Vasily Filippovich Margelov, the same "Uncle Vasya", went down in the history of our Armed Forces as the ancestor and brightest commander of the "winged infantry". Leading the Airborne Forces for a total of 23 years, he made a huge contribution to the reconstruction, formation and development of the Airborne Forces - not without reason they are still called "Uncle Vasya's troops."
The fact is that until the 50s, the Airborne Forces were just infantry, landing, if necessary, behind enemy lines. The task of the paratroopers was to impose a battle behind enemy lines and hold the outpost until the main forces approached. Lacking good equipment and special equipment, they were ordinary "cannon fodder". With the arrival of "Uncle Vasya" the situation changed radically.
Having gone through several wars and being the commander of scouts and even the marines, Lieutenant Colonel Margelov knew exactly what the Airborne Forces needed and, despite pressure from his superiors, began to translate his ideas into reality.
Here's what he said about the capabilities of the airborne troops:
“To fulfill their role in modern operations, it is necessary that our formations and units be highly maneuverable, covered with armor, have sufficient fire efficiency, are well controlled, capable of landing at any time of the day and quickly switch to active combat operations after landing. This, by and large, is the ideal to which we should strive "
By the end of the 50s, new An-8 and An-12 aircraft were adopted by the Airborne Forces, which have a higher carrying capacity and flight range, which made it possible to drop a larger number of personnel with standard equipment and weapons. Margelov established a personal connection with design bureaus, designers, scientists, he himself often went to design bureaus and research institutes. Often negotiating with designers on the development of new equipment for the Airborne Forces, he ran into misunderstanding and obstacles from the Ministry of Defense and the "upper echelons of power." He constantly had to prove the need to equip the Airborne Forces with modern equipment and weapons.
Leading the constant struggle of the airborne troops, he goes against the wishes of the higher leadership. For this, in 1959, Vasily Filippovich was removed from his post as commander of the Airborne Forces and appointed deputy. But already in 1961 he was reinstated as commander of the airborne forces. Margelov gave twenty years to the command of the Airborne Forces. Over the years, thanks to the legendary "bat", this type of military has become the most popular in the USSR, serving there has become a great honor and dream of any teenager.
By the way, Margelov also gave the vest to the paratroopers, wishing to convey the traditions of the Marine Corps to the Airborne Forces, only the stripes were decided to be blue - to match the color of the sky. :
- Is it conceivable, Comrade Minister (Marshal A.A. Grechko), the paratroopers are in vests.
The commander of the Airborne Forces, General Margelov, sharply objected:
- I fought in the Marine Corps and I know what the paratroopers deserve and what they don't!
In recognition of the special merits of "paratrooper No. 1" to the Fatherland, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation established in 2005 the medal "GENERAL OF THE ARMY OF MARGELS". It is awarded to servicemen, veterans and civilian personnel and the Airborne Forces for conscientious service and personal contribution to the strengthening and development of this type of troops.