Ed Manly

Ed Manly



Nov 5, 1921 - Feb 27, 2022


502nd Paratroopers
BATTLE: D-Day, Battle of the Bulge - Bastogne, Garden Market
HONORED BY: The Eisenhower Foundation



Edward Rodney Manley was born on Nov. 5, 1921, in New Jersey. His life before the war was nearly as colorful as his service. “My dad died two months before I was born, and my mother was an orphan,” he once recalled. “She lived with showgirls and was the only one with a steady job. She got walk-ons on different Broadway shows and that would get her $5.” When Ed was 3, his mother sent him to live with a babysitter, and at 5 he was moved to the Gould Foundation group home in Harlem. “I had to learn to be streetwise when I was at the home in Harlem,” Manley said. “On Saturdays all the kids from the home had 15 cents for the movies. The street kids knew it. I wandered away from my group once and this 13-year-old boy cut me four or five times across the leg with a strap razor. I was carrying a broken Coke bottle and buried it in his solar plexus. “They took me home, cleaned me up, and I went to the movies. Ed trained at Fort Benning and joined the Paratroopers because he thought that would take him close to the front and closer to Hitler. He wanted to kill Hitler. When the U.S. Army’s 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment dropped into Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, Ed Manley’s job was to help blow up four Nazi cannons overlooking Omaha Beach. The group was dropped in the wrong place but he improvised. He was 22 and lived to tell about it. On Sept. 17, 1944, he jumped into Holland on a mission to seize roads and bridges in the key city of Eindhoven. Again he lived. On Dec. 17, 1944, Manley and the 502nd Regiment held positions in Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. Manley was wounded, but lived to be captured by the Nazis on Jan. 3, 1945. Imprisoned at Stalag 12A in Limburg, Germany, he lived to escape from the camp 4 1/2 months later. Now he was 23. Returning from the war, Manley passed the test to join the New York State Police. He supplemented his police salary as a flag man directing traffic and a runner for a concrete company dealing with their truckers. He also worked on a tanker on the Great Lakes, and as a lumber salesman and theater manager. In 1951, he married Dorothy Ann Brower. She died in 1983 after 32 years of marriage. The couple had two sons, Scott and James, who survive him, and a daughter, Kimberly. Courtesy of coastalstar.com and American Veterans Center.