PHILADELPHIA John "Jack" Agnew, one of the original members of a U.S. Army unit that operated behind enemy lines in World War II and is often credited with having loosely inspired the movie "The Dirty Dozen," has died at age 88.It's fashionable these days to say that we no longer have men of this caliber. I don't agree, but am grateful indeed that we had men like this when the need was greatest.
Agnew belonged to the Filthy Thirteen, an unofficial unit within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Tales of the unit's exploits and a Stars and Stripes military newspaper photograph are said to have inspired "The Dirty Dozen," not because any of the unit's members were convicts like the movie's characters — they weren't — but because of their reputation for brawling, drinking and spending time in the stockade.
"Dad, when we were little kids, he'd always say, 'I won the war; I know you don't believe me, but someday you'll know,'" [his daughter] said. "We didn't really realize it until the 'Band of Brothers' came out."
Requiescat in pace.