Ed was born February 18, 1923, in Erie, PA, the eighth of eleven children. His father delivered coal, and the family grew up poor in the middle of the Great Depression.
Ed enlisted in the Army at age 17, a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. “You had to be 18 to join the service,” he said. “I didn’t lie about my age, but no one ever asked.”
He went through basic training at Camp Walters in Texas, then trained to be a paratrooper at Fort Benning, Georgia. He joined Easy Company at Camp McCall and sailed to Europe together with the men.
Ed parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and landed in a field next to Joe Lesniewksi, also from the same hometown of Erie, PA. On the first day of fighting, Ed was knocked unconscious by an exploding shell and received a concussion, but wasn’t hospitalized. Troops were scattered all across the peninsula, and Ed and Joe fought alongside troops from the 82nd Airborne for two days until rejoining Easy Company.
Ed parachuted into Holland for Operation Market Garden and later fought in the snow and ice of Bastogne where he was severely wounded by shrapnel in the right arm. He was taken to a hospital in Paris and told his war was over, but twenty days later he broke out of the hospital and hitchhiked back to his company.
|Ed Joint, age 6, photo courtesy the Joint family|
“What made me want to go back and fight?” he said. “I don’t know. They thought I was nuts. But as a young kid you’re not scared. They asked me why I wanted to go back, and all I said was, ‘It’s my outfit up there.’”
Ed fought through Germany and helped liberate Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s hideout in the Alps. When the war ended, Ed was a high points man, so he was one of the first to be discharged and sent back home. Among other medals, he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for being wounded.
|Ed and Sally Joint, photo courtesy the Joint family|
Ed married his wife Sally in 1948. Together they had 4 children, 9 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. A lifelong Catholic, Ed remained active at St. Julia’s Catholic Church, most recently serving as an usher.
When asked what it meant to be successful in life, Ed answered simply: “Everybody defines it differently. But I got a house, a nice wife, four good kids, and my health. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”