April 12, 2010, - 3:24 pm
Did you know that the famous “Dirty Dozen” from the legendary movie was actually the “Filthy Thirteen” in real life in World War II?
Filthy 13 Member, WWII Hero John “Jack” Agnew, RIP
John “Jack” Agnew, one of the members of the “Filthy 13”–the legendary Army united, which operated behind enemy lines during WII and which inspired “The Dirty Dozen”–passed away on Thursday. The Irish immigrant to the U.S. was 88.
Agnew was a paratrooper who served on a demolition team with the 101st Airborne Division that dropped into Normandy on D-Day.
He later saw action in Holland and Belgium, suffering a shrapnel wound in the arm.
[His daughter, Barbara] Maloney said during her father’s time in Belgium, her father joined the Pathfinders. The Special Forces unit was responsible for bringing supplies into Bastogne during the Battle of Bulge. . . .
Trained to demolish enemy targets behind the lines, they were known for being on a bit on the unkempt side and sported Mohawk haircuts and painted faces when they jumped into battle.
They had a reputation for living and fighting hard, but weren’t condemned criminals, a poetic license Hollywood made up for its storyline. . . .
Agnew also trained with members of the Band of Brothers Easy Company, whose heroics became a book and a popular TV miniseries.
Earning a Purple Heart, several Bronze Stars and other awards, Agnew was the oldest living member of the National Rifle Association after joining the organization in 1938. . . .
Maloney is thankful . . . he lived long enough to recently reunite with some old war buddies.
“I took him to the Louisville Military History Show of Shows convention in February and he got to spend time with the only three other living members of the Filthy Thirteen. There were also three members of the Band of Brothers there, too,” Maloney said. “They reminisced and told their stories. He loved it.”
After the war, Agnew became an installer for electric companies.
A true American hero. John “Jack” Agnew, Rest In Peace.
Tags: 101st Airborne Division, Army, Band of Brothers, Battle of the Bulge, Bronze Star, D-Day, Died, Dirty Dozen, Filthy 13, Filthy Thirteen, hero, Jack Agnew, John "Jack" Agnew, John Agnew, NRA, Pathfinder, Purple Heart, RIP, The Dirty Dozen, US Army, World War II