Edward Heffron was born on May 16, 1923, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Jospeh and Anne Heffron, who were both of Irish descent, and had three brothers named Jospeh Jr., James, and John, and one sister.
He dropped out of High School during the Great Depression, and went to work as a ship sandblaster for New York Shipbuilding, before choosing to enlist in the U.S. Airborne with his friend Anthony Cianfrani in 1942.
He went through vigorous Airborne Training for two years, and made friends with two troopers named John T. Julian, and J.D. Henderson, before they were sent as replacements for the 101st Airborne Division in July 1944. He was assigned to Easy Company of the 506th PIR as a Machine Gunner. He quickly made friends with veteran trooper "Wild Bill" Guarnere, who was also from Philadelphia.
Heffron first participated in the Airborne invasion of the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden. During an assault on the town of Nuenen, Heffron and his company took severe casualties, causing them to withdraw and hold a defensive position in the Netherland Crossroads till November 15, when they took a leave at Mourmelon, France.
On December 18, he and the Division were immediately sent to the Ardennes forest to replace the 28th Infantry Division and defend the town of Bastogne from the German offensive known as "The Battle of the Bulge". He shared a foxhole with medic Eugene Roe who at one point called him "Babe" when wrapping a blue cloth over his cut hand.
During the fighting, his friend John Julian had been fatally injured by a machine gun. Heffron tried saving him, but wasn't able to with a German machine gun firing at his position. They were eventually able to recover Julian's body, but he had died, and Heffron was deeply affected by it.
After the Battle of the Bulge, Heffron would continue to serve all the way to Germany, and would be promoted to Sergeant. While occupying Austria, he and a buddy once stole an ambulance, but then found that a doctor was delivering a baby in it, so they abandoned it. He also was able to take a German General named Theodor Toldsorff prisoner, but the general told him he wished to surrender to an officer, which was 2nd Lt. C. Carwood Lipton.
After the warEdit
Heffron later found a job at Publicker Industries in a whiskey distillery plant. When the company moved to Linfield in 1966, Heffron then worked on clerking cargo on the Philadelphia waterfront, till he retired in 1993.
He and his friend Guarnere later wrote their memior Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story, which outlined their combat experience.
Edward Heffron passed away 1 December 2013 at Kennedy Hospital in Stratford, New Jersey. He was 90 years old.