Narrated by Tom Kane
Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas
“Maggie”: In mid-1943 James Megellas, born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and known as “Maggie” to his fellow paratroopers, joined the 82nd Airborne Division. His first taste of combat was in the rugged Apennine Mountains outside Naples in Italy. Soon Maggie’s outfit was tapped to run of the most star-crossed missions of World War II. From the fiasco on the beach of Anzio to Field Marshall Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation Market-Garden in Holland, months of hard combat were followed by the Battle of the Bulge — and the long hard cross road across Germany to Berlin.
The Documentary Film: James Megellas is the most decorated officer in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division. After he was wounded and hospitalized at Anzio he returned to his unit and never missed another day of combat until May 8, 1945, the end of the war.
Megellas’ awards include the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Presidential Unit Citations, 6 Campaign Stars, and the Master Parachutist badge and has been recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
He was also the first American ever to receive the Military Order of Wilhelm Orange Lanyard from the government of Holland. After the war, Megellas served for 18 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development, including work in Yemen, Panama, Vietnam and Colombia.
Leadership: The film will also focus on leadership skills in combat and his ability to motivate, inspire and lead men when initial planning has broken down, all principles are still important today to those who lead and set stage for others to succeed. Leadership is a topic which Lt. Col. Megellas continues to lecture on all over the world.
Today: At 97 years old, Megellas spent a recent Christmas in Afghanistan with his old outfit, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, along the Pakistani border. He continues to travel and lecture around the world.