Lt. Col. James Megellas Medal of Honor Bill
INTRODUCTION OF LT. COL. JAMES MEGELLAS MEDAL OF HONOR BILL — (Extensions of Remarks – June 06, 2006) [Page: E1018]
SPEECH OF HON. THOMAS E. PETRI OF WISCONSIN IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2006
- Mr. PETRI. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing legislation to honor a true American hero by awarding him the Medal of Honor. On January 28, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, Lt. James Megellas led his platoon of the 82nd Airborne Division on a surprise and devastating attack on a much larger advancing German force, killing and capturing a large number of the enemy and causing others to flee. In an act of fearless courage, Megellas single-handedly destroyed an attacking German Mark V tank with two hand-held grenades. He then led the charge of his men and seized Herresbach, Belgium, during this fierce action of the Battle of the Bulge. Due to his aggressive, fearless and superior leadership, Lt. James Megellas inspired his men to excel.
- After serving 4 years as a rifle platoon leader during World War II, including many combat jumps into Italy and Holland, Megellas left the active Army and served for 16 years in the Army Reserve. He retired after 20 years of service as a lieutenant colonel.
- His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Star Medals, two Bronze Star Medals, two Purple Hearts, and he is credited with being the 82nd Airborne Division’s most decorated officer. During World War II, Gen. James Gavin selected one 82nd officer–Lt. James Megellas–to receive the Military Order of Willhelm Orange Lanyard from the Dutch Minister of War on behalf of his division.
- To this day, James Megellas continues to inspire. In February, 61 years since that momentous battle, James “Maggie” Megellas set foot on a battlefield with fellow 82nd Airborne Division soldiers, this time in a current theatre of war–Afghanistan. Megellas was impressed with what he saw of the paratroopers and their work. He listened to their stories of their past year of deployment and shared with them his own experiences during World War II.
- I urge my colleagues to also recognize James “Maggie” Megellas by supporting this bill to authorize and request the President to award him the Medal of Honor for his acts of valor on January 28, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge. As time goes by, true heroes should never be forgotten, so please join me in honoring this outstanding American hero.