Fort Bragg, North Carolina – The US Army followed through with its promise on the mother of a fallen WWII paratrooper and gave her soldier son the honor due him – a Bronze Star Medal for his heroism during the Second World War – 70 years after the war.
The military decoration was given to his family as a posthumous commemoration Friday in a ceremony held at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum.
Private Max Myers of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment was a combat medic during the Second World War, a job considered to be very dangerous at it had placed him in the front lines getting to fallen and wounded comrades just to treat them. It was while doing this responsibility that he met his untimely death.
Max and the 508th Infantry Regiment
The corps Private Myers was in, 508th Infantry Regiment, headed throughout WWII by Lt. Col. Roy E. Lindquist, was in three WWII events – Operation Overlord, Operation Market Garden and the Ardennes Campaign or better known as the Battle of the Bulge.
It was in the Operation Market Garden that Private Myers was killed, on October 7, 1944 in Holland. He was only 22 at that time.
At first it was believed that Myers was killed in a jeep accident but his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) and the Morning Reports for the Medical Detachment revealed he was really killed in action.
He was initially buried in Molenhoek Cemetery in Holland but due to his family’s request, his remains were sent home after the war. He was then laid to his final resting place in Portland, Indiana’s Green Park Cemetery on January 29, 1949.
It was due to the efforts of Ron Myers, Max Myers’ nephew, that the commemorative award came into being.
After the paratrooper’s death and when his body was brought home, his family received a flag, a Purple Heart and little paper works. However, years later, when the Myers family’s next generation began to have conflicting accounts of their uncle’s death, Ron decided to delve deeper into his story.
Ron himself had worked with the US Army and the US Postal Service so he had enough connections to get through with his investigation. However, he still had trouble with his uncles’ accounts and afterwards, with the paper works related to him getting the Bronze Medal Award as Max Myers’ records were destroyed during an unfortunate fire at a national archive of St. Louis in the 70s.
In what could be an opportune event, he found an ally in Fort Bragg when the 82nd Airborne Division told him they would “take care of our own”.
Max Myers’ Bronze Star Medal was presented by Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson of the 82nd Airborne Division. The 4th Brigade Combat Team’s commander, Col. Tim Watson, was also present during the event.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team’s lineage came directly under the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Max Myers’ regiment, and Col. Watson stated that the commemoration in Myers’ name is a very essential part of the regiment’s history.
Sixty-nine years ago, the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and other units of the 82nd Airborne Division were still engaged in Operation Market Garden. Given the complexity and hazards of the airborne operation and follow-on offensive and defensive actions, many acts of heroism went unrecorded. Today, we are honored to welcome the family of Pvt. Myers to recognize his actions that represents the courage and audacity of his fellow paratroopers,” Watson stated.
As for Ron, he’s content that the uncle he never knew has been given the award rightly due him.
“I never met him, but I knew of him from stories. To us, he was a hero,” he said than added, “He’s entitled to this, and there’s no question about it. It’s about time this came to an end.”