Farewell

“Paratroopers never truly die-they just slip away.” – Spoken by Chaplain Micheal Krog of the 82nd Airborne’s 1st Brigade at Megellas’ graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lt. Col. James Megellas, who passed away in his sleep on April 2, 2020, at the age of 103, was interred with full military funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery on September 2, 2022. He was one of the most decorated officers to come out of the 82nd Airborne Division, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts, according to a Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA) tribute.

Friends, family members, and soldiers solemnly watch as Lt. Col. Megellas makes his way to his final resting place. US Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery

According to The Washington Post, multiple high-ranking officers were there to pay their last respects. Among these was Maj. Gen. Christopher C. LaNeve, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. Gen. James C. McConville, Army Chief of Staff, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Megellas was a son of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, born on March 11, 1917, just weeks before the United States declared war on Germany during World War I. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he was a senior at Ripon College, recalls the Fond du Lac Reporter. Megellas, who went by the nickname of “Maggie,” was part of the school’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program and, upon graduation in May of ’42, received his commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corps.