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Major General (Retired) Lon E. “Bert” Maggart
Major General (US Army Retired) Lon E. “Bert” Maggart, 79, passed away January 26 after a valiant battle with Covid-ARDS. Born September 10, 1944, to Lon E. and Margaret Johnston Maggart, Bert lived in Wake Forest. At age 14, when his mother met and married Master Sergeant Max E. Wineinger, the family moved to Germany where Bert graduated from high school.
The family then moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where Bert attended Kansas State University. While a student, he married Ann Beckwith and had their daughter, Susan. Bert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and was commissioned in 1966 as a second lieutenant of Armor assigned to the US Army Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. This began a distinguished 31-year career that included serving as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Utah, where he obtained a Master of Science in Business. He was in the Infantry Officers Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, completed Airborne School, and welcomed his second daughter, Kirsten. One of Bert’s many accomplishments was working with his incredible group of battalion commanders and brigade staff after assuming command of the 1st Brigade (Devil Brigade) and taking the brigade through Operation Desert Storm. After being promoted to Brigadier General, he took over command of Fort Knox and the US Army Armor School. He was then promoted to Major General.
(See link, http://www.fulwoodfuneralservice.com/obituary/USArmyMajorGeneralRetiredLon-Maggart for more career details.)
After retiring, Bert began a second career at Research Triangle Institute International (RTI). Over the next 16 years, Bert held a number of positions, including Executive Vice President for International Development.
While at RTI, Bert met and married Wanda Smith Maggart. In his notes for after his passing, he wrote the following: “For people who ask, you can say, ‘He lived an interesting life, and he loved Wanda Jean every day until the day he died!’”
Bert is also survived by his daughters, Susan Jary (Cy) and Kirsten Jernigan (Glenn); grandchildren Drew and Grayson Mears and Chase and Chad Jernigan; stepdaughter Amy Wolfe (Stephen) and grandchildren Finn, Emme, and Beckett; stepdaughter Katie Crawley (Matt) and grandchildren Alex and new-born Adelaide; stepsister Janet Pridgen; numerous cousins; and his beloved dogs Honey and Daisy May.
While Bert was proud of his two careers, he was simply a man who asked a veteran wearing a hat to tell him about his service without ever mentioning his own, enjoying “yanking the chain” of his grandchildren, being a good neighbor and friend to many who came to love him on Oak Island, staying connected to much loved and admired Army buddies, enjoying his German connections through the local Stammtisch group, and watching Wanda work in her gardens while enjoying the wildlife and boats going by on the intracoastal waterway.
A Celebration of Life is planned for Saturday, February 10, at 1 p.m. in the St. James Community Center off NC-211. His wish is for Wanda to spread his ashes from their dock into the intracoastal waterway to disperse around the world. Memorial donations may be made to the Brunswick County Animal Shelter or to a military organization of your choice.
Online condolences are encouraged and may be sent to www.fulwoodfuneralservice.com.
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Bert graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Armor and assigned to the US Army Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to attend the Armor Officers Basic Course. Because Bert and his family became homeless due to a series of tornadoes that destroyed their apartment, Bert did not have enough money to buy an alarm clock. As a result, Bert’s oldest Army buddy, Tom Cameron, would bang on the side of his trailer to wake him for class each morning.
Bert was obligated for two years of service at Fort Knox and planned to attend law school after being released from the Army. However, Bert was offered an opportunity to return to Europe but had to agree to a voluntary indefinite status to do so. Law school became irrelevant. Bert was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Armor in Friedberg, Germany, where he served as S3 Air, S4, Property Book Officer, Support Platoon leader and Commander of Company C. After command, he assumed duties as the Battalion S3 (Operations), including a short stint as the tank gunnery officer for the 3d Brigade. Bert was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Captain (CPT) while serving in the 3d Brigade.
Following his tour of duty in Germany, Bert returned to the United States to attend the Military Advisor Training Assistance (MATA) course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Following completion of the course, Bert was sent to Vietnam and assigned to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) Team 32 in Gia Nghia where he served as the Regional Force Popular Force (RFPF) Advisor and the Team Operations Officer until his departure in 1970.
Bert returned to the United States to be a student at the Infantry Officers Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. While at Fort Benning, Bert completed Airborne School.
Following his tour at Fort Benning, Bert was assigned as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. While there, Bert completed the requirements for a Master of Science in Business.
