Captain Jack Edward Foley was a commissioned officer with Easy Company , 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army during World War II.
Foley was born in 1922 to Randall A., and Viola (née Meahl) Foley. He grew up in Brookline with his two brothers. Foley graduated from South Hills High in 1940, then enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, where during the 1942-43 season he earned a varsity letter as a manager for the university's basketball team. While at Pittsburgh in his third year, he along with almost twenty other members of his ROTC class were commissioned into military service on June 29, 1943.
In November 1943, Foley served in the Coast Artillery Corps with the rank of First Lieutenant, while defending a part of Puget Sound in Washington. Later on he was transferred to Texas and became a paratrooper. He graduated from Officer Candidate School on November 19, 1943. In October 1944, he graduated with his jump wings.
Foley first saw combat in the town of Foy, outside of the Belgian city of Bastogue, as leader of first platoon. While advancing along with his platoon, they came across a barbed wire fence and encountered three Germans, who were quickly captured. The Germans started taunting them, calling them "dummkopf", German for "stupid". There was the platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant Johnny Martin , along with a few other men who left the platoon to find assistance. One of them was so sick of hearing "dummkopf" that he decided kill all of the prisoners with his BAR.
When they got to the Central Post, where First Lieutenant Dike and the rest of Foley's platoon were, Lipton said "We want your mortar and we want your machine gun." Each platoon had 60 mm mortar and also a machine gun. He informed Dike that he would take the first platoon, and move forward until they are in position. Snipers in the hay-stack shot two of Foley's men, and he was shot right through his boot. The remaining men launched some grenades on the hay-stack, eliminating the German snipers positioned there. They had poor radio contact during the attack.
Foley also took part in Haguenau action in February 1945. During the battle, there were many mortar shells coming in and a lot of fragments flying around all day and night. There was one evening where Foley had to walk up to Regimental HQ because two of his men had been wounded after they were walking around in and out of town searching for any liquor. Foley took one or two hours before reporting to Regimental HQ because his mission was along the way there. Colonel Robert Sink, whom he had to report to, had just informed to him "Foley, you should have shot those fellows, it saved us all this paperwork". After leaving his office and regrouping with his unit, he had been wounded by all of the bombing taking place in Foy. Eugene Roe removed a couple of metal fragments from Foley's right wrist. Two weeks later when Easy Company returned to Mourmelon, he went to regimental medics because his wrist became swollen and soon became infected. Foley then retired from the army as a Captain.
Foley returned to the University of Pittsburgh to complete his degree and began his career at ALCOA. His mother died in 1949, aged 55. Bill Guarnere was able to find Foley through a letter. After that, Foley attended the Easy Company reunions. He went back to Europe three or four times. Following that, he was employed in advertising newsletters for the Aluminum Cooking Utensil Co. in New Kensington, the Cutco Co. in Olean, N.Y., the Alcoa Wrap Co. in New Kensington and Alcoa in Pittsburgh before retiring in 1982. He and his wife Mary-Lou had five children; Karen, Barbara, John, David, and Nancy. And along with grandchildren; Julia, Elaine and Rita Foley, Mara and Anthony Ferreira, and Kate and Jonathan Neuse. His two brothers predeceased him- Randall James of Texas, and Richard of California. He died of complications of Type 1 diabetes on September 14, 2009.