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.

At 96 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.