MCC News

Former U.S. Ambassador, Museum Director Discuss D-Day, Local WWII Hero

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The World War II Lecture Series at MCC will focus March 17 on the D-Day invasion and will feature insights from a former U.S. Ambassador and a local museum director.

John McGarry, the executive director of the Muskegon Lakeshore Museum Center since 1990, will discuss “Operation Overlord-The Invasion of Europe” and the role of Joe Beyrle, Muskegon’s hometown hero.

The talk, which is open to the public for a $5 donation to the museum or free for museum members, takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. at the USS Silversides Museum, 1346 Bluff St., in Muskegon.

Moderated by MCC Instructor George Maniates, the presentation will include Ambassador John Beyrle, Julie Beyrle-Schugars, and Joseph Beyrle, II in a roundtable question-and-answer session sharing memories of their father, Joseph Beyrle.

During WWII, Beyrle, a Muskegon native, was a paratrooper who participated in D-Day and whose gung-ho zest for leaping out of planes earned him the nickname "Jumpin' Joe." He was the only man to fight both for the U.S. Army and the Soviet Union Army, the latter after having been captured by the German Army.

John Beyrle, a career diplomat, was the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria from 2005-08 and the U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2008-11. Julie Beyrle-Schugars resides in Muskegon and Joseph Beyrle II lives in Lowell, Mich.

The semester-long lecture series, History 297: World War II, is co-taught by Maniates and Kurt Troutman. The Monday night seminars feature presentations by both subject experts and eyewitness guest speakers. For more information, call (231) 777-0639.