OSHKOSH — A piece of legislation introduced by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to name the Fond du Lac post office for Lt. Col. James “Maggie” Megellas officially became law on Friday, March 18.
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 S. 1826 last July. The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August.
“It is a privilege to recognize Lt. Col. Megellas,” Sen. Johnson said. “His heroic actions helped ensure the liberation of Europe and our nation’s continued freedom. For this, Wisconsin is proud and America is grateful. It is appropriate that the Fond du Lac post office carry the name of one of the finest among us. It will remind us of his heroism for generations to come.”
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. 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.
Lt. Col. Megellas is now 99 years old and continues to inspire Americans through lectures and other public appearances each year.