02.24.21

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Introduction of Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Award Fond du Lac Native World War II Veteran the Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce legislation (S.367) to request President Biden award the Medal of Honor to Lt. Col.  James “Maggie” Megellas, a Wisconsin native and World War II veteran, for acts of valor during the Battle of the Bulge.

Megellas is originally from Fond du Lac (and most recently lived in Texas) and is one of our nation’s most revered soldiers. He served with the Army’s 82ndAirborne Division during World War II and is recognized as the most decorated officer in the history of the division. Legislation has been introduced in each of the last four sessions of Congress to award Megellas the Medal of Honor. Megellas passed away in April 2020 at the age of 103. The legislation introduced by Baldwin, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) for the 117th Congress continues the effort posthumously on behalf of Megellas. A companion bill in the House has been introduced by Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-WI).

“James Megellas' service and heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge remind us of the American values that define us as one nation united,” said Senator Baldwin. “With the passing of James Megellas last year, I’m proud to introduce legislation that would award this Wisconsin veteran the Medal of Honor and recognize the deep sense of honor and devotion to his fellow soldiers that he so bravely displayed on the battlefield.”

Megellas participated with distinction in the landing at Anzio, in Operation Market Garden, and in 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. During a night patrol in the Netherlands, 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.

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.

In 2015, Congress passed a bill designating the U.S. Postal Service facility in Fond du Lac as the Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas Post Office.