US Senator Johnson Meets FDL WW II Hero
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) welcomed Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas to the United States Capitol on Tuesday. Megellas is originally from Fond du Lac and is one of our nation’s most revered soldiers. He served with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division during World War II and is recognized as the most decorated officer in the history of the division.
Sen. Johnson introduced legislation, S. 1826, last July to name the Fond du Lac post office for Lt. Col. Megellas. The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August, and Johnson hopes to see it signed into law soon.
“It is a privilege to recognize Lt. Col. Megellas,” he said, “one of the finest among us. His heroic actions helped ensure the liberation of Europe and our nation’s continued freedom.”
Megellas participated with distinction in the landing at Anzio, Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge, among other battles. He and his fellow troops courageously crossed the Waal River near Nijmegen, Netherlands, in small boats under substantial machine gun fire. Once on shore, Megellas crawled forward alone and killed two outpost guards and the crew of a machine gun nest. After the attack, he carried a wounded man to safety while firing a submachine gun with one hand. For this, Megellas was awarded the military’s second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross. He has also received multiple awards each of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Then, during the Battle of the Bulge, Megellas led an outnumbered platoon in a successful attack on enemy forces near Herresbach, Belgium. Soldiers testified that Megellas single-handedly attacked and destroyed a German Mark V Panther tank with two grenades and a submachine gun. His citation noted that his platoon did not suffer a casualty during the battle, a remarkable feat.
Now 98 years old, Lt. Col. Megellas continues to inspire Americans through lectures and other public appearances each year.