A sellout crowd is expected when WWII paratrooper Jake McNiece returns to the McPherson American Legion on Saturday, April 4, to speak at a fund-raiser dinner for building improvements.  McNiece, a “master storyteller,” captures his audiences with stories about his four jumps behind enemy lines as a member of the famed 101st Airborne Division known as the “Screaming Eagles.” There is plenty of humor as he tells of antics that got him thrown in the stockade on numerous occasions. McNiece spoke to a packed crowd of 300 in McPherson a year ago.
McNiece’s exploits as a demolition/saboteur were the basis for the movie, The Dirty Dozen, staring Lee Marvin.  McNiece said the film makers approached him shortly after the war about making the movie and he declined because, “It was too soon and America needed time to heal.”  Hollywood made the movie anyway and cast the characters as hardened criminals.  “None of us were criminals, but we were misfits,” McNiece said.  McNiece, the last surviving member of his 13 man “stick”, has co-authored a book titled The Filthy Thirteen which he sells and autographs at his speaking engagements.  
McNiece and his group jumped behind enemy lines at the Normandy Invasion, Holland Invasion, Bastogne, and Prume, Germany.  He earned four bronze service stars, two bronze arrowheads, three presidential unit citations, bronze star medal with three oak leaf clusters, and four foreign decorations just to name a few.
McNiece joined the army to fight the Germans and admits he lacked military discipline in his younger years, but has been a born-again Christian the past 50 plus years. Retiring from the US Postal Service he now resides in Ponca City, OK with his wife, Martha.
Prior to McNiece’s talk the family of John Bremyer will present the American Legion with a replica of the Perry Flag which Bremyer carried half-way around the world for the formal Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in 1945.  The Perry Flag was the only American Flag ever to fly over Japanese territory prior to their surrender.
Tickets for the 5:00 pm spaghetti “Dinner with Jake McNiece” are available through Dan Hervey, the Investment Center (241-2700), Jim LaDuke, State Farm Insurance (242-4801), and Vail Henningsen, Headquarters Barber Shop (241-1960).  Others selling tickets are Eric Rauh (242-9132), Charles Criswell (242-7086), Don Behrens (245-4252), Tony Fiedler (241-5603), or Jonna Criswell (242-4521).  Advance tickets are $15 each or 2 for $25.  Tickets at the door will be $20 each if available.  There are only 300 tickets available with the expectation it will sell out in advance.  Jim LaDuke, Legion Commander said, “After hearing Jake last year most of the people he talked to said they would like to hear him again and bring other family and friends to hear him.  It’s not often you get to hear stories like this first hand.”