak
to our veterans,” Petro said. “He is such an extraordinary example of
the kind of service veterans have given to our country.”
GEICO was founded in 1936 to exclusively serve military service members
and government employees. The company’s connection to the military
remains strong and includes special
discounts for active duty service members and veterans; a department
dedicated to supporting the needs of the military community; and
employment opportunities for vets and reservists, including the
IT Professional Development program; the program combines classroom
work and real-world experience to transform vets with no previous tech
experience into full-time GEICO IT associates.
(Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto
insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 27
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