Following his assignment at the University of Utah, Bert attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Because of his constant complaints about the quality of the instruction, Bert was invited to stay on for the next two years to teach in the tactics department. Bert was responsible for developing battalion and brigade instruction for the emerging new active defense being adopted by the US Army. He also made a life-long friendship with his office mate, John Burlingame. Bert’s work proved to be a turning point for US Army doctrine as the tactics used in WWII were useless against the enormous Soviet military threatening Europe and the world and was an important addition to the new Army doctrine called the “Active Defense.”
Because of his work at Leavenworth, Bert was recruited to become a member of the “Boat House Gang” at Fort Monroe, Virginia. This group reported directly to the Commanding General of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), General Donn A. Starry. Bert’s job was to publish battalion and brigade “How to Fight” manuals. In addition, Bert worked with his faithful buddy, Lou Napoleon, to develop a series of “How to Fight” films for training purposes. Bert contributed to the development of the Army’s capstone manual, FM 100-5, “Operations” that was the most important field manual since WW II. Bert was known at TRADOC as the “Fountain of Knowledge” for his understanding of tactical doctrine.
Bert was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 3d Armored Division at Kirch Goens, Germany, following his tour at Fort Monroe. The 1st Brigade was the largest brigade in the US Army at the time with five maneuver battalions plus artillery and support battalions. Bert was assigned as the Brigade S3 under Colonel Nick Krawciw (later Major General) and for Colonel Gordon R. Sullivan (later General and Chief of Staff for the US Army).
Bert was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) and served as Colonel Sullivan’s Executive Officer until Colonel Sullivan was reassigned as the Chief of Staff for the division. Sullivan brought Bert down to the division headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, to be the G5 (Civil Affairs). For a short time, Bert was the acting Chief of Staff, as the junior lieutenant colonel on the staff.
Bert was selected for battalion command and assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor, 197th Infantry Brigade Mechanized (Separate) at Fort Benning, Georgia. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Bill Hartzog (a great American and later Commanding General, TRADOC). Bert completed two rotations at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, which was the premier combat training center for the US Army and one of the reasons for the Army’s great success in Operation Desert Storm.
` Bert was reassigned to the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, following battalion command. While there, he was invited to be the V Corps Inspector General (IG) for Lieutenant General (LTG) Jack Woodmansee, one the very progressive general officers in the Army at the time. While serving as the IG, Bert developed a novel system for evaluating the performance of battalion and brigade commanders.
After serving only a few months as the IG, Bert was asked to be the Chief of Staff for the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One) at Fort Riley, Kansas, for MG Gordon R. Sullivan. As the Chief, Bert directed the division general staff during the last great REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) exercise in 1988. Bert would also serve as the Chief for MG Tom Rhame who would command the division during Operation Desert Storm
Bert then assumed command of the 1st Brigade (Devil Brigade) and took the brigade through Operation Desert Storm with his incredible group of battalion commanders: LTCs Greg Fontenot, 2-34 Armor, Skip Baker (now deceased), 5-16 Infantry, Pat Ritter, 1-34 Armor, Bob Wilson, 1-4 Cavalry, Harry Emerson, 1-5 Field Artillery, Rich Jemiola, 9th Engineer Battalion, Ed Buffington, 101 Forward Support Battalion, Executive Officer Dangerous Dan Magee (now deceased), and brigade staff who included S3 Major Kevin Huddy and S2 Cpt Jim Stockmoe.
Important attachments included Cpt Jose Colondres, 2-3 Air Defense Battalion, 1LT Jim Johnson, 12th Chemical Company and Cpt Bob Fits, 101st Military Intelligence Battalion. Following brigade command, Bert was assigned as the Executive Officer for General Freddy Franks, Commanding General, TRADOC, Fort Monroe, Virginia. In this role, Bert once again had the opportunity to work with the brilliant Greg Fontenot who was in charge of the commanding general’s planning group.
Bert was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Doctrine where he continued to work on developing tactical doctrine for the Army. Bert was then assigned as the Assistant Commandant of the US Army Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky. In this role, Bert headed up the first digital rotation at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. This rotation proved the value of digital operations and led to the development of the digital equipment found throughout the Army today.
Bert then took over command of Fort Knox and the US Army Armor School and shortly thereafter was promoted to Major General. Bert established many innovative projects as the Commanding General, including the Advanced Warfighting Working Group which gave junior officers the opportunity to explore advanced tactical concepts. This group was led day-to-day by an exceedingly gifted officer named Art DeGroat.
Bert retired from the US Army in 1996 and began work at Research Triangle Institute International (RTI). Over the next 16 years, Bert held a number of positions at RTI, including Program Director for Advanced Learning Environments, Director for the Center for Semiconductor Research, Chief of Staff, Senior Vice President for Operations, Interim Executive Vice President for Science and Engineering, and Executive Vice President for International Development.
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