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'Babe' Heffron, 90, hero of 'Band of Brothers'

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  • 'Babe' Heffron, 90, hero of 'Band of Brothers'

    'Babe' Heffron, 90, hero of 'Band of Brothers'

    POSTED: Monday, December 2, 2013, 4:46 PM

    Edward J. "Babe" Heffron, 90, the former Easy Company private whose World War II experiences were chronicled in the cable TV miniseries Band of Brothers, died Sunday, Dec. 1, at Kennedy Hospital in Stratford.

    Mr. Heffron served as a machine gunner with the Second Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division from 1941 to 1945.

    He fought in some of the major conflicts of the European Theater - Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium - and used his stories as fodder for a memoir.

    The 2007 work, Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story, was written with longtime friend William Guarnere and journalist Robyn Post.

    Post said Mr. Heffron made a point to go to schools, teaching children that the war was not a joke or fairy tale seen on TV, but an actual historical event with serious worldwide implications.

    "He shared what he saw and experienced so that they could get a sense that this really happened," Post said. Mr. Heffron also wanted to honor his war buddies who never came home, and make sure that people never forgot their sacrifice.

    Mr. Heffron's heroics were also chronicled by historian Stephen Ambrose in his book Band of Brothers, and Mr. Heffron's character was portrayed by actor Robin Laing in the TV miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg in 2001.

    Mr. Heffron appeared as himself at the end of episode 10, describing Easy Company; he also had a cameo part in episode four.

    A South Philadelphia native, he had to drop out of South Philadelphia High School during the Great Depression to support his family. He enlisted in August 1941.

    At parachute jump school, he and two buddies vowed that if any were to die in battle, the others would make sure his personal effects were delivered to the family.

    One buddy, J.D. Henderson, was wounded, but returned to the States safely. But Mr. Heffron's best friend, John T. "Johnny" Julian, was killed in a foxhole by German fire on Jan. 1, 1945. His death so upset Mr. Heffron that it was 12 years before he could carry out the pledge and approach Julian's family.

    Mr. Heffron helped liberate the Kaufering concentration camp in Landsberg, Germany, and he aided the Allies who seized Adolf Hitler's Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus). For his valor, he received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
    More, pix at the link.

    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Band of Brothers was an amazing series.
    I have the boxed cd set and probably once a year I break it out and do a weekend marathon.

    My father, just like Babe and numerous others dropped out of school to support his mother and siblings.

    We forget at times, what the men who served in WWII went through prior to the war and some of the hardships endured post war.

    My father would have been 96 this year.
    Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
    and lost …
    But the Republicans are racist.